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Ukrainian number theorist Maryna Viazovska is among four winners of the 2022 Fields Medals, one of the highest honors in mathematics that is traditionally awarded to people under the age of 40. Viazovska, who is based in Switzerland, is the second woman to win the award. . She is best known for her solution to the problem of packing spheres—finding the arrangement of spheres that can occupy the largest part of a volume—in eight dimensions. The other winners are number theorist James Maynard; June Huh, specialist in combinatorics; and Hugo Duminil-Copin, who studies statistical physics.
Nature | 4 minute read
More than $4 billion in new funding has been pledged by African countries, international donors and pharmaceutical companies to end malaria and neglected tropical diseases, such as dengue fever and leprosy. The commitments were announced at the Kigali Summit on Malaria and Neglected Tropical Diseases, held June 23 in Rwanda. These diseases are on the rise due to diagnostic and treatment disruptions caused by COVID-19, but there are promising new drugs for drug-resistant malaria and new vaccine technologies. “The R&D pipeline is in the best shape it’s ever been,” says Philip Welkhoff, director of malaria at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.
Nature | 5 minute read
In the United States, federal funding for gun violence research was restricted from the mid-1990s through 2020. Today, the field is rebuilding itself, gathering data much needed to assess the effectiveness of gun violence policies. fire arms. These include a narrow but groundbreaking law passed on June 25 following horrific attacks in Buffalo, New York, and Uvalde, Texas, in May. US-based research is crucial because it is difficult to extrapolate public health successes from abroad. “Could America do what Australia did? Says gun violence researcher Philip Alpers, referring to the country’s effective response to a mass shooting in 1996. “The answer is no, not a fluke. You have too many weapons… You have to separate America from the rest of the world.
Nature | 8 minute read
Features & Reviews
Three researchers with speech impairments share their experiences at conferences and how their colleagues can support them. “If you’re a person who stutters, one of the most common reactions people have is what we call ‘staring,'” says Eric Jackson, a hearing and speech pathology specialist. “The eyes squint a little bit, and some people will lean in a little bit more and do all these things that they think maybe helps, but they definitely don’t help… The right thing to do in one of These situations is just to expect the person to say what they want to say. And honestly, that’s a good communication skill for everyone.
Nature | 11 minute read
An estimated 3.8 million people die prematurely each year from illnesses linked to household air pollution, mostly from kitchen fires and dirty fuel stoves – with women and girls disproportionately affected. For now, liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) is one of the cleanest and most scalable solutions, says energy and development researcher Vijaya Ramachandran. But LPG is a fossil fuel, and therefore subject to efforts by rich countries to ban all fossil fuel projects in low- and middle-income countries. “The irony is that clean cooking fuels are much better for the environment than standard fuels,” Ramachandran writes. “A smarter, data-driven approach is needed to better protect the climate alongside vulnerable people in developing countries.”
Nature | 5 minute read
Web scraping is a way to extract the scattered data that populates the internet and put the information into a more usable and structured format. For example, researchers are collecting medical reports from around the world to update Johns Hopkins University’s influential COVID‑19 dashboard. There are free web browser extensions, such as Web Scraper and Data Miner, for scraping a small number of pages. You can upgrade to paid services such as Mozenda and ScrapeSimple. And there are open source alternatives compatible with Python and R programming languages.
Nature | 7 minute read
Where I work
The experience of animal scientist Doreen Anene, who grew up in Zaria, Nigeria, inspired her to support up-and-coming female scientists and livestock keepers in low-income countries. “Poultry can be raised quickly on little land,” says Anene, shown here using an egg lifter to assess egg quality. “If we empower women and increase livestock productivity, they can better feed their children, educate them, save money and escape poverty. Anene won the 2019 Nature Research Innovating Women in Science Award for founding a non-profit initiative, STEM Belle, which provides science role models and opportunities for girls in Nigeria, Ghana and Pakistan. (Nature | 3 min read)See more photos of this story on the Nature Instagram account. (Adam Wiseman for Nature)
Today I rest my eyes on stunning images of the really huge, and newly described, giant water lily Bolivian Victoria, and the beautiful botanical drawings by botanical illustrator Lucy Smith. One lesson, says taxonomist Alex Monro, is not to overlook what’s right in front of us. “There are still a lot of unknowns,” he says. “And I think because they’re so huge — so obvious — people haven’t really thought about studying them in so much detail.”
Thanks for reading,
Flora Graham, Editor-in-Chief, Nature Briefing