Pandemic upheaval offers a huge natural experiment

NATURE The disruption that the coronavirus has caused to daily life has created unique research opportunities for scientists. Soon after COVID-19 lockdowns began in March 2020, physicians in certain nations noticed something unexpected: the number of premature births seemed to plummet. Preliminary research in one region of Ireland documented a 73% decrease in very-low-birth-weight babies1. … More Pandemic upheaval offers a huge natural experiment

Play time for researchers

NATURE How hobbies can boost scientists’ productivity and creativity. When Audrey Kelly isn’t catching toads and analysing their DNA to study how species hybridize, she makes bread. Kelly is a fifth-year PhD student at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, and she learnt to bake from her father before she moved away for her … More Play time for researchers

A greener culture

NATURE CAREERS Creative minds are shrinking research’s big carbon footprint. In July 2015, Stephanie and Fraser Januchowski-Hartley left their home in Totnes, UK, and headed for the International Congress for Conservation Biology in Montpellier, France. Instead of catching a flight, they boarded a boat and then made their way across France by bicycle and train, … More A greener culture

Turbulence ahead

NATURE CAREERS US science faces a political storm, and early-career researchers should prepare themselves. Read the full story at Nature.

After the ice goes

NATURE Researchers look into the future of the far North for clues to save species and maybe even bring back sea ice. As the Arctic slipped into the half-darkness of autumn last year, it seemed to enter the Twilight Zone. In the span of a few months, all manner of strange things happened. The cap … More After the ice goes

Find your voice

Technology and practice can help shy and introverted researchers to succeed when reticence is risky. Generally speaking, scientists aren’t known as a gregarious bunch. Many identify as bookish, introverted, perhaps even a bit awkward. Yet those with more outgoing, extroverted traits might find it easier to thrive in today’s scientific culture. That’s because researchers in … More Find your voice

A forest of hypotheses

Falling in love with a single theory can cut off fruitful avenues of enquiry. Here’s how to keep your mind open. The clamour in a Panamanian rainforest is deafening to human ears: bugs shriek, birds sing and bats screech throughout the humid night. To avoid attracting predators, male katydids (Tettigoniidae) trill out short, infrequent mating … More A forest of hypotheses

Chasing the ocean’s ‘missing’ heat

Scientists say the recent pause in rising global temperatures is probably due to increased heat uptake by the world’s oceans, particularly the Pacific. However, researchers have struggled to figure out exactly where this heat has accumulated. According to a new study, the ‘missing’ heat may have escaped into the Indian Ocean through the islands of … More Chasing the ocean’s ‘missing’ heat