Explaining the science behind this year’s Nobel Prizes for Chemistry and Physics | The Hindu In Focus podcast

In this second part of a two-episode series on the Nobel Prizes, we go into the Chemistry and Physics 2020 awarded to Emmanuelle Charpentier and Jennifer Doudna, for discovering one of gene technology’s sharpest tools: the CRISPR/Cas9 genetic scissors.

Also read our explainer on the Chemistry Nobel 2020:

And for physics, British mathematician-physicist Roger Penrose received half of this year’s prize “for the discovery that black hole formation is a robust prediction of the general theory of relativity”, as the the Nobel Committee put it. German Reinhard Genzel and American Andrea Ghez received the second half of the prize “for the discovery of a supermassive compact object at the center of our galaxy.” We explain the science behind both awards.

Also read our explainer on the Physics Nobel 2020:

 

Guest: T.V. Venkateshwaran, Science Communicator, Senior Scientist at Vigyan Prasar, New Delhi.

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To protect nature’s benefits, focus on people — ScienceDaily

To calculate the true value of a forest, we need to know how people benefit from it, according to new research published in Nature Sustainability. A healthy forest holds a treasure trove of benefits for people — it can filter water for downstream communities, supply timber for building, and provide a place for people to connect with nature. But a forest — or any other ecosystem — won’t necessarily provide the same things to everyone.

“Context matters,” says Lisa Mandle, lead scientist at the Stanford Natural Capital Project and lead author on the paper. “If we want to protect the critical natural assets we all depend on, we need actionable policies that incorporate people’s diverse needs. It shouldn’t be a one-size-fits-all approach when we’re talking about people and nature.”

There’s a growing global movement to invest in nature in order to protect vital resources and improve climate resilience. But

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Beijing to sharpen country’s R&D focus



a man sitting on a stage in front of a computer: China’s total public and private sector spending on hi-tech research and development reached a record high of US$324 billion last year. Photo: AP


China’s total public and private sector spending on hi-tech research and development reached a record high of US$324 billion last year. Photo: AP

Hello, this is Bien Perez from the South China Morning Post’s Technology desk, with a wrap of our leading stories this week.

Amid rising tensions with Washington, Beijing has had to downplay some of the country’s technological catch-up efforts, such as the “Made in China 2025” policy road map. Sensing a threat to US global hi-tech dominance, the Trump administration had seized on the plan as an example of what it sees as unfair state intervention in China’s economy.

In reality, however, China’s pace of hi-tech initiatives has not slowed down. The country’s spending on research and development broke a record last year, reaching 2.2 trillion yuan (US$324 billion), according to data released in August by three Chinese government agencies, covering the private and public sectors. That

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Food Producers Need To Focus On Technology, Health And Sustainability

It is becoming more difficult to be a successful food company. Despite industry-wide revenue growth, major players are seeing their sales shrink, their production costs rise and competition from small brands intensify.

The global pandemic has exacerbated the impacts of changing consumption trends and made it more urgent to tackle some of these issues.

Once, it was beneficial to be big, to have an integrated supply chain and costly capital equipment as a defensive barrier against smaller competitors, those small competitors are now using digital tools, novel routes to market, and other innovations to undermine those defensive barriers, respond to consumer demands and take market share from established incumbents.

There are six key megatrends that will shape the industry for the next 30 years, new research by Lux Research claims. Companies must recognise and adapt to these trends to

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IBM Offloads Legacy Business to Focus on $1 Trillion Cloud Industry

Embattled tech relic IBM (NYSE:IBM) has made many attempts to right its flagging business over the years, thus far to no avail. However, in spring 2020, CEO Arvind Krishna — former Senior Vice President of IBM’s cloud and cognitive software segment and a key player in the 2019 acquisition of Red Hat — took the reins of the company. Year-to-date results have again been lackluster, even as cloud computing has become more important than ever before during the pandemic. True to his roots, though, Krishna recently announced IBM will spin off its managed infrastructure services unit into a separate business to focus solely on the cloud.

Someone holding a tablet. Illustrated charts and data are drawn over the screen.

Image source: Getty Images.

Freeing Red Hat from dead weight

During the 2020 second quarter, IBM’s total revenue fell 5.4% year over year to $18.1 billion. Masking cloud computing segment strength — including a 17% increase in Red Hat sales and a total cloud

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IBM to Break up 109-Year Old Company to Focus on Cloud Growth | Technology News

(Reuters) – International Business Machines Corp

is splitting itself into two public companies, capping a years-long effort by the world’s first big computing firm to diversify away from its legacy businesses to focus on high-margin cloud computing.

IBM will list its IT infrastructure services unit, which provides technical support for 4,600 clients in 115 countries and has a backlog of $60 billion, as a separate company with a new name by the end of 2021.

The new company will have 90,000 employees and its leadership structure will be decided in a few months, Chief Financial Officer James Kavanaugh told Reuters.

IBM, which currently has more than 352,000 workers, said it expects to record nearly $5 billion in expenses related to the separation and operational changes.

Investors cheered the surprise move by Chief Executive Officer Arvind Krishna, the key architect behind IBM’s $34 billion acquisition of cloud company Red Hat last

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IBM spins off a quarter of the company to focus on the cloud

IBM is spinning off a significant part of its business to focus on new opportunities in hybrid cloud growth, the company announced on Thursday.



a man wearing a suit and tie talking on a cell phone: NEW YORK, NY - JUNE 16: SVP and Director at IBM Research Arvind Krishna speaks on stage during the 2016 Wired Business Conference on June 16, 2016 in New York City. (Photo by Brian Ach/Getty Images for Wired)


© Brian Ach/Getty Images for Wired
NEW YORK, NY – JUNE 16: SVP and Director at IBM Research Arvind Krishna speaks on stage during the 2016 Wired Business Conference on June 16, 2016 in New York City. (Photo by Brian Ach/Getty Images for Wired)

The IT services unit of IBM’s Global Technology Services business will become a separate public company. It represents a major departure from IBM’s previous priorities and one of the boldest moves in the company’s more-than-a-century-long history.

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IBM’s managed infrastructure services business represented nearly a quarter of IBM’s revenue last year. But IBM believes its future lies in the hybrid cloud — a technical setup wherein companies may use multiple clouds in addition to their own on-premises servers. IBM’s platform gives

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IBM To Focus On Open Hybrid Cloud Platform; To Spin-Off Managed Infrastructure Services Unit

(RTTNews) – IBM (IBM) announced the company will separate its Managed Infrastructure Services unit of its Global Technology Services division into a new public company. Going forward, IBM will focus on its open hybrid cloud platform. The new company will be entirely focused on managing and modernizing client-owned infrastructures. The separation is anticipated to be achieved as a tax-free spin-off to shareholders, and completed by the end of 2021.

IBM said it will move from a company with more than half of its revenues in services to one with a majority in high-value cloud software and solutions. The company will have more than 50% of its portfolio in recurring revenues.

IBM is also taking action to simplify and optimize its operating model which includes streamlining its geographic model and transforming its go-to-market structure. The company is also continuing to consolidate its shared services.

Following the deal, the companies together are

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IBM to spin off IT infrastructure unit, focus on cloud business

FILE PHOTO: A man stands near an IBM logo at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, Spain, February 25, 2019. REUTERS/Sergio Perez/File Photo

(Reuters) – International Business Machines Corp said on Thursday it would spin off its IT infrastructure unit to focus more on cloud computing, a high-margin business that has seen a boost as companies increasingly ramp up their digital shift.

Shares of the company were up nearly 14% in premarket trading.

IBM has trimmed its legacy businesses over the years to focus on cloud, aiming to make up for slowing software sales and seasonal demand for its mainframe servers.

Arvind Krishna, who took over as chief executive officer from Ginni Rometty in April, said IBM’s software and solutions portfolio will account for the majority of company revenue after the separation.

Krishna is known as the “principal architect” of IBM’s biggest acquisition, software company Red Hat, which was bought

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New algorithm sharpens focus of world’s most powerful microscopes

New algorithm sharpens focus of world's most powerful microscopes
A composite image of the enzyme lactase showing how cryo-EM’s resolution has improved dramatically in recent years. Older images to the left, more recent to the right. Credit: Veronica Falconieri/National Cancer Institute

We’ve all seen that moment in a cop TV show where a detective is reviewing grainy, low-resolution security footage, spots a person of interest on the tape, and nonchalantly asks a CSI technician to “enhance that.” A few keyboard clicks later, and voila—they’ve got a perfect, clear picture of the suspect’s face. This, of course, does not work in the real world, as many film critics and people on the internet like to point out.


However, real-life scientists have recently developed a true “enhance” tool: one that improves the resolution and accuracy of powerful microscopes that are used to reveal insights into biology and medicine.

In a study published in Nature Methods, a multi-institutional team led by

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