Ada Lovelace Day, which is held on the second Tuesday of October each year, is meant to be a vehicle to celebrate women’s achievements in science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM).
Although the COVID-19 pandemic has resulted in the annual live event at London’s Institution of Engineering and Technology moving online this year, its laudable aim is to promote potential new role models in order to encourage girls to embark on a STEM career and encourage those already in one to stay.
But the reasons for them choosing to do so are not necessarily very clear if the findings of a report by Women Who Tech entitled ‘The State of Women in Tech and Startups’ are to be believed. The study reveals that a huge 48% of the 1,000 or so females interviewed have experienced some form of harassment, with 63% of those affected being subjected to sexism and 43%
Scientists recently announced that they had found possible signs of life in the clouds of Venus. We probably should have suspected as much all along.
Venus is a natural place to look for life beyond Earth. It is Earth’s twin — almost the same size and structure — and closer to us than Mars, the current favorite of astronomers looking for life elsewhere in the solar system. Venus is also closer to the Sun, which provides the warmth necessary for life as we know it. In the past, a few scientists have suggested that Venus was a source of primordial life that was later seeded on Earth. That theory, lithopanspermia, never gained popularity because current conditions on Venus seemed very inhospitable to life. The high concentration of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere of Venus ensures that the planet has a runaway greenhouse effect that makes its surface incredibly hot, way
The water crisis in Flint, Michigan, brought much-needed attention to the problem of potentially toxic metals being released from drinking water distribution pipes when water chemistry changes. Now, researchers reporting in ACS’ Environmental Science & Technology have investigated how hexavalent chromium, known as Cr(VI), can form in drinking water when corroded cast iron pipes interact with residual disinfectant. Their findings could suggest new strategies to control Cr(VI) formation in the water supply.
The metal chromium, known as Cr(0), is found in cast iron alloy, which is the most widely used plumbing material in water distribution systems. As pipes corrode, a buildup of deposits, known as scale, forms on the pipes’ inner walls. Trace chemicals in water can react with scale, forming new compounds that could be released into the water. Some of these compounds contain Cr(VI), which, at high doses, can cause lung cancer, liver damage, reproductive issues and developmental
This is a preview of Launchpad, our free weekly newsletter in which resident space expert Leah Crane fills you in on all the very latest news about our exploration of our solar system – and beyond.
Welcome to this week’s Launchpad, and I hope you’re all doing well. As you may have seen, there was some big news about Venus this week that may catapult Earth’s less-loved neighbour to the top of the list of places to hunt for alien life.
A team of astronomers has spotted a gas called phosphine in Venus’s clouds. This isn’t the first time we have seen phosphine on a planet – it’s produced on Earth in industrial processes and by microbes, and at crushing pressures and high temperatures deep inside giant planets like Jupiter – but the strange thing is