Dark energy is the biggest mystery in cosmology, but it may not exist at all – leading physicist

Leftover light from Type Ia supernovae has been used to calculate the expansion rate of the universe and infer the existence of dark energy.

The most mysterious phenomenon in cosmology – dark energy – may not exist at all, according to Professor Subir Sarkar, head of the particle theory group at the University of Oxford in the UK. In the late 1990s, astronomers found evidence from supernovae that the universe has been expanding faster and faster as it gets … Read more

Family’s grief sparks a quest for better bladder cancer cures

Millions of lives are lost to cancer due to late detection so scientists are working on better ways of diagnosing the disease.

‘Invasive and uncomfortable’ prodedures for detecting if someone has bladder cancer could be replaced by urine tests that not only screen for the presence of the disease but also help doctors choose the right course of treatment for a particular patient. ‘Our lives literally came to a stop when my mother was diagnosed with cancer,’ said … Read more

New clues unearthed about mammals’ rapid evolution after dinosaur extinction

The extinction of the dinosaurs paved the way for today's mammalian diversity.

It was a life-altering event. Around 66 million years ago, at the end of the Cretaceous period, an asteroid struck the Earth, triggering a mass extinction that killed off the dinosaurs and some 75% of all species. Somehow mammals survived, thrived, and became dominant across the planet. Now we have new clues about how that … Read more

Managing energy demand spikes with seasonal forecasts of heatwaves and cold spells

Researchers want to make climate forecasts more accessible to help the energy and other industries better predict spikes in usage.

The impact of heavy droughts, heatwaves and cold spells on energy demand and supplies would be lessened with seasonal climate forecasts that allow energy companies to better predict spikes in usage ahead of time, researchers say. Researchers already have the ability to predict what changes in climate can be expected in two to three weeks’ … Read more

Flat-pack homes and profit-sharing retrofits are making sustainable housing affordable

Solar panels help the SOLACE flat-pack houses produce more energy than needed.

Wealth-generating, flat-pack solar houses and a profit-sharing scheme that incentivises retrofitting are bringing sustainable living to people who would otherwise not be able to afford it. ‘One of the biggest problems that we see right now is (the creation of) a big gap between the lower and the middle classes. Everyone is talking about this … Read more

The mobile apps and wearable tech tapping into users’ emotions to tackle depression and anxiety

A smartphone chatbot that reinforces positive thinking and emotion-tracking tech are designed to support users living with mental health conditions. Image credit - Pxhere, licensed under CC0

by Gareth Willmer Personalised smartphone applications and wearable technologies that are attuned to the user’s state of mind are offering customised ways of helping people cope with mental illness. The rising incidence of mental health problems places great strain on health systems and societies around the world. In the EU, mental health disorders are already estimated to … Read more