Research

Science • Nature
DeepMind announces that their AI can predict protein folding
DeepMind announces that their AI can predict protein folding
Credit: Courtesy of DeepMind

DeepMind has presented an AI application that makes it possible to predict protein structure with high accuracy. According to John Moult, a biologist at the University of Maryland, it is the first application of artificial intelligence "that has solved a serious problem".

Independent scientists said the breakthrough would help researchers tease apart the mechanisms that drive some diseases and pave the way for designer medicines, more nutritious crops, and “green enzymes” that can break down plastic pollution.

Regional News • Americas • Brazil
Report points to a serious risk to academic freedom in Brazil
Universidade de São Paulo
Universidade de São Paulo Credit: Rafael Vianna Croffi (Creative Commons Attribution 2.0)

A report released by the Global Public Policy Institute(GPPi) highlights offensives on several fronts against Brazilian professors, researchers and institutions. The academic freedom to research and teaching, in an environment with didactic and scientific autonomy in public universities, is guaranteed by the Brazilian Constitution but is under threat in the country.

According to the document, the corrosion of academic freedom began to accelerate in the last electoral campaign, with the then-candidate Jair Bolsonaro disseminating aggressive rhetoric against universities, which according to the current president would be the focus of "leftist indoctrination".

The report states that "Top-down measures from the Brazilian government, administered through legal, institutional channels and combined with constant discursive attacks, have created an increasingly hostile environment for academics, who constitute a significant opposition group to the federal government."

Science • Space
110 people needed to start colony on Mars, scientists find
110 people needed to start colony on Mars, scientists find
Credit: unsplash.com/Nicolas Lobos

Mars won't be too crowded. French Professor Jean-Marc Salotti (Bordeaux Institut Nationwide Polytechnique) found that a small community of 110 people is sufficient to set up a self-sustaining colony on Mars. The settlers would live in an oxygen-filled glass dome where they would have to focus on building an agricultural industry to provide for themselves.