How has Einstein’s work on photons ushered in a golden age of light? Oliver Morton, The Economist’s briefings editor, explores why laser’s applications have been spectacular and how solar power became the cheapest source of electricity in many countries.
This week a judge heard the first arguments in an antitrust case that could reshape the software ecosystem. Who will be the real winners and losers of this digital deathmatch? Quantum computers have limited capabilities, but the technology may yet live up to its promise.
And, how understanding the evolutionary history of exercise could help get people moving. Kenneth Cukier hosts.
SCIENTISTS ARE working at an unprecedented pace to find a vaccine for SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes covid-19. The stakes are high. Natasha Loder, The Economist’s health policy editor, explains how an effective vaccine might be developed.
Dr Trevor Drew of the Australian Centre for Disease Preparedness speaks to host Kenneth Cukier about two trials which have reached the animal-testing stage. Plus, once a vaccine is discovered, what can be done to make sure it is distributed fairly? Dr Seth Berkely, chief executive of GAVI, the vaccine alliance, explains the importance of global cooperation. Runtime: 26 min
Researchers are using artificial intelligence techniques to invent medicines and materials—but in the process are they upending the scientific method itself? The AI approach is a form of trial-and-error at scale, or “radical empiricism”. But does AI-driven science uncover new answers that humans cannot understand? Host Kenneth Cukier finds out with James Field of LabGenius…
Scientists believe they have located the ancestral home of one of humanity’s early ancestors—in northern Botswana. Tom Siebel, a Silicon Valley veteran and the founder of C3.ai, explains how digital transformation stops companies from going extinct. And, host Kenneth Cukier takes a trip to the Natural History Museum in London to learn about bias in species collection