NOBEL PRIZES AND COVID-19: SLOW, BASIC SCIENCE MAY PAY OFF
AppleMagazine|October 09, 2020
While the world wants flashy quick fixes for everything, especially massive threats like the coronavirus and global warming, next week’s Nobel Prizes remind us that in science, slow and steady pays off.
It may soon do so again.

Science builds upon previous work, with thinkers “standing on the shoulders of giants,” as Isaac Newton put it, and it starts with basic research aimed at understanding a problem before fixing it. It’s that type of basic science that the Nobels usually reward, often years or decades after a discovery, because it can take that long to realize the implications.

Slow and steady success in science has made researchers hopeful in the fight against the pandemic. It even offers a glimmer of climate optimism.

Many years of advances in basic molecular science, some of them already Nobel Prizewinning, have given the world tools for fast virus identification and speeded up the development of testing. And now they tantalize us with the prospect of COVID-19 treatments and ultimately a vaccine, perhaps within a few months.

“This could be science’s finest hour. This could be the time when we deliver, not just for the nation but the world, the miracle that will save us,” said geophysicist Marcia McNutt, president of the National Academy of Sciences.

The coronavirus was sequenced in a matter of weeks, testing became available quickly, and vaccines that would normally take years may be developed in a year or less, and “it’s all been built on the back of basic science advances that have been developed in the past three decades,” McNutt said.

She pointed to gene sequencing and polymerase chain reaction, which allows for multiple copying of precise DNA segments. That latter discovery won the 1993 Nobel in chemistry.

Continue reading your story on the app

Continue reading your story in the magazine

MORE STORIES FROM APPLEMAGAZINEView All

ROBOT ARTIST SELLS ART FOR $688,888, NOW EYEING MUSIC CAREER

Sophia is a robot of many talents — she speaks, jokes, sings and even makes art. In March, she caused a stir in the art world when a digital work she created as part of a collaboration was sold at an auction for $688,888 in the form of a nonfungible token (NFT).

2 mins read
AppleMagazine
April 09, 2021

OFFICIAL: EU AGENCY TO CONFIRM ASTRAZENECA BLOOD CLOT LINK

A top official at the European Medicines Agency says there’s a causal link between AstraZeneca’s coronavirus vaccine and rare blood clots, but that it’s unclear what the connection is and that the benefits of taking the shot still outweigh the risks of getting COVID-19.

4 mins read
AppleMagazine
April 09, 2021

WHAT BIDEN'S NEW $100B PLAN FOR BROADBAND MEANS

The problems with U.S. broadband networks have been obvious for years. Service costs more than in many other rich nations, it still doesn’t reach tens of millions of Americans and the companies that provide it don’t face much competition.

4 mins read
AppleMagazine
April 09, 2021

WILL THE OSCARS BE A ‘WHO CARES' MOMENT AS RATINGS DIVE?

George Bradley used to love watching the Academy Awards. The 28-year-old Brit now living in San Diego would stay up late back home just to tune in.

5 mins read
AppleMagazine
April 09, 2021

FACEBOOK DATA ON MORE THAN 500M ACCOUNTS FOUND ONLINE

Details from more than 500 million Facebook users have been found available on a website for hackers.

1 min read
AppleMagazine
April 09, 2021

YOU: INTERFACE DEEPER INTEGRATION IS COMING, JUST FOR YOU

According to a new study from WhistleOut, the average consumer spends an eye-watering nine years of their lives looking at their smartphones, and that’s without mentioning the use of computers, televisions, and other devices that increasingly control our lives.

7 mins read
AppleMagazine
April 09, 2021

EVERYTHING WE KNOW ABOUT FOR ALL MANKIND SEASON 2 ON APPLE+

Ever imagined what would have happened had the Cold War space race never ended? What would have happened if the Soviets had been the first power to have a successful landing on the Moon? Well, you needn’t trouble yourselves anymore, as Apple TV+’s For All Mankind tells you exactly that. The show, created by Ronald D. Moore, Matt Wolpert and Ben Nedivi, was a hit for Apple when its first season debuted in November 2019. Today, we are discussing the show’s ongoing second season and the information we know about the announced third season.

3 mins read
AppleMagazine
April 09, 2021

CEO OF GOOGLE'S SELF-DRIVING CAR SPINOFF STEPS DOWN FROM JOB

The executive who steered the transformation of Google’s self-driving car project into a separate company worth billions of dollars is stepping down after more than five years on the job.

2 mins read
AppleMagazine
April 09, 2021

Meghan Markle, Prince Harry Reveal First Netflix Docuseries

Meghan Markle and Prince Harry’s first Netflix series will center on the Invictus Games, which gives sick and injured military personnel and veterans the opportunity to compete in sports.

1 min read
AppleMagazine
April 09, 2021

High Court Sides With Google in Copyright Fight With Oracle

Technology companies sighed with relief after the Supreme Court sided with Google in a copyright dispute with Oracle. The high court said Google did nothing wrong in copying code to develop the Android operating system now used on most smartphones.

4 mins read
AppleMagazine
April 09, 2021