Soon after her arrival she was tapped to lead the Flow Rate Technical Group charged with gauging the volume of oil erupting from BP’s well, a highly contentious issue. BP put the number first at 1000 and then at 5000 barrels a day. The group’s estimate, based on bits of high-definition video footage Congress had forced BP to share, was far higher: as much as 60,000 barrels a day. “Others—in government, academia, the press—were shooting from the hip,” McNutt says. “But we had the data.” Pushing through the bluster of what she called BP’s “cowboy, get it done and go home” attitude, McNutt announced the technical team’s findings to the world. “Marcia was pragmatic, she understood what needed to be done to bring the stakeholders together,” Hayes says. “And she showed a surprising willingness to let it rip—she wrote some emails she shouldn’t have, believe me.” … [Read more...] about Science academy’s new president cleared many hurdles on way to the top
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A sense of being an imposter, she admits, continues to dog her. She still works long hours—"I could never juggle [so] many things," Coe says. "But the older she gets the more worried she gets." In 2013, Chisholm's anxiety about the lab and the future of her Prochlorococcus cultures if she retires was so palpable she began to develop minor health problems. Starting tai chi lessons gave her a new perspective. "I needed to do something to get me out of my head," she recalls. She has also found an outlet, with artist and author Molly Bang, writing children's science books, featuring the sun as the narrator. One tells the story of the "invisible pasture of the sea." … [Read more...] about Meet the obscure microbe that influences climate, ocean ecosystems, and perhaps even evolution
PCR coronavirus tests: A swab and a waitMost coronavirus testing discussed by public officials and the media refers to polymerase chain reaction testing, better known as PCR. These tests start with a nasopharyngeal swab, or a swab that goes up the nose far back into the throat. This swab collects mucous, saliva, bits of cells and — if present — viral RNA. The samples are then sent to a lab, where researchers apply chemicals to remove everything but the RNA. Enzymes are then added to transcribe the RNA into DNA. Next, this DNA is put into a real-time PCR (RT-PCR) machine along with another set of chemicals. The RT-PCR machine heats and cools the samples in a process that essentially Xeroxes the DNA, making thousands of copies of any genetic material in the samples. … [Read more...] about Coronavirus testing is ramping up. Here are the new tests and how they work.
Florian Krammer, a researcher at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, who has co-authored a status report in Immunity about the COVID-19 vaccine field, says “it’s great” that a big pharma company like this has committed so much to the project, but he cautions against banking on any one effort. “The more the merrier—and I hope they’re successful—but the question is really whether they have an advantage over anyone else,” Krammer says. … [Read more...] about The $1 billion bet: Pharma giant and U.S. government team up in all-out coronavirus vaccine push