Britain’s Alarm Over Virus Variant Bolsters Case for Lockdown

A warning that the variant could be deadlier is a powerful argument that Britain could be entering a severe new phase of the pandemic and that easing lockdown rules could be calamitous.

#coronavirus-2019-ncov, #ferguson-neil-m, #great-britain, #imperial-college-london, #johnson-boris, #quarantines, #scientific-advisory-group-for-emergencies-great-britain, #shutdowns-institutional

0

Narinder S. Kapany, ‘Father of Fiber Optics,’ Dies at 94

A physicist and entrepreneur who cut an imposing figure, he did more than anyone to make optical research a priority in government and corporate budgets.

#deaths-obituaries, #entrepreneurship, #fiber-optics, #imperial-college-london, #kapany-narinder-s-1926-2020, #physics, #research

0

Magdrive secures Seed funding for new propulsion system which could take us to the stars

A startup with a new type of spacecraft propulsion system could make the interplanetary travel seen in Star Trek a reality. Magdrive has just closed a £1.4M seed round led by Founders Fund, an early investor in SpaceX, backed by Luminous Ventures, 7percent Ventures, and Entrepreneur First.

Magdrive is developing a next generation of spacecraft propulsion for small satellites. The startup says its engine’s thrust and efficiency are a “generational leap” ahead of any other electrical thrusters, opening up the space industry to completely new types of missions that were not possible before, without resorting to much larger, expensive and heavier chemical thrusters. It says its engine would make fast and affordable interplanetary space travel possible, as well as operations in Very Low Earth orbit. The engine would also make orbital manufacturing far more possible than previously.

Existing electrical solutions are very efficient but have very low thrust. Chemical thrusters have high thrust but lack efficiency and are hazardous and expensive to handle. Magdrive says its engine can deliver both high thrust and high efficiency in one system.

Magdrive prototype render

Magdrive prototype render

If it works, the Magdrive engine could make spacecraft go faster for longer. This could open up the industry to new space missions, such as a satellite (or X-wing fighter?) that can make multiple, fast maneuvers, without worrying about conserving fuel. In order to do this right now, satellites require a chemical thruster, which requires a significant payload in fuel for launch. A 200kg satellite would require 50kg of hydrazine fuel, which would cost £1,350,000 in launch mass alone.

Co-founder (and Star Trek fan) Dr Thomas Clayson did a PhD in plasma physics, working on advanced electromagnetic fields. He realized this could be a cornerstone for developing a plasma thruster that could achieve the accelerations required for interplanetary space travel. After meeting Mark Stokes, a mechanical engineer at Imperial College London with similar dreams of space travel, they decided to build a small scale thruster for satellites.

But Magdrive is not alone. Other companies are developing so-called ‘Hall Effect Thrusters’, which is a technology that has existed since the 1960’s. Much of the development is towards miniaturization and mass reduction, but thrust and efficiency remain the same. These companies include Busek, Exotrail, Apollo Fusion, Enpusion, Nanoavionics. Meanwhile, large international companies with huge technology portfolios are working on improving chemical propulsion and making it non-toxic to handle, such as Aerojet Rocketdyne and Moog ISP.

They plan to scale up our technology to power larger manned spacecraft (once in orbit) to long-distance destinations such as the Moon and Mars. Our system would present a much more affordable than a chemical or nuclear solution, due to the huge reduction in fuel costs, and because it is reusable.

Andrew J Scott, Founding Partner, 7percent Ventures: “At 7percent we seek founding teams with ‘moonshot’ ambitions. With Magdrive this is not just a metaphor: their revolutionary plasma thruster will soon be powering satellites, but in the future could take us to deep space. While the UK’s expertise in constructing satellites is world-renowned, there has been far less focus on propulsion. In fact, Great Britain is the only country to have successfully developed and then, in the 1970’s abandoned, an indigenous satellite launch capability, which undoubtedly curbed the UK’s space sector. So we’re excited to be backing Magdrive, one of a new generation of British space startups, which has the vision and ambition to become a world-beating company in this burgeoning sector.”

The satellite industry is worth $5 Billion in 2020, predicted to grow to USD$30Billion by 2030, due to the rise in mega-constellations. Some 5,000 satellites are due to be launched in the next two years and 75% of all the companies launching these satellites have already flown something in space.

Magdrive is at the European Space Agency Business Incubation Centre in Harwell, Oxford.

#aerojet-rocketdyne, #apollo-fusion, #busek, #co-founder, #emerging-technologies, #entrepreneur, #europe, #founders-fund, #imperial-college-london, #ion-engines, #isp, #luminous-ventures, #moog, #outer-space, #oxford, #space-travel, #spacecraft, #spaceflight, #spacex, #tc, #united-kingdom

0

To Test Coronavirus Vaccines, UK Study Will Intentionally Infect Volunteers

The hotly contested strategy of deliberate exposure, known as a human challenge trial, could speed up the process of identifying effective coronavirus vaccines.

#clinical-trials, #coronavirus-2019-ncov, #great-britain, #imperial-college-london, #johnson-boris, #science-and-technology, #vaccination-and-immunization

0

Pints or Primers? U.K.’s Push to Open Schools May Force a Choice

Prime Minister Boris Johnson calls it a “moral duty” to open Britain’s schools, but with cases already rising slightly, that might mean closing pubs and restaurants.

#coronavirus-reopenings, #education-k-12, #gavin-williamson, #imperial-college-london, #johnson-boris, #london-england, #manchester-england, #university-of-edinburgh

0

Europe Said It Was Pandemic-Ready. Pride Was Its Downfall.

The coronavirus exposed European countries’ misplaced confidence in faulty models, bureaucratic busywork and their own wealth.

#belgium, #china, #coronavirus-2019-ncov, #disease-rates, #england, #epidemics, #europe, #european-union, #ferguson-neil-m, #france, #great-britain, #imperial-college-london, #johnson-boris, #macron-emmanuel-1977, #national-health-service, #politics-and-government, #protective-clothing-and-gear, #scientific-advisory-group-for-emergencies-great-britain, #south-korea, #swine-influenza, #united-states

0

For Boris Johnson’s Science Advisers, Pressure, Anxieties and ‘Pastoral Support’

As public scrutiny of a secretive panel of scientists heightened, its members nearly buckled under the strain.

#cambridge-england, #cambridge-university, #coronavirus-2019-ncov, #coronavirus-reopenings, #england, #ferguson-neil-m, #imperial-college-london, #johnson-boris, #london-school-of-hygiene-and-tropical-medicine, #masks, #oxford-england, #scientific-advisory-group-for-emergencies-great-britain

0

As Prime Minister, Boris Johnson Struggles to Find His Voice

He expected to be the Brexit leader. Instead, he has presided uncomfortably over a public health crisis, an economic collapse and a racial reckoning.

#black-lives-matter-movement, #bristol-england, #conservative-party-great-britain, #coronavirus-2019-ncov, #george-floyd-protests-2020, #great-britain-withdrawal-from-eu-brexit, #imperial-college-london, #johnson-boris, #london-england

0

U.K. Lab to Sidestep Drug Industry to Sell Potential Virus Vaccine

Imperial College aims to develop a vaccine that is cheaper and easier to manufacture and is forming a partnership to sell it in low-income countries and Britain.

#coronavirus-2019-ncov, #great-britain, #imperial-college-london, #morningside-ventures-inc, #oxford-university, #vaccination-and-immunization

0

U.K. Coronavirus Testers Pay Price for a Day of Triumph

The British government promised 100,000 daily tests by April 30. It delivered. But the frantic push to hit that deadline has left labs scrabbling for supplies just when they need to expand further.

#conservative-party-great-britain, #coronavirus-2019-ncov, #england, #great-britain, #hancock-matt-1978, #hospitals, #imperial-college-london, #laboratories-and-scientific-equipment, #london-england, #national-health-service, #shortages, #tests-medical, #united-states

0

As U.K. Deaths Mount, the Political Terrain Gets Trickier for Boris Johnson

Facing off against the new Labour leader, Keir Starmer, in an eerily quiet Parliament, the prime minister seemed uncharacteristically defensive.

#coronavirus-2019-ncov, #ferguson-neil-m, #house-of-commons-great-britain, #imperial-college-london, #johnson-boris, #labour-party-great-britain, #london-england, #politics-and-government, #starmer-keir

0

The Coronavirus in America: The Year Ahead

There will be no quick return to our previous lives, according to nearly two dozen experts. But there is hope for managing the scourge now and in the long term.

#antibodies, #azithromycin-drug, #centers-for-disease-control-and-prevention, #chloroquine-drug, #cnn, #coronavirus-2019-ncov, #coronavirus-aid-relief-and-economic-security-act-2020, #deaths-fatalities, #drugs-pharmaceuticals, #economic-conditions-and-trends, #epidemics, #hydroxychloroquine-drug, #imperial-college-london, #institute-for-health-metrics-and-evaluation, #labor-and-jobs, #mailman-school-of-public-health, #quarantines, #resolve-to-save-lives, #shortages, #shutdowns-institutional, #trump-donald-j, #unemployment, #united-states, #united-states-economy, #united-states-politics-and-government, #vaccination-and-immunization, #world-health-organization, #your-feed-photojournalism

0

White House Takes New Line After Dire Report on Death Toll

Federal guidelines warned against gatherings of more than 10 people as a London report predicted high fatalities in the U.S. without drastic action.

#birx-deborah-l, #centers-for-disease-control-and-prevention, #coronavirus-2019-ncov, #deaths-fatalities, #epidemics, #great-britain, #imperial-college-london, #london-england, #quarantines, #travel-warnings, #trump-donald-j, #united-states, #united-states-politics-and-government

0