Science & Environment

Science: Best long reads of 2015 (part one)

Cook inlet Image copyright Pete Niesen

A festive collection of the best science and environment reads this year.


The Alaskan fishing village taking on 'Godzilla'. By Matt McGrath

Alaska is a vast wilderness of natural beauty. But it also holds more coal than all the other US states put together. As world leaders prepare to gather for a major climate change summit, plans to build an open coal mine that would cover 78 sq km (30 sq miles) surrounding a valued Alaskan river could be coming to a head.

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Chernobyl: Containing the worst nuclear accident. By David Shukman

Image copyright Novarka

BBC science editor David Shukman inspected the colossal dome being constructed to house the crippled Chernobyl nuclear power station. Radiation immediately above the reactor is still too intense for the new enclosure to be built where it is needed. So engineers had to come up with an innovative solution.

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Big year ahead for James Webb telescope. By Jonathan Amos

Image copyright NASA

It's been a long time in the making, but the successor to the Hubble Space Telescope is about to be assembled. The spectacular new observatory, designed to find the "first light" to shine in the universe, is taking shape ahead of a planned launch in 2018.

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Is the world ready for GM animals? By Paul Rincon

Image copyright AquaBounty
Image caption The AquaBounty salmon is seen here alongside its non-transgenic sibling

The use of genetically engineered animals could revolutionise whole areas of public health and agriculture, according to advocates. But is the world ready for modified mosquitoes and GM salmon?

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Large Hadron Collider: A quest to break physics. By Jonathan Webb

As the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) gears up for its revamped second run, hurling particles together with more energy than ever before, physicists there are impatient. They want this next round of collisions to shake their discipline to its core.

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The hunt for Albert Einstein's missing waves. By Rebecca Morelle

Image copyright NASA

The Advanced Virgo experiment will search for Albert Einstein's "missing waves". If it's a success, one of Einstein's greatest predictions will have been directly observed for the first time. But if it fails, the laws of physics might have to be reconsidered.

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