News Article | May 19, 2017
On 11 April, the Belle II detector at the KEK laboratory in Japan was successfully “rolled-in” to the collision point of the upgraded SuperKEKB accelerator, marking an important milestone for the international B-physics community. The Belle II experiment is an international collaboration hosted by KEK in Tsukuba, Japan, with related physics goals to those of the LHCb experiment at CERN but in the pristine environment of electron–positron collisions. It will analyse copious quantities of B mesons to study CP violation and signs of physics beyond the Standard Model (CERN Courier September 2016 p32). “Roll-in” involves moving the entire 8 m-tall, 1400 tonne Belle II detector system from its assembly area to the beam-collision point 13 m away. The detector is now integrated with SuperKEKB and all its seven subdetectors, except for the innermost vertex detector, are in place. The next step is to install the complex focusing magnets around the Belle II interaction point. SuperKEKB achieved its first turns in February 2016, with operation of the main rings scheduled for early spring and phase-III “physics” operation by the end of 2018. Compared to the previous Belle experiment, and thanks to major upgrades made to the former KEKB collider, Belle II will allow much larger data samples to be collected with much improved precision. “After six years of gruelling work with many unexpected twists and turns, it was a moving and gratifying experience for everyone on the team to watch the Belle II detector move to the interaction point,” says Belle II spokesperson Tom Browder. “Flavour physics is now the focus of much attention and interest in the community and Belle II will play a critical role in the years to come.”
News Article | April 18, 2017
On Friday, the group known as the Shadow Brokers released a massive dump of NSA hacking tools, a leak so stupendous that one source called it "the worst thing since Snowden." Nearly all the exploits dumped had been patched by Microsoft, so there's no need to panic, but there's still a lot of fascinating information in that dump, which is estimated to have been worth $2 million on the grey market. (For example, the leak ties the NSA to the infamous Stuxnet virus). In the frenzy, one detail has gone relatively unnoticed. The password to the dump is a goddamned 4chan meme. Namely, it's a meme tied to Pepe, a cartoon frog that originally started out as relatively benign, then morphed into something with, uh, somewhat less savory connotations, culminating with Hillary Clinton's presidential campaign calling it a "racist meme." "REEEEEEEE" (give or take a few extra e's) is the sound a frog makes when it's angry. (Crueler internet posters also use the sound to derogatorily refer to autistic behavior). The expression accompanies a picture of a Pepe—any Pepe, rare or otherwise—in a full rage. Like this one. The fact that the Shadow Brokers dump was valued at $2 million suggests that it was the result of a state sponsored attack. But a state sponsored hack with Pepe references all over it? It's not just that the password was "Reeeeeeeeeeeeeee," the "KEK" at the beginning of the announcement blogpost is also a reference to Pepe. For what it's worth, the Russian Embassy tweeted a Pepe in January, so a little bit of 4chan here and there doesn't rule out attribution to state actors. But dang, this really is the worst cyberpunk dystopia.
News Article | February 15, 2017
Shinichiro Michizono from KEK has been appointed as associate director for the International Linear Collider (ILC), taking over from Mike Harrison, while Jim Brau of the University of Oregon has replaced Hitoshi Yamamoto as associate director for physics and detectors. The Linear Collider collaboration, which encompasses the ILC and CLIC, has recently been granted a further three-year mandate by the International Committee for Future Accelerators. The council of the European Southern Observatory (ESO), which builds and operates some of the world’s most powerful ground-based telescopes, has appointed Xavier Barcons as its next director general. The 57 year-old astronomer will take up his new position on 1 September 2017, when the current director general Tim de Zeeuw completes his mandate. He began his career as a physicist, completing a PhD on hot plasmas. In October 2016, Jianwei Qiu joined the Thomas Jefferson National Accelerator Facility as its new associate director for theoretical and computational physics. Qiu, whose research focus is QCD and its applications in both high-energy particle and nuclear physics, will oversee a broad programme of theoretical research in support of the physics studied with the Continuous Electron Beam Accelerator Facility (CEBAF). Rende Steerenberg has been appointed head of operations in CERN’s Beams Department, effective from 1 January 2017. He takes over from Mike Lamont, who has been in the role since 2009 and oversaw operations from the LHC’s rollercoaster start-up to its latest record performance. Lamont remains deputy group leader of the Beams Department. Former CERN Director-General Rolf-Dieter Heuer has been appointed Chevalier de la Légion d’Honneur (Knight of the Legion of Honour), one of the highest recognitions of achievement in France. Heuer, who is currently president of the German Physical Society (DPG) and president-elect of the SESAME Council, among other roles, was presented with the medal on 22 November at the residence of the French permanent representative in Geneva. The 2017 Breakthrough Prize in Fundamental Physics has been awarded to Joseph Polchinski, University of California at Santa Barbara, and Andrew Strominger and Cumrun Vafa of Harvard University. The three winners, who received the $3 million award at a glitzy ceremony in San Francisco on 4 December, have made important contributions to fundamental physics including quantum gravity and string theory. Polchinski was recognised in particular for his discovery of D-branes, while the citation for Strominger and Vafa included their derivation of the Bekenstein–Hawking area-entropy relation, which unified the laws of thermodynamics and black-hole dynamics. Recipients of the previously announced Special Prize in Fundamental Physics – Ronald Drever and Kip Thorne of Caltech and Rainer Weiss of MIT, who were recognised in May along with the entire LIGO team for the discovery of gravitational waves – were also present. A further prize, the $100,000 New Horizons in Physics Prize, went to six early-career physicists: Asimina Arvanitaki (Perimeter Institute), Peter Graham (Stanford University) and Surjeet Rajendran (University of California, Berkeley); Simone Giombi (Princeton University) and Xi Yin (Harvard University); and Frans Pretorius (Princeton). This year’s Breakthrough Prize, which was founded in 2012 by Sergey Brin, Anne Wojcicki, Yuri and Julia Milner, Mark Zuckerberg and Priscilla Chan, saw $25 million in prizes awarded for achievements in the life sciences, fundamental physics and mathematics. On 30 November, the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation in Bonn, Germany, granted a Humboldt Research Award to Raju Venugopalan, a senior physicist at Brookhaven National Laboratory and Stony Brook University. The €60,000 award recognises Venugopalan’s achievements in theoretical nuclear physics, and comes with the opportunity to collaborate with German researchers at Heidelberg University and elsewhere. US physicist and science policy adviser to the US government, Richard Garwin, was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom at a White House ceremony on 22 November. The award is the highest honour that the US government can confer to civilians. Garwin was recognised for his long career in research and invention, which saw him play a leading role in the development of the hydrogen bomb, and for his advice to policy makers. Introducing Garwin, President Obama remarked: “Dick’s not only an architect of the atomic age. Reconnaissance satellites, the MRI, GPS technology, the touchscreen all bear his fingerprints – he even patented a mussel washer for shellfish. Dick has advised nearly every president since Eisenhower, often rather bluntly. Enrico Fermi, also a pretty smart guy, is said to have called Dick the only true genius he ever met.” Fumihiko Suekane of Tohoku University, Japan, has been awarded a 2016 Blaise Pascal Chair to further his research into neutrinos. Established in 1996, and named after the 17th-century French polymath Blaise Pascal, the €200,000 grant allows researchers from abroad to work on a scientific project in an institution in the Ile-de-France region. Suekane will spend a year working at the Astroparticle and Cosmology Laboratory in Paris, where he will focus on R&D for novel neutrino detectors and measurements of reactor neutrinos. In late 2016, theorists Mikhail Danilov, from the Lebedev Institute in Moscow, Sergio Ferrara from CERN and David Gross from the Kavli Institute for Theoretical Physics and the University of California in Santa Barbara were elected as members of the Russian Academy of Sciences. Established in 1724, the body has more than 2000 members. President of the Republic of Poland, Andrzej Duda, visited CERN on 15 November and toured the CERN Control Centre. Chi-Chang Kao, signed the guestbook with CERN Director-General Fabiola Gianotti on 23 November. From 28 November to 2 December, more than 200 flavour physicists gathered at the Tata Institute of Fundamental Research in Mumbai for the 9th International Workshop on the Cabibbo–Kobayashi–Maskawa Unitarity Triangle (CKM2016). The workshop focuses on weak transitions of quarks from one flavour to another, as described by the CKM matrix, and on the charge–parity (CP) violation present in these transitions, as visualised by the unitarity triangle (UT). Input from theory, particularly lattice QCD, is vital to fully leverage the power of such measurements. It is an exciting time for flavour physics. The mass scales potentially involved in such weak processes are much higher than those that can be directly probed at the LHC, due to the presence of quantum loops that mediate many of the processes of interest, such as B0 – B0 mixing. Compared with the absence of new particles so far at the energy frontier, LHCb and other B factories already have significant hints of deviations between measurements and Standard Model (SM) predictions. An example is the persistent discrepancy in the measured differential distributions of the decay products of the rare flavour-changing neutral-current process B0 → K*0 μ+ μ–, first reported by the LHCb collaboration in 2015. A highlight of CKM2016 was the presentation of first results of the same distributions from the Belle experiment in Japan, which also included the related but previously unmeasured process B0 → K*0 e+ e–. The Belle results are more compatible with those of LHCb than the SM, further supporting the idea that new physics may be manifesting itself, via interference effects, in these observables. Progress on measuring CP violation in B decays was also reported, with LHCb presenting the first evidence for time-dependent CP violation in the decay of B0 mesons in two separate final states, D+ K– and K+ K–. The latter involves loop diagrams allowing a new-physics-sensitive determination of a UT angle (γ) that can be compared to a tree-level SM determination in the decay B– → D0 K–. For the first time, LHCb also presented results with data from LHC Run 2, which is ultimately expected to increase the size of the LHCb data samples by approximately a factor four. Longer term, the Belle II experiment based at the SuperKEKB collider recently enjoyed its first beam, and will begin its full physics programme in 2018. By 2024, Belle II should have collected 50 times more data than Belle, allowing unprecedented tests of rare B-meson decays and precision CP-violation measurements. On the same timescale, the LHCb upgrade will also be in full swing, with the goal of increasing the data size by least a factor 10 compared to Run 1 and Run 2. Plans for a second LHCb upgrade presented at the meeting would allow LHCb, given the long-term future of the LHC, to run at much higher instantaneous luminosities to yield an enormous data set by 2035. With more data the puzzles of flavour physics will be resolved thanks to the ongoing programme of LHCb, imminent results from rare-kaon-decay experiments (KOTO and NA62), and the Belle II/LHCb upgrade projects. No doubt there will be more revealing results by the time of the next CKM workshop, to be held in Heidelberg in September 2018. While there are many conferences focusing on physics at the high-energy frontier, the triennial PSI workshop at the Paul Scherrer Institute (PSI) in Switzerland concerns searches for new phenomena at non-collider experiments. These are complementary to direct searches at the LHC and often cover a parameter space that is beyond the reach of the LHC or even future colliders. The fourth workshop in this series, PSI2016, took place from 16–21 October and attracted more than 170 physicists. Theoretical overviews covered: precision QED calculations; beyond-the-Standard-Model implications of electric-dipole-moment (EDM) searches; axions and other light exotic particles; flavour symmetries; the muon g-2 problem; NLO calculations of the rare muon decay μ → eeeνν; and possible models to explain the exciting flavour anomalies presently seen in B decays. On the experimental side, several new results were presented. Fundamental neutron physics featured prominently, ranging from cold-neutron-beam experiments to those with stored ultracold neutrons at facilities such as ILL, PSI, LANL, TRIUMF and Mainz. Key experiments are measurements of the neutron lifetime, searches for a permanent EDM, measurements of beta-decay correlations and searches for exotic interactions. The future European Spallation Source in Sweden will also allow a new and much improved search for neutron–antineutron oscillations. Atomic physics and related methods offer unprecedented sensitivity to fundamental-physics aspects ranging from QED tests, parity violation in weak interactions, EDM and exotic physics to dark-matter (DM) and dark-energy searches. With the absence of signals from direct DM searches so far, light and ultralight DM is a focus of several upcoming experiments. Atomic physics also comprises precision spectroscopy of exotic atoms, and several highlight talks included the ongoing efforts at CERN’s Antiproton Decelerator with antihydrogen and with light muonic atoms at J-PARC and at PSI. For antiprotons and nuclei, impressive results from recent Penning-trap mass and g-factor measurements were presented with impacts on CPT tests, bound-state QED tests and more. Major international efforts are under way at PSI (μ → eγ, μ → eee), FNAL and J-PARC (μ → e conversion) devoted to muons and their lepton-flavour violating decays, and the upcoming muon g-2 experiments at FNAL and J-PARC have reported impressive progress. Last but not least, rare kaon decays (at CERN and J-PARC), new long-baseline neutrino oscillation results, developments towards direct neutrino-mass measurements, and CP and CPT tests with B mesons were reported. The field of low-energy precision physics has grown fast over the past few years, and participants plan to meet again at PSI in 2019. The fields of nanomaterials and nanotechnology are quickly evolving, with discoveries frequently reported across a wide range of applications including nanoelectronics, sensor technologies, drug delivery and robotics, in addition to the energy and healthcare sectors. At an academia–industry event on 20–21 October at GSI in Darmstadt, Germany, co-organised by the technology-transfer network HEPTech, delegates explored novel connections between nanotechnology and high-energy physics (HEP). The forum included an overview of the recent experiments at DESY’s hard X-ray source PETRA III, which allows the investigation of physical and chemical processes in situ and under working conditions and serves a large user community in many fields including nanotechnology. Thermal-scanning probe lithography, an increasingly reliable method for rapid and low-cost prototyping of 2D and quasi-3D structures, was also discussed. Much attention was paid to the production and application of nanostructures, where the achievements of the Ion Beam Center at Helmholtz-Zentrum Dresden-Rossendorf in surface nanostructuring and nanopatterning were introduced. UK firm Hardide Coatings Ltd presented its advanced surface-coating technology, the core of which are nano-structured tungsten-carbide-based coatings that have promising applications in HEP and vacuum engineering. Industry also presented ion-track technology, which is being used to synthesise 3D interconnected nanowire networks in micro-batteries or gas sensors, among other applications. Neutron-research infrastructures and large-scale synchrotrons are emerging as highly suitable platforms for the advanced characterisation of micro- and nano-electronic devices, and the audience heard the latest developments from the IRT Nanoelec Platform for Advanced Characterisation of Grenoble. The meeting addressed how collaboration between academia and industry in the nanotechnology arena can best serve the needs of HEP, with CERN presenting applications in gaseous detectors using the charge-transfer properties of graphene. The technology-transfer office at DESY also shared its experience in developing a marketing strategy for promoting the services of the DESY NanoLab to companies. Both academia and industry representatives left the event with a set of contacts and collaboration arrangements. On 24–25 November, academics and leading companies in the field of superconductivity met in Madrid, Spain, to explore the technical challenges of applying new accelerator technology to medicine. Organised by CIEMAT in collaboration with HEPTech, EUCARD2, CDTI, GSI and the Enterprise Europe Network, the event brought together 120 participants from 19 countries to focus on radioisotope production, particle therapy and gantries. Superconductivity has a range of applications in energy, medicine, fusion and high-energy physics (HEP). The latter are illustrated by CERN’s high-luminosity LHC (HL-LHC), now near construction with superconducting magnets made from advanced Nb Sn technology capable of 12 T fields. The HL-LHC demands greatly advanced superconducting cavities with more efficient and higher-gradient RF systems, plus the development of new devices such as crab cavities that can deflect or rotate single bunches of protons. On the industry side, new superconducting technology is ready to go into production for medical applications. A dedicated session presented novel developments in cyclotron production, illustrated by the AMIT project of CIEMAT (based on a cyclotron with a compact superconducting design that will be able to produce low-to-moderate rates of dose-on-demand 11C and 18F) and the French industry–academia LOTUS project system, which features a compact 12 MeV superconducting helium-free magnet cyclotron suitable for the production of these isotopes in addition to 68Ga. Antaya Science and Technology, meanwhile, reported on the development of a portable high-field superconducting cyclotron for the production of ammonia-13N in near proximity to the PET cameras. The meeting also heard from MEDICIS, the new facility under construction at CERN that will extend the capabilities of the ISOLDE radioactive ion-beam facility for production of radiopharmaceuticals and develop new accelerator technologies for medical applications (CERN Courier October 2016 p28). Concerning particle therapy, industry presented medical accelerators such as the MEVION S250 – a proton-therapy system based on a gantry-mounted 250 MeV superconducting synchrocyclotron that weighs less than 15 tonnes and generates magnetic fields in excess of 10 T. Global medical-technology company IBA described its two main superconducting cyclotrons for particle therapy: the Cyclone 400 for proton/carbon therapy and the S2C2 dedicated to proton therapy, with a particular emphasis on their superconducting coil systems. IBA also introduced the latest developments concerning ProteusONE – a single-room system that delivers the most clinically advanced form of proton-radiation therapy. Researchers from MIT in the US presented a novel compact superconducting synchrocyclotron based on an ironless magnet with a much reduced weight, while the TERA Foundation in Italy is developing superconducting technology for “cyclinacs” – accelerators that combine a cyclotron injector and a linac booster. Finally, the session on gantries covered developments such as a superconducting bending-magnet section for future compact isocentric gantries by researchers at the Paul Scherrer Institute, and a superconducting rotating gantry for carbon radiotherapy designed by the Japanese National Institute of Radiological Sciences. With demand for medical isotopes and advanced cancer therapy rising, we can look forward to rich collaborations between accelerator physics and the medical community in the coming years. The fifth in the series of Higgs Couplings workshops, which began just after the Higgs-boson discovery in 2012 to bring together theorists and experimentalists, was held at SLAC on 9–12 November and drew 148 participants from five continents. Discussions focused on lessons from the current round of LHC analyses that could be applied to future data. Modelling of signal and background is already limiting for some measurements, and new theoretical results and strategies were presented. Other key issues were the use of vector-boson fusion production as a tool, and the power and complementarity of diverse searches for heavy Higgs bosons. Two new themes emerged at the meeting. The first was the possibility of exotic decays of the 125 GeV Higgs boson. These include not only Higgs decays to invisible particles but also decays to lighter Higgs particles, light quarks and leptons (possibly with flavour violation) and new, long-lived particles. A number of searches from ATLAS and CMS reported their first results. The workshop also debated the application of effective field theory as a framework for parametrising precise Higgs measurements. The 6th Higgs Couplings meeting will be held in Heidelberg on 6–10 November 2017. We look forward to new ideas for the creative use of the large data samples of Higgs bosons that will become available as the LHC programme continues. The 8th International Conference on Hard and Electromagnetic Probes of High-energy Nuclear Collisions (Hard Probes 2016) was held in Wuhan, China, on 23–27 September. Hard and electromagnetic probes are powerful tools for the study of the novel properties of hot and dense QCD matter created in high-energy nucleus–nucleus collisions, and have provided much important evidence for the formation of quark–gluon plasma (QGP) in heavy-ion collisions at RHIC and the LHC. Hard Probe 2016 attracted close to 300 participants from 28 countries. The main topics discussed were: jet production and modification in QCD matter; high transverse-momentum hadron spectra and correlations; jet-induced medium excitations; jet properties in small systems; heavy flavour hadrons and quarkonia; photons and dileptons and initial states and related topics. The most recent experimental progress on hard and electromagnetic probes from the ALICE, ATLAS, CMS, LHCb, PHENIX and STAR collaborations, together with many new exciting theoretical and phenomenological developments, were discussed. The next Hard Probe conference will be held in Aix Les Bains, France, in 2018. The International Symposium on EXOtic Nuclei (EXON-2016), took place from 5–9 September in Kazan, Russia, attracting around 170 nuclear experts from 20 countries. The scientific programme focused on recent experiments on the synthesis and study of new super-heavy elements, the discovery of which demonstrates the efficiency of international co-operation. Interesting results were obtained in joint experiments on chemical identification of elements 112 and 114 performed at JINR (Russia), the GSI (Germany) and the Paul Scherrer Institute (Switzerland). A vivid example of co-operation with US scientists is an experiment on the synthesis of element 117 held at the cyclotron of JINR. Recently, the International Union of Pure and Applied Chemistry approved the discovery of the new elements with atomic numbers 113 (“nihonian”), 115 (“moscovium”), 117 (“tennessine”) and 118 (“oganesson”). Five laboratories, which are the co-founders of the symposium, are now creating a new generation of accelerators for the synthesis and study of new exotic nuclei. Projects such as SPIRAL2, RIKEN RI Beam Factory, FAIR, DRIBs, NICA and FRIB will allow us to delve further into the upper limits of the periodic table. The CERN Accelerator School (CAS) and the Wigner Research Centre for Physics jointly organised an introduction-to-accelerator-physics course in Budapest, Hungary, from 2–14 October, attended by more than 120 participants spanning 28 nationalities. This year, CAS will organise a specialised course on beam injection, extraction and transfer (to be held in Erice, Sicily, from 10–19 March) and a second specialised course on vacuum for particle accelerators (near Lund, Sweden, from 6–16 June). The next course on advanced-accelerator physics will be held in the UK in early September, and a Joint International Accelerator School on RF technology will be held in Hayama, Japan, from 16–26 October (www.cern.ch/schools/CAS).
News Article | January 13, 2016
Pharma buyout Pharmaceutical company Shire of Dublin is buying rival firm Baxalta of Bannockburn, Illinois, in a US$32-billion deal, after a months-long pursuit. Both companies focus on rare-disease areas, including haematology, immunology and neuroscience. The firms say that as one company they will be able to make $500 million in cost savings. Shire will pay Baxalta shareholders in cash and shares, giving them around 34% ownership of the merged company. The deal is awaiting approval by regulators. Cancer screening The California sequencing-technology firm Illumina announced the formation of a new company, GRAIL, on 10 January. GRAIL will use Illumina’s genetic-sequencing technology to screen for cancer from a blood sample. A ‘liquid biopsy’ would find minuscule amounts of tumour-specific DNA or RNA in the blood before the person felt symptoms of the disease, when it may be easier to treat. GRAIL has more than US$100 million in funding, in part from Bill Gates and from Amazon founder Jeff Bezos. Early star remnants A faraway gas cloud has been discovered that contains tiny amounts of elements heavier than hydrogen and helium — such as carbon, oxygen and iron — that are possible remnants of the Universe’s first stars. The elements were detected in spectra collected by the European Southern Observatory’s Very Large Telescope in Chile, and computer simulations show how the Universe’s first stars would have exploded and spewed the elements out (pictured). The results were reported at a meeting of the American Astronomical Society in Kissimmee, Florida, on 8 January. The cloud is so distant that it appears as it did 1.8 billion years after the Big Bang. China science prize A team led by quantum physicist Jian-Wei Pan was awarded the first-class prize of China’s 2015 National Natural Science Award, one of the country’s top science accolades, on 8 January. Pan and his team at the University of Science and Technology of China in Hefei won for their pioneering work in quantum entanglement and teleportation. For the first time in 11 years, no one was awarded China’s top science prize, the State Supreme Science and Technology Award. Pharmacologist Youyou Tu, who last year won China its first science Nobel, had been tipped for the award. Singapore surge Science spending in Singapore is set to surge by 18%, the government announced on 8 January. At its annual meeting, the country’s Research, Innovation and Enterprise Council endorsed plans to invest 19 billion Singapore dollars (US$13.2 billion) between 2016 and 2020, up from 16.1 billion Singapore dollars between 2011 and 2015. The country will prioritize research funding in four areas: advanced manufacturing, health and biomedical sciences, services and the digital economy, and urban sustainability. Oil-pipeline fight Pipeline firm TransCanada Corporation said on 6 January that it will seek more than US$15 billion in compensation for economic losses under the North American Free Trade Agreement after the Keystone XL pipeline that it was due to build was cancelled (unused pipes pictured). The pipeline would have carried relatively dirty oil from tar sands in Alberta, Canada, to US refineries. But in November 2015, the US Department of State said that the project was not in the “national interest”. TransCanada, which is headquartered in Calgary, called the decision “arbitrary and unjustified”, arguing that the project was environmentally benign. The company is also challenging the decision in the US federal court. H-bomb claims North Korea’s fourth nuclear test on 6 January was almost certainly not a hydrogen bomb, contrary to the country’s claims. The seismic event caused by the test was estimated at magnitude 4.85 by the Preparatory Commission for the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty Organization in Vienna. The explosion that caused that event was probably hundreds or thousands of times smaller than would have resulted from a hydrogen bomb, analysts say. North Korea might have tested a boosted fission device: a conventional fission bomb with a small quantity of the hydrogen isotopes tritium and deuterium added. See go.nature.com/gyqqya and page 127 for more. Science passport Seven science publishers, including PLOS and the American Geophysical Union, announced on 7 January that they will start requiring researchers to identify themselves using the ORCID (Open Researcher and Contributor ID) system when submitting papers. Globally, 1.8 million researchers have registered for ORCID’s unique identifiers — machine-readable numbers akin to a scientific passport. The system is run by a non-profit organization that aims to create a transparent record linking scientists to their research outputs (see Nature 526, 281–283; 2015). Chimps returned A legal battle over the ‘personhood’ of two chimpanzees has ended with their return to a primate facility in Louisiana, Science reported on 8 January. The two chimps were loaned to the State University of New York at Stony Brook for use as research animals. Animal-rights group the Nonhuman Rights Project sued in New York to have the animals released to a sanctuary, arguing that the chimps should have certain legal rights afforded to humans. The return of the chimps to the New Iberia Research Center in early December effectively removes the animals from New York’s jurisdiction. Insecticide threat The US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) said on 6 January that the controversial insecticide imidacloprid does present a threat to bees and other pollinators. The preliminary risk assessment is the first of four on the neonicotinoids, an insecticide class that has been linked to bee declines. The European Food Safety Authority announced on 11 January that it would be updating its own risk assessments of three neonicotinoids — clothianidin, thiamethoxam and imidacloprid. The European Union heavily restricted use of neonicotinoids in 2013 on the basis of previous evaluations. UK drinking guides Any level of alcohol intake increases cancer risk, according to draft guidelines released by the UK Chief Medical Officers on 8 January. Men and women should drink no more than 14 units of alcohol per week — around 7 glasses of wine or 6 pints of average-strength beer — according to the recommendations, which substantially lower the amount for men. The models used to calculate the recommendations considered risks and benefits, for instance cancer and alleged beneficial cardiovascular effects. The guidelines have had a mixed reception, with some complaints that they are ‘nannying’. See page 127 for more. Linear collider Japan should ramp up its expertise as it prepares to host the world’s next-generation particle smasher in the 2020s, reports the country’s High Energy Accelerator Research Organization (KEK) in Tsukuba. An action plan published on 6 January lays out the KEK’s goals for the preparation phases of the International Linear Collider, including a goal to triple the number of home-grown accelerator scientists and engineers. In 2012, Japanese researchers proposed hosting the 31-kilometre-long accelerator, which will smash electrons together with their antimatter partners. However, no government has yet promised any funding. Nations burned off around 143 billion cubic metres of natural gas — roughly 3.5% of global production — into the atmosphere in 2012, according to researchers at the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (C. D. Elvidge et al. Energies 9, 14; 2016). Data from a polar-orbiting satellite showed that Russia led the way in terms of volume. The practice is common in fields that lack pipelines and markets for natural gas and policymakers are looking for ways to avoid the wastage. 3.9 × 1013 The number of bacteria in a typical human, alongside 3 × 1013 human cells. This new estimate challenges the idea that bacteria outnumber human cells by 10 to 1. Source: Sender, R., Fuchs, S. & Milo, R. Preprint at bioRxiv http://doi.org/bbpz (2016). 17 January NASA plans to launch its Jason3 satellite to measure Earth’s sea levels, adding to knowledge of ocean circulation and climate change. go.nature.com/rqfqmh 19–21 January The Festival of Genomics takes place in London, bringing together industrialists, academics and policymakers. go.nature.com/cw5hfb
News Article | March 1, 2017
The jury of the International Bruno Pontecorvo prize announced on February 27 that the Bruno Pontecorvo Prize for 2016 is to be awarded to Prof. WANG Yifang from the Institute of High Energy Physics for his outstanding contribution to the study of neutrino oscillation phenomenon and to the measurement of the Theta13 mixing angle in the Daya Bay Reactor Neutrino. WANG is the first Chinese scientist to win this award. This is another international prize for WANG after he was awarded the W. K. H. Panofsky Prize in Experimental Particle Physics in 2014, the Nikkei Asia Prize in 2015 and the Fundamental Physics Breakthrough Award in 2016. Prof. WANG was awarded the prize along with Prof. Kim Soo-Bong from Seoul National University in South Korea, and Prof. Koichiro Nishikawa from KEK in Japan, for their work on Reactor Experiment for Neutrino Oscillations (RENO) and Tokai to Kamioka long baseline neutrino oscillation (T2K) experiments, respectively. The Bruno Pontecorvo Prize is a prize for elementary particle physics awarded by the Joint Institute for Nuclear Research (JINR) in Dubna, Russia. The prize was established in 1995 to commemorate Prof. Bruno Pontecorvo, the "father of neutrino physics". In accordance with Pontecorvo's chief area of research, the prize is awarded mainly for neutrino physics. WANG proposed the Daya Bay neutrino oscillation experiment in China, including the detailed detector design and experimental plan, to precisely measure the neutrino mixing angle theta13. He assembled a large international collaboration, and was elected co-spokesperson of the experiment. The prize list for the 2016 Bruno Pontecorvo Prize was approved by the JINR Scientific Council at its 121st session on February 24. An award ceremony will be held in September this year.
News Article | March 3, 2017
TORONTO, ON--(Marketwired - March 02, 2017) - Keek Inc. (TSX VENTURE: KEK) ( : KEEKF) is pleased to announce that it has changed its name to Peeks Social Ltd. The Company has also changed its stock trading symbol on the TSX Venture Exchange to PEEK. The common shares of the Company will commence trading under the new name and trading symbol at the opening of trading tomorrow, March 3, 2017. The Company is not subdividing, consolidating, or otherwise altering its share capital in association with the name change. "Our corporate name change is a momentous occasion in the history of the Company, in that it marks the beginning of a brand new era. Our new name is a manifestation of our new vision, new management, new products, and renewed future. Much like our peers -- Facebook, Snapchat, and YouTube -- our name is our brand and now our brand is our name," said Mark Itwaru, CEO of the Company. Neither the TSX Venture Exchange nor its Regulation Services Provider (as that term is defined in the policies of the TSX Venture Exchange) has reviewed or accepts responsibility for the adequacy or accuracy of this Release.
News Article | February 21, 2017
TORONTO, ON--(Marketwired - February 21, 2017) - Keek Inc. (TSX VENTURE: KEK) ( : KEEKF) is pleased to announce that it has appointed Mr. Jim Westlake to its Board of Directors. Mr. Westlake has more than 35 years of experience in the financial services industry, most recently serving as Group Head, International Banking and Insurance, Royal Bank of Canada. Previous roles at RBC included oversight of: retail and commercial banking activities in Canada; RBC Dominion Securities; and RBC Asset Management. Mr. Westlake was also a member of RBC's Group Executive, being one of nine executives responsible for setting the overall strategic direction of RBC. Prior to joining RBC, Mr. Westlake spent 19 years with the Metropolitan Life Insurance Company, his last role being Vice President and Chief Operating Officer, Canadian Operations. He is a former Chair of the Canadian Bankers Association and the Canadian Chamber of Commerce. He also sits on the board of the Canadian Paralympic Committee and chairs their foundation, and sits on the board of Oakville Enterprises. Mr. Westlake holds an MBA from Queen's University. "We are very pleased to add Jim to our Board," said Mark Itwaru, CEO of Keek Inc. "Jim has particular expertise in corporate governance, mergers and acquisitions, strategic growth, and organizational structuring, which are all areas of particular importance to us as we plan and navigate this period of growth and opportunity for the Company. His expertise will be vital to us." Mr. Westlake's appointment is subject to the approval of the TSX Venture Exchange. The Company also announced that it has issued 600,000 common shares pursuant to the exercising of 600,000 warrants with an exercise price of $0.30, resulting in gross proceeds of $180,000 being received by the Company. Neither the TSX Venture Exchange nor its Regulation Services Provider (as that term is defined in the policies of the TSX Venture Exchange) has reviewed or accepts responsibility for the adequacy or accuracy of this Release.
News Article | February 15, 2017
TORONTO, ON--(Marketwired - February 09, 2017) - Keek Inc. (TSX VENTURE: KEK) ( : KEEKF) today announced that it has been selected for inclusion in the 2017 TSX Venture 50, a ranking of the top performers on the TSX Venture Exchange. The Company is also very pleased to announce that it has been named the number one company overall in the Technology sector. "We are very proud of this achievement and feel it is a reflection of the hard work and dedication of our entire team over the last year. We are striding towards an equally successful year ahead, and recognize the value and support of the TSX Venture Exchange and our shareholders in helping us achieve continued success and growth," said Mark Itwaru, CEO of Keek Inc. The TSX Venture 50 ranking is comprised of ten companies from each of the five industry sectors of the TSX Venture Exchange, being: Clean Technology and Life Sciences, Diversified Industries, Mining, Oil & Gas, and Technology. TSX Venture 50 companies are selected based on three equally weighted criteria: market capitalization growth, share price appreciation and trading volume. The TSX Venture Exchange has advised the Company that it will be marketing the TSX Venture 50 rankings across Canada and around the world, and will be posting a video profile about Keek Inc. later this month. These materials will be available at www.tmxmoney.com. The Company also announced that further to its press release dated January 17, 2017, it continues to work with Apple towards releasing the updated Peeks app with the new user interface on the iOS platform. The two concerns originally cited by Apple for the exclusion of the Peeks app from the App Store, being: 1) Improvements to control the display of user generated content of a mature nature; and 2) The addition of in-app purchase capabilities, are no longer cited as concerns. However, the release of the new app has been delayed relating to other identified technical issues, which the Company is addressing swiftly. Existing iOS users are not experiencing any service disruption. New iOS downloads and registrations will remain unavailable until such time as the upgraded Peeks iOS app receives approval from Apple. The Company anticipates the iOS app will be available promptly and will issue a press release upon the receipt of Apple's approval or as other significant developments occur. The Peeks Android app is unaffected and is available in the Google Play Store. The Company also announced that it has issued 540,000 common shares pursuant to the exercising of 291,000 warrants with an exercise price of $0.30 and 249,000 options with an exercise price of $0.30, resulting in total gross proceeds of $162,000 being received by the Company. Neither the TSX Venture Exchange nor its Regulation Services Provider (as that term is defined in the policies of the TSX Venture Exchange) has reviewed or accepts responsibility for the adequacy or accuracy of this Release. The information and statements in this news release contain certain forward-looking information relating to a product release which is subject to the involvement and approval of a third party. This forward-looking information is subject to certain risks and uncertainties and may be based on assumptions that could cause actual results to differ materially from those anticipated or implied in the forward-looking information. Keek Inc.'s forward-looking information is expressly qualified in its entirety by this cautionary statement. Except as required by law, Keek Inc. undertakes no obligation to publicly update or revise any forward-looking information.
News Article | February 23, 2017
TORONTO, ON--(Marketwired - February 23, 2017) - Keek Inc. (TSX VENTURE: KEK) ( : KEEKF) today provided updates on both the Peeks OfferBox Service and the new Peeks Crowdfunding Service (PCF). The OfferBox, originally announced in November 2016 (see press release dated November 23, 2016), is now expected to be launched in March 2017. The OfferBox will allow broadcasters to purchase and configure targeted interactive ads and actionable incentives to be presented to their viewers in the Peeks social network. The OfferBox will enable the Peeks platform to derive additional revenues from the sale of advertising impressions, affiliate fees, and billable advertising actions. In preparation for the release of the OfferBox, several consumer brands and advertisers have been secured to participate in the initial launch. The Company is also pleased to announce that PCF will be launched in the coming days. PCF will allow Peeks broadcasters to raise funds from their viewing audience for a number of reasons including: charitable donations, the purchasing of products or services, supporting community projects, and a variety of other causes. The Company is also planning for a PCF phase two to include the use of PCF as a funding portal for the financing of private and public business ventures. Peeks anticipates phase 2 of its PCF will be launched in April 2017. The potential use of PCF as a funding portal is subject to a number of compliance obligations and regulatory approvals. "We are extremely proud of the fact that we have driven consumer spend since day one of our launch and that we are seeing continual progress. Now our exclusive focus is driving two main metrics: user growth and consumer spend. We are driving consumer spend by adding high value, high demand services such as the OfferBox and PCF. We will be integrating additional services this year which we believe will continue to improve the user experience and increase user spend. We are prepared to launch user acquisition efforts this March. We will be launching social influencer, sponsorship, and celebrity promotional efforts. These marketing strategies have been used by the Company historically, and resulted in the Keek legacy products acquiring over 75 million users relatively quickly. While effective, these types of marketing strategies can require a significant marketing budget over time. On a comparative basis, we expect similar or better results," said Mark Itwaru, CEO of Keek. Neither the TSX Venture Exchange nor its Regulation Services Provider (as that term is defined in the policies of the TSX Venture Exchange) has reviewed or accepts responsibility for the adequacy or accuracy of this Release. The information and statements in this news release contain certain forward-looking information relating to the implementation, timing, and roll out of advancements to the Peeks platform, including related products, services, functionalities, marketing initiatives, and third party involvements. This forward-looking information is subject to certain risks and uncertainties and may be based on assumptions that could cause actual results to differ materially from those anticipated or implied in the forward-looking information. Keek Inc.'s forward-looking information is expressly qualified in its entirety by this cautionary statement. Except as required by law, Keek Inc. undertakes no obligation to publicly update or revise any forward-looking information.
News Article | February 15, 2017
TORONTO, ON--(Marketwired - February 13, 2017) - Keek Inc. (TSX VENTURE: KEK) ( : KEEKF) today announced that further to its press release dated January 17, 2017, an updated Peeks iOS app is now available in the Apple App Store. The newly deployed Peeks iOS app includes the previously announced improved user interface ("UI"). Similar to the update for the Peeks Android app announced on January 23, 2017, the new iOS UI provides users with a variety of new features and improvements including: improved content categorization; easy access to professionally produced content; dedicated specialty channel for livestreaming gamers; streaming community comments on pre-recorded videos; improved navigation; easier access to follow, block and report other users and objectionable content; and content controls to include/exclude specific content categories along with other improvements. With the new app now available in the Apple App Store, the product and business development initiatives being prioritized for the Peeks service include: strategic media partnerships that will expand the content catalogue; user growth strategies with a focus on celebrity influencers; and product advancements, such as the Offer Box (see press release dated November 23, 2016), to continue to improve the user experience and add additional revenue streams. Neither the TSX Venture Exchange nor its Regulation Services Provider (as that term is defined in the policies of the TSX Venture Exchange) has reviewed or accepts responsibility for the adequacy or accuracy of this Release.