Science Saturday: UNESCO-Al Fozan prize, neuralink, Saturn and temperature
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Human origin studies

China gets international recognition for studies on human origins. Fu Qiaomei is among five scientists to receive the UNESCO–AL Fozan International Prize for the Promotion of Young Scientists in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics. Fu has been exploring human origins and evolution via ancient DNA. Her work explores the history of early humans in Eurasia. Fu is the first Chinese scientist to receive the prestigious prize.

Neuralink brain chip 

Brain-chip startup Neuralink is likely to begin its first human trial this year. The company received clearance from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration last month. Co-founder Elon Musk says the company plans to implant a tetraplegic or paraplegic patient to restore movement. Experts say even if the trial is successful, it can take several years for the company to get commercial use clearance. 

Saturn's icy moon

Scientists discover a key ingredient for life on Saturn's icy moon. A high concentration of phosphorus was found on Enceladus. The element is a fundamental part of DNA and is present in the bones of mammals, cell membranes and ocean-dwelling plankton. The discovery makes it the only ocean outside of Earth to contain all six elements needed for life – carbon, hydrogen, oxygen, nitrogen, phosphorus and sulfur.

Climate Crisis

If you are feeling the heat, well, this year could be the hottest on record. Early data shows June temperatures exceeding pre-industrial levels by more than 1.5 degrees Celsius. And this comes ahead of El Niño that experts say will have a significant heating effect. Here in China, many cities are seeing temperatures beyond 40 degrees Celsius. The World Met Organization predicts the next five years to be the hottest on record.

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