This Week In IFLScience! – November 8-14

Covid-19 Vaccine Found To Be 90 Percent Effective In Phase 3 Trial

The phase 3 trial began on July 27 and has so far enrolled 43,538 participants from around the world to date, 38,955 of whom have received a second dose of the vaccine. Protection in patients was achieved a week after the second dose, and 28 days after the first. The vaccine was found to be more than 90 percent effective in protecting against Covid-19 in patients that had not had SARS-CoV-2 already. 

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Promising news. M-Foto/


The Universe's “Missing Matter” Might Have Been Detected In 20-Year-Old Data

Most of the universe is made up of mysterious “dark matter” and “dark energy”. The search for these often overshadows the fact that we still have not found a lot of the ordinary matter known to exist. A new study claims that the evidence for the location of this “missing matter” was detected 20 years ago by the early X-ray satellite ROSAT but missed in previous analyses.

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We can see the galaxies, like these in the Virgo cluster, but measuring the density of the space between is the crucial challenge in addressing the question of where the missing mass of the universe is. NASA/JPL-Caltech/SSC 


Researchers Finally Create Electron Crystals 86 Years After First Proposed

An electron crystal is like trying to organize a large number of electrons that won’t stay still — it’s the herding cats of particle physics. A research team built a Wigner crystal using layers of semi-conductors just one atom thick. They then used two different tungsten materials and created a hexagonal pattern known as a moiré superlattice by placing one material on top of the other.

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Artist's impression of electrons trapped in a moiré superlattice. Cornell University


New Primate Discovered In Myanmar Following Analysis Of 100-Year-Old Specimen

A new study published in the journal Zoological Research has uncovered a new species of primate in Myanmar after analyzing the mitochondrial DNA of the Asian colobine genus Trachypithecus. Now that the species has been defined, researchers on the study hope it will reinvigorate conservation efforts for the estimated 200 to 250 remaining individuals that are spread across four isolated groups in Myanmar.

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The spooky primate hangs out in one of Myanmar's most sacred pilgrimage sites. ©Thaung Win


Ayahuasca Stimulates Neurogenesis In The Hippocampus, Study Shows

A psychedelic Amazonian drink called ayahuasca has been found to promote the birth of new brain cells in the hippocampus, a part of the brain that is largely responsible for memory and learning. While the brew has been used as a spiritual sacrament for thousands of years by indigenous communities, its role as a potential treatment for neurological and emotional disorders has caused a major spike in interest within the Western scientific community in recent years.

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Ayhausca is used as a medicine by indigenous Amazonian communities. Image: Stephanie Lee Panos/



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