The incredible pace of development of vaccines during the pandemic carries echoes of how the jet engine was born of wartime research. That invention went on to revolutionise travel, and the world, in the second half of the 20th century. Can we expect mRNA technology to have a transformative effect on post-pandemic societies?

How vaccines might be used going forward, and how they might develop, are among the questions put to Deborah Fuller, a professor of microbiology at the University of Washington, in the first edition of The Conversation Weekly of 2022. It a remarkable insight into the incredible potential that is being unleashed now. The podcast also looks at big developments in space exploration and robotics that can be expected this year.

The relationship between science, politicians and the public has been a key aspect of the pandemic. And it is the central theme of the film Don’t Look Up, an allegory for climate change. Here, academics consider the myths that fuel doubts about science and look at what can be done about them.

And as France takes on the rotating presidency of council of the European Union (with Emmanuel Macron’s first term in office coming to a close) our colleagues in Paris have published a series of articles this week looking at the country’s global role.

Stephen Khan

Executive Editor, The Conversation International

mRNA vaccines: not just for COVID. Cryptographer/Shutterstock

mRNA vaccines, asteroid missions and collaborative robots: what to watch in science in 2022 – podcast

Daniel Merino, The Conversation; Gemma Ware, The Conversation

Experts give us a science preview for 2022, plus what lies in store for global inequality. Listen to The Conversation Weekly podcast.

In ‘Don’t Look Up,’ Scientists played by Leonardo DiCaprio and Jennifer Lawrence watch with horror as people willfully ignore warnings of an impending disaster. Entertainment Pictures / Alamy Stock Photo

‘Don’t Look Up’: Hollywood’s primer on climate denial illustrates 5 myths that fuel rejection of science

Gale Sinatra, University of Southern California; Barbara K. Hofer, Middlebury

Just because something isn’t 100% certain doesn’t mean you ignore it, and other lessons from two researchers who study the problem of science denial.

‘Fight like hell’: Donald Trump speaks to his supporters on January 6, 2021. EPA-EFE/Shawn Thew

Capitol assault: the real reason Trump and the crowd almost killed US democracy

Stephen Reicher, University of St Andrews; Alex Haslam, The University of Queensland; Evangelos Ntontis, The Open University; Klara Jurstakova, Canterbury Christ Church University

What happened on January 6, 2021 was a genuine co-production between Trump and his supporters.

The Conversation in French and Spanish

L’université française est-elle en train de perdre sa place de destination phare des étudiants internationaux ? Stas Knop/shutterstock

Perte d’attractivité des universités : qui veut (encore) venir étudier en France ?

Alessia Lefébure, École des hautes études en santé publique (EHESP)

Malgré de nombreuses réformes, l’enseignement supérieur français poursuit sa descente dans les classements d’attractivité et d’accueil d’étudiants étrangers. Pourquoi ?

Shutterstock / leonori

Por qué el azúcar de la fruta es bueno para la salud y el de los procesados no

Juan Carlos Laguna Egea, Universitat de Barcelona; Marta Alegret Jorda, Universitat de Barcelona

El consumo de fruta como tal en nuestra dieta es saludable. Procesada o disuelta en líquidos o en forma de zumo, menos.