Some time after March 2020’s stay-at-home order, I began reading excerpts from Samuel Pepys’ diary. In one of them, he strolls for the first time past a household infected by the great plague. A red cross is daubed on the door, next to the chilling words “Lord have mercy upon us”. Comforting lockdown reading this was not. But I was grateful for the historical record Pepys left behind, which helped make some sense of the unfolding pandemic.

Perhaps there’s a modern-day Pepys scribbling away in some London backwater. But today’s pandemic has taken place in a connected world, one in which writing and publishing have been democratised by the likes of Facebook and Twitter. So where better to search for an account of the COVID-19 crisis than in an archive of over 84 million pandemic-related tweets? One of the linguistics experts behind this archive has shared his hopes for what looks set to be a key historical document that’ll help future generations understand our strange times.

Somewhere in the archive, you’ll find Twitter users calling for a rethink on how, where and when we work. We’ve heard from an economics professor who believes that, post-pandemic, we’ll have the perfect opportunity to move to a four-day week. And promising new research has yielded a novel way to recycle electric vehicle batteries, using bacteria to “bioleach” in-demand precious metals from electrical waste.

Alex King

Commissioning Editor, Science + Technology


We archived 84 million tweets to learn about the pandemic – each one is a tiny historical document

Robert Lawson, Birmingham City University

During the pandemic, researchers have treated Twitter as a sprawling and evolving historical document.

Shutterstock/Alex Segre

Post-pandemic return to work is a perfect opportunity to move to a four-day week

David Spencer, University of Leeds

Our approach to work has had to adjust, so let's change even more.

Paul Craft/Shutterstock

Bacteria can recover precious metals from electric vehicle batteries – here’s how

Sebastien Farnaud, Coventry University

With an average shelf life of nine years, the coming tsunami of waste EV batteries needs action now.

Politics + Society

Health + Medicine

Science + Technology

Environment + Energy

Business + Economy

Arts + Culture


Featured events

Online: Nathalie Seddon & Cameron Hepburn in conversation: 'Evaluating and investing in Nature-based Solutions'

Online Oxford Martin School Event, Online, Oxfordshire, N/A, United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland — University of Oxford

Trust, Authority and the Automation of Expertise, Caroline Bassett, Cambridge University

Online, Birmingham, Warwickshire, B15 2TT, United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland — University of Birmingham

What is a character based approach to digital citizenship education?

Online, Birmingham, Birmingham, B15 2TT, United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland — University of Birmingham

Abandoned villages of Calabria – processes of stigmatisation, recognition and heritage

Sustainable Places Research Institute, Cardiff University, Cardiff, Cardiff [Caerdydd GB-CRD], CF10 3BA, United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland — Cardiff University

More events

Contact us here to have your event listed.

For sponsorship opportunities, email us here