In scientific news around the world, public health experts are making a troubling mix of delayed vaccinations, less mask use, more social gatherings, and the spread of the more contagious Delta variant of SARS-CoV-2 for the recent surge in COVID numbers. responsible -19 cases in many countries. The final analysis of a large clinical trial of a vaccine candidate for COVID-19 provides further evidence of its mediocre effectiveness – but its maker, German biotech company CureVac, is hoping the vaccine can protect people under the age of 60. Iran opens up its goals of being a world-class optical telescope – the Iranian National Observatory on Mount Gargash – but the facility is still months away from first light. The European Research Council, the continent’s largest funder of basic research, has a new president, the German biologist Maria Leptin. European physicists’ plans to build the Einstein Telescope, a radically new gravitational wave observatory, will get a boost when an advisory board includes the facility on its roadmap for future projects.