Science X Newsletter Week 10

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Here is your customized Science X Newsletter for week 10:

Curiosity Mars rover snaps its highest-resolution panorama yet

NASA's Curiosity rover has captured its highest-resolution panorama yet of the Martian surface. Composed of more than 1,000 images taken during the 2019 Thanksgiving holiday and carefully assembled over the ensuing months, the composite contains 1.8 billion pixels of Martian landscape. The rover's Mast Camera, or Mastcam, used its telephoto lens to produce the panorama; meanwhile, it relied on its medium-angle lens to produce a lower-resolution, nearly 650-million-pixel panorama that includes the rover's deck and robotic arm.

Protein discovered inside a meteorite

A team of researchers from Plex Corporation, Bruker Scientific LLC and Harvard University has found evidence of a protein inside of a meteorite. They have written a paper describing their findings and have uploaded it to the arXiv preprint server.

Researchers find evidence of a cosmic impact that caused destruction of one of the world's earliest human settlements

Before the Taqba Dam impounded the Euphrates River in northern Syria in the 1970s, an archaeological site named Abu Hureyra bore witness to the moment ancient nomadic people first settled down and started cultivating crops. A large mound marks the settlement, which now lies under Lake Assad.

Scientists shed light on mystery of dark matter

Scientists have identified a sub-atomic particle that could have formed the "dark matter" in the Universe during the Big Bang.

Organic molecules discovered by Curiosity Rover consistent with early life on Mars: study

Organic compounds called thiophenes are found on Earth in coal, crude oil and oddly enough, in white truffles, the mushroom beloved by epicureans and wild pigs.

Scientists measure electron spin qubit without demolishing it

A group of scientists from the RIKEN Center for Emergent Matter Science in Japan has succeeded in taking repeated measurements of the spin of an electron in a silicon quantum dot (QD) without changing its spin in the process. This type of "non-demolition" measurement is important for creating quantum computers that are fault-tolerant. Quantum computers would make it easier to perform certain classes of calculations such as many-body problems, which are extremely difficult and time-consuming for conventional computers. Essentially, the involve measuring a quantum value that is never in a single state like a conventional transistor, but instead exists as a "superimposed state"—in the same way that Schrodinger's famous cat cannot be said to be alive or dead until it is observed. Using such systems, it is possible to conduct calculations with a qubit that is a superimposition of two values, and then determine statistically what the correct result is. Quantum computers that use single electron spins in silicon QDs are seen as attractive due to their potential scalability and because silicon is already widely used in electronics technology.

Potassium metal battery emerges as a rival to lithium-ion technology

From cell phones, to solar power, to electric cars, humanity is increasingly dependent on batteries. As demand for safe, efficient, and powerful energy storage continues to rise, so too does the call for promising alternatives to rechargeable lithium-ion batteries, which have been the dominant technology in this space.

After 90 years, scientists reveal the structure of benzene

One of the fundamental mysteries of chemistry has been solved by a collaboration between Exciton Science, UNSW and CSIRO – and the result may have implications for future designs of solar cells, organic light-emitting diodes and other next gen technologies.

Not a 'math person'? You may be better at learning to code than you think

Want to learn to code? Put down the math book. Practice those communication skills instead.

Study shows low carb diet may prevent, reverse age-related effects within the brain

A study using neuroimaging led by Stony Brook University professor and lead author Lilianne R. Mujica-Parodi, Ph.D., and published in PNAS, reveals that neurobiological changes associated with aging can be seen at a much younger age than would be expected, in the late 40s. However, the study also suggests that this process may be prevented or reversed based on dietary changes that involve minimizing the consumption of simple carbohydrates.

Pesticides impair baby bee brain development

Imperial College London researchers used micro-CT scanning technology to reveal how specific parts of bumblebee brains grew abnormally when exposed to pesticides during their larval phase.

Researchers propose new physics to explain decay of subatomic particle

Florida State University physicists believe they have an answer to unusual incidents of rare decay of a subatomic particle called a Kaon that were reported last year by scientists in the KOTO experiment at the Japan Proton Accelerator Research Complex.

NASA images show fall in China pollution over virus shutdown

NASA satellite images show a dramatic fall in pollution over China that is "partly related" to the economic slowdown due to the coronavirus outbreak, the space agency said.

Goodyear's biodegradable concept tire regenerates its tread

Goodyear recently unveiled a tire concept that could revolutionize the auto industry. Dubbed reCharge, this concept tire would never require replacements or rotations because it regenerates its tread as needed.

Coronavirus lingers in rooms and toilets but disinfectants kill it

New research from Singapore published Wednesday showed that patients with the novel coronavirus extensively contaminate their bedrooms and bathrooms, underscoring the need to routinely clean high-touch surfaces, basins and toilet bowls.

Scientists break Google's quantum algorithm

Google is racing to develop quantum-enhanced processors that use quantum mechanical effects to increase the speed at which data can be processed. In the near term, Google has devised new quantum-enhanced algorithms that operate in the presence of realistic noise. The so-called quantum approximate optimisation algorithm, or QAOA for short, is the cornerstone of a modern drive toward noise-tolerant quantum-enhanced algorithm development.

Researchers discover new stem cells that can generate new bone

A population of stem cells with the ability to generate new bone has been newly discovered by a group of researchers at the UConn School of Dental Medicine.

Light to electricity: New multi-material solar cells set new efficiency standard

Researchers from the University of Toronto Engineering and King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (KAUST) have overcome a key obstacle in combining the emerging solar-harvesting technology of perovskites with the commercial gold standard—silicon solar cells. The result is a highly efficient and stable tandem solar cell, one of the best-performing reported to date.

Unexpected discovery: Blue-green algae produce oil

Cyanobacteria—colloquially called blue-green algae—can produce oil from water and carbon dioxide with the help of light. This is shown by a recent study by the University of Bonn. The result is unexpected: Until now, it was believed that this ability was reserved for plants. It is possible that blue-green algae will now also become interesting as suppliers of feed or fuel, especially since they do not require arable land. The results have now been published in the journal PNAS.

Less is more for Maxwell's Demon in quantum heat engines

Over 150 years after the famous Scottish scientist James Clerk Maxwell first introduced the idea, the concept of Maxwell's demon continues to perplex physicists and information scientists. The demon he dreamed up in a thought experiment, which could sort fast and slow particles into separate sides of a container, seemed to violate the second law of thermodynamics. By taking into account the demon's memory, physicists were able to bring the demon in line with the laws of statistical mechanics for classical systems, but the situation grew contentious once again when quantum heat engines were proposed, as thermodynamics physicists and information theorists wrangled over viable explanations. Recent results from physical modeling may bring the different arguments together.


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