Science X Newsletter Week 30

Dear ymilog,

Here is your customized Science X Newsletter for week 30:

First image of a multi-planet system around a sun-like star

The European Southern Observatory's Very Large Telescope (ESO's VLT) has taken the first ever image of a young, sun-like star accompanied by two giant exoplanets. Images of systems with multiple exoplanets are extremely rare, and—until now—astronomers had never directly observed more than one planet orbiting a star similar to the sun. The observations can help astronomers understand how planets formed and evolved around our own sun.

Quantum physicists crack mystery of 'strange metals,' a new state of matter

Even by the standards of quantum physicists, strange metals are just plain odd. The materials are related to high-temperature superconductors and have surprising connections to the properties of black holes. Electrons in strange metals dissipate energy as fast as they're allowed to under the laws of quantum mechanics, and the electrical resistivity of a strange metal, unlike that of ordinary metals, is proportional to the temperature.

Scientists discover volcanoes on Venus are still active

A new study identified 37 recently active volcanic structures on Venus. The study provides some of the best evidence yet that Venus is still a geologically active planet. A research paper on the work, which was conducted by researchers at the University of Maryland and the Institute of Geophysics at ETH Zurich, Switzerland, was published in the journal Nature Geoscience on July 20, 2020.

Scientists discover a topological magnet that exhibits exotic quantum effects

An international team led by researchers at Princeton University has uncovered a new class of magnet that exhibits novel quantum effects that extend to room temperature.

Researchers accidentally breed sturddlefish

A team of researchers working at Hungary's National Agricultural Research and Innovation Centre, Research Institute for Fisheries and Aquaculture, has accidentally bred a new kind of fish—dubbed the sturddlefish by some observers, it is a cross between an American Paddlefish and a Russian Sturgeon. In their paper published in the journal Genes, the group describes accidentally breeding the fish and what they learned by doing so.

Mysterious 450-foot 'blue hole' off Florida has researchers looking for signs of life

Tales of the ocean swallowing places are as ancient as the myth of Atlantis, but there is an element of truth in the science, according to a NOAA-backed expedition set for Florida's Gulf Coast.

Astrophysicists fill in 11 billion years of the universe's expansion history

The Sloan Digital Sky Survey (SDSS) released today a comprehensive analysis of the largest three-dimensional map of the universe ever created, filling in the most significant gaps in our possible exploration of its history.

Quantum loop: US unveils blueprint for 'virtually unhackable' internet

US officials and scientists have begun laying the groundwork for a more secure "virtually unhackable" internet based on quantum computing technology.

Neanderthals of the Western Mediterranean did not become extinct because of changes in climate

Homo Neanderthaliensis did not become extinct because of changes in climate. At least, this did not happen to the several Neanderthal groups that lived in the western Mediterranean 42,000 years ago. A research group of the University of Bologna came to this conclusion after a detailed paleoclimatic reconstruction of the last ice age through the analysis of stalagmites sampled from some caves in Apulia, Italy.

New cosmic magnetic field structures discovered in galaxy NGC 4217

Spiral galaxies such as our Milky Way can have sprawling magnetic fields. There are various theories about their formation, but so far the process is not well understood. An international research team has now analyzed the magnetic field of the Milky Way-like galaxy NGC 4217 in detail on the basis of radio astronomical observations and has discovered as yet unknown magnetic field structures. The data suggest that star formation and star explosions, so-called supernovae, are responsible for the visible structures.

Battery breakthrough gives boost to electric flight and long-range electric cars

In the pursuit of a rechargeable battery that can power electric vehicles (EVs) for hundreds of miles on a single charge, scientists have endeavored to replace the graphite anodes currently used in EV batteries with lithium metal anodes.

Measuring how long quantum tunneling takes

A team of researchers at the University of Toronto has found a way to measure how long quantum tunneling takes to happen. In their paper published in the journal Nature, the group describes experiments they conducted and the result they found when attempting to measure how long quantum tunneling takes under certain circumstances.

New material can generate hydrogen from salt and polluted water

Scientists of Tomsk Polytechnic University jointly with teams from the University of Chemistry and Technology, Prague and Jan Evangelista Purkyne University in Ústí nad Labem have developed a new 2-D material to produce hydrogen, which is the basis of alternative energy. The material efficiently generates hydrogen molecules from fresh, salt, and polluted water by exposure to sunlight. The results are published in ACS Applied Materials & Interfaces.

Physicists find ways to control gamma radiation

Researchers from Kazan Federal University, Texas A&M University and Institute of Applied Physics (Russian Academy of Sciences) found ways to direct high frequency gamma radiation by means of acoustics.

Genetic mutations predispose individuals to severe COVID-19

Current observations suggest that the coronavirus SARS-CoV-2 causes severe symptoms mainly in elderly patients with chronic disease. However when two pairs of previously healthy young brothers from two families required mechanical ventilation at the intensive care unit in rapid succession, doctors and researchers at Radboud University Medical Center were inclined to consider that genetic factors had a key role in compromising their immune system. Their research identified the gene TLR7 as an essential player in the immune response against SARS-CoV-2. A finding with potentially major consequences for understanding and possibly treatment of COVID-19.

Triple negative breast cancer meets its match with promising new treatment

One member of a larger family of oxygen sensing enzymes could offer a viable target for triple negative breast cancer (TNBC), UTSW researchers report in a new study. The findings, published online this week in Cancer Discovery, might offer hope to this subset of patients who have few effective treatment options and often face a poor prognosis.

Active leak of sea-bed methane discovered in Antarctica for first time

A team of researchers with Oregon State University has confirmed the first active leak of sea-bed methane in Antarctica. In their paper published in Proceedings of the Royal Society B, the group describes their trip to Cinder Cones located at McMurdo Sound situated in the Ross Sea, and why they believe it signals very serious repercussions for global warming.

Dogs may use Earth's magnetic field to navigate

A team of researchers from Czech University of Life Sciences, Virginia Tech and Barry University has found evidence that suggests dogs may use Earth's magnetic field as a navigational aid. In their paper in the eLife Sciences initiative, the group describes their study of dog navigation and what they learned from it.

Plato was right: Earth is made, on average, of cubes

Plato, the Greek philosopher who lived in the 5th century B.C.E., believed that the universe was made of five types of matter: earth, air, fire, water, and cosmos. Each was described with a particular geometry, a platonic shape. For earth, that shape was the cube.

Humans may have reached the Americas 15,000 years earlier than previously thought

Humans may have reached the Americas over 30,000 years ago, new research from international teams of scientists shows—a period 15,000 years earlier than previously thought.


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