Science X Newsletter Thursday, Aug 27

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Here is your customized Science X Newsletter for August 27, 2020:

Spotlight Stories Headlines

A heuristic search algorithm to plan attacks in robotic football

Supernovae could enable the discovery of new Muonic physics

Sulfur-scavenging bacteria could be key to making common component in plastic

Meteorite study suggests Earth may have been wet since it formed

Hubble maps giant halo around Andromeda Galaxy

Using math to examine the sex differences in dinosaurs

First complete dinosaur skeleton ever found is ready for its closeup at last

How vitamin C could help over 50s retain muscle mass

Thermodynamics of computation: A quest to find the cost of running a Turing machine

Sometime soon, your car will park itself in urban garages

Brain gain: Early stimulation gives mice life-long benefits

Rejuvenating old organs could increase donor pool

Daylight study reveals how animals adapt between seasons

Fossil evidence of 'hibernation-like' state in 250-million-year-old Antarctic animal

Continuous infrared winds discovered during the eruption of a stellar mass black hole

Physics news

Supernovae could enable the discovery of new Muonic physics

A supernova, the explosion of a white-dwarf or massive star, can create as much light as billions of normal stars. This transient astronomical phenomenon can occur at any point after a star has reached its final evolutionary stages.

Thermodynamics of computation: A quest to find the cost of running a Turing machine

Turing machines were first proposed by British mathematician Alan Turing in 1936, and are a theoretical mathematical model of what it means for a system to "be a computer."

Photonics researchers report breakthrough in miniaturizing light-based chips

Photonic integrated circuits that use light instead of electricity for computing and signal processing promise greater speed, increased bandwidth, and greater energy efficiency than traditional circuits using electricity.

On the track of unconventional superconductivity, researchers are charting unknown territory

An international team of scientists from the Helmholtz-Zentrum Dresden-Rossendorf (HZDR), the Max Planck Institute for Chemical Physics of Solids, and colleagues from the USA and Switzerland have successfully combined various extreme experimental conditions in a completely unique way, revealing exciting insights into the mysterious conducting properties of the crystalline metal CeRhIn5. In the journal Nature Communications, they report on their exploration of previously uncharted regions of the phase diagram of this metal, which is considered a promising model system for understanding unconventional superconductors.

Quantum simulation of quantum crystals

The quantum properties underlying crystal formation can be replicated and investigated with the help of ultracold atoms. A team led by Dr. Axel U. J. Lode from the University of Freiburg's Institute of Physics has now described in the journal Physical Review Letters how the use of dipolar atoms enables even the realization and precise measurement of structures that have not yet been observed in any material. The theoretical study was a collaboration involving scientists from the University of Freiburg, the University of Vienna and the Technical University of Vienna in Austria, and the Indian Institute of Technology in Kanpur, India.

Music goes terahertz

An international research team from Germany, Italy, and the U.K. has developed a key photonics component for the terahertz spectral range. By mixing electronic resonances in semiconductor nanostructures with the photon field of microresonators, they designed a stained mirror that bleaches more easily than ever and could make terahertz lasers ultrafast. The results are published in the current issue of Nature Communications.

Topological superconducting phase protected by 1-D local magnetic symmetries

Topological superconductors (TSCs) are new kind of topological quantum states with fully superconducting gapped band structure in the bulk, but they support gapless excitations called Majorana zero modes (MZMs) at the boundaries. Because of their nonlocal correlation and non-Abelian statistic nature, MZMs are proposed as the qubits of topological quantum computation. Hence, searching and operating the MZMs in TSC materials is now an important topic in condensed matter physics.

Octupole corner state in a three-dimensional topological circuit

Higher-order topological insulators featuring quantized bulk polarizations and zero-dimensional corner states are attracting increasing interest due to their strong mode confinement. Recently, scientists from China and the UK demonstrated in a 3-D topological circuit the existence of an octupole corner state, which is induced by the octupole moment of the bulk circuit and topologically protected by three anticommuting reflection symmetries. This work is not only of fundamental importance but also opens the door towards realizations of novel electronic topological devices.

Astronomy and Space news

Hubble maps giant halo around Andromeda Galaxy

In a landmark study, scientists using NASA's Hubble Space Telescope have mapped the immense envelope of gas, called a halo, surrounding the Andromeda galaxy, our nearest large galactic neighbor. Scientists were surprised to find that this tenuous, nearly invisible halo of diffuse plasma extends 1.3 million light-years from the galaxy—about halfway to our Milky Way—and as far as 2 million light-years in some directions. This means that Andromeda's halo is already bumping into the halo of our own galaxy.

Continuous infrared winds discovered during the eruption of a stellar mass black hole

A team of researchers from the Instituto de Astrofísica de Canarias (IAC) has, for the first time, detected constant infrared emission from winds produced during the eruption of a black hole in an X-ray binary.

Maunakea observatories discover three pairs of merging supermassive black holes

A cosmic dance between two merging galaxies, each one containing a supermassive black hole that's rapidly feeding on so much material it creates a phenomenon known as a quasar, is a rare find.

Gas reaches young stars along magnetic field lines

Astronomers have used the GRAVITY instrument to study the immediate vicinity of a young star in more detail than ever before. Their observations confirm a thirty-year-old theory about the growth of young stars: the magnetic field produced by the star itself directs material from a surrounding accretion disk of gas and dust onto its surface. The results, published today in the journal Nature, help astronomers to better understand how stars like our Sun are formed and how Earth-like planets are produced from the disks surrounding these stellar babies.

New study questions decades of research on the evolution of spiral galaxies

Previous studies on the formation and evolution of spiral galaxies might have been based on an incorrect assumption, suggests a team of researchers of Instituto de Astrofísica e Ciências do Espaço (IA).

One theory beyond the standard model could allow wormholes that you could actually fly through

Wormholes are a popular feature in science fiction, the means through which spacecraft can achieve faster-than-light (FTL) travel and instantaneously move from one point in spacetime to another. And while the General Theory of Relativity forbids the existence of "traversable wormholes," recent research has shown that they are actually possible within the domain of quantum physics.

Can the moon be a person? As lunar mining looms, a change of perspective could protect Earth's ancient companion

Everyone is planning to return to the moon. At least 10 missions by half a dozen nations are scheduled before the end of 2021, and that's only the beginning.

Image: Sensing the moon

A new sensor to identify lunar volatiles is being assembled in a clean room at The Open University, UK ahead of some exciting missions to the moon.

Technology news

A heuristic search algorithm to plan attacks in robotic football

Robots have gradually been making their way into a variety of fields and settings, including sports competitions. Robotic football, or soccer, is an innovative version of soccer in which human players are replaced by robots.

Sometime soon, your car will park itself in urban garages

So after the coronavirus threat has passed, you head downtown for a baseball game.

Researchers train autonomous drones using cross-modal simulated data

To fly autonomously, drones need to understand what they perceive in the environment and make decisions based on that information. A novel method developed by Carnegie Mellon University researchers allows drones to learn perception and action separately. The two-stage approach overcomes the "simulation-to-reality gap," and creates a way to safely deploy drones trained entirely on simulated data into real-world course navigation.

How to make AI trustworthy

One of the biggest impediments to adoption of new technologies is trust in AI.

Brain-inspired electronic system could vastly reduce AI's carbon footprint

Extremely energy-efficient artificial intelligence is now closer to reality after a study by UCL researchers found a way to improve the accuracy of a brain-inspired computing system.

TikTok CEO resigns amid US pressure to sell video app

TikTok CEO Kevin Mayer resigned Thursday amid U.S. pressure for its Chinese owner to sell the popular video app, which the White House says is a security risk.

Renewable energy heat system to reduce industrial gas use by up to 80 percent

Australia is currently considering a range of options to stimulate post-COVID economic recovery, including weighing the relative value of increased investment in gas infrastructure against the benefits of expanded renewable energy projects.

If Zoom's out, what about WebEx, Google Meet or Skype? We tried them all, here's what we found

The popular Zoom video meeting app went out this week, for many on of all days, the first day of school, and people freaked out.

Computer pioneer Arnold Spielberg, Steven's dad, dies at 103

Arnold Spielberg, father of filmmaker Steven Spielberg and an innovating engineer whose work helped make the personal computer possible, has died at 103.

Red Cross chief: cyber attacks increasing on hospitals

The president of the International Committee of the Red Cross warned Wednesday that the frequency of sophisticated cyber attacks against hospitals, electricity and water supplies, and other critical civilian infrastructure is increasing.

Aerospace giant Rolls-Royce logs £5.4 bn H1 loss on virus

British aerospace giant Rolls-Royce on Thursday logged a vast net loss for the first half of 2020 as the coronavirus outbreak grounded aircraft worldwide and sparked a crisis in air transport.

Virus-hit Air New Zealand posts US$300 million loss

Flag carrier Air New Zealand on Thursday announced a roughly US$300 million annual net loss after demand plummeted due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Walmart says teaming with Microsoft in bid for TikTok

US retail giant Walmart said Thursday it had teamed with Microsoft to buy TikTok, the Chinese-owned short-form video app that has come under fire from the administration of President Donald Trump.

US rolls out free app for alerts on vehicle recalls

The U.S. government's road safety agency is offering a smartphone app that will alert drivers if their vehicles are recalled.

Amazon Fresh opens first supermarket in Los Angeles with checkout in cart

Amazon is soft-launching a new supermarket Thursday, with a shopping cart that tallies up items as it enters the basket and enables instant checkout, and Alexa stations throughout the store you can ask questions.

Bouygues Telecom says withdrawing 3,000 Huawei antennae

French operator Bouygues Telecom said Thursday it will withdraw 3,000 mobile phone antennae by 2028 in "very dense population areas" at the government's behest over purported 5G security issues.

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