Science X Newsletter Week 05

Dear ymilog,

Here is your customized Science X Newsletter for week 05:

Harvard astronomer argues that alien vessel paid us a visit

Discovering there's intelligent life beyond our planet could be the most transformative event in human history— but what if scientists decided to collectively ignore evidence suggesting it already happened?

Why keeping one mature street tree is far better for humans and nature than planting lots of new ones

Thanks to Victorian street planners, many British streets were designed to be full of big trees and, with 84% of the population living in urban areas, most people are more likely to encounter trees in the streets than they are in forests.

Student astronomer finds missing galactic matter

Astronomers have for the first time used distant galaxies as 'scintillating pins' to locate and identify a piece of the Milky Way's missing matter.

Physicists create tunable superconductivity in twisted graphene 'nanosandwich'

When two sheets of graphene are stacked atop each other at just the right angle, the layered structure morphs into an unconventional superconductor, allowing electric currents to pass through without resistance or wasted energy.

New quantum receiver the first to detect entire radio frequency spectrum

A new quantum sensor can analyze the full spectrum of radio frequency and real-world signals, unleashing new potentials for soldier communications, spectrum awareness and electronic warfare.

Quantum tunneling in graphene advances the age of terahertz wireless communications

Scientists from MIPT (Moscow Institute of Physics and Technology), Moscow Pedagogical State University and the University of Manchester have created a highly sensitive terahertz detector based on the effect of quantum-mechanical tunneling in graphene. The sensitivity of the device is already superior to commercially available analogs based on semiconductors and superconductors, which opens up prospects for applications of the graphene detector in wireless communications, security systems, radio astronomy, and medical diagnostics. The research results are published in Nature Communications.

The Ramanujan Machine: Researchers have developed a 'conjecture generator' that creates mathematical conjectures

Using AI and computer automation, Technion researchers have developed a 'conjecture generator' that creates mathematical conjectures, which are considered to be the starting point for developing mathematical theorems. They have already used it to generate a number of previously unknown formulas. The study, which was published in the journal Nature, was carried out by undergraduates from different faculties under the tutelage of Assistant Professor Ido Kaminer of the Andrew and Erna Viterbi Faculty of Electrical Engineering at the Technion.

Researchers engineer a tiny antibody capable of neutralizing the coronavirus

At 2 a.m. one night last April, Michael Schoof triple-checked the numbers on his screen, took a deep breath, and fired off an email he'd been waiting all day to send.

Backreaction observed for first time in water tank black hole simulation

Scientists have revealed new insights into the behavior of black holes with research that demonstrates how a phenomenon called backreaction can be simulated.

The Arctic Ocean was covered by a shelf ice and filled with freshwater

The Arctic Ocean was covered by up to 900-meter-thick shelf ice and was filled entirely with freshwater at least twice in the last 150,000 years. This surprising finding, reported in the latest issue of the journal Nature, is the result of long-term research by scientists from the Alfred Wegener Institute and the MARUM. With a detailed analysis of the composition of marine deposits, the scientists could demonstrate that the Arctic Ocean as well as the Nordic Seas did not contain sea-salt in at least two glacial periods. Instead, these oceans were filled with large amounts of freshwater under a thick ice shield. This water could then be released into the North Atlantic in very short periods of time. Such sudden freshwater inputs could explain rapid climate oscillations for which no satisfying explanation had been previously found.

Astronomers spot bizarre, never-before-seen activity from one of the strongest magnets in the universe

Astronomers from the ARC Centre of Excellence for Gravitational Wave Discovery (OzGrav) and CSIRO have just observed bizarre, never-seen-before behavior from a radio-loud magnetar—a rare type of neutron star and one of the strongest magnets in the universe.

Scientists use trilayer graphene to observe more robust superconductivity

In 2018, the physics world was set ablaze with the discovery that when an ultrathin layer of carbon, called graphene, is stacked and twisted to a "magic angle," that new double layered structure converts into a superconductor, allowing electricity to flow without resistance or energy waste. Now, in a literal twist, Harvard scientists have expanded on that superconducting system by adding a third layer and rotating it, opening the door for continued advancements in graphene-based superconductivity.

Researchers discover an immense hydrocarbon cycle in the world's ocean

Hydrocarbons and petroleum are almost synonymous in environmental science. After all, oil reserves account for nearly all the hydrocarbons we encounter. But the few hydrocarbons that trace their origin to biological sources may play a larger ecological role than scientists originally suspected.

A new way to make wood transparent, stronger and lighter than glass

A team of researchers at the University of Maryland, has found a new way to make wood transparent. In their paper published in the journal Science Advances, the group describes their process and why they believe it is better than the old process.

Genes for face shape identified

Genes that determine the shape of a person's facial profile have been discovered by a UCL-led research team.

Inductance based on a quantum effect has the potential to miniaturize inductors

Mobile-phone chargers and other devices could become much smaller after an all-RIKEN team of physicists successfully shrunk an electrical component known as an inductor to microscale dimensions using a quantum effect.

Newly discovered graphene property could impact next-generation computing

MIT researchers and colleagues have discovered an important—and unexpected—electronic property of graphene, a material discovered only about 17 years ago that continues to surprise scientists with its interesting physics. The work, which involves structures composed of atomically thin layers of materials that are also biocompatible, could usher in new, faster information-processing paradigms. One potential application is in neuromorphic computing, which aims to replicate the neuronal cells in the body responsible for everything from behavior to memories.

Closer look shows Neanderthals on La Cotte de St Brelade interbred with modern humans

A team of researchers affiliated with multiple institutions in the U.K. and one in Germany has found evidence of interbreeding between Neanderthals and modern humans on Jersey island. In their paper published in Journal of Human Evolution, the group describes their study of teeth found at La Cotte de St Brelade, a cave on the southwest side of the island, back in 1911.

Breakthrough in quantum photonics promises a new era in optical circuits

The modern world is powered by electrical circuitry on a "chip"—the semiconductor chip underpinning computers, cell phones, the internet, and other applications. In the year 2025, humans are expected to be creating 175 zettabytes (175 trillion gigabytes) of new data. How can we ensure the security of sensitive data at such a high volume? And how can we address grand-challenge-like problems, from privacy and security to climate change, leveraging this data, especially given the limited capability of current computers?

Cyanobacteria could revolutionize the plastic industry

Cyanobacteria produce plastic naturally as a by-product of photosynthesis—and they do it in a sustainable and environmentally friendly way. Researchers at the University of Tübingen have now succeeded for the first time in modifying the bacteria's metabolism to produce this natural plastic in quantities enabling it to be used industrially. This new plastic could come to compete with environmentally harmful petroleum-based plastics. The researchers, headed by Professor Karl Forchhammer of the Interfaculty Institute of Microbiology and Infection Medicine, recently presented their findings in several studies that appeared in the journals Microbial Cell Factories and PNAS.


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