Science X Newsletter Monday, Jan 20

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Here is your customized Science X Newsletter for January 20, 2020:

Spotlight Stories Headlines

M-Hubo: A wheeled humanoid robot to assist humans with simple daily tasks

Inverse design of porous materials using artificial neural networks

New organic-metal oxide transistors with high operational stability

Gradient Li-rich oxide cathode particles for batteries with minimum oxygen release

Ozone-depleting substances caused half of late 20th-century Arctic warming, says study

Physics shows that imperfections make perfect

BSNIP project releases spectra of more than 200 Type Ia supernovae

While promoting diseases like cancer, these enzymes also cannibalize each other

New research provides evidence of strong early magnetic field around Earth

Ultrafast camera takes 1 trillion frames per second of transparent objects and phenomena

New tumor-driving mutations discovered in the under-explored regions of the cancer genome

Male sparrows are less intimidated by the songs of aging rivals

Could your car seat trick brain with walk feels?

Rough seas delay escape test for SpaceX crew capsule

Study verifies a missing piece to urban air quality puzzle

Physics news

Physics shows that imperfections make perfect

Northwestern University researchers have added a new dimension to the importance of diversity.

Ultrafast camera takes 1 trillion frames per second of transparent objects and phenomena

A little over a year ago, Caltech's Lihong Wang developed the world's fastest camera, a device capable of taking 10 trillion pictures per second. It is so fast that it can even capture light traveling in slow motion.

Laser diode emits deep UV light

Nagoya University scientists, in cooperation with Asahi Kasei Corporation, have designed a laser diode that emits deep-ultraviolet light, and have published a paper in the journal Applied Physics Express.

LHCb explores the beauty of lepton universality

The LHCb collaboration has reported an intriguing new result in its quest to test a key principle of the Standard Model called lepton universality. Although not statistically significant, the finding—a possible difference in the behavior of different types of lepton particles—chimes with other previous results. If confirmed, as more data are collected and analyzed, the results would signal a crack in the Standard Model.

Record-breaking terahertz laser beam

Terahertz radiation is used for security checks at airports, for medical examinations and also for quality checks in industry. However, radiation in the terahertz range is extremely difficult to generate. Scientists at TU Wien have now succeeded in developing a terahertz radiation source that breaks several records: it is extremely efficient, and its spectrum is very broad—it generates different wavelengths from the entire terahertz range. This opens up the possibility of creating short radiation pulses with extremely high radiation intensity. The new terahertz technology has now been presented in the journal Nature Communications.

Platelets instead of spheres make screens more economical

ETH scientists have further developed QLED technology for screens. They have produced light sources that for the first time emit high-intensity light in only one direction. This reduces scattering losses, which makes the technology extremely energy efficient.

New ORNL software improves neutron spectroscopy data resolution

Neutron spectroscopy is an important tool for studying magnetic and thermoelectric properties in materials. But often the resolution, or the ability of the instrument to see fine details, is too coarse to clearly observe features identifying novel phenomena in new advanced materials.

Designing lasers based on quantum physics

A five-country research team coordinated by Germán J. de Valcárcel Gonzalvo, Professor of Optics at the University of Valencia, has developed a new theory —the coherent master equation— that describes the behavior of pulsed lasers based on fast materials and highlights its effects of quantum coherence (the ability of material and light electrons to oscillate in unison for some time). These lasers can emit intense pulses of light of one billionth of a second at a constant rate and have great technological and scientific impact.

Astronomy & Space news

BSNIP project releases spectra of more than 200 Type Ia supernovae

The Berkeley Supernova Ia Program (BSNIP) has released a dataset containing over 600 spectra of 242 Type Ia supernovae (SNe Ia). The new data release, available for astronomers worldwide, was presented in a paper published January 9 on the arXiv pre-print repository.

Rough seas delay escape test for SpaceX crew capsule

Rough seas prompted SpaceX on Saturday to delay the emergency escape test of its new crew capsule by a day.

SpaceX launches, destroys rocket in astronaut escape test

SpaceX completed the last big test of its crew capsule before launching astronauts in the next few months, mimicking an emergency escape shortly after liftoff Sunday.

Heat wave signals the growth of a stellar embryo

An international research team with the Max Planck Institute for Astronomy (MPIA) participating has detected a propagating heat wave near a massive protostar. It confirms the scenario that such objects grow in bursts. This wave became visible by observing naturally generated microwave lasers, whose spatial arrangement changed unexpectedly rapid.

ESA opens oxygen plant, making air out of moondust

ESA's technical heart has begun to produce oxygen out of simulated moondust.

First results from the Dark Energy Survey

The Dark Energy Survey (DES) program uses the patterns of cosmic structure as seen in the spatial distribution of hundreds of millions of galaxies to reveal the nature of "dark energy," the source of cosmic acceleration. Since it began in 2013, DES has mapped over 10 percent of the sky with a digital camera containing 570 million pixels and five optical filters that provide galaxy colors to estimates redshift distances. CfA astronomers are part of a team of over 400 scientists in seven countries working on DES, and last year it released the first set of data.

No astrovans for SpaceX, crews riding to rockets in Teslas

Astronauts launched by SpaceX in coming months will ride to their rockets in high fashion. Instead of using a retro-style astrovan, SpaceX crews will travel to the launch pad in Tesla sports cars.

SpaceX in 'perfect' test of Crew Dragon emergency abort system

SpaceX successfully tested its emergency abort system on an unmanned spacecraft moments after launch Sunday, according to a live broadcast of the event, the last major test before it plans to send NASA astronauts to the International Space Station.

A brain transplant for one of Australia's top telescopes

One of Australia's top telescopes will receive an A$2.6 million upgrade to help extend its three-decade record of improving our understanding of the universe.

Spacewalking astronauts wrap up battery improvements (Update)

A pair of spacewalking astronauts successfully wrapped up battery improvements outside the International Space Station on Monday, completing a job begun last fall.

Image: The sun in 2019

The changing activity of our sun as seen by ESA's Proba-2 satellite in 2019.

Iran says it is preparing for satellite launch

Iran said Sunday that two newly constructed satellites have passed pre-launch tests and will be transported to the nation's space center for eventual launch, without elaborating.

Technology news

M-Hubo: A wheeled humanoid robot to assist humans with simple daily tasks

Researchers worldwide are now training robotic agents to assist humans in a variety of manual tasks, including cooking and moving objects. While many of these robots have achieved promising results, most of them are still unable to complete the tasks assigned to them as quickly as a human being would.

New organic-metal oxide transistors with high operational stability

Metal oxide thin-film transistors (TFTs), which are built by depositing thin films of an active metal oxide-based semiconducting material on a supporting substrate, have become widely used over the past few years, particularly in organic light-emitting diode displays. Most commercially available devices incorporating these transistors currently rely on metal oxides processed using physical vapor deposition techniques.

Gradient Li-rich oxide cathode particles for batteries with minimum oxygen release

Lithium-rich transition metal oxide (Li1+XM1-XO2) cathodes have potential for use in Li-ion batteries, powering electronic devices and electric vehicles. These cathodes have a high energy density, typically above 900 Wh kg-1, yet they currently also come with significant limitations.

Could your car seat trick brain with walk feels?

What's this? The long-time complaint you have of having to sit in cars during long hours in grueling commutes can be dropped, at least in part. Jaguar Land Rover believes that they will give you a way to trick your body into thinking it is walking.

'Universal memory' research passes new milestone

Physicists at Lancaster University have demonstrated that their invention of a new type of memory device could transform the way computers, smartphones and other gadgets work.

Mapping a path to more equitable housing

For the sixth consecutive year, Carnegie Mellon University's EarthTime platform will help leaders at the World Economic Forum meeting in Davos, Switzerland, visualize data on global challenges such as climate change, poverty and mental health.

Filipinos turn volcano's ash, plastic trash into bricks

Ash spewed by a Philippine volcano is being mixed with plastic waste to make bricks in an inventive response to the country's persistent problems of pollution and frequent natural disasters.

Toyota shifts Tacoma pickup assembly from US to Mexico

Toyota on Friday said it was moving assembly operations for its popular Tacoma pickups from the United States to Mexico but pledged that no US jobs would be affected.

IT happens: Facebook sorry for Xi Jinping's name gaffe

Facebook apologised Saturday for a distasteful mistranslation of Chinese President Xi Jinping's name from Burmese language posts during his much-touted visit to Myanmar.

Qatar signs $470 mn solar deal

Gas-rich Qatar signed a $470-million deal on Sunday to build its first solar energy plant, capable of meeting up to one-tenth of peak national power demand.

UK looks to offshore wind for green energy transition

Britain, a global leader in offshore wind energy, plans to make the sector one of the pillars of its transition to carbon neutrality in the coming decades.

The Red Cross is teaching Fortnite players to save, not take, lives

Teaching online video game players to save lives, not take them—that is the aim of a new product developed in an unusual collaboration between the creators of the wildly popular Fortnite games and the International Committee of the Red Cross.

Google chief urges 'proportionate' AI regulation

As the EU puts the digital revolution at the heart of policymaking it should take a "proportional approach" to regulating artificial intelligence, Sundar Pichai, the CEO of Google said Monday.

Nuclear waste could be recycled for diamond battery power

A team of physicists and chemists from the University of Bristol hope to recycle radioactive material directly from a former nuclear power plant in Gloucestershire to generate ultra-long-lasting power sources.

Will an Apple iPhone 12 with 5G finally get you to upgrade?

Many of you haven't felt compelled to update your iPhone or other smartphone lately.

France, US agree to extend digital tax row talks: French diplomat

Emmanuel Macron and Donald Trump have agreed to extend negotiations on a dispute over a French tax on digital giants to the end of the year, postponing Washington's threat of sanctions against Paris, a French diplomatic source said Monday.

Securing radiological sources on the go

Radioactive materials are a critical tool in a number of industrial applications particularly oil and gas drilling and welding. While these sources are safe and well-regulated for their intended use; if lost or stolen the materials could be used by terrorists to make dirty bombs. The Department of Energy's Pacific Northwest National Laboratory developed and licensed a technology system to keep track of and secure radiological material on the road or at job sites. Golden Security Services of Miami, Florida, will produce and deploy the Mobile Source Transit Security, or MSTS system, starting at several sites in Latin America.

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