Science X Newsletter Monday, May 11

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Here is your customized Science X Newsletter for May 11, 2020:

Spotlight Stories Headlines

Measuring the charge radii of exotic copper isotopes

Scientists create new recipe for single-atom transistors

New research determines our species created earliest modern artifacts in Europe

Chemical evidence of dairying by hunter-gatherers in Lesotho in the first millennium AD

Bumble bee disease, reproduction shaped by flowering strip plants

How to boost plant biomass: Biologists uncover molecular link between nutrient availability, growth

Observations unveil the properties of neutrino-emitting blazar's jet

Cation-induced shape programming and morphing in protein-based hydrogels

Critical Thunderbolt flaw enables five-minute stealth attack

Scientists reveal solar system's oldest molecular fluids could hold the key to early life

Scientists model Mars climate to understand habitability

The exceptional origin of EUV light in hot tin plasma

Men's blood contains greater concentrations of enzyme that helps COVID-19 infect cells

Research shows even animals benefit from social distance to prevent disease

Team finds link between blood vessel inflammation, malfunctioning cellular powerhouses

Physics news

Measuring the charge radii of exotic copper isotopes

Researchers at Instituut voor Kern- en Stralingsfysica in Belgium and The University of Manchester, in collaboration with other institutes worldwide, have recently carried out a study aimed at measuring the size of the nucleus (i.e., nuclear charge radius) in neutron-rich copper isotopes. Their paper, published in Nature Physics, presents observations of a distinctive and interesting odd-even staggering pattern in the sizes of these isotopes' nuclei.

Scientists create new recipe for single-atom transistors

Once unimaginable, transistors consisting only of several-atom clusters or even single atoms promise to become the building blocks of a new generation of computers with unparalleled memory and processing power. But to realize the full potential of these tiny transistors—miniature electrical on-off switches—researchers must find a way to make many copies of these notoriously difficult-to-fabricate components.

The exceptional origin of EUV light in hot tin plasma

Extreme ultraviolet light (EUV light) does not naturally occur on Earth, but it can be produced. In nanolithography machines, EUV light is generated using an immensely hot tin plasma. Researchers at ARCNL, in close collaboration with the American Los Alamos National Laboratory, have unraveled how such a plasma emits EUV light at the atomic level, and have made unexpected discoveries, reporting that all excited energy states of tin were found to have the right energy to emit EUV light. The researchers published their findings in Nature Communications on May 11.

Using sludge worms as a model for active filaments in viscosity tests

A team of researchers at the University of Amsterdam has found that it is possible to use sludge worms as a model for filaments when conducting viscosity tests. In their paper published in the journal Physical Review Letters, the group describes their experiments with sludge worms and a rheometer and what they learned from them.

What fluid dynamics can explain about COVID-19 spread—and how to protect yourself

Public health advice for avoiding respiratory illness is largely unchanged since the Spanish flu of 1918, one of history's deadliest pandemics. Keep a safe distance from other people. Wash your hands frequently with soap and water to kill any germs you may have picked up. Cover your nose and mouth with a face mask—even one fashioned from a bandana will do. Such guidance is based on the understanding that respiratory infections spread through virus-carrying droplets that are expelled when infected people cough, sneeze, or breathe.

Future information technologies: 3-D quantum spin liquid revealed

Quantum spin liquids are candidates for potential use in future information technologies. So far, quantum spin liquids have usually only been found in one or two dimensional magnetic systems only. Now an international team led by HZB scientists has investigated crystals of PbCuTe2O6 with neutron experiments at ISIS, NIST and ILL.

Obnoxious background light helps advance spatial light modulator calibration

Spatial light modulator (SLM) is widely used in beam manipulation, interferometric sensing, beam splitter, beam shaping, and laser processing. With the development of optical technique, optical sensing and imaging are getting closer to the diffraction-limited resolution, which must meet the requirement of high-precision wavefront measurement at first. Electrically addressed SLM maps the voltage to the phase modulation of the liquid crystal, which can be provided by a computer-generated two-dimensional gray-scale image.

Scientists generate multicolor concentric annular ultrafast vector beams

Ultrafast vector beams have wide applications in photochemistry, biology and physics. They can be used in pump-probe experiments, high-resolution imaging, manipulating microparticles, classical optical communications and quantum optical communications.

Stresses and flows in ultra-cold superfluids

Superfluids, which form only at temperatures close to absolute zero, have unique and in some ways bizarre mechanical properties. Yvan Buggy of the Institute of Photonics and Quantum Sciences at Heriot-Watt University in Edinburgh, Scotland, and his co-workers have developed a new quantum mechanical model of some of these properties, which illustrates how these fluids will deform as they flow around impurities. This work is published in the journal EPJ D.

Astronomy and Space news

Observations unveil the properties of neutrino-emitting blazar's jet

Using the Very Long Baseline Interferometry (VLBI) technique, astronomers have probed the parsec-scale jet of a neutrino-emitting blazar known as TXS 0506+056. Results of the new study, presented May 1 on, shed more light on the properties of this jet, which could improve the understanding of very-high energy (VHE) neutrinos.

Scientists model Mars climate to understand habitability

A Southwest Research Institute scientist modeled the atmosphere of Mars to help determine that salty pockets of water present on the Red Planet are likely not habitable by life as we know it on Earth. A team that also included scientists from Universities Space Research Association (USRA) and the University of Arkansas helped allay planetary protection concerns about contaminating potential Martian ecosystems. These results were published this month in Nature Astronomy.

A multilayer haze system on Saturn's hexagon

A rich variety of meteorological phenomena takes place in the extensive hydrogen atmosphere of Saturn, a world about 10 times the size of the Earth. They help us to better understand similar features in the Earth's atmosphere. Among Saturn's atmospheric phenomena is the well-known "hexagon," an amazing wave structure that surrounds the planet's polar region.

Scientists reveal new insights of exploding massive stars and future gravitational wave detectors

In a study recently published in the Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society, Dr. Jade Powell and Dr. Bernhard Mueller from the ARC Centre of Excellence for Gravitational Wave Discovery (OzGrav) simulated three core-collapse supernovae using supercomputers from across Australia, including the OzSTAR supercomputer at Swinburne University of Technology. The simulation models—which are 39 times, 20 times and 18 times more massive than our sun— revealed new insights into exploding massive stars and the next generation of gravitational-wave detectors.

New evidence shows giant meteorite impacts formed parts of the Moon's crust

New research published today in the journal Nature Astronomy reveals a type of destructive event most often associated with disaster movies and dinosaur extinction may have also contributed to the formation of the Moon's surface.

Abell 2384: Bending the bridge between two galaxy clusters

Several hundred million years ago, two galaxy clusters collided and then passed through each other. This mighty event released a flood of hot gas from each galaxy cluster that formed an unusual bridge between the two objects. This bridge is now being pummeled by particles driven away from a supermassive black hole.

Dynamic orbital slingshot: A cool idea to catch up with an interstellar visitor

Poor, dim-witted humanity.

Listen to the sounds of BepiColombo's Earth flyby

Listen to the sound of BepiColombo's Earth flyby as captured in five recordings taken by two instruments aboard the Mercury Planetary Orbiter, one of the two orbiters comprising the joint European/Japanese Mercury exploration mission.

Technology news

Critical Thunderbolt flaw enables five-minute stealth attack

A new attack method affecting Thunderbolt-equipped computers can bypass locks, password-protection and encryption on ports produced before 2019.

Perovskite photovoltaics on coated ultrathin glass as high-efficiency flexible indoor generators

A revolution is underway in the development of autonomous wireless sensors, low-power consumer electronics, smart homes, domotics and the Internet of Things. All the related technologies require efficient and easy-to-integrate energy harvesting devices for their power. Billions of wireless sensors are expected to be installed in interior environments in coming decades.

Moisture-sucking gels give solar panels the chills

A cooling system developed at KAUST has improved the efficiency of a prototype solar panel up to 20 percent and requires no external energy source to operate.

Semiconductor companies consider new plants in the U.S.

Intel and a Taiwanese company are talking to the Trump administration about building new semiconductor plants in the United States amid concern about relying on suppliers in Asia for chips used in a wide variety of electronics.

Social media used to spread, create COVID-19 falsehoods

When a disease outbreak grabs the public's attention, formal recommendations from medical experts are often muffled by a barrage of half-baked advice, sketchy remedies, and misguided theories that circulate as anxious people rush to understand a new health risk.

Coronavirus contact tracing poses serious threats to our privacy

We are all wondering how COVID-19 will end. We will not likely return to normal without a broadly distributed vaccine, which is a bracing proposition. It is also becoming increasingly clear that we will have to find a way to trace transmission and maybe even enforce individual quarantines in the interim.

Coronavirus: The first big test of the information age and what it could mean for privacy

The late Harvard sociologist Daniel Bell long ago predicted the coming of the "information society," which he said would soon replace industrial society. Bell foresaw scientific experts driving government policy, services taking over from manufacturing and computers becoming the main mode of interaction between people. "What counts," he wrote in his classic The Coming of Post-Industrial Society (1973), "is not raw muscle power, or energy, but information." The new society, about which he was mildly optimistic, would be a reality by about 2020.

The future of conference: Will events remain virtual after lockdowns?

Keith Townsend spent six weeks planning his first company conference. More than 200 people showed up to watch 25 expert speakers, but not a single hand was shaken or business card was given.

'Data clouds fusion' helps robots work as a team in hazardous situations

A group of researchers and engineers has created a new way for robots to pool data gathered in real time, allowing them to 'think' collectively and navigate their way through difficult, previously unmapped obstacles as a team.

Mathematics to keep farmers on track

Scientists at the Tokyo University of Agriculture and Technology (TUAT) used nonlinear mathematical modeling to understand the bouncing and sliding instabilities that can lead to tractor accidents. This research may help protect farmers from injury, as well as better control automated agricultural systems.

US says Chinese hacking vaccine research: reports

The US Federal Bureau of Investigation and cybersecurity experts believe Chinese hackers are trying to steal research on developing a vaccine against coronavirus, two newspapers reported Monday.

3-D-printed nuclear reactor promises faster, more economical path to nuclear energy

Researchers at the Department of Energy's Oak Ridge National Laboratory are refining their design of a 3-D-printed nuclear reactor core, scaling up the additive manufacturing process necessary to build it, and developing methods to confirm the consistency and reliability of its printed components.

Tesla parking lot nearly full, indicating factory is running

The parking lot was nearly full at Tesla's California electric car factory Monday, an indication that the company could be resuming production in defiance of an order from county health authorities.

Delta, citing health concerns, drops service to 10 US airports. Is yours on the list?

Travelers aboard Delta Air Lines are about to have fewer options when it comes to airports in major metro areas.

Which flying camera is for me? The new Mavic Air 2 or Mavic Pro?

It's very rare to see any travel video or brochure these days that doesn't have an image shot from overhead, on a drone.

Heathrow airport urges roadmap for quarantine exit

London's Heathrow airport on Monday urged the British government to issue a "roadmap" for its planned coronavirus quarantine for air travellers, after revealing traffic almost evaporated in April.

Virus-ravaged UK aviation sector faces quarantine woe

Britain's aviation sector grappled Monday with news that international arrivals will soon face a 14-day quarantine to stop new infections of coronavirus, which has already ravaged travel demand worldwide.

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