Science X Newsletter Wednesday, Mar 10

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Here is your customized Science X Newsletter for March 10, 2021:

Spotlight Stories Headlines

Researchers create a hybrid technology that combines III-V tunnel FETs and MOSFETs

Research predicts the high-temperature topological superconductivity of twisted double-layer copper oxides

IceCube detection of a high-energy particle proves 60-year-old theory

Using artificial intelligence to generate 3D holograms in real-time

A new map of protein binding locations in yeast advances understanding of gene regulation

Long-accepted theory of vertebrate origin upended by fossilized fish larvae

A new dwarf nova: ZTF18abdlzhd is an SU UMa-type star, study finds

Bug bounty company PingSafe AI discovers iPhone call recording app vulnerability

Biomolecular analysis of medieval parchment 'birthing girdle'

Soft contact lenses eyed as new solutions to monitor ocular diseases

Researchers use silkworm silk to model muscle tissue

Capitalizing on measles vaccine's successful history to protect against SARS-CoV-2

Sushi-like rolled 2D heterostructures may lead to new miniaturized electronics

Both old and young fish sustain fisheries

Porous, ultralow-temperature supercapacitors could power Mars, polar missions

Physics news

Research predicts the high-temperature topological superconductivity of twisted double-layer copper oxides

Two-dimensional (2D) materials, such as graphene or transition metal dichalcogenides, can sometimes be assembled into bilayers with a twist between individual layers. In recent years, many researchers have been investigating the properties of these twisted double-layer structures and their potential advantages for fabricating electronic devices.

IceCube detection of a high-energy particle proves 60-year-old theory

On December 6, 2016, a high-energy particle called an electron antineutrino hurtled to Earth from outer space at close to the speed of light carrying 6.3 petaelectronvolts (PeV) of energy. Deep inside the ice sheet at the South Pole, it smashed into an electron and produced a particle that quickly decayed into a shower of secondary particles. The interaction was captured by a massive telescope buried in the Antarctic glacier, the IceCube Neutrino Observatory.

Using artificial intelligence to generate 3D holograms in real-time

Despite years of hype, virtual reality headsets have yet to topple TV or computer screens as the go-to devices for video viewing. One reason: VR can make users feel sick. Nausea and eye strain can result because VR creates an illusion of 3D viewing although the user is in fact staring at a fixed-distance 2D display. The solution for better 3D visualization could lie in a 60-year-old technology remade for the digital world: holograms.

Finding quvigints in a quantum treasure map

Researchers have struck quantum gold—and created a new word—by enlisting machine learning to efficiently navigate a 20-dimensional quantum treasure map.

Searching for elusive supersymmetric particles

The Standard Model of particle physics is the best explanation to date for how the universe works at the subnuclear level and has helped explain, correctly, the elementary particles and forces between them. But the model is incomplete, requiring "extensions" to address its shortfalls.

Creating a new type of computing that's 'naturally probabilistic'

"You see, nature is unpredictable. How do you expect to predict it with a computer?" said American physicist Richard Feynman before computer scientists at a conference in 1981.

A theoretical path to polarized electron-beam nano-spectroscopy

A trio of researchers from the University of Göttingen, Université de Technologie de Troyes and Université Paris-Saclay, has developed a theoretical path to polarized electron-beam nano-spectroscopy. In their paper published in the journal Nature Physics, Hugo Lourenço-Martins, Davy Gérard and Mathieu Kociak, outline a theory that involves establishing a relationship between polarized optical spectroscopy and scattering of free electrons. David Masiello with the University of Washington has published a News & Views piece in the same journal issue outlining the work by the researchers.

How the electronic properties and atomic vibrations of uranium are linked

Researchers have explained how the electronic properties and atomic vibrations of uranium are linked.

Physics undergraduate proposes solution to quantum field theory problem

When physicists need to understand the quantum mechanics that describe how atomic clocks work, how your magnet sticks to your refrigerator or how particles flow through a superconductor, they use quantum field theories.

How a ladybug warps space-time

Researchers at the University of Vienna and the Austrian Academy of Sciences, led by Markus Aspelmeyer have succeeded in measuring the gravitational field of a gold sphere, just 2 mm in diameter, using a highly sensitive pendulum—and thus the smallest gravitational force. The experiment opens up new possibilities for testing the laws of gravity on previously unattained small scales. The results are published in the journal Nature.

Bacteria know how to exploit quantum mechanics, study finds

Photosynthetic organisms harvest light from the sun to produce the energy they need to survive. A new paper published by University of Chicago researchers reveals their secret: exploiting quantum mechanics.

Playing games with quantum interference

As Richard Feynman famously put it, "the double slit experiment is absolutely impossible to explain in any classical way and has in it the heart of quantum mechanics. In reality, it contains the only mystery."

The physics of transonic shocks produced across a laminar flow airfoil

Armando Collazo Garcia III got more than he expected from a graduate course he took last spring. He developed a new understanding of the physics of transonic shocks produced across a laminar flow airfoil with boundary-layer suction and added a published paper to his resume.

LS2 report: CERN's oldest accelerator awakens

"Synchrotron (PS) is the beating heart of CERN's accelerator system. Situated at the center of the complex, it feeds particle beams not only to the Large Hadron Collider (LHC), but to many of CERN's major facilities, including the Antimatter Factory and the East Area." Klaus Hanke, head of the Proton Synchrotron operations team, chooses his words carefully to describe CERN's oldest accelerator still in operation. On 4 March, the veteran accelerator received its first particle beam after a two-year shutdown, during which it underwent significant upgrades to prepare it for higher luminosity (an indicator of the number of collisions).

Scientists have synthesized a new high-temperature superconductor

An international team led by Artem R. Oganov, a Professor at Skoltech and MISIS, and Dr. Ivan Troyan from the Institute of Crystallography of RAS performed theoretical and experimental research on a new high-temperature superconductor, yttrium hydride (YH6). Their findings were published in the journal Advanced Materials.

Astronomy and Space news

A new dwarf nova: ZTF18abdlzhd is an SU UMa-type star, study finds

Using the Zwicky Transient Facility (ZTF) and the Caucasus Mountain Observatory (CMO), Russian astronomers have investigated a peculiar source designated ZTF18abdlzhd. The observations revealed that this object is an SU UMa-type dwarf nova. The finding is reported in a paper published March 4 on the arXiv pre-print server.

Explaining Parker Solar Probe's magnetic puzzle

When NASA's Parker Solar Probe sent back the first observations from its voyage to the Sun, scientists found signs of a wild ocean of currents and waves quite unlike the near-Earth space much closer to our planet. This ocean was spiked with what became known as switchbacks: rapid flips in the Sun's magnetic field that reversed direction like a zig-zagging mountain road.

Ideas for future NASA missions searching for extraterrestrial civilizations

A researcher at the Instituto de Astrofísica de Canarias (IAC) is the lead author of a study with proposals for 'technosignatures'—evidence for the use of technology or industrial activity in other parts of the Universe—for future NASA missions. The article, published in the specialized journal Acta Astronautica, contains the initial conclusions of a meeting of experts in the search for intelligent extraterrestrial life, sponsored by the space agency to gather advice about this topic.

How do you get power into your lunar base? With a tower of concrete several kilometers high

It sounds like science fiction, but building an enormous tower several kilometers high on the lunar surface may be the best way to harness solar energy for long-term lunar exploration. Such towers would raise solar panels above obstructing geological features on the lunar surface, and expand the surface area available for power generation.

The most recent volcanic activity on the moon? Just 100 million years ago

Regions of the moon known as irregular mare patches—formed by magma cooling from a volcanic eruption—have almost no big craters, indicating that they must be relatively young. By studying the distribution of craters within them, we can estimate when these regions were formed: no more than 100 million years ago.

How asteroid dust helped us prove life's raw ingredients can evolve in outer space

Scientists have long known that certain ingredients are needed to support life, especially water and key organic chemicals like carbon. In recent years, both ingredients have been found on giant asteroids and other celestial bodies.

How scientists found rare fireball meteorite pieces on a driveway—and what they can teach us

As people in the UK were settling down to watch the late evening news on February 28, a fresh news story, quite literally, appeared in the night sky. A large and very bright fireball was seen over southern England and northern France at 21:54 GMT. It was recorded by many doorbell webcams, so it was a very well-observed fireball. More importantly, it was also captured by the automated cameras of the UK Meteor Observation Network and similar networks.

In first, scientists trace fastest solar particles to their roots on the Sun

Zipping through space at close to the speed of light, Solar Energetic Particles, or SEPs, are one of the main challenges for the future of human spaceflight. Clouds of these tiny solar projectiles can make it to Earth—a 93 million mile journey—in under an hour. They can fry sensitive spacecraft electronics and pose serious risks to human astronauts. But their onset is extraordinarily hard to predict, in part because we still don't know exactly where on the Sun they come from.

Space sustainability and debris physics: The role of reentries

What goes up, nearly always comes back down. When it comes to the objects we send to space, atmospheric reentries are actually a fundamental tool in minimizing the creation of space debris and ensuring a sustainable future in space.

Technology news

Researchers create a hybrid technology that combines III-V tunnel FETs and MOSFETs

Over the past few decades, the incredible progress made in the electronics industry has been partially driven by innovations at the single-transistor level. A transistor is a semiconducting device that can conduct, insulate and amplify electric current inside electronic circuits. Building faster and smaller transistors has been a primary goal for the semiconductor industry over the past few years.

Bug bounty company PingSafe AI discovers iPhone call recording app vulnerability

PingSafe AI, a security company that monitors multiple breaches in real time, has uncovered a critical vulnerability in the iPhone automatic call recorder application that exposed thousands of users' recorded calls.

Bitcoin price boom 'locking in' vast energy consumption

The cryptocurrency market has been abuzz as Bitcoin gains popularity with investors, reaching an all-time high of over $58,000 apiece in February. In a commentary published March 10 in the journal Joule, financial economist Alex de Vries quantifies how the surging Bitcoin price is driving increasing energy consumption, exacerbating the global shortage of chips, and even threatening international safety.

Solar cell breakthrough: Researchers observe singlet fission reaction at nanosecond timescale

The efficiency of solar cells can be increased by exploiting a phenomenon known as singlet fission. However, unexplained energy losses during the reaction have until now been a major problem. A research group led by scientists at Linköping University, Sweden, has discovered what happens during singlet fission and where the lost energy goes. The results have been published in the journal Cell Reports Physical Science.

Producing highly efficient LEDs based on 2D perovskite films

Energy efficient light-emitting diodes (LEDs) have been used in our everyday life for many decades. But the quest for better LEDs, offering both lower costs and brighter colors, has recently drawn scientists to a material called perovskite. A recent joint-research project co-led by the scientist from City University of Hong Kong (CityU) has now developed a 2-D perovskite material for the most efficient LEDs.

How to each AI decision-making skills and common sense: Play games

Humans are highly adaptable creatures. Whether it be learning from past experience or understanding social expectations, we move from one situation to another with ease. For artificial intelligence, adapting to new situations is not as easy. Though AI models are able to hold enormous quantities of knowledge and learn from past mistakes, they lack a general understanding of implicit information and common sense that often informs our decision making.

Robots can use eye contact to draw out reluctant participants in group interactions

Eye contact is a key to establishing a connection, and teachers use it often to encourage participation. But can a robot do this too? Can it draw a response simply by making eye contact, even with people who are less inclined to speak up? A recent study suggests that it can.

Successful trial shows way forward on quieter drone propellers

Researchers have published a study revealing their successful approach to designing much quieter propellers.

Are 'bacterial probiotics' a game-changer for the biofuels industry?

In a study recently published in Nature Communications, scientists from The Novo Nordisk Foundation Center for Biosustainability (DTU) and Yale University have investigated how bacteria that are commonly found in sugarcane ethanol fermentation affect the industrial process. By closely studying the interactions between yeast and bacteria, it is suggested that the industry could improve both its total yield and the cost of the fermentation processes by paying more attention to the diversity of the microbial communities and choosing between good and bad bacteria.

A scarf that speaks? Scientists develop message display fabric

At first glance, the fabric looks like a pretty if not especially original scarf, with turquoise, blue and orange stripes in an open weave. But this fabric can communicate.

Large computer language models carry environmental, social risks

Computer engineers at the world's largest companies and universities are using machines to scan through tomes of written material. The goal? Teach these machines the gift of language. Do that, some even claim, and computers will be able to mimic the human brain.

Facebook reveals goals for 3-D augmented reality glasses

With the reality of virtual interaction increasing during the COVID-19 pandemic, Facebook is expanding its AI-based augmented reality (AR) initiative. The company's Reality Labs aim to develop lightweight, stylish glasses that will allow wearers to engage with family and friends safely and regardless of geographical distance.

Fortnite maker adds Google Australia to legal fight against tech giants

Fortnite maker Epic Games launched legal action against Google in Australia on Wednesday, opening another front in its global fight against the stranglehold of tech titans on app marketplaces.

Biden eyes Big Tech critic for regulatory post: media

President Joe Biden plans to nominate a prominent advocate of breaking up Big Tech firms to a key regulatory post, suggesting an aggressive antitrust stance, media reports said Tuesday.

Researchers develop an efficient tin monosulfide solar cell prototype

A team of researchers from Tohoku University have created a tin monosulfide (SnS) solar cell that boasts attractive performance levels, promoting affordable and clean energy and moving society closer to achieving the UN's sustainable development goals.

Apartment made from waste glass and textiles showcases 'green' ceramics

An industry-first apartment made using waste materials that has the potential to revolutionize home construction has been revealed by the UNSW SMaRT Centre and industry partner Mirvac.

New evidence shows half of Australians have ditched social media at some point, but millennials lag behind

A recent nationally representative survey has shown Australians are willing and able to pull the plug on social media.

Fukushima: 10 years on from the disaster, was Japan's response right?

The world saw something never before caught on camera on March 12, 2011: an explosion ripping the roof off a nuclear power plant—Japan's Fukushima Daiichi. The blast wasn't actually nuclear, it was the result of hot hydrogen gas encountering the cool, outside air during the aftermath of the Tōhoku earthquake and tsunami. But the distinction hardly mattered—something had clearly gone terribly wrong.

Pinpointing the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic with AI

Fraunhofer IAO, the University Hospital Dresden and seracom GmbH joined forces to investigate the long-term impact of the COVID-19 pandemic using AI algorithms in a project called WIBCE. The results of the associated Germany-wide online survey indicate that younger people experience more psychological distress than older people, despite the fact that their objective health risk is relatively low.

'Instagram Lite' rolls out to 170 countries, extending reach

Facebook said Wednesday a lightweight version of Instagram would be rolling out to 170 countries, extending the reach of the popular visually-focused social network.

One year in, broadband access and telehealth are two big winners under COVID-19

Of all the everyday priorities that changed as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, few became more crucial than the need to stay connected—to the internet, to teachers and to doctors.

The human body as a power plant

The technology developed by the ETH spin-off Mithras Technology wouldn't be out of place in a science fiction movie: The user's own body heat powers what is known as a thermoelectric generator to charge wearables and other electronic devices.

Tech's war with news outlets flares as US lawmakers ready bill

The battle between news publishers and Alphabet Inc.'s Google and Facebook Inc. that flared up in Australia recently is coming to the U.S.

Google adding new features to Chromebooks as devices turn 10

Google's popular low-cost Chromebooks are turning 10, and they are adding features to mimic higher-end devices like Apple's MacBooks.

Security camera hack exposes hospitals, workplaces, schools

Hackers aiming to call attention to the dangers of mass surveillance said they were able to peer into hospitals, schools, factories, jails and corporate offices after they broke into the systems of a security-camera startup.

Facebook filings seek dismissal of antitrust lawsuits

Facebook said Wednesday it filed motions seeking dismissal of US federal and state antitrust lawsuits, claiming there is no credible case to be made that it has harmed competition or excluded rivals in social networking.

Bezos plans to spend $10 billion by 2030 on climate change

Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos plans to spend the $10 billion he invested in the Bezos Earth Fund by 2030, the fund's new CEO said Tuesday.

New owner Buzzfeed lays off 45 from HuffPost newsroom

Buzzfeed announced Tuesday that it has laid off 45 reporters, editors and producers from the newly acquired HuffPost.

Cathay Pacific posts record loss, warns of long recovery

Hong Kong carrier Cathay Pacific said Wednesday it suffered a record $2.8 billion loss last year as the coronavirus pandemic wiped out demand for travel—and the airline warned of a long road to recovery ahead.

Russia slows down Twitter, part of social media clampdown

Russian authorities said Wednesday they are slowing down the speed of uploading photos and videos to Twitter over its failure to remove banned content—part of growing efforts to curb social media platforms that have played a major role in amplifying dissent.

LinkedIn China suspends new sign-ups to 'respect law'

Microsoft-owned social network LinkedIn has halted new member sign-ups for its service in China while it reviews its compliance with local laws, the company said in a statement.

Surveillance fears after Clubhouse app takes Saudi by storm

Political reform, racism, transgender rights—the audio app Clubhouse has unleashed unbridled debates about topics deemed dangerously sensitive in Saudi Arabia, but surveillance fears have spooked users in the authoritarian state.

Video game platform Roblox to make Wall Street debut

Gaming platform Roblox—which has skyrocketed in popularity among kids and teens during the coronavirus pandemic—will make its Wall Street debut Wednesday as a direct listing.

Latest mass hacks highlight challenge for Biden administration

The potentially devastating hack of Microsoft email servers, the second major cyberattack in months, adds pressure to the Biden administration as it weighs options for "hacking back" or other moves to protect cyberspace.

Russia ramps up facial recognition systems

From cameras criss-crossing the city to payment systems popping up at metro gates and supermarket checkouts, facial recognition is rapidly taking root in Moscow.

GE sells jet-leasing unit to AerCap for $30 bn

General Electric announced a deal Wednesday to sell its aircraft leasing business to AerCap for $30 billion, establishing a new industry giant amid the pandemic-induced downturn in air travel.

New material will triple the capacity of lithium-ion batteries

Scientists of the National University of Science and Technology "MISIS" (NUST MISIS), part of an international team of researchers, managed to increase the capacity and extend the service life of lithium-ion batteries. According to the researchers, they have synthesized a new nanomaterial that can replace low-efficiency graphite used in lithium-ion batteries today. The results of the research are published in the Journal of Alloys and Compounds.

Aeroflot logs heavy 2020 loss

Russia's flagship airline Aeroflot announced Wednesday heavy losses for 2020 as coronavirus-related restrictions grounded planes around the world.

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