Science X Newsletter Week 20

Dear ymilog,

Here is your customized Science X Newsletter for week 20:

Researchers see atoms at record resolution

In 2018, Cornell researchers built a high-powered detector that, in combination with an algorithm-driven process called ptychography, set a world record by tripling the resolution of a state-of-the-art electron microscope.

Stunning simulation of stars being born is most realistic ever

A team including Northwestern University astrophysicists has developed the most realistic, highest-resolution 3D simulation of star formation to date. The result is a visually stunning, mathematically-driven marvel that allows viewers to float around a colorful gas cloud in 3D space while watching twinkling stars emerge.

Not graphene: Researchers discover new type of atomically thin carbon material

Carbon exists in various forms. In addition to diamond and graphite, there are recently discovered forms with astonishing properties. For example graphene, with a thickness of just one atomic layer, is the thinnest known material, and its unusual properties make it an extremely exciting candidate for applications like future electronics and high-tech engineering. In graphene, each carbon atom is linked to three neighbors, forming hexagons arranged in a honeycomb network. Theoretical studies have shown that carbon atoms can also arrange in other flat network patterns, while still binding to three neighbors, but none of these predicted networks had been realized until now.

World's largest iceberg breaks off Antarctica: European Space Agency

A huge ice block has broken off from western Antarctica into the Weddell Sea, becoming the largest iceberg in the world and earning the name A-76.

Ancient Australian Aboriginal memory tool superior to 'memory palace' learning

Australian scientists have compared an ancient Greek technique of memorizing data to an even older technique from Aboriginal culture, using students in a rural medical school.

Mammals in the time of dinosaurs held each other back

A new study led by researchers from the Oxford University Museum of Natural History, University of Oxford and the University of Birmingham for Current Biology has used new methods to analyze the variability of mammal fossils, revealing extraordinary results: it was not dinosaurs, but possibly other mammals, that were the main competitors of modern mammals before and after the mass extinction of dinosaurs.

Mahle developing magnet-free electric motor that does not require rare earth elements

German car parts company Mahle has announced that it is in the process of developing a magnet-free electric motor that does not require rare earth elements. Company reps report that the new motor is efficient and extremely durable.

Part of the Greenland ice sheet may be close to a tipping point

Data from the Jakobshavn drainage basin of the Central-Western Greenland ice sheet reveals that the distinct mark of this part of the ice sheet has reached a tipping point. That is the conclusion by Niklas Boers from Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research, Germany and Martin Rypdal from the Arctic University of Norway, after careful studies of the development in melt rates and ice-sheet height changes during the last 140 years. The two authors propose close monitoring of the Greenland ice sheet to assess the situation. The work, published in PNAS today, is part of the TiPES project, coordinated and led by the University of Copenhagen, Denmark, and the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research, Germany.

US Air Force autonomous drone Skyborg completes first flight

Last month, the United States Air Force successfully test flew an unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) called Skyborg, operating on an autonomous hardware/software suite, for the very first time.

Russians infected with crossover flu virus suggests possibility of another pandemic

Two virus researchers in China are recommending security measures after seven Russian farm workers became infected with a crossover flu virus last year. In their Perspectives piece published in the journal Science, Weifeng Shi and George Gao, both of whom are affiliated with multiple institutions in China, suggest that the makeup and history of the H5N8 strain of avian influenza virus threaten the possibility of another pandemic.

Study reveals new details on what happened in the first microsecond of Big Bang

Researchers from University of Copenhagen have investigated what happened to a specific kind of plasma—the first matter ever to be present—during the first microsecond of Big Bang. Their findings provide a piece of the puzzle to the evolution of the universe, as we know it today.

Unexpected 'Black Swan' defect discovered in soft matter for first time

In new research, Texas A&M University scientists have for the first time revealed a single microscopic defect called a "twin" in a soft-block copolymer using an advanced electron microscopy technique. This defect may be exploited in the future to create materials with novel acoustic and photonic properties.

Mothers can influence offspring's height, lifespan and disease risk through mitochondria

Mitochondria—the 'batteries' that power our cells—play an unexpected role in common diseases such as type 2 diabetes and multiple sclerosis, concludes a study of over 350,000 people conducted by the University of Cambridge.

Neutrons piece together 40-year puzzle behind iron-iodide's mysterious magnetism

Advanced materials with more novel properties are almost always developed by adding more elements to the list of ingredients. But quantum research suggests some simpler materials might already have advanced properties that scientists just couldn't see, until now.

Months after learning to walk again, 24-year-old finally learns what caused her paralysis

One morning when she was 24, Andrea Paez woke up to find dark red blood on her pillow. She felt exhausted and nauseous, with a pounding headache.

Finding quasars: Rare extragalactic objects are now easier to spot

Astrophysicists from the University of Bath have developed a new method for pinpointing the whereabouts of extremely rare extragalactic objects. They hope their technique for finding 'changing-look quasars' will take scientists one step closer to unraveling one of greatest mysteries of the universe—how supermassive black holes grow. Quasars are believed to be responsible for regulating the growth of supermassive black holes and their host galaxies.

Arctic warming three times faster than the planet, report warns

The Arctic has warmed three times more quickly than the planet as a whole, and faster than previously thought, a report warned on Thursday.

Tardigrades survive impacts of up to 825 meters per second

A pair of researchers at the University of Kent has found that tardigrades are able to survive impacts at speeds of up to 825 meters per second. In their paper published in the journal Astrobiology, Alejandra Traspas and Mark Burchell describe experiments they conducted that involved firing canisters containing tardigrades at high speeds at sand targets.

Researchers design new experiments to map and test the mysterious quantum realm

A heart surgeon doesn't need to grasp quantum mechanics to perform successful operations. Even chemists don't always need to know these fundamental principles to study chemical reactions. But for Kang-Kuen Ni, the Morris Kahn associate professor of chemistry and chemical biology and of physics, quantum spelunking is, like space exploration, a quest to discover a vast and mysterious new realm.

Ancient horse DNA reveals gene flow between Eurasian and North American horses

A new study of ancient DNA from horse fossils found in North America and Eurasia shows that horse populations on the two continents remained connected through the Bering Land Bridge, moving back and forth and interbreeding multiple times over hundreds of thousands of years.

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