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For the first time, researchers predicted the properties of granular Platonic solids (crystalline) packs and discovered a significant shape effect in their overall thermo-mechanical behavior.

New paper opens the door to the study of a new class of materials

April 20, 2015 12:51 pm | by William G. Gilroy, University of Notre Dame | Comments

A new paper describes how an accurate statistical description of heterogeneous particulate materials, which is used within statistical micromechanics theories, governs the overall thermo-mechanical properties. This detailed statistical description was computed using a novel adaptive interpolation/integration scheme on the nation’s largest parallel supercomputers.

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How to maximize the superconducting critical temperature in a molecular superconductor

April 20, 2015 12:38 pm | by Tohoku Univ. | Comments

A research team has investigated the electronic properties of the family of unconventional superconductors based on fullerenes, which have the highest known superconducting critical temperature among molecular superconductors, and was able to demonstrate the guiding influence of the molecular electronic structure in controlling superconductivity and achieving maximum Tc.

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Advances in molecular electronics

April 20, 2015 10:27 am | by Helmholtz-Zentrum Dresden-Rossendorf | Comments

Scientists at the Helmholtz-Zentrum Dresden-Rossendorf and the Univ. of Konstanz are working on storing and processing information on the level of single molecules to create the smallest possible components that will combine autonomously to form a circuit. As recently reported in Advanced Science, the researchers can switch on the current flow through a single molecule for the first time with the help of light.

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Quantum model helps solve mysteries of water

April 20, 2015 10:19 am | by National Physical Laboratory | Comments

Water is one of the most common and extensively studied substances on earth. It’s vital for all known forms of life but its unique behavior has yet to be explained in terms of the properties of individual molecules. Water derives many of its signature features from a combination of properties at the molecular level such as high polarizability, directional hydrogen bonding sites and van der Waals forces.

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Pulsing light may indicate supermassive black hole merger

April 20, 2015 10:11 am | by Abby Robinson, Univ. of Maryland | Comments

As two galaxies enter the final stages of merging, scientists have theorized that the galaxies' supermassive black holes will form a "binary," or two black holes in such close orbit they are gravitationally bound to one another. In a new study, astronomers at the Univ. of Maryland present direct evidence of a pulsing quasar, which may substantiate the existence of black hole binaries.

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A cold cosmic mystery solved

April 20, 2015 8:31 am | by Univ. of Hawaii at Manoa | Comments

In 2004, astronomers examining a map of the radiation leftover from the Big Bang (the cosmic microwave background, or CMB) discovered the Cold Spot, a larger-than-expected unusually cold area of the sky. The physics surrounding the Big Bang theory predicts warmer and cooler spots of various sizes in the infant universe, but a spot this large and this cold was unexpected.

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Engineers introduce design that mimics nature’s camouflage

April 20, 2015 8:22 am | by Scott Schrage, Univ. of Nebraska-Lincoln Communications | Comments

It can shift from red to green to violet. It can mimic patterns and designs. And it can do all of this in a flash, literally. The same qualities that define the cuttlefish, a sea dweller that uses its powers of dynamic camouflage to survive and communicate, also apply to a new engineering feat that behaves much like nature's master of disguise.

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Liquid crystal bubbles experiment arrives at ISS

April 20, 2015 8:10 am | by Univ. of Colorado, Boulder | Comments

An experiment led by the Univ. of Colorado Boulder arrived at the International Space Station (ISS) and will look into the fluid dynamics of liquid crystals that may lead to benefits both on Earth and in space. A new physical science investigation on ISS, the Observation and Analysis of Smectic Islands in Space (OASIS), will examine the behavior of liquid crystals in microgravity.

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Key element in bacterial immune system discovered

April 20, 2015 7:53 am | by Univ. of Otago | Comments

A Univ. of Otago scientist is a member of an international research team that has made an important discovery about the workings of a bacterial immune system. The finding could lead to the development of tailor-made RNA-editing tools. RNA is the molecule that translates DNA's genetic instructions into the production of the proteins that are the building blocks of cells.

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Researcher studies the hacker mind

April 20, 2015 7:46 am | by Case Western Reserve Univ. | Comments

Timothy Summers is providing a better understanding about how hackers think through his research and newly formed startup, Summers & Co. LLC, designed to improve cybersecurity. Located in Silver Spring, Md., Summers & Co. assists businesses, governments and other organizations to protect data.

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Astronomers probe inner region of young star and its planets

April 20, 2015 7:36 am | by Daniel Stolte, Univ. of Arizona Communications | Comments

Astronomers have probed deeper than before into a planetary system 130 light-years from Earth. The observations mark the first results of a new exoplanet survey called LEECH (LBT Exozodi Exoplanet Common Hunt). The planetary system of HR8799, a young star only 30 million years old, was the first to be directly imaged, with three planets found in in 2008 and a fourth one in 2010.

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Hawaii telescope builders again extend construction timeout

April 18, 2015 12:05 am | by Audrey Mcavoy, Associated Press | Comments

A nonprofit company planning to build one of the world's biggest telescopes on a mountain many Native Hawaiians consider sacred will continue to postpone construction, Hawaii Gov. David Ige said Friday. This is the second time the Thirty Meter Telescope has extended a moratorium on building at the summit of Mauna Kea, the highest peak on the Big Island of Hawaii.

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New lab technique reveals structure, function of proteins critical in DNA repair

April 17, 2015 12:32 pm | by Univ. of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign | Comments

By combining two highly innovative experimental techniques, scientists at the Univ. of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign have for the first time simultaneously observed the structure and the correlated function of specific proteins critical in the repair of DNA, providing definitive answers to some highly debated questions, and opening up new avenues of inquiry and exciting new possibilities for biological engineering.

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Beyond the lithium ion

April 17, 2015 11:58 am | by Jeanne Galatzer-Levy, Univ. of Illinois, Chicago | Comments

The race is on around the world as scientists strive to develop a new generation of batteries that can perform beyond the limits of the current lithium-ion based battery. Researchers at the Univ. of Illinois at Chicago have taken a significant step toward the development of a battery that could outperform the lithium-ion technology used in electric cars such as the Chevy Volt.

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3D-printed blossoms a growing tool for ecology

April 17, 2015 10:36 am | by Michelle Ma, Univ. of Washington | Comments

3D printing has been used to make everything from cars to medical implants. Now, Univ. of Washington ecologists are using the technology to make artificial flowers, which they say could revolutionize our understanding of plant-pollinator interactions.

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