An international team of physicists has published the first calculation of direct "CP" symmetry violation: how the behavior of subatomic particles (in this case, the decay of kaons) differs when matter is swapped out for antimatter. Should the prediction represented by this calculation not match experimental results, it would be conclusive evidence of new, unknown phenomena that lie outside of the Standard Model.
Our sun is a relatively quiet star that only occasionally releases solar flares or blasts of energetic particles that threaten satellites and power grids. You might think that smaller, cooler stars would be even more sedate. However, astronomers have now identified a tiny star with a monstrous temper. It shows evidence of much stronger flares than anything our sun produces.
Usually, it’s a tradeoff: If you want maximum physical protection, whether from biting predators or exploding artillery shells, that generally compromises your ability to see. But sea-dwelling creatures called chitons have figured out a way around that problem: Tiny eyes are embedded within their tough protective shells, with their transparent lenses made of the same ceramic material as the rest of their shells—and just as tough.
There's an ancient group of algae that evolved in the world's oceans before our backboned ancestors crawled onto land. They are so numerous that their gigantic blooms can affect the weather, and they account for 30 to 40% of all photosynthesis in the world's oceans. But until recently, scientists interested in these single-celled creatures knew next to nothing about their genes.
Glioblastoma multiforme, a cancer of the brain also known as “octopus tumors” because of the manner in which the cancer cells extend their tendrils into surrounding tissue, is virtually inoperable, resistant to therapies, and always fatal, usually within 15 months of onset. Each year, glioblastoma multiforme kills approximately 15,000 people in the U.S.
Atomic-level imaging of catalysts by scientists at Oak Ridge National Laboratory could help manufacturers lower the cost and improve the performance of emission-free fuel cell technologies. Fuel cells rely on costly platinum catalysts to enable the reactions that convert chemical energy into electricity.
Researchers at Bringham Young Univ. have devised a system to speed up the process of making life-saving vaccines for new viruses. Their concept is to create the biological machinery for vaccine production en masse, put it in a freeze-dried state and stockpile it around the country. Then, when a new virus hits, labs can simply add water to a “kit” to rapidly produce vaccines.
Scientists are taking the temperature of ancient seas to discover how they’ve shaped global climate. In a study published in Nature Geoscience, a Yale Univ.-led research team explored differences in ocean temperatures over the last 5 million years. The team created a historical record for sea temperature gradients and compared it with state-of-the-art climate model simulations.
The recent boom in 3-D printing has driven innovations in fields as disparate as haute couture and medical implants. But little is known about the safety of the materials used. In a new study scientists showed that some 3-D printed parts are highly toxic to zebrafish embryos. Their findings could have implications not only for aquatic life but also for hobbyists, manufacturers and patients.
An insulin pill being developed by researchers at the Univ. of California, Santa Barbara may in the near future give another blood sugar management option to those who suffer from diabetes. The novel drug delivery technology may also apply to a wide spectrum of other therapies.
In certain nanomaterials, electrons are able to race through custom-built roadways just one atom wide. To achieve excellent efficiency, these 1-D paths must be paved with absolute perfection—a single errant atom can stop racing electrons in their tracks or even launch it backwards. Unfortunately, such imperfections are inevitable.
Dark matter is called "dark" for a good reason. Although they outnumber particles of regular matter by more than a factor of 10, particles of dark matter are elusive. Their existence is inferred by their gravitational influence in galaxies, but no one has ever directly observed signals from dark matter.
When the brain forms memories or learns a new task, it encodes the new information by tuning connections between neurons. Massachusetts Institute of Technology neuroscientists have discovered a novel mechanism that contributes to the strengthening of these connections, also called synapses.
As anyone who has experienced turbulence knows, its onset and departure are abrupt, and how long it lasts seems to be unpredictable. Fast flowing fluids are always turbulent, but at slower speeds the flow transitions to smooth and predictable (laminar) with intermittent patches of turbulence. In the human body, transitional turbulence can be deadly.