In the curling sport, the players shoot their stones along the ice so that they slowly slide towards the target area, almost 30 m away. The game has its name from the slightly curved "curled" path taken by the stone, when released with a slow rotation. Researchers from Uppsala University in Sweden can now reveal the mechanism behind this curving path.
Detecting alien worlds presents a significant challenge since they are small, faint, and close to their stars. The two most prolific techniques for finding exoplanets are radial velocity and transits. A team at Tel Aviv University and the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics has just discovered an exoplanet using a new method that relies on Einstein's special theory of relativity.
Genes make up about 2% of the human genome. The rest consists of a genetic material known as noncoding DNA, and scientists have spent years puzzling over why this material exists in such voluminous quantities. Now, a new study offers an unexpected insight: The large majority of noncoding DNA, which is abundant in many living things, may not actually be needed for complex life.
A new joint innovation by the National Physical Laboratory and the University of Cambridge could pave the way for redefining the ampere in terms of fundamental constants of physics. The world's first graphene single-electron pump provides the speed of electron flow needed to create a new standard for electrical current based on electron charge.
One of the most promising new kinds of battery to power electric cars is called a lithium-air battery. But progress has been slow. Researchers have used transmission electron microscope (TEM) imaging to observe, at a molecular level, what goes on during a reaction called oxygen evolution as lithium-air batteries charge; this reaction is thought to be a bottleneck limiting further improvements to these batteries.
Ripening fruit, vegetables, and flowers release ethylene, which works as a plant hormone. Ethylene accelerates ripening, so other unripened fruit also begins to ripen—fruit and vegetables quickly spoil and flowers wilt. researchers in Japan have now introduced a new catalytic system for the fast and complete degradation of ethylene. This could keep the air in warehouses ethylene-free, keeping perishable products fresh longer.
At seven times the toughness of Kevlar, a silk produced by the Caerostris darwini spider of Madagascar is more robust than any other material—synthetic or natural. Most spider silks are about two times tougher than Kevlar, and have long been considered an intriguing alternative for bulletproof vests and other protective gear. There’s only one problem: producing spider silk on demand is a tricky task.
Described as the "most beautiful experiment in physics," Richard Feynman emphasized how the diffraction of individual particles at a grating is an unambiguous demonstration of wave-particle duality and contrary to classical physics. A research team recently used carefully made fluorescent molecules and nanometric detection accuracy to provide clear and tangible evidence of the quantum behavior of large molecules in real time.
Leading nanoscientists created beautiful, tiled patterns with flat nanocrystals, but they were left with a mystery: Why did some sets of crystals arrange themselves in an alternating, herringbone style? To find out, they turned to experts in computer simulation at the University of Michigan and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
The old saying that "what goes up must come down" doesn't apply to carbon dioxide pollution in the air, which just hit an unnerving milestone. The chief greenhouse gas was measured Thursday at 400 parts per million in Hawaii, a monitoring site that sets the world's benchmark. This was last matched about 2 million years ago, or more, and is more than modern humans have ever encountered.
The three different formations of South Pacific coral-reef islands, fringing, barrier, and atoll, have long fascinated geologists. The question of how reefs develop into these shapes over evolutionary time produced an enduring conflict between two hypotheses, one from Charles Darwin and the other from Reginald Daly. But in a recently published paper, researchers use modern measurements and computer modeling to resolve this old conundrum.
A domestic natural gas boom already has lowered U.S. energy prices while stoking fears of environmental disaster. Now U.S. producers are poised to ship vast quantities of gas overseas as energy companies seek permits for proposed export projects that could set off a renewed frenzy of fracking.
Cancer patients could face high costs for medications under President Barack Obama's health care law, industry analysts and advocates warn. Where you live could make a huge difference in what you'll pay. To try to keep premiums low, some states are allowing insurers to charge patients a hefty share of the cost for expensive medications used to treat cancer, multiple sclerosis, rheumatoid arthritis, and other life-altering chronic diseases.
Researchers at the University of Illinois at Chicago have developed a way to introduce precisely four copper ions into a single quantum dot. The introduction of these “guest” ions opens up possibilities for fine-tuning the optical properties of the quantum dots and producing spectacular colors. When the crystallinity is perfect, they become very emissive and end up being the world’s best dye.
Eli Lilly and Co. said Friday it will stop development of an experimental cancer drug after it failed in a late-stage clinical trial. The company was studying enzastaurin as a treatment for diffuse large B-cell lymphoma, a cancer that affects a type of white blood cell. Lilly said patients who were treated with enzastaurin did not survive longer than patients treated with a placebo.