Soon after the Big Bang, the universe was so dense and so hot that elementary particles felt the existence of gravity strongly. For decades, physicists have attempted to model the laws of quantum gravity to describe this phase of the universe’s evolution. A new mathematical model developed by physicists in Poland surprisingly shows that different elementary particles “experience” the existence of different space-times.
The radioactive element astatine, which in Greek means “instability”, is so rare that it has been little studied. Using artificially generated astatine, physicist Sebastian Rothe has now managed for the first time to experimentally explore one of its fundamental parameters, the ionization potential. This marks the last naturally occurring element to have had this important characteristic determined.
With a 3-D printer, a petri dish and some cells from a cow, Princeton Univ. researchers are growing synthetic ears that can receive—and transmit—sound. The 3-D ear is not designed to replace a human one, though; the research is meant to explore a new method of combining electronics with biological material.
In new research, Biodesign Institute team members describe a pair of tweezers made using principles of DNA base-pairing. They are astonishingly small: When the jaws of these tools are in the open position, the distance between the two arms is about 16 nanometers—over 30,000 times smaller than a single grain of sand.
A research team has found superconductivity in the solid form of a compound called carbon disulfide, CS2, which is sometimes used in liquid form as a chemical solvent or insecticide. Superconductivity is usually present in highly ordered molecular structures, but in carbon disulfide, superconductivity arises from a highly disordered state, which is rare. Even more strange is the magnetic state that precedes superconductivity.
Gathering the most detailed observations ever into the surroundings of the supermassive black hole at the center of an active galaxy, astronomers using the Very Large Telescope Interferometer in Chile made a surprising discovery: Dust is being propelled into space in a ring-shaped disk, possibly by intense radiation released by the black hole and its hot surroundings.
DNA sometimes twists itself into supercoils, an phenomenon caused by enzymes that travel along DNA’s helical groove and exert force and torque as they move. For the first time, these tiny torques have been measured using an instrument called an angular optical trap. Researchers at Cornell University have reported direct measurements of the torque generated by a motor protein as it traverses supercoiled DNA.
Researchers have long attempted to build a device capable of seeing people through walls. However, previous efforts to develop such a system have involved the use of expensive and bulky radar technology that uses a part of the electromagnetic spectrum only available to the military. Now a system being developed at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology can spot people in different rooms using low-cost Wi-Fi technology.
In a recently published study, scientists say they have found a diverse multitude of microbes colonizing and thriving on flecks of plastic that have polluted the oceans—a vast new human-made flotilla of microbial communities that they have dubbed the “plastisphere.” Using scanning electron microscopy and gene sequencing techniques, they found at least 1,000 different types of bacterial cells, some of them new species yet to be identified.
From a tiny fossil bone found in the frozen Yukon, scientists have deciphered the genetic code of an ancient horse about 700,000 years old—nearly 10 times older than any other animal that has had its genome mapped. Scientists used new techniques and computing to take DNA from a 5-inch fossil fragment—most of which was contaminated with more modern bacteria—and get a good genetic picture of an ancestral horse.
The world's first space conversation experiment between a robot and humans is ready to be launched. Developers from the Kirobo project, named after "kibo" or hope in Japanese and "robot," gathered in Tokyo Wednesday to demonstrate the humanoid robot's ability to talk.
North Carolina State Univ. researchers are using video game technology to remotely control cockroaches on autopilot, with a computer steering the cockroach through a controlled environment. The researchers are using the technology to track how roaches respond to the remote control, with the goal of developing ways that roaches on autopilot can be used to map dynamic environments.
Researchers in Japan have developed a new sugar and water-based solution that turns tissues transparent in just three days without disrupting the shape and chemical nature of the samples. Combined with fluorescence microscopy, this technique enabled the team to obtain detailed images of a mouse brain at an unprecedented resolution.
In recent years, formation control of multiple unmanned aerial vehicles has an important aerospace research topic. Engineers in China have recently investigated the trophallactic—or fluid exchange by direct contact—swarming behavior exhibited by a variety of animals, including birds and insects. By imitating that behavior and considering the communication requirements of the network control system, a new network control method was proposed.
Reference brains are indispensable tools in human brain mapping, enabling integration of multimodal data into an anatomically realistic standard space. Available reference brains, however, are restricted to the macroscopic scale. Researchers have now created a publicly available ultrahigh-resolution 3-D model of a human brain at nearly cellular resolution.
Physicists in Texas have built a small particle accelerator that can generate energies and speeds previously reached only by major facilities that are hundreds of meters long and cost hundreds of millions of dollars to build. The tabletop device generates up to 2 GeV over a distance of about 1 inch, a downsizing factor of about 10,000.
Laser technology has uncovered a network of roadways and canals, illustrating a bustling ancient city linking Cambodia's famed Angkor Wat temple complex. The discovery was announced this week after the publication of a study describing how airborne laser scanning revealed a previously undocumented formally planned urban landscape integrating the 1,200-year-old temples.
Scientists on Long Island are preparing to move a 50-foot-wide electromagnet 3,200 miles over land and sea to its new home at the U.S. Department of Energy's Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory in Illinois. The trip, starting at Brookhaven National Laboratory, is expected to take more than a month.
Eighteen months in the works, the top-secret project was announced Saturday in New Zealand, where up to 50 volunteer households are already beginning to receive the Internet briefly on their home computers via translucent helium balloons that sail by on the wind 12 miles above Earth. Google is launching these Internet-beaming antennas into the stratosphere aboard giant, jellyfish-shaped balloons.
Growing lungs and other organs for transplant is still in the future, but scientists are working toward that goal. In North Carolina, a 3-D printer builds prototype kidneys. In several labs, scientists study how to build on the internal scaffolding of hearts, lungs, livers, and kidneys of people and pigs to make custom-made implants. Solid organs like lungs or livers are still too difficult, but simpler body parts are now being made.
Technology exists for removing heavy metals from drinking water, but often is too costly in developing countries. Scientists are now reporting the development of an inexpensive new material made of clay and papaya seeds removes harmful metals from water and could lower the cost of providing clean water to millions of people in the developing world.
New work from Carnegie Institution scientists has studied how hydrogen, as a solid in one of three phases, behaves under extreme conditions. The team examined the structure, bonding, and electronic properties of highly compressed hydrogen using intense infrared radiation. Their experiments revealed that hydrogen takes a form under these conditions that differs remarkably from its other known structures.
A perfectly preserved woolly mammoth carcass with liquid blood has been found on a remote Arctic island, fueling hopes of cloning the Ice Age animal, Russian scientists said Thursday. The carcass was in such good shape because its lower part was stuck in pure ice, said Semyon Grigoryev, the head of the Mammoth Museum, who led the expedition into the Lyakhovsky Islands off the Siberian coast.
One of the densest objects in the universe, a neutron star about 10,000 light years from Earth, has been discovered suddenly putting the brakes on its spinning speed. The event is a mystery that holds important clues for understanding how matter reacts when it is squeezed more tightly than the density of an atomic nucleus—a state that no laboratory on Earth has achieved.
According to a new study led by the University of Colorado Boulder, a chemical reaction between iron-containing minerals and water may produce enough hydrogen "food" to sustain microbial communities living in pores and cracks within the enormous volume of rock below the ocean floor and parts of the continents.