March 19, 2017
Johns Hopkins University scientist Kirby Runyon wants to make one thing clear: Regardless of what one prestigious scientific organization says to the contrary, Pluto is a planet.
So, he says, is Europa, commonly known as a moon of Jupiter, and so is the Earth’s moon, and so are more than 100 other celestial bodies in our solar system that are denied this status under the prevailing definition of “planet.”
March 8, 2017
Salt, snowflakes and diamonds are all crystals, meaning their atoms are arranged in 3-D patterns that repeat. Today scientists are reporting in the journal Nature on the creation of a phase of matter, dubbed a time crystal, in which atoms move in a pattern that repeats in time rather than in space.
The atoms in a time crystal never settle down into what’s known as thermal equilibrium, a state in which they all have the same amount of heat. It’s one of the first examples of a broad new class of matter, called nonequilibrium phases, that have been predicted but until now have remained out of reach. Like explorers stepping onto an uncharted continent, physicists are eager to explore this exotic new realm.
March 2, 2017
Researchers at Tohoku University believe that it is possible for natural diamonds to form at the base of the Earth’s mantle (Fig.1). The formation of such “super-deep” diamonds was simulated using high-pressure and high-temperature experiments by the Japanese research team, led by Fumiya Maeda.
February 9, 2017
Although we spend a lot of our time online nowadays–streaming music and video, checking email and social media, or obsessively reading the news–few of us know about the mathematical algorithms that manage how our content is delivered. But deciding how to route information fairly and efficiently through a distributed system with no central authority was a priority for the Internet’s founders. Now, a Salk Institute discovery shows that an algorithm used for the Internet is also at work in the human brain, an insight that improves our understanding of engineered and neural networks and potentially even learning disabilities.
January 26, 2017
Researchers from UZH have discovered how the perception of meaning changes in the brain under the influence of LSD. The serotonin 2A receptors are responsible for altered perception. This finding will help develop new courses of pharmacotherapy for psychiatric disorders such as depression, addictions or phobias.
December 20, 2016
Swansea University scientists working at CERN have made a landmark finding, taking them one step closer to answering the question of why matter exists and illuminating the mysteries of the Big Bang and the birth of the Universe.
In their paper published in Nature the physicists from the University’s College of Science, working with an international collaborative team at CERN, describe the first precision study of antihydrogen, the antimatter equivalent of hydrogen.
December 19, 2016
Whether water freezes to ice, iron is demagnetized or a material becomes superconducting – for physicists there is always a phase transition behind it. They endeavour to understand these different phenomena by searching for universal properties. Researchers at Goethe University Frankfurt and Technische UniversitÃ¤t Dresden have now made a pioneering discovery during their study of a phase transition from an electrical conductor to an insulator (Mott metal-insulator transition).
According to Sir Nevill Francis Mott’s prediction in 1937, the mutual repulsion of charged electrons, which are responsible for carrying electrical current, can cause a metal-insulator transition. Yet, contrary to common textbook opinion, according to which the phase transition is determined solely by the electrons, it is the interaction of the electrons with the atomic lattice of the solid which is the determinant factor. The researchers have reported this in the latest issue of the Science Advances journal.
December 9, 2016
What will happen to Earth when, in a few billion years’ time, the Sun is a hundred times bigger than it is today? Using the most powerful radio telescope in the world, an international team of astronomers has set out to look for answers in the star L2 Puppis. Five billion years ago, this star was very similar to the Sun as it is today.
“Five billion years from now, the Sun will have grown into a red giant star, more than a hundred times larger than its current size,” says Professor Leen Decin from the KU Leuven Institute of Astronomy. “It will also experience an intense mass loss through a very strong stellar wind. The end product of its evolution, 7 billion years from now, will be a tiny white dwarf star. This will be about the size of the Earth, but much heavier: one tea spoon of white dwarf material weighs about 5 tons.”
November 29, 2016
A well-known saying urges people to “not judge a book by its cover.” But people tend to do just that – even after they’ve skimmed a chapter or two, according to Cornell University research.
Vivian Zayas, professor of psychology at Cornell University, and her colleagues found that people continue to be influenced by another person’s appearance even after interacting with them face-to-face. First impressions formed simply from looking at a photograph predicted how people felt and thought about the person after a live interaction that took place one month to six months later.
November 25, 2016
People have a remarkable ability to remember and recall events from the past, even when those events didn’t hold any particular importance at the time they occurred. Now, researchers reporting in the journal Current Biology on November 23 have evidence that dogs have that kind of “episodic memory” too.
The study found that dogs can recall a person’s complex actions even when they don’t expect to have their memory tested.