Image of the Week: Simulations Reveal Unusual Death for Stars
Massive primordial stars, between 55,000 and 56,000 times the mass of our Sun, may have died unusually. In death, these objects — among the universe’s first generation of stars — would have exploded as supernovae and burned completely, leaving no remnant black hole behind.
Astrophysicists at the UC Santa Cruz and the Univ. of Minnesota came to this conclusion after running a number of supercomputer simulations at the Department of Energy’s (DOE) National Energy Research Scientific Computing Center (NERSC) and Minnesota Supercomputing Institute. They relied extensively on CASTRO, a compressible astrophysics code developed at the DOE’s Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory’s (Berkeley Lab’s) Computational Research Division (CRD). Their findings were recently published in the Astrophysical Journal (ApJ).
Today in Lab History: September 29, 1901- Enrico Fermi
Enrico Fermi, born Sept. 29, 1901, was an Italian-American physicist who was awarded the Nobel Prize for physics in 1938 as one of the chief architects of the nuclear age. He was the last of the double-threat physicists: a genius at creating both esoteric theories and elegant experiments.
Two years after its release, the HIV-1 drug Ritonavir was pulled from the market. Scientists discovered that the drug had crystallized into a slightly different form — called a polymorph — that was less soluble and made it ineffective as a treatment.
The various patterns that atoms of a solid material can adopt, called crystal structures, can have a huge impact on its properties. Being able to accurately predict the most stable crystal structure for a material has been a longstanding challenge for scientists.
Water was crucial to the rise of life on Earth and is also important to evaluating the possibility of life on other planets. Identifying the original source of Earth’s water is key to understanding how life-fostering environments come into being and how likely they are to be found elsewhere. New work from a team, including the Carnegie Institution’s Conel Alexander, has found that much of our Solar System’s water likely originated as ices that formed in interstellar space. Their work is published in Science.
Water is found throughout our Solar System. Not just on Earth, but on icy comets and moons, and in the shadowed basins of Mercury. Water has been found included in mineral samples from meteorites, the Moon and Mars.
Over the past 20 years, a strange idea called a “weak value” has taken root in quantum information science. Many of the things you can do with quantum technologies entail being able to gain information from quantum systems. But there is a quantum conundrum: we can’t say what a particle is doing when we’re not looking at it, but when we do look at it, we change its behavior.
But what if we could look “a little”? Well, that’s a weak measurement, a concept which is central to the notion of a weak value. The basic idea of weak measurement is to gain a little bit of information about a quantum system by only disturbing it a little bit; by doing this many times, one can ultimately gain quite a bit of information about the system. Weak measurements have applications in quantum information technologies such as quantum feedback control and quantum communications.
The Earth seems to have been smoking a lot recently. Volcanoes are currently erupting in Iceland, Hawaii, Indonesia and Mexico. Others, in the Philippines and Papua New Guinea, erupted recently but seem to have calmed down. Many of these have threatened homes and forced evacuations. But among their less-endangered spectators, these eruptions may have raised a question: is there such a thing as a season for volcanic eruptions?
Surprisingly, this may be a possibility. While volcanoes may not have “seasons” as we know them, scientists have started to discern intriguing patterns in their activity.
Today in Lab History: September 24, 1898- Charlotte Moore Sitterly
Charlotte Moore Sitterly, born Sept. 24, 1898, was an American astrophysicist who organized, analyzed and published definitive books on the solar spectrum and spectral line multiplets. From 1945 to age 90, she conducted this work at the U.S. National Bureau of Standards and the Naval Research Laboratory. She detected that technetium, an unstable element — previously known only as a result of laboratory experiments with nuclear reactions — exists in nature.,br /> Read more: http://www.laboratoryequipment.com/news/2012/09/today-lab-history-charlotte-moore-sitterly
Univ. of Minnesota electrical engineering researchers have developed a unique nanoscale device that demonstrates mechanical transportation of light. The discovery could have major implications for creating faster and more efficient optical devices for computation and communication.
The research paper by Univ. of Minnesota electrical and computer engineering assistant professor Mo Li and his graduate student Huan Li has been published online and will appear in the October issue of Nature Nanotechnology.
Image of the Week: Magnetized Fusion Technique Yields Results
Researchers at Sandia National Laboratories’ Z machine have produced a significant output of fusion neutrons, using a method fully functioning for only little more than a year.
The experimental work is described in a paper to be published in the Sept. 24 Physical Review Letters online. A theoretical PRL paper to be published on the same date helps explain why the experimental method worked. The combined work demonstrates the viability of the novel approach.
Shellfish such as mussels and barnacles secrete very sticky proteins that help them cling to rocks or ship hulls, even underwater. Inspired by these natural adhesives, a team of MIT engineers has designed new materials that could be used to repair ships or help heal wounds and surgical incisions.
To create their new waterproof adhesives, the MIT researchers engineered bacteria to produce a hybrid material that incorporates naturally sticky mussel proteins as well as a bacterial protein found in biofilms — slimy layers formed by bacteria growing on a surface. When combined, these proteins form even stronger underwater adhesives than those secreted by mussels.
Physicists at the Université de Genève (UNIGE) have succeeded in teleporting the quantum state of a photon to a crystal over 25 kilometers of optical fiber. The experiment, carried out in the laboratory of Prof. Nicolas Gisin, constitutes a first, and pulverizes the previous record of six kilometers achieved 10 years ago by the same UNIGE team. Passing from light into matter, using teleportation of a photon to a crystal, shows that, in quantum physics, it is not the composition of a particle which is important, but rather its state, since this can exist and persist outside such extreme differences as those which distinguish light from matter. The results obtained by Félix Bussières and his colleagues are reported in the latest edition of Nature Photonics.
Quantum physics, and with it the UNIGE, is again being talked about around the world with the Marcel Benoist Prize for 2014 being awarded to Gisin, and the publication of experiments in Nature Photonics. The latest experiments have enabled verifying that the quantum state of a photon can be maintained whilst transporting it into a crystal without the two coming directly into contact. One needs to imagine the crystal as a memory bank for storing the photon’s information; the latter is transferred over these distances using the teleportation effect.
People living in Hong Kong’s towering skyscrapers may be away from the hustle and bustle of its notorious traffic-snarled streets but the effects of traffic emissions should not be ignored, says a ground-breaking research project led by King’s College London.
Researchers are investigating how much of the toxic exhaust fumes at street level are, in fact, still reaching residents living inside high-rise buildings hundreds of feet above. Findings from the two and a half year pilot research project could prove vital for the increasing number of people now living in crowded and severely polluted megacities as buildings continue to be constructed skywards.
Cephalopods, which include octopuses, squid and cuttlefish, are among nature’s most skillful camouflage artists, able to change both the color and texture of their skin within seconds to blend into their surroundings — a capability that engineers have long struggled to duplicate in synthetic materials. Now, a team of researchers has come closer than ever to achieving that goal, creating a flexible material that can change its color or fluorescence and its texture at the same time, on demand, by remote control.
Sharks Inspire Hospital Surfaces to Cut Infections
Transmission of bacterial infections, including MRSA and MSSA could be curbed by coating hospital surfaces with microscopic bumps that mimic the scaly surface of shark skin, according to research published in BioMed Central’s open access journal Antimicrobial Resistance and Infection Control.
The study modeled how well different materials prevented the spread of human disease bacteria through touching, sneezes or spillages. The micro-pattern, named Sharklet, is an arrangement of ridges formulated to resemble shark skin. The study showed that Sharklet harbored 94 percent less MRSA bacteria than a smooth surface, and fared better than copper, a leading antimicrobial material. The bacteria were less able to attach to Sharklet’s imperceptibly textured surface, suggesting it could reduce the spread of superbugs in hospital settings.