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Suicide system in tuberculosis bacteria might hold key to treatment

Tuberculosis (TB) is one of the top ten causes of death worldwide. In 2017, 10 million people around the world fell ill with TB and 1.3 million died. The genome of the bacterium that causes TB holds a special toxin-antitoxin system with spectacular action: once the toxin is activated, all bacterial cells die, stopping the disease. An international research team co-led by the Wilmanns group at EMBL in Hamburg investigated this promising feature for therapeutic targets. They now share the first high-resolution details of the system in Molecular Cell.

https://phys.org/, posted on 18 February 2019 | 5:53 pm

Light-based production of drug-discovery molecules

Photoelectrochemical (PEC) cells are widely studied for the conversion of solar energy into chemical fuels. They use photocathodes and photoanodes to "split" water into hydrogen and oxygen respectively. PEC cells can work under mild conditions with light, which makes them also suitable for other catalyzing reactions that turn organic molecules into high added-value chemicals, like those used to develop drugs.

https://phys.org/, posted on 18 February 2019 | 5:00 pm

Diversity on land is not higher today than in the past, study shows

The rich levels of biodiversity on land seen across the globe today are not a recent phenomenon: diversity on land has been similar for at least the last 60 million years, since soon after the extinction of the dinosaurs.

https://phys.org/, posted on 18 February 2019 | 5:00 pm

Scientists reveal how 3-D arrangement of DNA helps perpetuate the species

From fathers to children, the delivery of hereditary information requires the careful packing of DNA in sperm. But just how nature packages this DNA to prepare offspring isn't clear. Using new technology to reveal the 3-D organization of DNA in maturing male reproductive cells, scientists revealed a crucial period in development that helps explain how fathers pass on genetic information to future generations.

https://phys.org/, posted on 18 February 2019 | 5:00 pm

Solid-state catalysis: Fluctuations clear the way

The use of efficient catalytic agents is what makes many technical procedures feasible in the first place. Indeed, synthesis of more than 80 percent of the products generated in the chemical industry requires the input of specific catalysts. Most of these are solid-state catalysts, and the reactions they make possible take place between molecules that adsorb to their surfaces.

https://phys.org/, posted on 18 February 2019 | 3:20 pm

Design principles for peroxidase-mimicking nanozymes

Nanozymes, enzyme-like catalytic nanomaterials, are considered to be the next generation of enzyme mimics because they not only overcome natural enzymes' intrinsic limitations, but also possess unique properties in comparison with conventional artificial enzymes. Until now, lots of nanomaterials have been explored to mimic various natural enzymes, such as peroxidase, oxidase, catalase, and hydrolase. Particularly, enormous efforts have been devoted to peroxidase-like nanozymes because of their applications in biomedical diagnosis, bioimaging, anti-biofouling coatings, etc.

https://phys.org/, posted on 18 February 2019 | 2:50 pm

Engineered metasurfaces reflect waves in unusual directions

In our daily lives, we can find many examples of manipulation of reflected waves, such as mirrors, or reflective surfaces for sound that improve auditorium acoustics. When a wave impinges on a reflective surface with a certain angle of incidence and the energy is sent back, the angle of reflection is equal to the angle of incidence. This classical reflection law is valid for any homogenous surface. Researchers at Aalto University have developed new metasurfaces for the arbitrary manipulation of reflected waves, essentially breaking the law to engineer the reflection of a surface at will.

https://phys.org/, posted on 18 February 2019 | 2:50 pm

Focus: Microscopic Theory for Peeling Tape

Author(s): Dan Garisto

Extensive experiments lead to a theory that describes the microscale, jerky process involved in the seemingly smooth peeling of tape from a surface.

[Physics 12, 16] Published Fri Feb 15, 2019

http://physics.aps.org/, posted on 15 February 2019 | 11:00 am

Viewpoint: A Theory to Tackle Supercooling

Author(s): Thomas Speck

Reconciling the high viscosity of “supercooled” liquids with their microstructure has stumped existing theory, but an advance in liquid-state theory may lead to a resolution.

[Physics 12, 15] Published Thu Feb 14, 2019

http://physics.aps.org/, posted on 14 February 2019 | 11:00 am

Synopsis: Galactic Spirals May Form Spontaneously

Spiral galaxies could be transient, nonequilibrium structures originating from the collapse of clouds of matter interacting solely through self-gravity.  

[Physics] Published Thu Feb 14, 2019

http://physics.aps.org/, posted on 14 February 2019 | 11:00 am

Evidence of new physics could have been under our noses all along

For almost a decade, the world's most expensive experiment failed to break new ground. But its biggest discoveries may have gone unnoticed

https://www.newscientist.com/, posted on 13 February 2019 | 7:00 pm

Synopsis: Sorting Blood Cells via Their Stiffness

A proposed modification to a microfluidic cell-sorting device could separate cells by their deformability, an important marker for several diseases.

[Physics] Published Wed Feb 13, 2019

http://physics.aps.org/, posted on 13 February 2019 | 11:00 am

Synopsis: Neutrino Probes of Long-Range Interactions

Researchers place new limits on hypothetical interactions between neutrinos and large electron populations on galactic scales.

[Physics] Published Tue Feb 12, 2019

http://physics.aps.org/, posted on 12 February 2019 | 11:00 am

Viewpoint: A Metamaterial for Superscattering Light

Author(s): Yongmin Liu

A team has engineered a subwavelength structure that features a greatly enhanced capacity to scatter microwave light.

[Physics 12, 14] Published Mon Feb 11, 2019

http://physics.aps.org/, posted on 11 February 2019 | 11:00 am

Friedlieb Ferdinand Runge, the godfather of caffeine

Today's Google doodle celebrates Friedlieb Ferdinand Runge, who was the first to isolate caffeine and quinine but his contributions to chemistry are often overlooked

https://www.newscientist.com/, posted on 8 February 2019 | 1:06 pm

Focus: Noise Improves Flow of Energy

Author(s): Philip Ball

A quantum effect in which random fluctuations help waves to propagate has been demonstrated in a chain of ten atoms.

[Physics 12, 13] Published Fri Feb 08, 2019

http://physics.aps.org/, posted on 8 February 2019 | 11:00 am

5 of the world’s toughest unsolved maths problems

The Open Problems in Mathematical Physics is a list of the most monstrous maths riddles in physics. Here are five of the top problems that remain unsolved

https://www.newscientist.com/, posted on 7 February 2019 | 3:24 pm

Voting systems that let losing side win may increase overall happiness

A test of two alternative voting systems that measure the strength of people’s opinions has found that it is sometimes better to let the losing side win

https://www.newscientist.com/, posted on 7 February 2019 | 1:52 pm

There’s a weird new type of magnet that shouldn't be able to exist

Take a form of uranium that shouldn’t be magnetic, mix it with antimony and cool it down, and you get a new kind of magnet that could speed up computers

https://www.newscientist.com/, posted on 7 February 2019 | 11:00 am

The baffling quantum maths solution it took 10 years to understand

A decade ago, two mathematicians produced a solution to one of the most difficult maths problems ever. The only problem was, no one understood it - until now

https://www.newscientist.com/, posted on 6 February 2019 | 7:00 pm

Material made from citrus fruit peel could help clean up oil spills

Pomelo peels have been ground down and turned into an aerogel – one of the lightest materials in the world – that could be used to clean up oil spills

https://www.newscientist.com/, posted on 6 February 2019 | 1:01 am

Physicists beat Lorentz reciprocity for microwave transmission

New device could boost telecommunications and be adapted for photonics

http://physicsworld.com/cws/channel/news, posted on 22 February 2018 | 3:27 pm

Japan’s SuperKEKB set for first particle collisions

Revamped accelerator will soon be smashing electrons and positrons together

http://physicsworld.com/cws/channel/news, posted on 21 February 2018 | 3:45 pm

Wood-based 'supermaterial' is stronger and tougher than steel

New material is made by compressing treated wood

http://physicsworld.com/cws/channel/news, posted on 21 February 2018 | 3:10 pm

Three photons bind together to make a ‘molecule’ of light

Technique could be used to create quantum-information systems

http://physicsworld.com/cws/channel/news, posted on 20 February 2018 | 5:06 pm

Nuclear excitation by electron capture seen at long last

Breakthrough could lead to new type of energy source

http://physicsworld.com/cws/channel/news, posted on 20 February 2018 | 2:55 pm

Pistachio trees 'talk' to their neighbours, reveals statistical physics

Ising model could account for nut production of pistachio orchards

http://physicsworld.com/cws/channel/news, posted on 19 February 2018 | 4:43 pm

US National Science Foundation clamps down on misconduct

Agency will now require every grantee organization to report cases of sexual harassment

http://physicsworld.com/cws/channel/news, posted on 15 February 2018 | 12:57 pm