Understanding ghost particle interactions Scientists often refer to the neutrino as the "ghost particle." Neutrinos were one of the most abundant particles at the origin of the universe and remain so today. Fusion reactions in the sun produce vast armies of them, which pour down on the Earth every day. Trillions pass through our bodies every second, then fly through the Earth as though it were not there.
Study traces the evolution of gill covers The emergence of jaws in primitive fish allowed vertebrates to become top predators. What is less appreciated is another evolutionary innovation that may have been just as important for the success of early vertebrates: the formation of covers to protect and pump water over the gills. In a new study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS), USC Stem Cell scientists and their collaborators have identified a key modification to the genome that led to the evolution of gill covers more than 430 million years ago.
Salty lake, ponds may be gurgling beneath Mars' South Pole A network of salty ponds may be gurgling beneath Mars' South Pole alongside a large underground lake, raising the prospect of tiny, swimming Martian life.
The Arctic is burning in a whole new way "Zombie fires" and burning of fire-resistant vegetation are new features driving Arctic fires—with strong consequences for the global climate—warn international fire scientists in a commentary published in Nature Geoscience.
Biodiversity and plant decomposition should be factored into climate models, study finds The afterlife of plant matter plays a significant role in ecosystems, as a key processor and provider of key nutrients. The rate of decomposition for leaf litter, among other plant matter, heavily influences the health of animals and plants, and this rate is expected to significantly increase as Earth continues to warm. There is another factor that could hold impact these ecosystems even more than climate change: biodiversity.
New Mars rover is ready for space lasers When the Apollo astronauts landed on the Moon, they brought devices with them called retroreflectors, which are essentially small arrays of mirrors. The plan was for scientists on Earth to aim lasers at them and calculate the time it took for the beams to return. This provided exceptionally precise measurements of the Moon's orbit and shape, including how it changed slightly based on Earth's gravitational pull.
Research News: 3D Magnetism Maps Reveal Exotic Topologies
Author(s): Katherine Wright
A recently developed x-ray-based technique for imaging the spin patterns inside 3D structures uncovers previously unseen patterns.
[Physics 13, 155] Published Mon Sep 28, 2020
Viewpoint: Ticking Toward a Nuclear Clock
Author(s): Lars von der Wense
The high-precision measurement of a nuclear transition of a thorium isotope is a key step towards the development of a nuclear optical clock.
[Physics 13, 152] Published Mon Sep 28, 2020
Focus: Reproducing Space Plasma in the Lab
Author(s): Michael Schirber
Electromagnetic fields rotate a plasma and produce conditions that resemble the region around a newly forming star.
[Physics 13, 153] Published Fri Sep 25, 2020
Q&A: Searching for Light in the Darkness of Winter
Author(s): Matteo Rini
During the six-month-long winter night of the South Pole, Nathan Precup oversees operations of the BICEP Array—a radio telescope searching for swirling patterns in the Universe’s first light.
[Physics 13, 154] Published Fri Sep 25, 2020
Viewpoint: Shining a Light on Hidden Spin Dynamics
Author(s): Darío A. Arena
Researchers combine ferromagnetic resonance with x-ray reflectivity to map out the complex spin behavior of a magnetic multilayer.
[Physics 13, 151] Published Thu Sep 24, 2020
Synopsis: Let Disorder Dictate Topology
Author(s): Matteo Rini
By varying the amount of disorder in a photonic crystal, researchers can control several topological features of the crystal.
[Physics 13, s123] Published Thu Sep 24, 2020
Synopsis: Filaments Move Quickly Through a Crowd
Author(s): Rachel Berkowitz
A dense network inhibits the rotation of self-propelled protein filaments but unexpectedly promotes their overall diffusivity.
[Physics 13, s121] Published Wed Sep 23, 2020
Supercool experiment reveals water is actually two liquids in one Supercooling liquid water to temperatures lower than ever achieved before has revealed new evidence that water is two liquids in one
Slimy ships could slip through water more efficiently to save energy Inspired by seaweed, physicists are exploring how mucus can reduce drag on ship hulls and help vessels cut through water more efficiently to save energy and fuel
Could we jump into a wormhole to save us from the world at present? The chances that wormholes exist are slim, but that doesn't mean that they can't provide a useful escape, writes Chanda Prescod-Weinstein
Maths reveals the top strategies to win at fantasy football An analysis of top fantasy football players shows that they rely on strategic transfers and experience – every year of playing gave people an average 22 extra points a season
Ultracold atoms can work together to shape or steer light When a collection of atoms is cooled to just above absolute zero, they can act as one, and control light through their electrical and magnetic interactions with it
Watch a toy boat float upside down in a levitating puddle By taking advantage of a strange phenomenon in which liquids can be shaken so fast that they levitate, researchers have made a toy boat float upside down
The fuzzy law that could break the idea of a mathematical universe The discovery that a fundamental law of physics cannot be precisely defined challenges the ability of mathematics as we know it to describe reality completely
Physicists beat Lorentz reciprocity for microwave transmission New device could boost telecommunications and be adapted for photonics
Japan’s SuperKEKB set for first particle collisions Revamped accelerator will soon be smashing electrons and positrons together
Wood-based 'supermaterial' is stronger and tougher than steel New material is made by compressing treated wood
Three photons bind together to make a ‘molecule’ of light Technique could be used to create quantum-information systems
Nuclear excitation by electron capture seen at long last Breakthrough could lead to new type of energy source
Pistachio trees 'talk' to their neighbours, reveals statistical physics Ising model could account for nut production of pistachio orchards
US National Science Foundation clamps down on misconduct Agency will now require every grantee organization to report cases of sexual harassment