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First large-scale census of coral heat tolerance published In a first-of-its-kind study, Florida's critically endangered staghorn corals were surveyed to discover which ones can better withstand future heatwaves in the ocean. Insights from the study, led by scientists at Shedd Aquarium and the University of Miami (UM) Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science, help organizations working to restore climate-resilient reefs in Florida and provide a blueprint for the success of restoration projects globally.
How Bali could teach the world to manage its limited resources Water is a limited resource. As such, efficient ways to jointly manage and optimize water reserves are essential for our present and future. But how can a well-balanced system be established? In order to single out the relevant parameters, an international team of scientists, including Stefan Thurner from the Complexity Science Hub Vienna (CSH), applied a method from physics to a system in equilibrium: the century-old rice irrigation practices in Bali.
Termite brains can grow in anticipation of a single moment of flight and light New research on dampwood termites (Zootermopsis angusticollis and A. nevdensis) shows select members of the colony will experience brain changes in anticipation of cognitive demand.
New tool offers ways to improve CRISPR gene-editing method The ability to edit the genome by altering the DNA sequence inside a living cell is powerful for research and holds enormous promise for the treatment of diseases. However, existing genome editing technologies frequently result in unwanted mutations or can fail to introduce any changes at all. These problems have kept the field from reaching its full potential.
Europeans in the Americas 1,000 years ago Columbus was not the first European to reach the Americas. The Vikings got there centuries before, although exactly when has remained unclear. Here, an international team of scientists show that Europeans were already active in the Americas in 1021 AD.
Unmasking the magic of superconductivity in twisted graphene The discovery in 2018 of superconductivity in two single-atom-thick layers of graphene stacked at a precise angle of 1.1 degrees (called 'magic'-angle twisted bilayer graphene) came as a big surprise to the scientific community. Since the discovery, physicists have asked whether magic graphene's superconductivity can be understood using existing theory, or whether fundamentally new approaches are required—such as those being marshalled to understand the mysterious ceramic compound that superconducts at high temperatures. Now, as reported in the journal Nature, Princeton researchers have settled this debate by showing an uncanny resemblance between the superconductivity of magic graphene and that of high temperature superconductors. Magic graphene may hold the key to unlocking new mechanisms of superconductivity, including high temperature superconductivity.
Origin of domestic horses finally established Horses were first domesticated in the Pontic-Caspian steppes, northern Caucasus, before conquering the rest of Eurasia within a few centuries. These are the results of a study led by paleogeneticist Ludovic Orlando, CNRS, who headed an international team including l'Université Toulouse III—Paul Sabatier, the CEA and l'Université d'Évry. Answering a decades-old enigma, the study is published in Nature on 20 October 2021.
Synopsis: Delaying Thermalization in a Periodically Driven System
Author(s): Marric Stephens
Researchers have kept a Floquet system in a prethermal state for a record length of time.
[Physics 14, s132] Published Wed Oct 20, 2021
Synopsis: Close Passes Give Atoms Tiny Quantum Kicks
Author(s): Sophia Chen
A new technique in which atoms move slowly through a diffraction grating lets researchers measure the tiny Casimir-Polder interaction, a force that arises from quantum vacuum fluctuations.
[Physics 14, s134] Published Tue Oct 19, 2021
Viewpoint: Quantum Control for Rydberg State Spectroscopy
Author(s): Stephen D. Hogan
Borrowing from techniques used for the quantum control of chemical reactions, researchers have developed a method to study the Rydberg states of molecular ions that are relevant to astrophysical plasma.
[Physics 14, 145] Published Mon Oct 18, 2021
Focus: Dark Matter Alternative Passes Big Test
Author(s): Michael Schirber
A cosmological model that doesn’t require dark matter has overcome a major hurdle in matching observations from the cosmic microwave background.
[Physics 14, 143] Published Fri Oct 15, 2021
Opinion: Evaluating the Role of Scientific Awards
Author(s): Ching Jin and Brian Uzzi
Science prizes can motivate scientists to take risks and think outside the box, but data show that not all groups share in this motivating experience.
[Physics 14, 144] Published Thu Oct 14, 2021
Synopsis: Inducing a Curl with a Stretch
Author(s): Katherine Wright
Patterning grooves into the surface of an elastic ribbon can cause the ribbon to curl into a tube shape when it is stretched.
[Physics 14, s130] Published Thu Oct 14, 2021
Can Einstein’s forgotten theory of space solve the cosmology crisis? Decades ago, Einstein concocted a theory in which space doesn't just curve, but swirls like a cyclone. Now it is making a comeback because it could fix several of the biggest problems in cosmology
Synopsis: Strong Currents Don’t Faze Salt Marsh Coastal Defenses
Author(s): Rachel Berkowitz
A model captures the influence of plant flexibility, leaves, and current on wave dissipation by a meadow of marsh plants.
[Physics 14, s126] Published Wed Oct 13, 2021
Chemistry Nobel awarded for technique to produce mirror molecules The 2021 Nobel prize for chemistry has been awarded to Benjamin List and David MacMillan for developing catalysts that produce molecules of a desired left or right "handedness"
Chameleon diamonds change colour when chilled in liquid nitrogen Diamonds that change colour when heated or kept in the dark have been known since 1866, but now there is a third kind
Physics Nobel awarded for work on chaotic systems such as the climate This year's winners of the Nobel prize for physics are Syukuro Manabe, Klaus Hasselmann and Giorgio Parisi
Lunar craters could reveal past collisions with ancient black holes Black holes born in the big bang could be the dark matter physicists have sought for decades – if they exist. Now there's an audacious plan to find the scars they would have left as they punched through the moon
Ada Twist, Scientist review: Brilliant children's TV for the curious Netflix's adaptation of the bestselling picture book series Ada Twist, Scientist will be loved by children and provoke a smile from even the most jaded parents
The black hole paradox that thwarts our understanding of reality Black holes devour stuff and then shrivel away over billions of years. Explaining what happens to anything that falls in explodes our current theories of physics, says cosmologist Paul Davies
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