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Thursday, January 9, 2020

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Science News


Under pressure: Researchers compress copper, creating the densest object on Earth

If copper was found in the core of Saturn it would have the same crystalline structure as the copper pipes found in many homes, according to new research from Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL) and Johns Hopkins University. In a paper p...

– Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory

Physical Review Letters

Unique Immersive Simulator Tests ‘Trust’ Between Humans and Self-driving Cars

The issue of trust is a primary challenge for industry professionals trying to popularize the use of fully autonomous systems. FAU researchers have developed a unique immersive simulator that provides a convincingly lifelike virtual reality simulatio...

– Florida Atlantic University


includes video


Backbone of Success

After decades of effort, scientists use induced pluripotent stem cells to model human spine development Findings provide proof of existence of a segmentation clock in humans guiding spine formation Work sets stage for better understanding of muscul...

– Harvard Medical School


Embargo expired on 08-Jan-2020 at 13:00 ET

includes video

NUS scientists create world’s first monolayer amorphous film

Researchers from the National University of Singapore have synthesised the world’s first one-atom-thick amorphous material. This breakthrough allows for direct imaging to reveal how atoms are arranged in amorphous materials, and could be of commerc...

– National University of Singapore


Embargo expired on 08-Jan-2020 at 13:00 ET

Milestone in Advanced Light Source Upgrade Project Will Bring in a New Ring

An upgrade of the Advanced Light Source, a synchrotron at the U.S. Department of Energy’s Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab), has passed an important milestone that will help to maintain the ALS’ world-leading capabilities. On D...

– Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory

Embargo expired on 08-Jan-2020 at 11:00 ET

Cosmic Magnifying Glasses Yield Independent Measure of Universe's Expansion

Astronomers using Hubble have made the most precise measurement yet of the universe’s expansion rate using the gravitational lensing method, which is independent from the usual cosmic distance ladder.

– Space Telescope Science Institute (STScI)

235th Meeting of the American Astronomical Society

Goldilocks Stars Are Best Places to Look for Life

Hubble observations suggest that orange stars, slightly cooler than our Sun, are better hangouts for life. There are more of them in our galaxy, they live much longer than our Sun, and unleash less deadly radiation than red dwarf stars.

– Space Telescope Science Institute (STScI)

235th Meeting of the American Astronomical Society

Hubble Detects Smallest Known Dark Matter Clumps

Using Hubble and a new observing technique, astronomers have uncovered the smallest clumps of dark matter ever detected. Dark matter is an invisible substance that makes up most of the universe's mass and forms the scaffolding upon which galaxies a...

– Space Telescope Science Institute (STScI)

235th Meeting of the American Astronomical Society

Drones Effective Tools for Fruit Farmers

Unmanned aerial vehicles provide reliable, accurate data to growers.

– American Society of Agronomy (ASA), Crop Science Society of America (CSSA), Soil Science Society of America (SSSA)

2019 ASA-CSSA-SSSA International Annual Meeting

LED Lighting in Greenhouses Helps But Standards are Needed

While LED lighting can enhance plant growth in greenhouses, standards are needed to determine the optimal intensity and colors of light, according to Rutgers research that could help improve the energy efficiency of horticultural lighting products. ...

– Rutgers University-New Brunswick

Acta Horticulturae; Rutgers Today

Nanoparticles Deliver ‘Suicide Gene’ Therapy to Pediatric Brain Tumors Growing in Mice

Johns Hopkins researchers report that a type of biodegradable, lab-engineered nanoparticle they fashioned can successfully deliver a “suicide gene” to pediatric brain tumor cells implanted in the brains of mice. The poly(beta-amino ester) nanopar...

– Johns Hopkins Medicine

Nanomedicine: Nanotechnology, Biology and Medicine

A new form of glass through molecular entanglement

Physicists at the University of Vienna in collaboration with the Max Planck Institute for Polymer Research have discovered a new type of glass formed by long, cyclic molecules. The scientists successfully demonstrated that by making parts of the ring...

– University of Vienna

Nature Communications

New Study Reveals the Origin of Complex Malaria Infections

– New technology employing single cell genome sequencing of the parasite that causes malaria has yielded some surprising results and helps pave the way for possible new intervention strategies for this deadly infectious disease, according to Texas ...

– Texas Biomedical Research Institute

Cell Host & Microbe

Early humans revealed to have engineered optimized stone tools at Olduvai Gorge

Early Stone Age populations living between 1.8 - 1.2 million years ago engineered their stone tools in complex ways to make optimised cutting tools, according to a new study by University of Kent and UCL.

– University of Kent

Journal of Royal Society Interface

Connector fungi offer new clues to fate of nitrogen in warming tundra

Northern Arizona University professors Rebecca Hewitt and Michelle Mack authored the study, published this week in New Phytologist, which could have implications for researchers and computer models that predict where nitrogen and carbon go at both re...

– Northern Arizona University

New Phytologist

100 million years in amber: Researchers discover oldest fossilized slime mold

Most people associate the idea of creatures trapped in amber with insects or spiders, which are preserved lifelike in fossil tree resin.

– University of Göttingen

Scientific Reports

NEID Exoplanet Instrument Sees First Light

The new NEID instrument, now installed at the 3.5-meter WIYN telescope at Kitt Peak National Observatory in Southern Arizona, USA, has made its first observations. The NSF-NASA funded instrument is designed to measure the motion of nearby stars with ...

– Association of Universities for Research in Astronomy (AURA)

235th meeting of the American Astronomical Society

Most meat eaters support veganism as 'ethical' and good for the environment

Most meat eaters support veganism as 'ethical' and good for the environment

– University of Bath


A New Method to Study Lithium Dendrites Could Lead to Better, Safer Batteries

Lithium ion batteries often grow needle-like structures between electrodes that can short out the batteries and sometimes cause fires. Now, an international team of researchers has found a way to grow and observe these structures to understand ways ...

– Penn State Materials Research Institute

Nature Nanotechnology

Tissue-Engineering, Estrogenic Chemical–Induced Responses, and Life-Stage Physiologically Based Pharmacokinetic Modeling Featured in January 2020 Toxicological Sciences

In addition to research exploring such areas as biomarkers, nano- and neurotoxicology, and developmental and reproductive toxicology, the January 2020 issue of Toxicological Sciences features a new article category, ToxPoint, to underscore cutting-ed...

– Society of Toxicology

Toxicological Sciences

Measuring Disaster Resilience and Response Capabilities with ResponderCQ

DHS S&T funded the development of guidance and tools to help communities measure their “Capability Quotient (CQ),” which is the readiness to respond to risk and to respond to disruptions of any kind.

– Homeland Security's Science And Technology Directorate

Reducing power plants’ thirst

Researchers at Sandia National Laboratories are helping the largest power plant in the United States identify the most efficient and cost-effective strategies to reduce water use.They developed a first-of-its-kind comprehensive system dynamics analys...

– Sandia National Laboratories

WHOI underwater robot takes first known automated sample from ocean

A hybrid remotely operated vehicle developed by Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI) took the first known automated sample performed by a robotic arm in the ocean. Last month, an international team of researchers used one of WHOI’s underwate...

– Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution

includes video

Telescope upgrade, move will aid in search for exoplanets

Thousands of planets orbiting stars other than our own – known as extrasolar planets, or exoplanets – have been detected and cataloged over the last 30 years. A new effort will set the stage for the discovery of fundamentally different kinds of p...

– Cornell University

Keep or cancel holiday plans on fire-ravaged Kangaroo Island?

Kangaroo Island is one of South Australia’s most iconic tourism destinations, but as fires continue to rage across the once pristine environment, many holidaymakers are questioning whether to keep or cancel their travel plans.

– University of South Australia

Tip Sheet: Mesh loaded with T cells shrinks tumors; second dose of CAR-T cells shows potential; and gene-edited cells stay safe as immunotherapy attacks cancer

Below are summaries of recent Fred Hutch research findings with links for additional background and media contacts.

– Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center

JCI Insight; Nature Biomedical Engineering; 2019 American Society of Hematology annual meeting; ASH meeting


The Birds and the Bats: Evolving to Fly May Have Had Big Effect on Gut Microbiome

UC San Diego researchers studied nearly 900 vertebrate species and found that bats have unusual gut microbiomes that more closely resemble those of birds than other mammals, raising questions about how evolutionary pressures change the gut microbiome...

– University of California San Diego Health

mBio, Jan-2020

Embargo expired on 07-Jan-2020 at 06:00 ET

Natural Extract to Counter Nephrotoxicity Induced by Mycotoxin OTA

Today a team of researchers from the Department of Veterinary Medicine and Animal Production of the Federico II University of Naples, in collaboration with the Sbarro Health Research Organization (SHRO), at Temple University in Philadelphia, and the ...

– Sbarro Health Research Organization (SHRO)

Journal of Cellular Physiology

Study of cardiac muscles in flies might help you keep your heart young

Iowa State University scientists restored the function of heart muscles in aging fruit flies, according to a newly published study. The genetic complex identified in the research could lead to new treatments for heart disease in humans.

– Iowa State University


Biodiverse forests better at storing carbon for long periods, says study

As the effects of climate change are increasingly felt around the world, possible solutions, from reducing fossil fuel emissions to capturing carbon, have come to dominate policy discussions.

– Earth Institute at Columbia University

Environmental Research Letters

NASA planet hunter finds its 1st Earth-size habitable-zone world

NASA's Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite (TESS) has discovered its first Earth-size planet in its star's habitable zone, the range of distances where conditions may be just right to allow the presence of liquid water on the surface.

– NASA Goddard Space Flight Center

235th meeting of the American Astronomical Society

New 'umbrella' species would massively improve conservation

The protection of Australia's threatened species could be improved by a factor of seven, if more efficient 'umbrella' species were prioritised for protection, according to University of Queensland research.

– University of Queensland

Conservation Biology

Binary star V Sagittae will explode as a very bright 'nova' by century's end

Currently, the faint star V Sagittae, V Sge, in the constellation Sagitta, is barely visible, even in mid-sized telescopes. However, around the year 2083, this innocent star will explode, becoming as bright as Sirius, the brightest star visible in th...

– Louisiana State University

235th American Astronomical Society meeting

University of Oklahoma Research Team Helps Weather-Weary Ag Industry

You don’t have to look far to find news, opinions and studies about our world’s changing climate and its effects on humans. But what is less accessible is how a changing climate impacts beef cattle production. A team of scientists and researchers...

– University of Oklahoma, Gallogly College of Engineering

Great Plains Grazing project

If trees could talk

Researchers at West Virginia University are using tree-ring dating to determine not only when trees were cut down to build historic log buildings in the region but also what the forests were like before European immigrants arrived.

– West Virginia University - Eberly College of Arts and Sciences

Journal of Biogeography

Weizmann Scientists Create Decoy Molecule that Neutralizes Arenaviruses

Weizmann Institute scientists created a decoy molecule that successfully recruits the immune system to fight arenaviruses. It also appears to be heat-resistant and stable, meaning it could be delivered to the remote areas where these diseases are end...

– Weizmann Institute of Science

Nature Communications, Jan-2020

First Solar Energy System to Split Water into Hydrogen and Oxygen at Separate Sites

Researchers have developed a prototype system for efficient and safe production of hydrogen using only solar energy. The innovative system contains a tandem cell solar device that enables more efficient utilization of the light spectrum.

– American Technion Society

Joule, Jan 2-2020

Rice Terraces 101

Sticky or unsticky rice? A decision worthy of deep contemplation before dinner.

– American Society of Agronomy (ASA), Crop Science Society of America (CSSA), Soil Science Society of America (SSSA)

Neutrons “break the ice” for exploring fundamental physics in frozen water

Scientists from Xavier University and Oak Ridge National Laboratory used neutrons to explore the atomic structure of ice, which sometimes features mysterious molecular anomalies in its otherwise crystalline structure. Learning more about these ionic ...

– Oak Ridge National Laboratory

Top-10 Science and Technology Achievements of 2019

In 2019, scientists at the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) Brookhaven National Laboratory dove deeper into proton spin, took a leap in quantum communication, and uncovered new details of plant biochemistry, battery cathodes, catalysts, supercondu...

– Brookhaven National Laboratory


Researchers Suggest a Pathway to Reverse the Genetic Defect of Friedreich’s Ataxia

Scientists report that the genetic anomaly causing the neurodegenerative disease Friedreich’s ataxia – the multiple repetition of a three letter DNA sequence – could potentially be reversed by enhancing a natural process that contracts the repe...

– Tufts University

PNAS; R35GM130322

Embargo expired on 06-Jan-2020 at 15:00 ET

To BOLDly Go (or No-go): Brain imaging predicts frequent binge drinking in adolescents

A study published in the journal Alcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research could inform efforts to prevent adolescents from escalating to harmful patterns of drinking. Binge drinking in adolescence has many short- and long-term heath consequence...

– Research Society on Alcoholism

Alcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research

Embargo expired on 06-Jan-2020 at 10:00 ET

Exploring the ​“dark side” of a single-crystal complex oxide thin film

A new study offers a nanoscopic view of complex oxides, which have great potential for advanced microelectronics.

– Argonne National Laboratory

Advanced Materials

Study Shows Animal Life Thriving Around Fukushima

Nearly a decade after the nuclear accident in Fukushima, Japan, researchers from the University of Georgia have found that wildlife populations are abundant in areas void of human life.

– University of Georgia

Journal of Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment

Global climate trend since Dec. 1 1978: +0.13 C per decade

Global Temperature Report: December 2019

– University of Alabama Huntsville

Spoiler Alert

Forensic Chemist Detects Marijuana-Use Based on Sweat Test

Jan Halámek is proving that our own perspiration not only gives away how drunk we are – but if we are high, too.

– University at Albany, State University of New York

ACS Sensors

Dogs and wolves are both good at cooperating

A team of researchers have found that dogs and wolves are equally good at cooperating with partners to obtain a reward. When tested in same-species pairs, dogs and wolves proved equally successful and efficient at solving a given problem.

– Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History

Journal of Comparative Psychology

Volunteer Tourism Can Aid Disaster Recovery

Holidaying in a disaster zone might seem crazy, but "volunteer tourism" can actually help communities recover from natural disasters, a new study finds. And it can offer a unique and rewarding experience for volunteers, if done carefully.

– University of Technology, Sydney

Annals of Tourism Research

Over-Hunting Walruses Contributed to the Collapse of Norse Greenland, Study Suggests

The mysterious disappearance of Greenland's Norse colonies sometime in the 15th century may have been down to the overexploitation of walrus populations for their tusks, according to a study of medieval artefacts from across Europe.

– University of Cambridge

Quaternary Science Reviews

Fast Radio Burst Observations Deepen Astronomical Mystery

Observations with the 8-meter Gemini North telescope, a program of the NSF’s National Optical-Infrared Astronomy Research Laboratory, have allowed astronomers to pinpoint the location of a Fast Radio Burst in a nearby galaxy — making it the close...

– Association of Universities for Research in Astronomy (AURA)


Story Tips: Weather days, grid balance and scaling reactors

From the Department of Energy's Oak Ridge National Laboratory, January 2020

– Oak Ridge National Laboratory

Applied Thermal Engineering, Sept-2019; Association for Computing Machinery, Nov-2019

David Shih: Then and Now

David Shih is an associate professor in the New High Energy Theory Center of the Department of Physics and Astronomy at Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey.

Expert Available

– Department of Energy, Office of Science

SciWire Announcement

New York University Partners with IBM to Explore Quantum Computing for Simulation of Quantum Systems and Advancing Quantum Education

New York University will join the IBM Q Hub at the Air Force Research Lab to advance the fundamental research and use of quantum computing in simulation of quantum systems and advancing quantum education.

– New York University

Team of engineering researchers to help improve Pennsylvania's foundries

A team of Penn State engineering faculty and students is working with small-to-medium-sized foundries across Pennsylvania to aid in the transition away from using harmful silica sands in the metal casting process and to reduce costs through 3D printi...

– Penn State College of Engineering

Fred Hutch names Dr. Thomas J. Lynch Jr. as new president and director

Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center announced today that Dr. Thomas J. Lynch Jr. will become the center’s new president and director. Lynch, a well-known cancer leader with expertise in solid tumor research, precision medicine and immuno-oncolog...

– Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center

Genomic Testing Cooperative (GTC) Receives Medicare (Palmetto GBA) Coverage for GTC-Solid Tumor Profile (434 gene) Test

Genomic Testing Cooperative, LCA announced that the Medicare Administrative Contractor Palmetto GBA (MolDx®) has established coverage for its solid tumor molecular profile.

– Genomic Testing Cooperative

OU Industrial and Systems Engineering Professor Recognized With Award for Supporting Students

Janet Allen, University of Oklahoma professor of industrial and systems engineering, was named the recipient of the 2019 Ruth and Joel Spira Outstanding Design Educator Award.

– University of Oklahoma, Gallogly College of Engineering

University of Rhode Island, BayCare and Butler Hospital team up to test retinal scanning for early detection of Alzheimer's disease

The five-year, $5 million Atlas of Retinal Imaging in Alzheimer’s Study (ARIAS) is sponsored by BayCare Health System’s Morton Plant Hospital and St. Anthony’s Hospital and funded largely by Morton Plant Mease Health Care Foundation and St. Ant...

– University of Rhode Island

includes video

Department of Energy Announces $32 Million for Small Business Research and Development Grants

U.S. Secretary of Energy Dan Brouillette announced that the Department of Energy (DOE) will award 158 grants totaling $32 million to 118 small businesses in 32 states. Funded through DOE’s Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) and Small Busin...

– Department of Energy, Office of Science

UTEP Professor Named a 2019 National Academy of Inventors Fellow

The honor recognizes Wicker’s “spirit of innovation in creating or facilitating outstanding inventions that have made a tangible impact on quality of life, economic development and the welfare of society,” according to the NAI’s announcement....

– University of Texas at El Paso

SciWire Research Alert

Photobleaching Reversible in Some Fluorescent Proteins, Study Finds

– American Physiological Society (APS)

American Journal of Physiology - Cell Physiology





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