Established in 2020 Wednesday, October 27, 2021

Researchers show new strategy for detecting non-conformist particles called anyons

Anyons are of interest because they don’t follow the same rules as particles in the everyday, three-dimensional world. Image courtesy: Brown University.

PROVIDENCE, RI.- A team of Brown University researchers has shown a new method of probing the properties of anyons, strange quasiparticles that could be useful in future quantum computers. In research published in the journal Physical Review Letters, the team describes a means of probing anyons by measuring subtle properties of the way in which they conduct heat. Whereas other methods probe these particles using electrical charge, this new method enables researchers to probe anyons even in non-conducting materials. That’s critical, the researchers say, because non-conducting systems have far less stringent temperature requirements, making them a more practical option for quantum computing. “We have beautiful ways of probing anyons using charge, but the question has been how do you detect them in the insulating systems that would be useful in what’s known as topological quantum computing,” said Dima Feldman, a physics professor at ... More

The Best Photo of the Day

New discovery about diabetes may reduce the risk of organ failure   Solid, liquid, or gas? Technique quickly identifies physical state of tissues and tumors   A 'monster' star-forming region spied by NASA's Spitzer

The researchers also uncovered how gene expression occurs in an unhealthy cell compared to a healthy cell.

AARHUS.- A new research result from Aarhus University and the Steno Diabetes Center Aarhus has identified how diabetes affects stem cells residing in muscle to form fat and connective tissue. According to the researchers, the discovery has major clinical perspectives. The cells that researchers from Aarhus University and the Steno Diabetes Center Aarhus have found are located in the skeletal muscle, but also in a many other organs. They are responsible for creating fat and scar tissue. Unhealthy skeletal muscle with an accumulation of connective tissue (fibrosis) and fat cells (called adipogenesis in medicine) damage the muscle's function. In this study, the researchers have studied how type 2 diabetes alters the skeletal muscles. They discovered that both fibrosis and fatty tissue are formed in the muscles. "One characteristic of e.g. diabetes is that the tissue becomes filled with fat and scar tissue," says Jean Farup. He therefore be ... More

MIT researchers have developed a way to decode images of cells to determine whether a tissue is more like a solid, liquid, or even a gas. These visual “fingerprints” may help to quickly diagnose and track various cancers.

CAMBRIDGE, MASS.- As an organism grows, the feel of it changes too. In the initial stages, an embryo takes on an almost fluid-like state that allows its cells to divide and expand. As it matures, its tissues and organs firm up into their final form. In certain species, this physical state of an organism can be an indicator of its developmental stage, and even the general state of its health. Now, researchers at MIT have found that the way in which a tissue’s cells are arranged can serve as a fingerprint for the tissue’s “phase.” They have developed a method to decode images of cells in a tissue to quickly determine whether that tissue is more like a solid, liquid, or even a gas. Their findings were published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. The team hopes that their method, which they’ve dubbed “configurational fingerprinting,” can help scientists track physical c ... More

NASA’s Spitzer Space Telescope imaged this cloud of gas and dust. Image courtesy: NASA/JPL-Caltech.

PASADENA, CA.- Do you see a monster in this picture? Do the bright spots near the top of the image look like the piercing eyes and elongated snout of Godzilla? In reality, this colorful image shows a nebula—a cloud of gas and dust in space—captured by NASA's Spitzer Space Telescope. Over billions of years, countless stars have formed in the material there. During their lifetimes, the radiation they release carves away the gas and dust, reshaping the cloud. Major changes also occur when massive stars die and explode, becoming supernovae. When viewed in visible light, the kind human eyes can detect, this region is almost entirely obscured by dust clouds. But infrared light (wavelengths longer than what our eyes can perceive) can penetrate the clouds, revealing hidden regions like this one. Four colors (blue, cyan, green, and red) are used to represent different wavelengths of infrared light; yellow and white are combinations of those wavelengths. Blue and cyan represent wavelengths primarily ... More

Decreasing the reproductive fitness of mosquitos   Astrophysicists reveal largest-ever suite of universe simulations   Carbon nanotube-based sensor can detect SARS-CoV-2 proteins

Nouzova and Noriega. Image courtesy: Florida International University.

MIAMI, FL.- The secret of the world's deadliest animal's reproductive success could lead to fewer baby mosquitoes. That could mean improved pest control. FIU Biomolecular Sciences Institute researchers collaborated with an international team to study juvenile hormone, a molecule that regulates development, reproduction and behavior in insects. They produced genetically modified Aedes aegypti mosquitoes—carriers of deadly diseases including yellow fever, dengue and zika—that cannot make juvenile hormone. The mutants could still mate and have babies. Just not as many as their juvenile hormone-producing counterparts. The researchers say greater understanding of hormone action could unleash a new generation of mosquito control tools. "It's essential to understand why juvenile hormone is so important, so we can use this information to control insects and pests in a better way," said FIU biological sciences Professor Fernando G. Noriega, the s ... More

A snapshot measuring 10 billion light-years across of one of the AbacusSummit simulations. Image courtesy: The AbacusSummit Team.

NEW YORK, NY.- Collectively clocking in at nearly 60 trillion particles, a newly released set of cosmological simulations is by far the biggest ever produced. The simulation suite, dubbed AbacusSummit, will be instrumental in extracting secrets of the universe from upcoming surveys of the cosmos, its creators predict. They present AbacusSummit in several papers published October 25 in Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society. AbacusSummit was produced by researchers at the Flatiron Institute's Center for Computational Astrophysics in New York City and the Center for Astrophysics | Harvard & Smithsonian. Made up of more than 160 simulations, it models how gravitational attraction causes particles in a box-shaped universe to move about. Such models, known as N-body simulations, capture the behavior of dark matter, which makes up most of the universe's material and interacts only via gravity. "This suite is so big that it probably ... More

The researchers incorporated their sensor into a prototype with a fiber optic tip that can detect changes in fluorescence in the test sample. Image courtesy of the researchers.

CAMBRIDGE, MASS.- Using specialized carbon nanotubes, MIT engineers have designed a novel sensor that can detect SARS-CoV-2 without any antibodies, giving a result within minutes. Their new sensor is based on technology that can quickly generate rapid and accurate diagnostics, not just for Covid-19 but for future pandemics, the researchers say. “A rapid test means that you can open up travel much earlier in a future pandemic. You can screen people getting off of an airplane and determine whether they should quarantine or not. You could similarly screen people entering their workplace and so forth,” says Michael Strano, the Carbon P. Dubbs Professor of Chemical Engineering at MIT and the senior author of the study. “We do not yet have technology that can develop and deploy such sensors fast enough to prevent economic loss.” The diagnostic is based on carbon nanotube sensor technology that Strano& ... More

Artificial intelligence sheds light on how the brain processes language   Oral hookworm vaccine could save millions around the world   Predicting how changes in production, materials impact EV battery life

The most recent generation of predictive language models also appears to learn something about the underlying meaning of language.

CAMBRIDGE, MASS.- In the past few years, artificial intelligence models of language have become very good at certain tasks. Most notably, they excel at predicting the next word in a string of text; this technology helps search engines and texting apps predict the next word you are going to type. The most recent generation of predictive language models also appears to learn something about the underlying meaning of language. These models can not only predict the word that comes next, but also perform tasks that seem to require some degree of genuine understanding, such as question answering, document summarization, and story completion. Such models were designed to optimize performance for the specific function of predicting text, without attempting to mimic anything about how the human brain performs this task or understands language. But a new study from MIT neuroscientists suggests the underlying functi ... More

Hookworm currently infects around half a billion people globally and lives within the human intestine, using the host’s blood as its source of nourishment, digested through a special set of enzymes.

BRISBANE.- There’s been a significant breakthrough in the development of a vaccine to prevent hookworm infection – a parasite which causes serious disease in tens of millions of people globally. Trials of the vaccine candidate in mice, led by researchers at The University of Queensland, indicate that it is more than twice as effective than existing alternatives and marks a leap forward in the battle against the highly contagious parasite. Professor Istvan Toth from UQ’s School of Chemistry and Molecular Biology said the ease with which the vaccine could be administered – via tablet, liquid or powder – would be a gamechanger for developing countries. “Our vaccine candidate can be orally self-administered, bypassing the need for trained medical staff, and means there’s no requirement for special storage, enabling it to reach large, isolated populations,” Professor Toth said. “Vaccination can be carrie ... More

Andrew Weng, a PhD student in mechanical engineering, identify an early-life diagnostic signal that predicts the impact of the formation protocols on battery life without needing cycle life testing. Image courtesy: University of Michigan.

ANN ARBOR, MI.- As demand for electric vehicle batteries continues to grow, researchers at the University of Michigan have developed a method for predicting how changes to manufacturing processes and materials will impact battery life. U-M engineers have identified internal resistance, measured immediately after cells are made, as a key indicator of how long a battery will last. The measurements can be done in just seconds at the tail end of the manufacturing process at little to no additional cost. Previous research has shown lifespan prediction is possible, but it requires repeated cycling—charging, discharging and recharging—in order to gather data needed to train the algorithm. Aging tests needed to determine lifespan can take weeks to months to complete. For this reason, the tests are performed to only a few cells and not all the cells produced. But the new study, recently published in Joule, shows that accurate battery lifetimes can be p ... More

A megafire induced over a century's worth of erosion near Utah Lake-but there's more to the story, say scientists   Call-and-response circuit tells neurons when to grow synapses   New tricks for finding better superconductive materials

A BYU student takes a water sample from a river in Spanish Fork Canyon. Image courtesy: BYU.

PROVO, UT.- As Hurricane Rosa hurtled toward Baja California in October 2018, two BYU students spotted a valuable research opportunity. Utah County, still smoldering from the devastating Pole Creek megafire that same year, was forecast to receive days of heavy rain in the wake of the hurricane's landfall. For months, Trevor Crandall and Erin Jones had been collecting water samples in Utah Lake's tributaries to understand how land use and wildfires affect stream and lake health. Now, they had a rare chance to observe how back-to-back extreme events influenced water quality and quantity. "Erin and Trevor called our team of undergraduates together for a kind of 'midnight meeting,'" BYU plant and wildlife sciences professor Ben Abbott recalled. "They knew this would be their only shot to measure the interaction between extreme rain and a fresh megafire." "In a couple of hours, we got all the instruments ready to go out and deploy," Jones said. "That e ... More

Astrocytes (green) and neurons (magenta) closely interact in the developing cortex and signal to each other to ensure correct development. Image courtesy: Salk Institute.

SAN DIEGO, CA.- Brain cells called astrocytes play a key role in helping neurons develop and function properly, but there's still a lot scientists don't understand about how astrocytes perform these important jobs. Now, a team of scientists led by Associate Professor Nicola Allen of The Salk Institute For Biological Studies has found one way that neurons and astrocytes work together to form healthy connections called synapses. This insight into normal astrocyte function could help scientists better understand disorders linked to problems with neuronal development, including autism spectrum disorders. The study was published in the journal eLife. "We know that astrocytes could play a role in neurodevelopmental disorders, so we wanted to ask: How are they playing a role in typical development?" says Allen, a member of the Molecular Neurobiology Laboratory. "In order to better understand the disorders, we first have to understand what happens normally." ... More

Jan Kuneš. On the right: Nickel and oxygen atoms, and moving electrons in between. Image courtesy: Vienna University of Technology.

VIENNA.- Even after more than 30 years of research, high-temperature superconductivity is still one of the great unsolved mysteries of materials physics. The exact mechanism that causes certain materials to still conduct electric current without any resistance even at relatively high temperatures is still not fully understood. Two years ago, a new class of promising superconductors was discovered: so-called layered nickelates. For the first time, a research team at TU Wien has now succeeded in determining important parameters of these novel superconductors by comparing theory and experiment. This means that for the first time a theoretical model is now available that can be used to understand the electronic mechanisms of high-temperature superconductivity in these materials. Many superconductors are known today, but most of them are only superconducting at extremely low temperatures, close to absolute zero. Materials that remain superconducti ... More

It's very, very dangerous to lose contact with living nature. Albert Hofmann

More News
Publication of 500-year-old manuscript exposes medieval beliefs and religious cults
NORWICH.- A rare English illuminated medieval prayer roll, believed to be among only a few dozen still in existence worldwide, has been analyzed in a new study to expose Catholic beliefs in England before the Reformation in the sixteenth century. Now in private hands and previously unknown to experts, this meter-long roll provides fresh insights into Christian pilgrimage, and the cult of the Cross before Henry VIII's dissolution of the monasteries. Examination of the ancient roll's illustrations and text, including religious verse in Latin and English, were published in the peer-reviewed Journal of the British Archaeological Association. "In particular," art historian, and study author, Gail Turner states, "the study demonstrates Christian devotion in medieval England. "It gives insight into the devotional rituals connected to a large cr ... More

Researcher advances understanding of how the nervous system controls organs
HOUSTON, TX.- An international team of researchers, led by University of Houston Cullen Endowed Professor of biomedical engineering Mario Romero-Ortega, has progressed electroceutical research for treatment of diseases including rheumatoid arthritis, colitis and sepsis. Romero-Ortega partnered with the ARC Centre of Excellence for Electromaterials Science (ACES) at the University of Wollongong in Australia. The field of electroceuticals, where electrical stimulation is used to modify biological functions, has the potential to treat medical conditions with minimal invasion and side effects. Published in the Nature journal of Communications Biology, the work builds on previous studies when the team introduced the sutrode to the world just over a year ago. This graphene-based electrode is an electrical stimulation d ... More

Scientists make breakthrough in understanding how penicillin works
SHEFFIELD.- The mechanism which allows β-lactam antibiotics, including penicillin, to kill MRSA has been revealed for the first time. An international team of researchers led by the University of Sheffield discovered that β-lactam antibiotics kill MRSA (Methicillin Resistant S. aureus) by creating holes in the cell wall which enlarge as the cell grows, eventually killing the bacteria. The growth of these holes leads to failure of the cell wall and death of the bacteria, something which the scientists now plan to exploit in order to create new therapeutics for antibiotic resistant superbugs. It was previously known that β-lactam antibiotics work by preventing cell wall growth, but exactly how they kill has remained a mystery until now. Professor Simon Foster, from the University of Sheffield's School of Biosciences, said: "Penicillin and o ... More

Tumor reasons why cancers thrive in chromosomal chaos
SAN DIEGO, CA.- Writing in EMBO reports, researchers at University of California San Diego School of Medicine and Moores Cancer Center at UC San Diego Health describe how a pair of fundamental genetic and cellular processes are exploited by cancer cells to promote tumor survival and growth. The findings were published in the October 26, 2021 issue of the journal, a publication of the European Molecular Biology Organization. Cancer is driven by multiple types of genetic alterations, including DNA mutations and copy number alterations ranging in scale from small insertions and deletions to whole genome duplication events. Collectively, somatic copy number alterations in tumors frequently result in an abnormal number of chromosomes, termed aneuploidy, which has been shown to promote tumor development ... More

Dynamical scaling of entanglement entropy and surface roughness in random quantum systems
NAGOYA.- In physics, "universality" refers to properties of systems that are independent of their details. Establishing the universality of quantum dynamics is one of the key interests of theoretical physicists. Now, researchers from Japan have identified such a universality in disordered quantum systems, characterized by a one-parameter scaling for surface roughness and entanglement entropy (a measure of quantum entanglement). Many-particle systems in the real world are often imbued with "disorder" or "randomness." This, in turn, leads to the occurrence of phenomena unique to such systems. For instance, electrons in strongly disordered systems can become localized due to destructive interference, a phenomenon known as "Anderson localization." Anderson localization has been studied exte ... More

ResearchNews Videos
One giant leap for the mini cheetah


On a day like today, English chemist and academic Martin Lowry was born
October 26, 1874. Thomas Martin Lowry (26 October 1874 - 2 November 1936) was an English physical chemist who developed the Brønsted–Lowry acid–base theory simultaneously with and independently of Johannes Nicolaus Brønsted and was a founder-member and president (1928 - 1930) of the Faraday Society. In 1898, Lowry noted the change in optical rotation on nitro-d-camphor with time and invented the term mutarotational to describe this phenomenon. He studied changes in optical rotation caused by acid- and base-catalyzed reactions of camphor derivatives. This led in 1923 to his formulation of the protonic definition of acids and bases, now known as Brønsted–Lowry acid–base theory, independently of the work by Johannes Nicolaus Brønsted. His 1935 monograph on "Optical Rotatory Power" (1935) has long been regarded as a standard work on the subject.

ResearchNews Games

Editor & Publisher: Jose Villarreal
Art Director: Juan José Sepúlveda Ramírez

Tell a Friend
Dear User, please complete the form below in order to recommend the ResearchNews newsletter to someone you know.
Please complete all fields marked *.
Sending Mail
Sending Successful