Student solves a 100-year-old physics enigma

(This article is courtesy of physics.org)    

 

Student solves a 100-year-old physics enigma

EPFL's student solves a 100-year-old physics enigma
The bubble not rising upward Credit: EPFL

An EPFL Bachelor’s student has solved a mystery that has puzzled scientists for 100 years. He discovered why gas bubbles in narrow vertical tubes seem to remain stuck instead of rising upward. According to his research and observations, an ultra-thin film of liquid forms around the bubble, preventing it from rising freely. And he found that, in fact, the bubbles are not stuck at all—they are just moving very, very slowly.

Air bubbles in a glass of water float freely up to the surface, and the mechanisms behind this are easily explained by the basic laws of science. However, the same laws of science cannot explain why air bubbles in a tube a few millimeters thick don’t rise the same way.

Physicists first observed this phenomenon nearly a century ago, but couldn’t come up with an explanation—in theory, the bubbles shouldn’t encounter any resistance unless the fluid is in motion; thus a stuck bubble should encounter no resistance.

Back in the 1960s, a scientist named Bretherton developed a formula based on the bubbles’ shape to explain this phenomenon. Other researchers have since postulated that the bubble doesn’t rise due to a thin film of liquid that forms between the bubbles and the tube wall. But these theories cannot fully explain why the bubbles don’t rise upward.

While a Bachelor’s student at the Engineering Mechanics of Soft Interfaces laboratory (EMSI) within EPFL’s School of Engineering, Wassim Dhaouadi was able to not only view the thin film of liquid, but also measure it and describe its properties—something that had never been done before. His findings showed that the bubbles weren’t stuck, as scientists previously thought, but actually moving upwards extremely slowly. Dhaouadi’s research, which was published recently in Physical Review Fluids, marked the first time that experimental evidence was provided to test earlier theories.

Dhaouadi and EMSI lab head, John Kolinski, used an optical interference method to measure the film, which they found to be only a few dozen nanometers (1 x 10-9 meters) thick. The method involved directing light onto an air bubble inside a narrow tube and analyzing the reflected light intensity. Using the interference of the light reflected from the tube’s inner wall and from the bubble’s surface, they precisely measured the film’s thickness.

Dhaouadi also discovered that the film changes shape if heat is applied to the bubble and returns to its original shape once the heat is removed. “This discovery disproves the most recent theories that the film would drain to zero thickness,” says John Kolinski.

These measurements also show that the bubbles are actually moving, albeit too slowly to be seen by the human eye. “Because the film between the bubble and the tube is so thin, it creates a strong resistance to flow, drastically slowing the bubbles’ rise,” according to Kolinski.

These findings relate to fundamental research but could be used to study fluid mechanics on a nanometric scale, especially for biological systems.

Dhaouadi joined the lab as a summer research assistant during his Bachelor. He made rapid progress, and continued the work of his own volition. “He essentially participated out of his interest in the research, and wound up publishing a paper from his work that brings to rest a centuries-old puzzle,” says Kolinski.

“I was happy to carry a research project early in my curriculum. It is a new way of thinking and learning and was quite different from a Homework set where you know there is a solution, although it may be hard to find. At first, We did not know if there would even be a solution to this problem.,” says Dhaouadi, who is now completing a Master’s degree at ETH Zurich. Kolinski adds: “Wassim made an exceptional discovery at our lab. We were happy to have him working with us.”


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When bubbles bounce back


More information: Dhaouadi, Wassim and Kolinski, John M., Bretherton’s Buoyant Bubble, Physical Review Fluids, 2019, DOI: 10.1103/PhysRevFluids.4.123601

Israel: In possible climate breakthrough, Israel scientists engineer bacteria to eat CO₂

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE TIMES OF ISRAEL)

 

In possible climate breakthrough, Israel scientists engineer bacteria to eat CO₂

Decade-long research at Weizmann Institute could pave way for low-emissions production of carbon for use in biofuels, food, and help remove excess global warming CO₂ from air

E. coli bacteria. (NIAID/Wikimedia Commons,  CC BY 2.0)

E. coli bacteria. (NIAID/Wikimedia Commons, CC BY 2.0)

In a remarkable breakthrough that could pave the way toward carbon-neutral fuels, researchers at the Weizmann Institute of Science have produced a genetically engineered bacteria that can live on carbon dioxide rather than sugar.

The extraordinary leap — reported Wednesday in Cell, and quickly picked up by prestigious publications such as Nature — could lead to the low-emissions production of carbon for use in biofuels or food that would also help to remove excess CO₂ from the atmosphere, where it is helping to drive global warming.

Plants and ocean-living cyanobacteria perform photosynthesis, taking the energy from light to transform CO₂ into a form of organic carbon that can be used to build DNA, proteins and fats.

As these photosynthesizers can be difficult to moderate genetically, the Weizmann team, under Prof. Ron Milo, took E. coli bacteria — more commonly associated with food poisoning — and spent ten years weaning them off sugar and training them to “eat” carbon dioxide instead.

Through genetic engineering, they enabled the bacteria to convert CO₂ into organic carbon, substituting the energy of the sun — a vital ingredient in the photosynthesis process — with a substance called formate, which is also attracting attention as a potential generator of clean electricity.

Prof Ron Milo of the Weizmann Institute of Sciences. (Screenshot)

To get the bacteria to move from a sugar to a carbon dioxide diet, the team, which also included Roee Ben-Nissan, Yinon Bar-On and others in the institute’s Plant and Environmental Sciences Department, then almost starved the bacteria of sugar (glucose), while giving them plenty of carbon dioxide and formate, and bred several generations to test whether evolution would allow some of the bacteria to mutate and be able to survive solely on CO₂.

After a year, some of the bacteria descendants made the complete switch to CO₂, following evolutionary changes in just 11 genes.

The lab bacteria that moved over to a CO₂ diet were fed very high amounts of the gas. However, under regular atmospheric conditions, they would still need sugar, as well, to live.

“Our lab was the first to pursue the idea of changing the diet of a normal heterotroph [one that eats organic substances] to convert it to autotrophism [‘living on air’],” said Milo. “It sounded impossible at first, but it has taught us numerous lessons along the way, and in the end we showed it indeed can be done. Our findings are a significant milestone toward our goal of efficient, green scientific applications.”

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Physicists Have Identified a Metal That Conducts Electricity But Not Heat

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF SCIENCE.ORG)

 

Physicists Have Identified a Metal That Conducts Electricity But Not Heat

FIONA MACDONALD
30 NOV 2019

Researchers have identified a metal that conducts electricity without conducting heat – an incredibly useful property that defies our current understanding of how conductors work.

The metal, found in 2017, contradicts something called the Wiedemann-Franz Law, which basically states that good conductors of electricity will also be proportionally good conductors of heat, which is why things like motors and appliances get so hot when you use them regularly.

But a team in the US showed this isn’t the case for metallic vanadium dioxide (VO2) – a material that’s already well known for its strange ability to switch from a see-through insulator to a conductive metal at the temperature of 67 degrees Celsius (152 degrees Fahrenheit).

“This was a totally unexpected finding,” said lead researcher Junqiao Wu from Berkeley Lab’s Materials Sciences Division back in January 2017.

“It shows a drastic breakdown of a textbook law that has been known to be robust for conventional conductors. This discovery is of fundamental importance for understanding the basic electronic behavior of novel conductors.”

Not only does this unexpected property change what we know about conductors, it could also be incredibly useful – the metal could one day be used to convert wasted heat from engines and appliances back into electricity, or even create better window coverings that keep buildings cool.

Researchers already knew of a handful of other materials that conduct electricity better than heat, but they only display those properties at temperatures hundreds of degrees below zero, which makes them highly impractical for any real-world applications.

Vanadium dioxide, on the other hand, is usually only a conductor at warm temperatures well above room temperature, which means it has the ability to be a lot more practical.

To uncover this bizarre property, the team looked at the way that electrons move within vanadium dioxide’s crystal lattice, as well as how much heat was being generated.

Surprisingly, they found that the thermal conductivity that could be attributed to the electrons in the material was 10 times smaller than that amount predicted by the Wiedemann-Franz Law.

The reason for this appears to be the synchronised way that the electrons move through the material.

“The electrons were moving in unison with each other, much like a fluid, instead of as individual particles like in normal metals,” said Wu.

“For electrons, heat is a random motion. Normal metals transport heat efficiently because there are so many different possible microscopic configurations that the individual electrons can jump between.”

“In contrast, the coordinated, marching-band-like motion of electrons in vanadium dioxide is detrimental to heat transfer as there are fewer configurations available for the electrons to hop randomly between,” he added.

Interestingly, when the researchers mixed the vanadium dioxide with other materials, they could ‘tune’ the amount of both electricity and heat that it could conduct – which could be incredibly useful for future applications.

For example, when the researchers added the metal tungsten to vanadium dioxide, they lowered the temperature at which the material became metallic, and also made it a better heat conductor.

That means that vanadium dioxide could help dissipate heat from a system, by only conducting heat when it hits a certain temperature. Before that it would be an insulator.

Vanadium dioxide also has the unique ability of being transparent to around 30 degrees Celsius (86 degrees Fahrenheit), but then reflects infrared light above 60 degrees Celsius (140 degrees Fahrenheit) while remaining transparent to visible light.

So that means it could even be used as a window coating that reduces the temperature without the need for air conditioning.

“This material could be used to help stabilize temperature,” said one of the researchers, Fan Yang.

“By tuning its thermal conductivity, the material can efficiently and automatically dissipate heat in the hot summer because it will have high thermal conductivity, but prevent heat loss in the cold winter because of its low thermal conductivity at lower temperatures.”

A lot more research needs to be done on this puzzling material before it’s commercialized further, but it’s pretty exciting that we now know these bizarre properties exist in a material at room temperature.

The research was published in Science in 2017.

A version of this article was first published in January 2017.

Scientists have discovered a ‘monster’ black hole that’s so big it shouldn’t exist

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF CNN)

 

Scientists have discovered a ‘monster’ black hole that’s so big it shouldn’t exist

(CNN)Scientists have discovered a “monster black hole” so massive that, in theory, it shouldn’t exist.

It’s a stellar black hole — the type that forms after stars die, collapse, and explode. Researchers had previously believed that the size limit was no more than 20 times the mass of our sun because as these stars die, they lose most of their mass through explosions that expel matter and gas swept away by stellar winds.
This theory has now been toppled by LB-1, the newly-discovered black hole. Located about 15,000 light years away, it has a mass 70 times greater than our sun, according to a press release from the Chinese Academy of Sciences.
The findings were published by Chinese researchers in the journal Nature on Wednesday.
“Black holes of such mass should not even exist in our galaxy, according to most of the current models of stellar evolution,” said Liu Jifeng, head of the team that made the discovery. “LB-1 is twice as massive as what we thought possible. Now theorists will have to take up the challenge of explaining its formation.”
Scientists are now scratching their heads at how LB-1 got so huge.
The Chinese team has proposed a number of theories. LB-1’s sheer size suggests that it “was not formed from the collapse of only one star,” the study said — instead, it could potentially be two smaller black holes orbiting each other.
Another possibility is that it formed from a “fallback supernova.” This is when a supernova — the last stage of an exploding star — ejects material during the explosion, which then falls back into the supernova, creating a black hole.
This fallback formation is theoretically possible, but scientists have never been able to prove or observe it. If this is how LB-1 formed, then we may have “direct evidence for this process” for the first time, the study said.
LB-1 is not the biggest black hole ever discovered — but it may be the largest of its kind. There are several types of black holes, and stellar black holes like LB-1 are on the smaller side, according to NASA. Supermassive black holes are much bigger — they can be billions of times the mass of our sun.
Scientists believe supermassive black holes may be connected to the formation of galaxies, as they often exist at the center of the massive star systems — but it is still not clear exactly how, or which form first.

Stellar renaissance

Stellar black holes are believed to be commonly scattered across the universe, but they are difficult to detect because they do not normally emit X-rays — only doing so when they gobble up gas from a star that has ventured close enough. They are so elusive that scientists have only found, identified, and measured about two dozen stellar black holes, the press release said.
The researchers at the Chinese Academy of Sciences tried a different approach. Instead of looking for X-rays emitted by black holes, the team looked for stars that were orbiting some invisible object, being pulled in by its gravity.
Their efforts paid off — they soon spotted a giant star eight times heavier than the sun, orbiting around what turned out to be LB-1.
“This discovery forces us to re-examine our models of how stellar-mass black holes form,” said David Reitze, a physicist at the University of Florida. In May, Reitze’s team made its own breakthrough discovery — observing the never-before-seen collision of a neutron star and a black hole, which sent out ripples in space and time.
These twin discoveries — the collision, and now LB-1 — indicate that scientists are reaching “a renaissance in our understanding of black hole astrophysics,” said Reitze in the press release.
There have been several other discoveries over the past year that have added to this renaissance. In October, researchers discovered what they believe to be a new type of black hole, smaller than the other kinds. And earlier this week, astronomers discovered a black hole that is actually helping baby stars grow instead of destroying them.

India’s rain pattern getting affected by global climate crisis

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE HINDUSTAN TIMES OF INDIA)

 

India’s rain pattern getting affected by global climate crisis

In a report published on Wednesday, climate scientists pointed out that the Indo-Pacific warm pool, a stretch of ocean where the temperature remains above 28°C in the winter months, has doubled in size between 1981 ans 2018.

INDIA Updated: Nov 28, 2019 03:29 IST

Jayashree Nandi and Snehal Fernandes
Jayashree Nandi and Snehal Fernandes

Hindustan Times, New Delhi/Mumbai
Scientists have for the first time linked a specific phenomenon brought on by the climate crisis to reduced winter rain in India
Scientists have for the first time linked a specific phenomenon brought on by the climate crisis to reduced winter rain in India(Satyabrata Tripathy/HT Photo)

Scientists have for the first time linked a specific phenomenon brought on by the climate crisis to reduced winter rain in India — a growing patch of warm seas in the Indo-Pacific ocean region that is causing droughts in some regions across the world and extreme floods in others.

In a report published on Wednesday, climate scientists pointed out that the Indo-Pacific warm pool, a stretch of ocean where the temperature remains above 28°C in the winter months, has doubled in size between 1981 ans 2018. This, in turn, has “warped” the Madden-Julian Oscillation (MJO), a band of rain clouds that moves eastwards over the tropics and is responsible for most weather variations in the region — including the south-west and north-east monsoons.

The study, published in the journal Nature and authored by scientists from Pune’s Indian Institute of Tropical Meteorology (IITM), United States’s National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, University of Washington and University of Tokyo, said that the changes to MJO have a cascading effect that triggers extreme weather events across the globe.

The MJO season begins in October and lasts till April, and the report contends its “warping” has a direct link to lower rainfall in the winter months in north India. Experts separately say the effects also spill over to the summer monsoon,which is crucial for India’s agriculture and economy.

The landmark study comes less than a week before 197 countries gather for the UN Climate Conference (COP25) in Madrid to negotiate on rules around the functioning of carbon markets, how vulnerable countries can be compensated for the loss caused by climate impact, and to decide on how findings of Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC’s) 2019 report on land and oceans can be taken on board.

“The MJO location-specific changes in terms of their lifespan has altered weather patterns across the globe because it changes atmospheric circulation that can enhance or suppress tropical rainfall variability, modulate or trigger extreme weather events including hurricanes, droughts, flooding, heat waves and cold surges,” said Roxy Mathew Koll, principal investigator and climate scientist, IITM.

Previous studies have established that an increase in greenhouse gas emissions due to human activities has led to the warming of the Indo-Pacific pool, the study noted.

The study looked at climate model simulations between 1981 and 2018 and found that MJO clouds now remain in Indian Ocean for four fewer days (from an average of 19 days to 15 days). In turn, they have spilled over to the west Pacific region, where they linger for five more days (from an average of 18 days to 23 days).

MJO travels 12,000-20,000km mainly over the Indo-Pacific warm pool and modulates the El Niño Southern Oscillation, tropical cyclones and the monsoons, contributing to severe weather events over Asia, Australia, Africa, Europe and the Americas.

Koll said changes in MJO can affect western disturbances that bring rain to north India and may also reduce the span of summer monsoon rains and cause extreme rainfall events in short duration.

Raghu Murtugudde, professor of atmospheric and oceanic science and earth system science at the University of Maryland, who was not involved in the study, said the report is critical for the Indian monsoon because the MJO season (October to April) dovetails the monsoon season, also known as the Monsoon Intraseasonal Oscillation or MISO season (May to September).

“The monsoon is all about MISOs or active/break periods. Since the variability and change in the monsoon are all manifest in active/break periods and our agriculture depends on active/breaks, this MJO story raises new questions about how MISOs are responding to the Indo-Pacific warm pool changes,” said Murtugudde. “Now the question is to see how MJO changes are related to the MISO changes and what it means for the future of the monsoon.”

A third scientist supported the concerns. “It’s quite possible that changes in MJO are impacting the north-east monsoon. It definitely has a big impact on our summer monsoon which is being documented. MJO is one of fundamental oscillations that impacts the intra-seasonal variability of southwest monsoon,” said SK Dash, climate scientist, IIT Delhi.

In addition to India, the impact spreads to central and east Pacific, east Africa, the Yangtze basin in China, and the east and west coasts of the United States. It is also linked to enhanced rainfall over the Maritime Continent–west pacific region, the Amazon basin in South America, south-west Africa and northern Australia.

The study links MJO changes to California droughts in 2013-2014, South-east Asia floods in 2011 and East Africa droughts in 2011, which occurred during years when the MJO phase duration was longer over the west pacific region. Extreme flooding events in Brazil, such as the 2011 Rio de Janeiro floods are also linked to longer MJO

Scientists drill out 2 million-year-old ice and make a major discovery

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE UK EXPRESS NEWS)

 

Antarctica shock: Scientists drill out 2 million-year-old ice and make a major discovery

ANTARCTICA researchers drilling out ice cores dating back two million years into Earth’s past have made incredible discoveries about the planet’s climate.

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United States: Simulation shows possible nuclear war with Russia

The Antarctic discovery is touted as the “first direct observation” of the planet’s ancient  conditions. Researchers led by Princeton University in the US extracted two million-year-old samples ice in the remote Allan Hills of Antarctica. The Antarctic core samples contain pristine samples of trapped greenhouse gases – prehistoric bubbles of carbon dioxide (CO2) and methane (CH4).

The researchers are convinced the ice cores represent untouched snapshots of the Earth’s climate from a time before man ruled the world.

According to Dr Yuzhen Yan, who led the Antarctic study, the discovery paints an overall picture of changes in the climate.

He said: “You don’t get a sense of how things changed continually, but you get an idea of big changes over time.”

The discovery was presented in the journal Nature this month.

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Antarctica news: Scientists drilling ice cores

Antarctica news: Researchers have drilled 2 million-year-old ice cores (Image: GETTY)

Antarctica news: Scientists in Antarctica

Antarctica news: The discovery reveals the Earth’s prehistoric climate (Image: SEAN MACKAY/BOSTON UNIVERSITY)

According to Dr Yan, ice core samples from Antarctica show a continuous record of the climate dating back to about 800,000 years in the past.

But because of the way ice flows and compresses over time, samples dating even farther into the past show more widely distributed patterns.

The two million-year-old cores were drilled in the Allan Hills region by Princeton associate professor John Higgins.

Professor Higgins previously drilled out one million-year-old ice cores, which at the time were the oldest ever recovered.

The researchers dated the ice cores by analysing isotopes of argon gas trapped in the ice.

Now, the newly recovered older ice cores have helped researchers better understand how the planet’s glacial cycle took shape.

You get an idea of big changes over time

Dr Yuzhen Yan, Princeton University

Dr Yan said: “The ability to measure atmospheric composition directly is one of the biggest advantages of ice cores.

“That’s why people spend years and years in the most isolated places getting them.”

Up until about 1.2 million years ago, the planet’s glaciers were thinner and smaller.

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Antarctica news: Scientists drilling in Antarctica

Antarctica news: Atmospheric carbon dioxide is at unprecedented levels (Image: SEAN MACKAY/BOSTON UNIVERSITY)

Antarctica news: Scientists drilling in Antarctica

Antarctica news: Ice cores show a record of Earth’s changing climate (Image: SEAN MACKAY/BOSTON UNIVERSITY)

The glaciers most likely formed and melted away over a 40,000-year-long cycle.

But after the so-called Mid-Pleistocene Transition between 1.2 million 700,000 years ago, the glacial cycle became considerably longer.

The planet was much colder than it is today and glaciers formed and melted over cycles 100,000-years-long.

Although atmospheric CO2 is not to blame for the prehistoric transition, the research has found the planet is experiencing unprecedented levels of the atmospheric gas today.

According to space agency NASA, levels of atmospheric CO2 stand around 408.53 parts per million (ppm) as of October 2019.

Dr Yan said: “We’re seeing carbon dioxide levels not seen in two million years.

“While our data suggest that long-term carbon dioxide decline was not the decisive factor in the Mid-Pleistocene Transition, it does not mean that carbon dioxide does not have the capability to bring about global-scale changes.

“We’re in a different situation now — carbon dioxide is the major player in our current world.

“If we want to look into the geologic past for an analogy of what’s going on in our world today, we need to go beyond two million years to find it.”

India Admits Its Moon Lander Crashed, Cites Problem with Braking Thrusters

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF SPACE.COM)

 

India Admits Its Moon Lander Crashed, Cites Problem with Braking Thrusters

This visualization shows how Chandrayaan-2's Vikram lander planned to land on the moon.

This visualization shows how Chandrayaan-2’s Vikram lander planned to land on the moon.
(Image: © ISRO)

India has finally made it official: the country’s long-silent Chandrayaan-2 moon lander Vikram did, in fact, crash into the lunar surface in September, apparently because of an issue with its braking rockets.

In newly released details about India’s attempted lunar landing on Sept. 6, the Indian government has revealed that the Vikram craft “hard landed” on the moon because of a problem with its braking thrusters. Until now, the India Space Research Organisation had disclosed only that it had lost contact with the probe.

The update was announced by Jitendra Singh, the minister of state for the Department of Space, in a written response to the Lok Sabha, the lower house of India’s Parliament. The news was first reported by SpaceNews.

“The first phase of descent was performed nominally from an altitude of 30 km to 7.4 km (18 miles to 4.5 miles) above the moon surface,” Singh wrote, describing the lander’s descent, in which the craft slowed from 5,521 feet per second (1,683 meters per second) to 479 feet per second (146 m per second).

“During the second phase of descent, the reduction in velocity was more than the designed value,” he continued. “Due to this deviation, the initial conditions at the start of the fine braking phase were beyond the designed parameters. As a result, Vikram hard landed within 500 m of the designated landing site,” Singh said.

Video: The Moment India Lost Contact with the Vikram Moon Lander

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This is the first time that the Indian government has formally acknowledged the crash landing.

On Sept. 10, following the loss of communication from what we now know was a crash on the moon, the ISRO announced that the “Vikram lander has been located by the orbiter of Chandrayaan2, but no communication with it yet. All possible efforts are being made to establish communication with lander.”

One explanation for why it has taken so long for the Indian government to formally recognize the crash is that, according to the ISRO, they were still trying to figure out exactly what happened. Engineers were working to reconstruct the events that led to the loss of communication with the lander and the ISRO was waiting until that work was done to make a formal announcement, S. Somanath, who directs the ISRO’s Vikram Sarabhai Space Centre, said at the International Astronautical Congress (IAC) on Oct. 21, according to a statement.

However, while Somanath held off on making any formal declarations about Vikram, he did recognize that the craft most likely hit the moon so fast that it was “beyond its survivability,” he said in the statement.

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A ‘no-brainer Nobel Prize’: Hungarian scientists may have found a fifth force of nature

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF CNN)

 

A ‘no-brainer Nobel Prize’: Hungarian scientists may have found a fifth force of nature

Physicist Attila Krasznahorkay, right, works with a fellow researcher at the Institute for Nuclear Research at the Hungarian Academy of Sciences.

(CNN)Essentially the entirety of physics centers on four forces that control our known, visible universe, governing everything from the production of heat in the sun to the way your laptop works. They are gravity, electromagnetism, the weak nuclear force, and the strong force.

New research may be leading us closer to one more.
Scientists at the Institute for Nuclear Research at the Hungarian Academy of Sciences (Atomki) have posted findings showing what could be an example of that fifth force at work.
The scientists were closely watching how an excited helium atom emitted light as it decayed. The particles split at an unusual angle, 115 degrees, which couldn’t be explained by known physics.
The study’s lead scientist, Attila Krasznahorkay, told CNN that this was the second time his team had detected a new particle, which they call X17, because they calculated its mass at 17 megaelectronvolts.
“X17 could be a particle, which connects our visible world with the dark matter,” he said in an email.
Jonathan Feng, a professor of physics and astronomy at the University of California, Irvine, told CNN he’s been following the Hungarian team’s work for years, and believes their research is shaping up to be a game changer.
If these results can be replicated, “this would be a no-brainer Nobel Prize,” he said.

Hungarian scientists are building on 2016 results

Three years ago, the Hungarian researchers published a similar paper in Physical Review Letters, one of the most prestigious journals in physics.
The nuclear physics experimental team had been studying another isotope, beryllium-8, as it decays down to a ground state. They saw electrons and positrons splitting off from the atom at unusual angles.
Those findings, which showed particles coming off beryllium-8 at around a 140-degree angle, were strange and new.
“We introduced such a new particle, which nobody saw before, and which existence could not be understood by the widely accepted ‘Standard Model’ of particle physics, so it faced scrutiny,” Krasznahorkay said in an email.
The findings by Krasznahorkay’s team didn’t get much attention at first, but they raised Feng’s eyebrows. He said he “didn’t want to leave potentially revolutionary results just sitting on the table.”

A physicist in California developed a theory to explain the unusual results

In short, it could change physics as we know it, or it could have just been a simple lab error.
“Some people said they screwed up,” Feng said.
But he believed the Hungarians were for real. His research group published a paper on the heels of the Hungarians’ 2016 work, laying out a theory to observe what Krasznahorkay’s experimental team had seen.
They referred to this unseen fifth force in action as a “photophobic force,” meaning that it was as though the particles were “afraid of light.”
Meanwhile, nuclear physicists around the world set to work looking for errors in the Hungarians’ work, and have come up empty-handed over the past few years.
“Some very well-known nuclear physicists have done that exercise,” Feng said.
The numbers seemed to add up, and no one could find ways their equipment was calibrated incorrectly.
And Feng said his own team was comparing the Hungarian experiments with “with every other experiment that’s been done in the history of physics.”
The only way to explain X17 was a hitherto undetected “fifth force.”

The findings point toward the Holy Grail of physics

To move their breakthrough idea from 2016 forward, the Hungarians would need to repeat the results again. That’s exactly what their 2019 results do.
Feng says there was only a one in a trillion chance that the results were caused by anything other than the X17 particle, and this new fifth force.
He added that if another research group could repeat these results with a third type of atom in addition to beryllium and helium, “that would blow the cover off this thing.”
Experimental research groups have already been reaching out to him hungry to do that.
More sightings of the fifth force could lead to scientists settling on a specific name for it, understanding its workings more deeply, and developing practical applications for how to harness its power.
They’re leading us closer to what’s considered the Holy Grail in physics, which Albert Einstein had aimed at but never achieved. Physicists hope to create a “unified field theory,” which would coherently explain all cosmic forces from the formation of galaxies down to the quirks of quarks.
But the universe isn’t giving up its secrets easily.
“There’s no reason to stop at the fifth,” Feng said. “There could be a sixth, seventh, and eighth force.”

3 Areas Where the Most Dinosaur Bones Have Been Found

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF TRAVEL TRIVIA)

 

3 Areas Where the Most Dinosaur Bones Have Been Found

It’s hard even to fathom what it was like when dinosaurs were the chief inhabitants of the world. Fossils, of course, bring us a connection to these times, and they provide scientists with a way to theorize about what the world was like. If you nerd out about fossils and dinosaurs like we do, read on to learn about the three places where the most dinosaur bones have been found.

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North America

North America

Credit: piyaphun/ iStock

While humans find dinosaur bones all over the world, there certainly are hot spots where a higher density of these ancient treasures reside. North America is one of them. The different kinds of fossils are as numerous as you can imagine. But here are some examples of fossils in North America and where you can go to see them for yourself.

The Precambrian Period is the first period we recognize, and there are plenty of Precambrian fossils in North America, according to the Smithsonian. This era of Earth’s history involved a lot of microorganisms, algae, and soft-bodied species such as worms and jellyfish. A great place to see Precambrian fossils in the U.S. is at the Grand Canyon. There you can see algae fossils that are over one billion years old. Glacier National Park in Montana also has fossilized evidence of cyanobacteria dating back 1.5 billion years, as well as stromatolites.

Ancient multi-celled organisms are cool, but you might be wondering where you can see some actual dinosaur bones. Guadalupe Mountains National Park in Texas is a great place to see fish-like fossils and the predecessors to snails from the Permian Period. From the age of mammals — the Cenozoic period — you can spot ancient crocodiles and an animal similar to our modern-day hyenas at the John Day Fossil Beds in Oregon. And the Florissant Fossil Beds in Colorado have one of the most diverse displays in all the world. There, you can find a prehistoric rhinoceros and the first-ever discovered fossilized butterfly.

Argentina

Argentina

Credit: xeni4ka/ iStock

The vast collection of fossils found in Argentina is one of the country’s claims to fame. One example is Saltasaurus Loricatus, a small sauropod from the Late Cretaceous Period. This discovery, made in 1980, was a big deal in the world of paleontology because it was the first evidence of hard bone plates on the back. These plates operated like an armor of sorts. This dinosaur was an herbivore that was about 12 meters long. Scientists propose it could stand on its hind legs to eat leaves higher up in the trees.

Other treasures from Argentina include the fossils of Noasaurus Leali. This dinosaur looked like a small velociraptor similar to the ones found in North American and China, although it’s an entirely different species. It had sharp talons and teeth — which are definitely the characteristics of a carnivore. A rancher discovered these bones in San Juan in 1958, in what is now known as the Ischigualasto Formation.

For those wanting to travel to Argentina and see fossils for themselves, the Ischigualasto Formation is a great place to start. It’s now a regional park, and visitors can see the fossils still in the ground. Argentinians have also done a great job of providing fossil experiences in a museum setting that still feels authentic. One example is the Ernesto Bachmann Dinosaur Museum in El Chocón. This museum has replicas of fossils as they were found in the ground. They also have tools used by paleontologists on display so visitors can see what archaeological digs are like. There are other museums and parks in Argentina, as well, that educate visitors about the impressive fossils found in this country.

China

China

Credit: Mark Brandon/ Shutterstock

China is a massive country, and there have been fantastic fossil finds throughout the land. One of these places is the Qingjiang River, where paleontologists have found evidence of 101 different species along the river banks, and over half of those were new to science. The site was first discovered in 2007, but paleontologists have been busy exploring it ever since. They’ve found species as old as the first animals in the Cambrian Period. Chinese paleontologists and scientists around the globe are hoping Qingjiang will become a UNESCO World Heritage Site to protect these incredible findings.

A fossil hotspot in China that is already a UNESCO World Heritage Site is the Chengjiang Fossil Site. Chengjiang is located in the Yunnan Province and also has a vast collection of Cambrian Fossils. While there were many mining operations near the site, they’ve been shut down. The sites are starting to be rehabilitated so that further fossil records don’t get destroyed.

The Inner Mongolian Autonomous Region is another place in China rich with fossils. It’s even known as “Dinosaur Town,” and it has an abundance of Ankylosaurus and Ceratopsian fossils. Something unique about these fossils is that there’s evidence of all ages of creatures, from newborns to mature adults. Scientists in China are constantly discovering new fossil areas that are in urgent need of excavation.

Scientists discover body’s protection shield

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF PHYSICS.ORG)

 

Scientists discover body’s protection shield

Scientists discover body’s protection shield
Image of a fly wound and inflammation. Credit: Helen Weavers

Scientists have discovered a way to manipulate the body’s own immune response to boost tissue repair. The findings, published in Current Biology today, reveal a new network of protective factors to shield cells against damage. This discovery, made by University of Bristol researchers, could significantly benefit patients undergoing surgery by speeding recovery times and lowering the risk of complication.

When a  is damaged, (either accidentally or through surgery), the body quickly recruits  to the injury site where they fight infection by engulfing and killing invading pathogens, through the release of toxic factors (such as unstable molecules containing oxygen known as “reactive oxygen species” e.g. peroxides). However, these bactericidal products are also highly toxic to the host tissue and can disrupt the repair process. To counteract these  the repairing tissue activates powerful protective machinery to “shield” itself from the damage.

Now, researchers from Bristol’s School of Biochemistry studying , have mapped the exact identities of these protective pathways and identified how to stimulate this process in naïve tissues.

Dr. Helen Weavers from Bristol’s Faculty of Life Sciences, and the study’s lead author, explains: “In healthy individuals, injured tissues normally quickly repair themselves following damage. Within a healing skin wound, a stress-response is activated that recruits , which in turn release a multitude of bacteriocidal factors, including  (ROS), to eliminate invading pathogens.

“In this study we used translucent fruit flies to watch wound repair live as it happens and follow the behavior of the recruited immune cells. In doing so, we uncovered a network of protective pathways which shield tissues from inflammatory damage and make repairing tissues more ‘resilient’ to stress. We also demonstrated that ectopic activation of these pathways further enhanced tissue protection, whilst their inhibition led to significant delays in wound closure.

“Now we know their identities and how they are activated, we hope to develop ways to stimulate this protective machinery in patients prior to elective surgery.”

The findings have clear clinical relevance to patients because therapeutic activation of these cyto-protective pathways in the clinic could also offer an exciting approach to ‘precondition’ patient tissues prior to elective surgery.

Dr. Weavers added: “We are now uncovering even more ‘resilience’ pathways that help to protect our body tissues from stress, both at sites of wounding and in other vulnerable organs that are often exposed to similar stressors. Since we find that the protection machinery is activated by the same pathways that also initiate the inflammatory response, we think the resilience machinery has evolved as a fail-safe mechanism for tissue protection each time inflammation is triggered.


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More information: Helen Weavers et al. Injury Activates a Dynamic Cytoprotective Network to Confer Stress Resilience and Drive Repair, Current Biology (2019). DOI: 10.1016/j.cub.2019.09.035

Journal information: Current Biology