news 2017



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Physics - 22.12.2017
Researchers chart the ’secret’ movement of quantum particles
Researchers from the University of Cambridge have taken a peek into the secretive domain of quantum mechanics. In a theoretical paper published in the journal Physical Review A , they have shown that the way that particles interact with their environment can be used to track quantum particles when they're not being observed, which had been thought to be impossible.

Astronomy / Space - Physics - 21.12.2017
A century of galaxy discrimination revealed by giant European astronomy survey
A huge European astronomy survey, whose results are released today (21 December 2017), has revealed that the view of the Universe provided by traditional optical telescopes is seriously biased. The Herschel ATLAS (H-ATLAS) was a survey carried out by an international team led by researchers at Cardiff University with European Herschel Space Observatory in the far-infrared waveband, which consists of electromagnetic waves with wavelengths 200 times greater than optical light.

Astronomy / Space - Physics - 21.12.2017
Sunlight holds the key to planet’s shine
Scientists have discovered how the sun's influence on the remote planet Uranus changes its brightness in the sky. Changes in solar activity influence the colour and formation of clouds around the planet, researchers at Oxford and Reading universities found. The icy planet is second furthest from the sun in the solar system and takes 84 Earth years to complete a full orbit - one Uranian year.

Physics - 21.12.2017
Increased physical fitness may offset cognitive deterioration in dementia
Physical fitness is associated with better cognitive performance in older adults with dementia, according to a new study from UCL. The positive effects were found to be independent of past levels of exercise and illness duration, suggesting it's never too late to benefit from good levels of physical fitness, even after the onset of dementia.

Physics - Health - 19.12.2017
Early disease diagnosis could be dramatically improved with new detection system
By attaching specialised molecules to the backbone of DNA, researchers have made it easier to detect rare molecules associated with early disease. The presence of, or changes in the concentration of, certain proteins in biological fluids can be indicators of disease. However, in the early stages of disease these 'biomarkers' can be difficult to detect, as they are relatively rare.

Astronomy / Space - Physics - 07.12.2017
European satellite confirms general relativity with unprecedented precision
A space mission to test how objects fall in a vacuum has released its first results, providing an improved foundation for Einstein's famous theory. The first results of the 'Microscope' satellite mission were announced today by a group of researchers led by the French space agency CNES and including Imperial scientists.

Physics - Electroengineering - 30.11.2017
Squeezing light into a tiny channel brings optical computing a step closer
By forcing light to go through a smaller gap than ever before, researchers have paved the way for computers based on light instead of electronics. Light is desirable for use in computing because it can carry a higher density of information and is much faster and more efficient than conventional electronics.

Life Sciences - Physics - 28.11.2017
Revolutionary microscope and labelling technique maps DNA mutations
A team of scientists working at the University of Bristol have developed a new nanomapping microscope - powered by the laser and optics found in a typical DVD player. The new technology is being used to transform the way disease-causing genetic mutations are diagnosed and discovered. This microscope maps hundreds of chemically barcoded DNA molecules every second in a technique developed in collaboration with a team of US scientists led by Professor Jason Reed at Virginia Commonwealth University.

Physics - Astronomy / Space - 23.11.2017
Antarctic telescope shows how the Earth stops high-energy particles
The IceCube Laboratory at the Amundsen-Scott South Pole Station, in Antarctica, hosts the computers collecting raw data. Due to satellite bandwidth allocations, the first level of reconstruction and event filtering happens in near real-time in this lab. Only events selected as interesting for physics studies are sent to UW-Madison, where they are prepared for use by any member of the IceCube Collaboration.

Physics - 22.11.2017
How to cut your lawn for grasshoppers
Picture a grasshopper landing randomly on a lawn of fixed area. If it then jumps a certain distance in a random direction, what shape should the lawn be to maximise the chance that the grasshopper stays on the lawn after jumping? The grasshopper problem is a rather nice one, as it helps us try out techniques for the physics problems we really want to get to.

Physics - Environment - 20.11.2017
Homes should not be abandoned after a big nuclear accident
New research suggests that few people, if any, should be asked to leave their homes after a big nuclear accident, which is what happened in March 2011 following the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster. This is the main finding of a multi-university research study led by Philip Thomas, Professor of Risk Management at the University of Bristol, involving the universities of Manchester and Warwick, The Open University and City, University of London.

Electroengineering - Physics - 15.11.2017
Optically tunable microwave antennas for 5G applications
Multiband tunable antennas are a critical part of many communication and radar systems. New research by engineers at the University of Bristol has shown significant advances in antennas by using optically induced plasmas in silicon to tune both radiation patterns and operation frequency. Conventional antenna tuning is performed with diodes or Micro-Electro-Mechanical Systems (MEMS) switches.

Physics - Astronomy / Space - 15.11.2017
Hunt for dark matter is narrowed by new University of Sussex research
Hunt for dark matter is narrowed by new University of Sussex research Scientists at the University of Sussex have disproved the existence of a specific type of axion - an important candidate 'dark matter' particle - across a wide range of its possible masses. The data were collected by an international consortium, the Neutron Electric Dipole Moment (nEDM) Collaboration, whose experiment is based at the Paul Scherrer Institut in Switzerland.

Astronomy / Space - Physics - 14.11.2017
Vitamin D linked to better live birth rates in women undergoing assisted reproduction treatment
An international team of astronomers have discovered, for the first time, observational evidence in how some features at the surface of the hot massive supergiant star 'Zeta Puppis' induce the formation of fundamental structures in its wind. In contrast to cool low-mass stars like the Sun, hot massive stars are scarce, possess extremely strong winds, and catastrophically end their lives as supernovae that stir up and enrich the interstellar medium with chemical elements involved in the creation of new stars and even planets like Earth.

Life Sciences - Physics - 08.11.2017
Height and weight evolved at different speeds in the bodies of our ancestors
The largest study to date of body sizes over millions of years finds a "pulse and stasis" pattern to hominin evolution, with surges of growth in stature and bulk occurring at different times. At one stage, our ancestors got taller around a million years before body mass caught up.

Astronomy / Space - Physics - 07.11.2017
Call for Europe-wide screening of babies for heart defects
For the first time, scientists have directly detected gravitational waves - ripples in space and time - in addition to light from the spectacular collision of two neutron stars. This is the first time that astronomers have been able to study the same event with both gravitational waves and light. The discovery was made using the U.S.-based Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory (LIGO); the Europe-based Virgo detector, and some 70 groundand space-based observatories.

Physics - 06.11.2017
The University of Birmingham embarks on a crowdfunding campaign to secure a new cycle scheme
Scientists have designed gold nanoparticles, no bigger than 100 nanometres, which can be coated and used to track blood flow in the smallest blood vessels in the body. By improving our understanding of blood flow in vivo the nanoprobes represent an opportunity to help in the early diagnosis of disease.

Life Sciences - Physics - 03.11.2017
Scientists identify mechanism that helps us inhibit unwanted thoughts
Scientists have identified a key chemical within the 'memory' region of the brain that allows us to suppress unwanted thoughts, helping explain why people who suffer from disorders such as anxiety, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), depression, and schizophrenia often experience persistent intrusive thoughts when these circuits go awry.

Physics - Computer Science - 24.10.2017
Quantum computing breakthrough: Imperial scientist reveals latest findings
A materials expert says quantum computers may be able to come out of the cold, thanks to his research breakthrough. Dr Jonathan Breeze is from the Department of Materials at Imperial College London. He says his research breakthrough may help scientists overcome a major obstacle with quantum computers - the fact that they have to operate in conditions that are colder than deep space.

Physics - Life Sciences - 18.10.2017
Petals produce a ’blue halo’ to help bees find flowers
New study finds "messy" microscopic structures on petals of some flowers manipulate light to produce a blue colour effect that is easily seen by bee pollinators. Researchers say these petal grooves evolved independently multiple times across flowering plants, but produce the same result: a floral halo of blue-to-ultraviolet light.
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