Scientific Discoveries News
by: David Bradley
This is the Spotlight physical sciences news archive at Sciencebase.com. You can read about recent scientific discoveries in the current issue.
Relax, it's universal [Oct 2005 - astronomy]
We experience only three dimensions in every day life, plus a fourth that we have no control over, time. However, physicists reason that the Universe is not quite so simple ...
Old Tropical Europe [Oct 2005 - earth]
An international research team has reconstructed the climate of Europe over the past 45 million years using the palaeobotanical record of well-dated fossil leaves, fruits, and seeds, and showed how it evolved from tropical to seasonal ...
Graphite warms to superconductivity [Oct 2005 - materials,physics]
Graphite, the layered form of carbon, is not normally a superconductor. But, if you slip a few metal ions in between the sheets it behaves very differently ...
can [Sep 2005 - earth]
Monterey Canyon extends from shore to about 100 kilometres off the central California coast. It is one of the world's largest submarine canyons and harbours some of the deepest, darkest secrets on the planet ...
bonds [Sep 2005 - chemistry]
Palm beetles cling to leaves using an adhesive that could theoretically hold one hundred times the insect's body weight, but can be "switched off" almost instantaneously to allow the beetle to move on. Researchers are now exploiting the underlying chemistry to make new switchable adhesives and a device that could be as revolutionary as the transistor.
Deuterium at the dawn of time [Sep 2005 - astronomy,chemistry]
The middle-weight cousin of simple hydrogen could be a key to understanding the beginnings of the Universe according to research carried out at MIT's Haystack Observatory
rough and smooth of fraud prevention [Aug 2005 - materials]
UK scientists believe the microscopic imperfections found on non-reflective surfaced could be the key to a unique identification fingerprint for almost any object from paper documents and passports to credit cards and product packaging ...
Tangled quantum talk [Aug 2005 - physics]
Quantum communication holds the promise of highly secure information transfer making eavesdroppers almost a thing of the past. The problem facing those hoping to develop such a system is in exploiting the property of quantum entanglement in the real world ...
Fortunate find for fossil fructification [Aug 2005 - earth]
Researchers from the University of Montpellier II, France, the Institute of Geology of China, and the European Synchrotron Radiation Facility (ESRF, France) have used an incredibly intense beam of X-rays to peer back into deep time at a group of enigmatic fossils from the Devonian (about 400 million years) period ...
filthy lucre [Jul 2005 - chemistry]
Scientists in Bristol have developed a new analytical technique that involves feeding bank notes into a mass spectrometer to help forensic scientists to quickly distinguish between notes contaminated with illicit drugs and money from general circulation...
Lakes grow with melting permafrost [Jul 2005 - earth]
Alaska's North Slope is dotted with thousands of puzzling ovoid-shaped lakes that are among the fastest-growing lakes on the planet and have presented geological scientists with a conundrum for decades. New research now points the finger at seasonal warming of the permafrost for the lakes' unusual characteristics...
the high jump [Jul 2005 - physics]
Now that we know London is to host the 2012 Olympic Games and plans for Beijing are presumably well under way, physicists in Brazil have plenty of time to anticipate an opportunity to test their latest theories about long run-ups and vertical take-offs in events such as the high jump and long jump...
star's outburst [Jun 2005 - astronomy]
An explosive character prone to sudden outbursts has been watched with two of the world's largest telescopes. The evidence points to a peculiar kind of star as being behind the elusive gamma-ray bursts (GRBs) that have puzzled observers for more than thirty years ...
strangeness, and charm [Jun 2005 - physics]
Quarks are strange and equally charming, but all attempts to observe them in isolation would be in vain. Now, particle physicists are embarking on a new attempt to solve the mysteries of quarks ...
beats pin in sticking with gold [Jun 2005 - chemistry]
A pincer-like grip on metal surfaces could make a century old class of compounds useful in developing twenty-first Century sensor technology, according to US scientists ...
survival [May 2005 - earth]
Natural weapons of mass extinction receive a lot of scientific and media attention; from doomsday asteroids and comets to supervolcanoes and tsunami ...
ozone, running hot and cold [May 2005 - chemistry, earth]
The ozone hole over Antarctica has become rather infamous since its discovery in the early 1980s but research reported to a meeting of the European Geophysical Union in Vienna on 25th April shows that large-scale ozone losses occurred above the Arctic during the winter of 2004-2005 ...
Cupping atomic qubits [May 2005 - physics]
A nanoscale surface full of holes and made of nothing more than laser light could be used to optically trap individual atoms in each "cup" ...
for electronics [Apr 2005 - chemistry, materials]
Electronics based on protein fragments rather than silicon chips are being developed by an Israeli research team. The new approach could lead to lighter, cheaper and completely flexible electronic devices within the next two to three years, they say.
comes the rain again [Apr 2005 - earth]
The Monsoon climate of the Indian sub-continent could spread around the globe to Africa, North America, and South America, according to geologists at the University of Oregon who have studied an ancient greenhouse event...
step forward, two steps back [Apr 2005 - chemistry, materials, physics]
Science does not always move forward in quantum leaps, iteration follows iteration but sometimes there are backward slips. An Illinois team has shown that current theories cannot account for results seen in the latest round of experiments on superconducting materials...
Nano oil lamp
[Mar 2005 - chemistry]
Lipid-coated nanoparticles that glow ...
Why ice, man!
[Mar 2005 - geology]
The big chill ...
[Mar 2005 - physics]
Self-propelled oil droplets ...
Hansen, and gecko
[Jan 2005 - chemistry]
Geckos are well known for their ability to cling to almost any surface and at any angle. They can hang upside down from polished glass by a single toe, putting even Spiderman to shame! ...
[Jan 2005 - astronomy]
Planetary nebulae are the glowing clouds of dust and gas that remain once a Sun-like star has reached the end of its life and ejected its outer layers ...
[Jan 2005 - chemistry, materials]
Ever since the discovery of the all-carbon fullerenes and their linear cousins the carbon nanotubes, researchers have focused on unravelling their intriguing properties and finding applications ...
Geological implants [Jan 2005 - earth]
The constant attrition of the solar wind implanted primordial volatiles, such as water vapour and hydrogen gas, in the dust and rocks that eventually formed our planet's outer layers, according to UK researchers ...
Spherical chemical [Nov 2004 - chemistry]
The outer shells of viruses and other biological systems assemble themselves spontaneously from identical sub-units composed of proteins coded for by the organism's genes ...
break fixes astronomers' blurred vision [Nov 2004 - astronomy]
A new method for getting a clear astronomical view of the night sky has been developed by UK astronomers. The technique cancels out the blurring effects of the Earth's atmosphere ...
fissile epistle [Nov 2004 - chemistry, earth]
Uranium-235 undergoes self-sustaining fission in a nuclear reactor but as uranium also exists in the Earth in great quantities ...
Farming power from sewage [Nov 2004 - chemistry, earth, physics]
A device that generates electricity while treating sewage is being developed by Bruce Logan and Booki Min at Pennsylvania State University ...
Browse the Spotlight archive - March 2002 onwards
In a special issue of Spotlight, I cover the scientific Nobels, click the links to reach the Spotlight site.
Distinctly biological [Oct 2004 - chemistry]
The discovery of a ubiquitous protein and its role in many of the most important of life processes at the cellular level earned its three discoverers this year's Nobel Prize in Chemistry...
colour of unity [Oct 2004 - physics]
A "colourful" discovery of the world of quarks represents the limit of the very smallest of small. If you thought nano, pico, and even yocto were small, think again...
we smell [Oct 2004 - physiology or medicine]
The 2004 Nobel Prize for Physiology or Medicine was awarded not for a medical breakthrough but for a scientific discovery that is also underpinned by chemistry...
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