What do trees and statistics have in common? Pierre Dutilleul, a statistician and professor in McGills Department of Plant Science (Montreal, Canada), will tell you that many natural systems can be better understood using equations and models, provided appropriate data are collected.
Dutilleul is one of the first scientists who have used a computed tomography (CT) scanner to study how tree branching affects light interception. "We collect CT scan data, which basically measures of density in 3D, to quantify the complexity of plant branching patterns," he explains. "This will lead to a more complete and accurate model providing a better understanding of why some plants perform better in given light environments. This is important because in the long run, it means less fertilizer application and less greenhouse gas in the atmosphere through enhanced photosynthesis".
Dutilleul and his group are using CT scan data to create 3-D images of plant canopies. After scanning a plant, such as a young cedar, a computer converts the CT scan data into a digital 3-D model. As leaves and branches yield different CT scan data, the leaves can be removed from the digital model. The resulting skeletal images give more detailed and accurate information than the traditional methods of plant characterization. This information can then be used to estimate the amount of light intercepted by the plant.
Christine Zeindler | EurekAlert!
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Whether you call it effervescent, fizzy, or sparkling, carbonated water is making a comeback as a beverage. Aside from quenching thirst, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign have discovered a new use for these "bubbly" concoctions that will have major impact on the manufacturer of the world's thinnest, flattest, and one most useful materials -- graphene.
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Physicists at the University of Bonn have managed to create optical hollows and more complex patterns into which the light of a Bose-Einstein condensate flows. The creation of such highly low-loss structures for light is a prerequisite for complex light circuits, such as for quantum information processing for a new generation of computers. The researchers are now presenting their results in the journal Nature Photonics.
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For the first time, scientists have shown that circular RNA is linked to brain function. When a RNA molecule called Cdr1as was deleted from the genome of mice, the animals had problems filtering out unnecessary information – like patients suffering from neuropsychiatric disorders.
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An experimental small satellite has successfully collected and delivered data on a key measurement for predicting changes in Earth's climate.
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A study led by scientists of the Max Planck Institute for the Structure and Dynamics of Matter (MPSD) at the Center for Free-Electron Laser Science in Hamburg presents evidence of the coexistence of superconductivity and “charge-density-waves” in compounds of the poorly-studied family of bismuthates. This observation opens up new perspectives for a deeper understanding of the phenomenon of high-temperature superconductivity, a topic which is at the core of condensed matter research since more than 30 years. The paper by Nicoletti et al has been published in the PNAS.
Since the beginning of the 20th century, superconductivity had been observed in some metals at temperatures only a few degrees above the absolute zero (minus...
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