Latest News

New Research Shows Just How Much We Hate Winners

New research by economists at the Universities of Warwick and Oxford has provided surprising information on just how much people hate a winner. It also shows what lengths human beings are prepared to go to damage a winner out of a sense of envy or fairness.

The researchers, Professor Andrew Oswald of the University of Warwick and Dr Daniel Zizzo of Oxford, designed a new kind of experiment, played with real cash, where subjects could anonymously “burn” away other people’s money – but only a

Exploding star strafed Earth

A supernova may have caused mass extinction two million years ago.

The explosion of a dying star could have ended much of marine life on Earth two million years ago. The supernova could have strafed the Earth’s atmosphere with cosmic rays, severely damaging the ozone layer and exposing living organisms to high levels of the Sun’s hazardous ultraviolet rays, US researchers propose 1 .

This idea dates back to the 1950s, but now Narciso Benítez of Johns Hopkins

Crustacean brawls caught on camera

Underwater video reveals lobsters behaving badly.

A lobster-pot is more like a Wild West saloon than a cunningly laid snare. Lobsters show up for food and a fight, and only the unlucky few get reeled in, underwater video footage is revealing.

Camera recordings show that lobster traps catch a mere 6% of the animals that enter them. The result suggests that lobsters’ rowdy behaviour could be confusing attempts to count and size them, and so to manage the fishery 1

Study Suggests Cloned Mice Die Early

Ethical considerations aside, a major issue in cloning is whether or not clones are as healthy as normally conceived animals. The evidence so far has been mixed. Some cloned cows have received clean bills of health, but Dolly suffers from premature arthritis, and many cloned animals are obese. According to a report published online today by the journal Nature Genetics, mice cloned from somatic cells fare particularly poorly. Indeed, the study found that cloned mice had significantly shorter life span

Scientists catch cold

New skin receptor is the tip of the iceberg.

A snowball in the face or a chilly breeze around the ankles opens a molecular trap door in our skin’s nerve cells, two studies now show 1 , 2 . A third suggests that this, the first cold sensor to be identified, is just the tip of the iceberg 3 .

How sensory neurons detect a drop in temperature is very hard to study because it affects so many cell processes.

David Julius of

A voyage from space to sea with Envisat

Envisat, whose launch is scheduled end of February 2002, will tirelessly sweep the Earth`s surface and atmosphere, using a suite of ten different scientific instruments.

Over a 35-day cycle, the satellite`s orbit will cover the entire planet, and then start all over again. Two thirds of the time it will be over water. Because of the sheer size of the oceanic currents, the complexity of thermal exchanges, and ocean-atmosphere coupling, the ocean is a crucial factor in explaining the w

Facial models allow "band-efficient" video communication

Is it possible to combine a three-dimensional wire model of a face with real pictures of the same face? And is it possible to get the computer that is forming the new image to follow the face even when the person in question makes sudden movements or partially covers her face with her hand? These are a couple of the research questions for the Image Coding Group at the Department of Electrical Engineering at Linköping University in Sweden. The aim is to find a new technology for information-efficient

Functional Foods: Development and Marketing

These days our supermarket shelves are filled with more and more so-called “functional foods” foods with special health-promoting properties. These products often represent a “high-tech” product line, in the twilight zone between food and medicine. Agricultural researcher Cecilia Mark-Herbert from the Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, SLU, has now studied the market for these products. Her doctoral dissertation shows that developing these foods requires not only new products, but also new

European low-ozone event reveals worrying trend

For several days last week, the protective ozone layer over Europe thinned considerably. Scientists monitoring ozone coverage using a rapid mapping technique based on data from the GOME (Global Ozone Monitoring Experiment) instrument aboard ESA`s ERS-2 satellite detected finger-like ozone thinning over Europe.

“From 28-30 January, we observed a pronounced `streamer event`,” explains DLR`s Thilo Erbertseder, “where streamers of tropical air pushing up from the equatorial regions spread over s

Next-generation biomaterials to help body heal itself

The next generation of biomaterials will help the body heal itself by prompting cells to repair their own tissues, scientists report today.

Writing in a review in the journal Science, Professors Larry Hench and Julia Polak of Imperial College, London, highlight the potential of `third generation` biomaterials that activate specific cells and genes of the individual they are implanted into.

Pioneering work by the two authors recently led to the discovery of a family of bone f

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Physics and Astronomy

Constraining quantum measurement

The quantum world and our everyday world are very different places. In a publication that appeared as the “Editor’s Suggestion” in Physical Review A this week, UvA physicists Jasper van…

Planetary scientists discover brief presence of water in Arabia Terra on Mars

Team studied thermal inertia to understand how rock layers were formed. As part of a team of collaborators from Northern Arizona University and Johns Hopkins University, NAU PhD candidate Ari…

Strong winds power electric fields in the upper atmosphere

What happens on Earth doesn’t stay on Earth. Using observations from NASA’s ICON mission, scientists presented the first direct measurements of Earth’s long-theorized dynamo on the edge of space: a wind-driven electrical…

Life Sciences and Chemistry

Synthetic tissue can repair hearts, muscles, and vocal cords

Scientists from McGill University develop new biomaterial for wound repair. Combining knowledge of chemistry, physics, biology, and engineering, scientists from McGill University develop a biomaterial tough enough to repair the…

Ancient lineage of algae found to include five “cryptic” species

Research team led by Göttingen University use genomic data to discover five species hidden in rare alga. All land plants originated from a single evolutionary event when freshwater algae got…

Scientists capture electron transfer image in electrocatalysis process

The involvement between electron transfer (ET) and catalytic reaction at electrocatalyst surface makes electrochemical process challenging to understand and control. How to experimentally determine ET process occurring at nanoscale is…

Materials Sciences

A new topological magnet with colossal angular magnetoresistance

Trillion percent change of resistance can be achieved in the new material by simply rotating the direction of spin. While electrons are well known to carry both charge and spin,…

Mystery of high performing novel solar cell materials revealed in stunning clarity

Researchers from the University of Cambridge have used a suite of correlative, multimodal microscopy methods to visualise, for the first time, why perovskite materials are seemingly so tolerant of defects in…

Accurate analysis of 3D-printed components

Together with scientists from the Paul Scherrer Institute (PSI), X-ray specialists from Empa are now providing their industrial partners with access to state-of-the-art material analysis of 3D-printed work pieces and…

Information Technology

Quantum computers getting connected

Research team with participation of the University of Stuttgart succeeds in integrating color centers into nanophotonic silicon carbide structures. A promising route towards larger quantum computers is to orchestrate multiple…

New computational approach predicts chemical reactions at high temperatures

Method combines quantum mechanics with machine learning to accurately predict oxide reactions at high temperatures when no experimental data is available; could be used to design clean carbon-neutral processes for…

Researchers shrink camera to the size of a salt grain

Micro-sized cameras have great potential to spot problems in the human body and enable sensing for super-small robots, but past approaches captured fuzzy, distorted images with limited fields of view….