Latest News

Dark glasses go green

New light-sensitive glass can be recycled cleanly.

Researchers in Japan have developed recyclable light-sensitive glass. The new ’ecoglass’ does not contain the environmentally damaging halogen elements chlorine, bromine or iodine. These elements are essential to the photochromic glass that is currently used for car windscreens, sunglasses and visual display units.

Like photographic film, today’s photochromic glasses darken because they contain compounds of silver and halog

When is an ant like a bicycle?

Army ants team little with large to lift heavy loads.

If you can’t see the point of the miniature back wheel on a penny-farthing bicycle, try riding a unicycle or watch an ant colony. Ants have realized that, to carry a heavy load, two supports are better than one – even if they seem comically mismatched.

When army ants partner up to carry a lump of food too big for a single ant to transport, an unusually large worker ant takes the front, and an unusually small one, the back

Storms lower ozone levels

Ozone miniholes over the North Atlantic follow the unsteady pulse of climate fluctuations.

Recurring fluctuations in the North Atlantic climate are punching miniholes in the ozone layer, exposing Scandinavia and northern Europe to higher levels of ultraviolet radiation than normal, say two climatologists.

Seesawing air pressure over Greenland and the subtropical north Atlantic Ocean stirs the atmosphere and wafts ozone-depleted air towards populated high-latitude regions in

Warm favourite

The smart money is on global warming.

An Alaskan sweepstake has become a record of global warming. The competition to predict when ice will melt reveals that, on average, the thaw comes more than five days earlier now than it did 84 years ago 1 .

In the winter of 1917, railway engineers working in Nenana, Alaska whiled away the long winter nights by erecting a wooden tripod on the frozen Tenana River and placing bets on the exact moment in spring when it would

Puffer fish raw and rich

Draft Fugu genome will help find human genes.

A draft sequence of the puffer-fish genome is complete. The fish’s compact genetics should accelerate the discovery of human genes and their key controlling sequences.

Gene-prediction programs struggle to find genes in the 3 billion letters of the human sequence, which includes swathes of junk DNA and defunct pseudogenes.

The bony fish Fugu rubripes shares our gene repertoire but has a genome one-eighth of the size.

Subliminal sights educate brain

Paying attention isn’t the only way to learn.

You must pay attention to learn, teachers say. Not necessarily, US psychologists now argue: sights we are unaware of can have a lasting impact on our brains.

Subliminal training can improve our ability to see moving dots, Takeo Watanabe and his co-workers at Boston University, Massachusetts, have found. “Without noticing, we are unconsciously learning,” Watanabe says. Repeated exposure to objects we are oblivious to “could have

Chemistry reveals mummies’ secrets

Ancient embalming not to be sniffed at.

Archaeologists thought they had mummification wrapped up. But a new analysis of ancient Egyptian embalming suggests that they have underestimated this sophisticated funerary practice.

Pharaonic undertakers used a wealth of oils, waxes and fats, say Stephen Buckley and Richard Evershed at the University of Bristol, UK. They are the first to study several mummies from different periods using modern analytical chemistry 1

Salmonella bacteria sequenced

Bugs behind typhoid and food poisoning give up genetic secrets.

Two teams have sequenced the genomes of two Salmonella bacteria. One is responsible for typhoid; the other causes food poisoning.

The genomes should lead to new ways to diagnose, treat and vaccinate against both diseases. Comparing the sequences should also clarify why the closely related bugs behave quite differently.

The two strains are called Typhi and Typhimurium. Typhi, the typhoid bug, infects onl

Anthrax: pre-publication and special issue

Recent events have confirmed that bioterrorism is no longer a threat but a reality. To provide wide-ranging access to the latest scientific information about anthrax and other potential bioweapons, Nature has put together a special online focus on this issue. This focus includes the pre-publication* of two research papers on anthrax toxin, as well as a collection of research, news and feature articles from our electronic archive. Because of the heightened interest in this area, among both the scient

A rosy glow

Genetic engineering gives us the fluorescent daisy.

It’s produced in Italy and guaranteed to make the face of that special someone light up. It’s the luminous bouquet. Under ultraviolet light the apparently normal blooms glow an unearthly green.

“The fluorescent flowers show that genetic engineering can be developed just for beauty,” says their developer, Tito Schiva of the Experimental Institute of Floriculture, San Remo. The technique should work for any white flower, Sch

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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….