Aktuelle News

Global goal frenzy

It’s official: English football teams score fewer goals.

Soccer teams worldwide are scoring more goals than they ought to be, whereas English teams seem to follow statistical expectations. The news may delight fans outside England, but it is puzzling the physicists who have found that the chance of a high-scoring game is significantly greater than it may first appear 1 .

John Greenhough and colleagues at Warwick University in Coventry, England, analysed the s

Distant starlight reveals alien atmosphere

Hubble spots atmosphere on planet 150 light years away.

Astronomers have glimpsed the atmosphere of a planet in a solar system other than our own for the first time. The feat is a first step towards detecting planets capable of supporting life elsewhere in the Universe.

David Charbonneau, of the California Institute of Technology, Pasadena, and colleagues, pointed the Hubble space telescope at the planet, which lies 150 light years away in the constellation Pegasus. Of the 7

Human clone not miracle cure

Rewiring the egg: mechanism remains murky.

From a scientific viewpoint, the cloning of human embryos may be more of a step than a leap, say sceptics. If the signals that turn adult cells into embryonic ones can be found, the creation of cloned embryos for tissue repair may become redundant.

Researchers at Advanced Cell Technology (ACT) in Worcester, Massachusetts, now report that they have created cloned human embryos. They aimed to make blastocysts, hollow balls of cells fr

Land Size Limits Body Size of Biggest Animals

The size and types of the largest local land animals vary greatly from place to place, prompting scientists to question what controls the success of animals of certain sizes over others. Now a report published in the current issue of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences shows that the size of a landmass limits the maximal body size of its top animal.

Gary Burness and Jared Diamond of the University of California School of Medicine, together with Timothy Flannery of the South

Researchers Isolate Genes for Mosquito’s Sense of Smell

New research is helping to unravel the machinery that allows a mosquito to sniff out its human quarry, which could lead to more and better ways of foiling the disease-spreading insects. A report published today in the online version of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences describes four genes that appear to produce odor-sensing molecules in Africa’s Anopheles gambiae, a carrier of malaria, the number two killer in the developing world. Understanding how such genes operate could en

DNA repair could reduce sunburn

An immune system chemical may undo skin damage by sunlight.

A chemical involved in immune-system signalling may be able to reverse some types of skin damage caused by sunlight. It could reduce sunburn by activating DNA-repair mechanisms, a new study suggests, raising the possibility that the chemical might be used to prevent or treat skin cancer 1 .

High-energy ultraviolet light is thought to promote skin cancer by damaging the DNA within cells. Skin cancer,

Material bones up

Programmed molecules build themselves into a bone-mimic.

Scientists in the United States have made self-assembling synthetic bone 1 . Carefully designed building-blocks join up to mimic bone’s complex molecular-scale architecture, bringing better prosthetics a step closer.

Materials engineers are keen to emulate the strength and toughness of biominerals such as bone, tooth and shell. Mollusc shells, for example, a composite of the mineral calcium carbonate a

BSE’s epidemic proportions

While prion diseases seem to be waning in humans, they could be waxing in sheep.

Variant Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (vCJD) may claim only around 200 victims, a new model predicts 1 . This degenerative brain disease is thought to occur when people are exposed to misfolded prion proteins from meat infected with bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE or ’mad cow disease’).

Meanwhile, another study warns that a huge BSE epidemic could be brewing in the UK

Flower Chemicals Both Attract Friends and Deter Foes

Talk about multi-tasking. A new study reveals that in the St. John’s Wort plant, Hypericum calycinum, the same chemical not only attracts pollinating insects but also deters herbivores that pose a threat to its survival. The findings appear in the current issue of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

To the human eye, the flowers of H. calycinum appear as uniform yellow disks (top image). Insects with ultraviolet-sensitive eyes, however, see a dark, ultraviolet-absorbing ce

Stiff challenge to instability

The secret of a steady hand is tightening the right muscles.

Controlling the stiffness of some of our muscles lets us manage tricky feats of manipulation, such as keeping a screwdriver in a screw, researchers have found 1 . We tune the stiffness to oppose motions in the direction of instability, such as the sideways slips that would let the screwdriver slide out of the slot.

Although demanding on the brain, this is the most energy-efficient strategy, say Mitsu

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Physics and Astronomy

The paradox of quantum forces in nanodevices

Researchers proposed a new approach to describe the interaction of metals with electromagnetic fluctuations (i.e., with random bursts of electric and magnetic fields). Researchers from Peter the Great St.Petersburg Polytechnic…

Geologists simulate soil conditions to help grow plants on Mars

Humankind’s next giant step may be onto Mars. But before those missions can begin, scientists need to make scores of breakthrough advances, including learning how to grow crops on the…

Theoreticians show which quantum systems are suitable for quantum simulations

A joint research group led by Prof. Jens Eisert of Freie Universität Berlin and Helmholtz-Zentrum Berlin (HZB) has shown a way to simulate the quantum physical properties of complex solid…

Life Sciences

How to figure out what you don’t know

Increasingly, biologists are turning to computational modeling to make sense of complex systems. In neuroscience, researchers are adapting the kinds of algorithms used to forecast the weather or filter spam…

Rice rolls out next-gen nanocars

Chemists prepare single-molecule racecars in anticipation of 2022 competition. Nanomechanics at Rice University and the University of Houston are getting ready to rev their engines for the second international Nanocar…

Elkhorn coral actively fighting off diseases on reef, study finds

Findings showed coral has core immune response regardless of disease type. As the world enters a next wave of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, we are aware now more than ever…

Agricultural and Forestry Science

Land management in forest and grasslands

How much can we intensify? A first assessment of the effects of land management on the links between biodiversity, ecosystem functions and ecosystem services. Ecosystem services are crucial for human…

Vanilla cultivation under trees promotes pest regulation

Research team led by University of Göttingen investigates agroforestry systems in Madagascar. The cultivation of vanilla in Madagascar provides a good income for small-holder farmers, but without trees and bushes…

The stable fly: a potentially dangerous carrier of disease for pigs

The stable fly (Stomoxys calcitrans) is abundantly found worldwide and resembles the common housefly. The biggest difference is that the stable fly has a bayonet-like proboscis for blood sucking. While…

Information Technology

Internet-of-Space – the future of comprehensive broadband Internet coverage?

Today around 60% of the world’s population have no access to the Internet. That is why we are intensively looking for solutions to guarantee error-free and smooth data communication with…

Digital Technologies for Sustainable Crop Production

The International Conference on Digital Technologies for Sustainable Crop Production (DigiCrop2020), which is running from November 1-10, 2020 fully online and free of charge, is the new flagship conference of…

Material found in house paint may spur technology revolution

Sandia developed new device to more efficiently process information. The development of a new method to make non-volatile computer memory may have unlocked a problem that has been holding back…

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