Month: January 2020

Investigating dynamics of democratic elections using physics theory

Sometimes, physics theories and constructs can also be used to study seemingly unrelated phenomena, such as social behaviors or dynamics. While human beings are not necessarily similar to specific physical particles, theories or techniques that physicists typically use to analyze behavioral patterns in atoms or electrons may aid the general understanding of large-scale social behaviors as long as these behaviors do not depend on small-scale details. Based on this idea, some researchers have started using physics theories to investigate social behaviors that take place during democratic elections.

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First view of hydrogen at the metal-to-metal hydride interface

University of Groningen physicists have visualized hydrogen at the titanium/titanium hydride interface using a transmission electron microscope. Using a new technique, they succeeded in visualizing both the metal and the hydrogen atoms in a single image, allowing them to test different theoretical models that describe the interface structure. The results were published on 31 January in the journal Science Advances.

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A quantum of solid: A glass nanoparticle in the quantum regime

Researchers in Austria have used lasers to levitate and cool a glass nanoparticle into the quantum regime. Although it is trapped in a room-temperature environment, the particle’s motion is solely governed by the laws of quantum physics. The team of scientists from the University of Vienna, the Austrian Academy of Sciences and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) published their new study in the journal Science.

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Calculating Hawking radiation at the event horizon of a black hole

A RUDN University physicist has developed a formula for calculating Hawking radiation on the event horizon of a black hole, which allows physicists to determine how this radiation would be changed with quantum corrections to Einstein’s theory of gravity. This formula will allow researchers to test the accuracy of different versions of the quantum gravity theory by observing black holes, and comprises a step toward the long-sought “grand unification theory” that would connect quantum mechanics and relativity. The article is published in the journal Physical Review D.

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Nesting nanotubes to create 1-D van der Waals heterostructures

An international team of researchers has found a new way to create 1-D heterostructures—by nesting nanotubes. In their paper published in the journal Science, the group describes how they nested the nanotubes and the shapes they were able to create. Yury Gogotsi and Boris Yakobson with Drexel University and Rice University have published a Perspective piece on the work done by the team in the same journal issue.

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Got slime? Using regenerative biology to restore mucus production

Let’s talk about slime. Mucus is a protective, slimy secretion produced by goblet cells and which lines organs of the respiratory, digestive, and reproductive systems. Slime production is essential to health, and an imbalance can be life-threatening. Patients with diseases such as asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), and ulcerative colitis produce too much mucus, often after growing too many goblet cells. Loss of goblet cells can be equally devastating—for instance during cancer, after infection, or injury. The balance of slime creation, amount, and transport is critical, so doctors and medical researchers have long sought the origins of goblet cells and have been eager to control processes that regenerate them and maintain balanced populations.

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Robotic submarine snaps first-ever images at foundation of notorious Antarctic glacier

During an unprecedented scientific campaign on an Antarctic glacier notorious for contributions to sea-level, researchers took first-ever images at the glacier’s foundations on the ocean floor. The area is key to Thwaites Glacier’s potential to become more dangerous, and in the coming months, the research team hopes to give the world a clearer picture of its condition.

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