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Ashley Yeager

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How fractals jam glassy materials

A fractal pattern in the energy landscape of glass molecules may influence the way the molecules arrange themselves and could help to explain how other materials behave.

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Unlike molecules in a crystal lattice, the molecules in glass don’t have regular positions, even though glass is a solid. Scientists think that glass molecules don’t flow, as they would in a liquid, because the particles are caged by each other and don’t have enough energy to overcome a threshold known as the energy barrier, which is like a hill. Instead, the molecules stay in valleylike depressions.

But the energy landscape of glass molecules may not be as simple as hills and valleys, scientists argue April 24 in Nature Communications. As the molecules are compressed, the valleys break down into geometric patterns known as fractals. The finding could help explain what happens when glassy materials are deformed or when coffee beans in a container jam, the scientists say.

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Genetics,, Cells,, Technology

Gene therapy with electrical pulses spurs nerve growth

By Ashley Yeager 5:28pm, April 23, 2014
Deaf guinea pigs' hearing improves with electrical pulses from a hearing implant are combined with gene therapy, a new study shows.
Animals,, Physiology

Dolphins use sponges to dine on different grub

By Ashley Yeager 12:12pm, April 23, 2014
The animals can learn to use tools to exploit food sources that would be otherwise unavailable, a study suggests.
Genetics,, Animals

Rainbow trout genome shows how genetic material evolved

By Ashley Yeager 9:09am, April 23, 2014
The finding challenges the idea that whole genome duplications are followed by quick, massive reorganization and deletions of genetic material.

New antibiotic resistance genes found in cow manure

By Ashley Yeager 12:30pm, April 22, 2014
Identifying these genes offers clues to how antibiotic resistance could move from agricultural ecosystems to other communities of organisms.
Genetics,, Ancestry

Neandertal, modern human DNA deviates even more

By Ashley Yeager 8:00am, April 22, 2014
An analysis of genetic material of Neandertals and modern humans shows genetic differences in the species' population sizes and even the curves of their spines.
Pollution,, Anthropology

Lead levels in ancient Rome’s water were high, but not toxic

By Ashley Yeager 5:53pm, April 21, 2014
Ancient Romans probably drank tap water with up to 100 times more lead than the levels found in local spring water.
Earth,, Ecosystems

Surge seen in number of U.S. wildfires

By Science News Staff 6:00pm, April 19, 2014
The number and size of wildfires in the western United States has steadily risen over the last three decades.
Cells,, Neuroscience

Insulating sheath on nerve cells isn't an even coat

By Ashley Yeager 6:00pm, April 18, 2014
Myelin doesn't evenly coat axons, a finding that runs counter to what scientists suspected.
Planetary Science,, Astronomy

RIP LADEE: 9/6/2013 – 4/18/2014

By Science News Staff 2:43pm, April 18, 2014
NASA’s Lunar Atmosphere and Dust Environment Explorer (LADEE) mission ended April 18.
Health,, Genetics

Gene variant, processed meat linked to boost in cancer risk

By Ashley Yeager 9:00am, April 18, 2014
In people with a specific variation of a gene on chromosome 10, eating processed meat is associated with an increased risk of developing colon cancer.
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