Another route to 104 —04/25/2019 - 07:00 Chemistry, Physics
In 1964, a few radioactive atoms existed for three-tenths of a second in a Soviet laboratory, and G.N. Flerov and his colleagues, who detected it, announced the discovery of element 104. But the announcement was met with skepticism in the United States.… Now, U.S. scientists declare they have gone their own route to corral the elusive element. — Science News,...
For the first time, researchers have directly observed an exotic type of radioactive decay called two-neutrino double electron capture.
The decay, seen in xenon-124 atoms, happens so sparingly that it would take 18 sextillion years (18 followed by 21 zeros) for a sample of xenon-124 to shrink by half, making the decay extremely difficult to detect. The long-anticipated observation of two...
Helium hydride ions, thought to be the first type of molecule to form in the universe, have finally been spotted in space.
These charged molecules, each made of a neutral helium atom and a positively charged hydrogen atom, first emerged within about 100,000 years after the Big Bang. Back then, the universe was composed almost entirely of hydrogen and helium, and helium hydride was the...
News in Brief
Bacteria are helping to make engineered silk that rivals the strength and stretchiness of a spider’s stiff dragline silk, the type from which the arachnids dangle.
Pound for pound, dragline silk is stronger and tougher than steel. Engineers have tried for decades to create a synthetic mimic from genetically modified bacteria, yeast and even goat milk, but have always fallen short....
Synthetic opioids outlast current antidotes. A nanoparticle-based alternative could fix that.
A newly developed single-dose opioid antidote lasts several days, a study in mice shows. If the results can be duplicated in humans, the treatment may one day help prevent overdoses from deadly drugs like fentanyl.
Normally, a dose of the opioid antidote naloxone passes through a person’s...
News in Brief
Scientists may have finally figured out why some icebergs are green. Iron oxides could create the emerald hue.
Icebergs often appear mostly white because light bounces off air bubbles trapped inside the ice. But pure ice — ice without air bubbles that often forms on a berg’s underside — appears blue because it absorbs longer light wavelengths (warm colors like red and orange) and...
On the periodic table, most elements have at least one stable form. But others have only unstable forms, all of which decay by emitting radiation and transforming into different elements until becoming one that’s stable. The timescale of radioactive decay is known as an element’s half-life, the time it takes for a sample of an element to be reduced by half.
Generally for the elements...
The rare radioactive substance made its way from the United States to Russia on a commercial flight in June 2009. Customs officers balked at accepting the package, which was ensconced in lead shielding and emblazoned with bold-faced warnings and the ominous trefoil symbols for ionizing radiation. Back it went across the Atlantic.
U.S. scientists enclosed additional paper work and the...
On March 6, 1869, Dmitrii Mendeleev’s periodic table was unveiled, and we’ve launched a yearlong celebration of the 150th anniversary of his iconic work. In this issue, we’re looking ahead to imagine the periodic table of the future, as scientists strive to create bizarre new elements. And we also set ourselves a science visualization challenge: charting the half-lives of all the...02/26/2019 - 06:15 Science & Society, Chemistry, Physics
WASHINGTON — Home decor like furniture and flooring may not be notorious polluters like gas-guzzlers, but these indoor consumer products can also be significant sources of potentially dangerous chemicals.
Kids who live in homes with all vinyl flooring or living room couches that contain flame retardants have much higher concentrations of chemicals called semivolatile organic compounds in...