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  • Food for Thought

    New Estimates of the Shark-Fin Trade

    Immense numbers of sharks each year are slaughtered for their fins—not meat, just their fins. This harvest helps feed a growing appetite throughout Asia for a popular soup, one with snob appeal comparable to that of caviar. Indeed, a single bowl of shark-fin soup can cost $100 in a high-end Hong Kong restaurant.

    The key ingredient of shark-fin soup is...

    11/01/2006 - 13:22 Earth & Environment
  • News

    First teleportation between light and matter

    Atoms tend to stay put, but light is always on the move. Physicists would like to exploit those qualities to make information-processing devices in which atoms store information and light shuttles it around (SN: 4/3/99, p. 220). In a step toward that goal, researchers have transmitted quantum states between atoms and light.

    Such a transfer of properties is called teleportation. "...

    10/31/2006 - 09:58 Physics
  • Feature

    Pick Your Antipoison

    On a warm, sunny afternoon last June, emergency room physician Sean Bush got a call on his pager that made his blood run cold. The number was his wife's, followed by three digits: 9-1-1. Whatever the page concerned, Bush knew that it was a serious emergency—he and his wife don't take those numbers lightly.

    A quick call from the hospital where he was on duty to his home 22...

    09/12/2006 - 09:49 Biomedicine
  • News

    Easy Answers: Quantum computer gives results without running

    Physicists have long known that quantum computers have the potential to race through calculations trillions of times as fast as ordinary computers do. Now, it seems that those machines may not have to calculate at all to deliver answers.

    That seemingly absurd possibility, which was advanced as a theory several years ago, has now received experimental verification. What's more, although...

    02/22/2006 - 12:18 Physics
  • News

    Quantum Chip: Device handles ions as if they were data

    Physicists have created a microchip that can hold an electrically charged atom and move it back and forth within a narrow channel. These manipulations lay the groundwork for using trapped ions as data bits in computer chips, the developers of the new device say.

    The scientists created the chip as a step toward a new breed of computers, called quantum computers, which represent...

    01/04/2006 - 13:08 Physics
  • News

    Champion of strength is forged in mighty anvil

    A newly created form of carbon has captured the crown of world's strongest known material. A team of researchers in Germany and France made the new material using a specialized, multijawed anvil that simultaneously squeezed and heated a powder of all-carbon molecules known as buckyballs.

    At 200,000 times atmospheric pressure and a temperature of 2,500 kelvins, the powder...

    09/13/2005 - 12:18 Physics
  • Feature

    Armor-Plated Puzzle

    A few years after Francis H. Crick and James D. Watson unveiled the structure of DNA in 1953, they rocked the fledgling field of molecular biology again with a bold notion: Viruses are, in part, structured as crystals are. That idea captivated Donald L.D. Caspar and Aaron Klug, who then systematically applied what they knew about crystal geometry to classify and predict the structures that...

    08/29/2005 - 10:49 Numbers
  • Feature

    Empty Nets

    In the 1850s, 43 schooners from a single port, Beverly, Mass., plied the North Atlantic's Scotian shelf, which is prime cod territory in Canadian waters. Over the sides of the ships, crews dropped lines with single hooks and doggedly jigged their bait along the seafloor to entice the big predatory fish. Although the combined fleet used fewer than 1,200 hooks, the ships' logs indicate that...

    05/31/2005 - 18:30 Ecology
  • News

    Galactic data shore up a constant

    From Tampa, at a meeting of the American Physical Society

    The first galactic test for possible variations in a fundamental constant of nature has found no evidence for change. The new findings raise doubts about a 2001 report by quasar observers that alpha, a presumed constant that figures into the strength of the electromagnetic force, actually varies over time, says Jeffrey Newman of...

    05/11/2005 - 10:42 Physics
  • News

    Teleporting Matter's Traits: Beaming information quantum-style

    While not actually teleporting matter from place to place as in Star Trek, physicists have now plucked a quantum property from one atom and transmitted it to another. That feat of quantum teleportation, reported independently by teams in Austria and the United States in the June 17 Nature, moves scientists nearer to building a class of so-called quantum computers that's expected to be...

    06/16/2004 - 09:46 Physics