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  • News

    Quantum tractor beam could tug atoms, molecules

    The wavelike properties of quantum matter could lead to a scaled-down version of Star Trek technology. A new kind of tractor beam could use a beam of particles to reel in atoms or molecules, physicists propose in the May 5 Physical Review Letters.

    Scientists have previously created tractor beams using light or sound waves, which can pull small particles a few millimeters or centimeters (...

    05/19/2017 - 07:00 Quantum Physics
  • News

    Naked singularity might evade cosmic censor

    Certain stealthy spacetime curiosities might be less hidden than thought, potentially exposing themselves to observers in some curved universes.

    These oddities, known as singularities, are points in space where the standard laws of physics break down. Found at the centers of black holes, singularities are generally expected to be hidden from view, shielding the universe from their...

    05/15/2017 - 09:00 Physics
  • News in Brief

    New printer creates color by shaping nanostructures

    Carving nanostructures with a laser creates long-lasting colors.

    Researchers developed the new printing technique as an alternative to ink-based printing, in which colors fade with time. Aside from eternally vibrant art, the technique could lead to new types of color displays or improve security labels, the scientists report in the May 5 Science Advances.

    Anders Kristensen of...

    05/05/2017 - 14:00 Technology, Physics
  • News

    Chemistry controlled on tiniest scale can create hollow nanoparticles

    Blame oxidation for rusted bridges and browned avocados. But this fundamental process can be harnessed for good, too — and now scientists have scored front-row seats that could show them how.

    Researchers watched at near-atomic resolution as iron nanoparticles transformed into iron oxide — not rust in this case, but related compounds. That closeup view could help scientists better control...

    05/01/2017 - 09:00 Chemistry, Materials
  • News

    Key Einstein principle survives quantum test

    Particles with mind-bending quantum properties still follow a standard gravitational rule, at least as far as scientists can tell.

    The equivalence principle — one of the central tenets of Einstein’s theory of gravity — survived a quantum test, scientists report online April 7 at arXiv.org.

    In Einstein’s gravity theory — the general theory of relativity — gravity and acceleration...

    04/28/2017 - 07:28 Quantum Physics
  • Science Ticker

    How a mushroom gets its glow

    The enzyme that turns on the light for a glow-in-the-dark mushroom seems “promiscuous,” researchers say. But in a good way.

    Researchers from Brazil, Russia and Japan have worked out new details of how two Neonothopanus fungi shine softly green at night. The team had earlier figured out that the basic starting material for bioluminescence in these fungi is a compound called hispidin,...

    04/27/2017 - 09:00 Fungi, Chemistry
  • News in Brief

    How a mushroom gets its glow

    The enzyme that turns on the light for a glow-in-the-dark mushroom seems “promiscuous.” But in a good way.

    Researchers have worked out new details of how two Neonothopanus fungi shine softly green at night. The team had earlier figured out that the basic starting material for bioluminescence in these fungi is a compound called hispidin, found in some other fungi as well as plants such as...

    04/27/2017 - 09:00 Fungi, Chemistry
  • News in Brief

    Gamma-ray evidence for dark matter weakens

    A potential sign of dark matter is looking less convincing in the wake of a new analysis.

    High-energy blips of radiation known as gamma rays seem to be streaming from the center of the Milky Way in excess. Some scientists have proposed that dark matter could be the cause of that overabundance. Particles of dark matter — an invisible and unidentified substance that makes up the bulk of...

    04/24/2017 - 09:00 Physics, Astronomy
  • News

    Plot twist in methane mystery blames chemistry, not emissions, for recent rise

    A recent upsurge in planet-warming methane may not be caused by increasing emissions, as previously thought, but by methane lingering longer in the atmosphere.

    That’s the conclusion of two independent studies that indirectly tracked concentrations of hydroxyl, a highly reactive chemical that rips methane molecules apart. Hydroxyl levels in the atmosphere decreased roughly 7 or 8 percent...

    04/20/2017 - 08:00 Climate, Pollution, Chemistry
  • Feature

    There’s still a lot we don’t know about the proton

    Nuclear physicist Evangeline Downie hadn’t planned to study one of the thorniest puzzles of the proton.

    But when opportunity knocked, Downie couldn’t say no. “It’s the proton,” she exclaims. The mysteries that still swirl around this jewel of the subatomic realm were too tantalizing to resist. The plentiful particles make up much of the visible matter in the universe. “We’re made of them...

    04/18/2017 - 08:00 Physics, Particle Physics, Quantum Physics