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  • News

    Theorists perplexed by hints of unexpected new particle

    Physicists may soon know if a potential new subatomic particle is something beyond their wildest dreams — or if it exists at all.

    Hints of the new particle emerged last December at the Large Hadron Collider. Theorists have churned out hundreds of papers attempting to explain the existence of the particle —assuming it’s not a statistical fluke. Scientists are now beginning to converge on...

    04/29/2016 - 11:30 Particle Physics, Physics
  • News in Brief

    New sky map charts previously unknown gamma-ray sources

    SALT LAKE CITY — A new map of the sky charts the origins of some of the highest energy photons ever detected. Researchers from the High-Altitude Water Cherenkov Observatory released their first year of observations of gamma rays, ultrahigh-energy light particles blasted in our direction from some of the most...

    04/19/2016 - 14:31 Cosmology, Physics
  • News

    Information is physical, even in quantum systems, study suggests

    Information may seem ethereal, given how easily we forget phone numbers and birthdays. But scientists say it is physical, and if a new study is correct, that goes for quantum systems, too.

    Although pages of text or strings of bits seem easily erased with the press of a button, the act of destroying information has tangible physical impact, according to a principle proposed in 1961 by...

    04/19/2016 - 07:00 Quantum Physics
  • Science Ticker

    Itty bitty engine puts a single atom to work

    A team of scientists has built a heat engine out of a single atom.

    Heat engines, like steam engines or internal combustion engines, convert heat into motion. To create the minuscule engine, physicist Johannes Roßnagel of University of Mainz and colleagues heated and cooled a calcium ion with an electric field and...

    04/14/2016 - 14:04 Physics
  • News

    Gamers outperform computer at quantum task

    Human intuition might seem useless in the weird world of quantum mechanics. It’s a peculiar realm in which particles can be in multiple places at once and can tunnel through barriers that should be impenetrable. But, scientists report in a paper published online April 13 in Nature, in a quantum-inspired game, humans bested...

    04/13/2016 - 13:00 Quantum Physics
  • News

    Most diamonds share a common origin story

    Even top-caliber diamonds aren’t perfect. And their imperfections are finally settling a debate about the origins of the gem-quality diamonds used in jewelry.

    Previously, scientists had an explanation only for how cloudy and impurity-ridden fibrous diamonds form. Those diamonds crystallize inside fluid pockets deep within the Earth that contain compounds called carbonates. Carbonate-...

    04/11/2016 - 07:00 Earth, Chemistry
  • News

    Turning water to steam, no boiling required

    A new, extremely black material can turn water into steam using only sunlight, without the need to bring the water to a boil. Made of gold nanoparticles tens of billionths of a meter wide affixed to a scaffold pocked with tiny channels, or “nanopores,” the material is a deep black color because it reflects very little visible light. It is...

    04/08/2016 - 14:10 Physics, Materials
  • Letters to the Editor

    Readers question ocean health

    Ocean outlook

    Earth’s oceans are a hot mess. They absorb heat at twice the rate that they did nearly 20 years ago, Thomas Sumner reported in “Ocean heating doubles” (...

    04/08/2016 - 10:45 Oceans, Animals, Materials
  • News

    Faint gravitational waves could soon be on LIGO’s radar

    A conspicuous “chirp” heralded the first detection of gravitational waves. But some future measurements could be more like hushed murmurs.

    Scientists may soon be able to tease out a faint signal of gravitational waves from black hole collisions too distant to be detected directly, scientists with LIGO, the Advanced Laser...

    04/01/2016 - 11:15 Physics, Astronomy
  • Science Ticker

    Fridge-sized contraption makes drugs on demand

    A new refrigerator-sized factory can rapidly pump out a diverse assortment of drugs on demand.

    Researchers designed the system to offer a speedy alternative to large-scale pharmaceutical production. Rejiggering chemical inputs and the device’s collection of tanks and tubes allowed the team to produce four different drugs: an anesthetic (lidocaine), an antihistamine (Benadryl), an anti-...

    03/31/2016 - 14:05 Biomedicine, Chemistry, Technology