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E.g., 11/13/2018
E.g., 11/13/2018
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  • Sierpinski triangle and quantum fractal
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  • Earth's magnetic field
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  • News in Brief

    Physicists wrangled electrons into a quantum fractal

    Physicists have created an oddity known as a quantum fractal, a structure that could reveal new and strange types of electron behaviors.

    Fractals are patterns that repeat themselves on different length scales:  Zoom in and the structure looks the same as it does from afar. They’re common in the natural world. For instance, a cauliflower stalk looks like a miniature version of the full...

    11/12/2018 - 11:00 Quantum Physics, Condensed Matter
  • News

    These fragile, futuristic batteries run longer with a little oil

    Batteries that use aluminum and oxygen normally live fast and die young. But a new design could help these high-energy devices endure.

    Aluminum-air batteries are promising candidates for a new generation of non-rechargeable batteries, because they’re super lightweight and compact. The batteries, however, aren’t widely used because their internal components quickly degrade each other. In...

    11/08/2018 - 14:00 Chemistry, Technology
  • News in Brief

    Bizarre metals may help unlock mysteries of how Earth’s magnetic field forms

    Weird materials called Weyl metals might reveal the secrets of how Earth gets its magnetic field.

    The substances could generate a dynamo effect, the process by which a swirling, electrically conductive material creates a magnetic field, a team of scientists reports in the Oct. 26 Physical Review Letters.

    Dynamos are common in the universe, producing the magnetic fields of the Earth...

    11/07/2018 - 06:00 Condensed Matter, Earth
  • Letters to the Editor

    Questions about toxic red tides, and more reader feedback

    Hot stuff

    A new material that converts sunlight into heat could someday melt ice off airplane wings, wind turbines and rooftops, Maria Temming reported in “A new material harnesses light to deice surfaces” (SN: 9/29/18, p. 17).

    “What happens when the object (such as an airplane wing) to which the material has been applied is subjected to the sun on a hot summer day?” asked online...

    11/04/2018 - 06:00 Materials, Health, Physics
  • News

    A new measurement bolsters the case for a (slightly) smaller proton

    A scientific tug-of-war is underway over the size of the proton. Scientists can’t agree on how big the subatomic particle is, but a new measurement has just issued a forceful yank in favor of a smaller proton.

    By studying how electrons scatter off of protons, scientists with the PRad experiment at Jefferson Laboratory in Newport News, Va., sized up the proton’s radius at a measly 0.83...

    11/02/2018 - 11:41 Physics
  • News

    Vanadium dioxide’s weird phase transition just got weirder

    For the first time, researchers have gotten a detailed view of how atoms in a compound called vanadium dioxide move when an ultrafast laser pulse transforms the material from an electrical insulator to a conductor — and it’s nothing like scientists expected.

    Rather than switching from one crystal formation to another in a direct, synchronized manner, like choreographed ballerinas, the...

    11/01/2018 - 14:00 Physics, Materials, Technology
  • News in Brief

    Three gas clouds nearly grazed the edge of the Milky Way’s black hole

    As far as close shaves with a black hole go, it doesn’t get much closer than this.

    Scientists have spotted clouds of gas hurtling around the monster black hole at the center of the Milky Way, not far from the behemoth’s edge. Observed on three separate occasions, the gas clouds careened along at unimaginably fast speeds — 30 percent of the speed of light, researchers report October 31 in...

    10/31/2018 - 14:18 Astronomy, Physics
  • News

    New devices could help turn atmospheric CO2 into useful supplies

    New chemical-recycling devices might help combat climate change by making good use of heat-trapping gas produced by burning fossil fuels.

    These electrochemical cells convert carbon monoxide into useful compounds much more efficiently than their predecessors, researchers report online October 25 in Joule. If combined with existing technology that harvests carbon monoxide from carbon...

    10/30/2018 - 06:00 Chemistry, Sustainability
  • News

    Zapping substances with electrons can quickly map chemical structures

    The one-hour photo booth has met its molecular match.

    By adapting a technique for determining protein structures, two independent teams have charted chemical structures of antibiotics, hormones and other compounds with unprecedented speed. Depending on the molecule, it took between 30 minutes and a day to determine structures, where traditional techniques could take months to years.

    ...
    10/29/2018 - 06:00 Chemistry, Biophysics
  • News

    Liverwort plants contain a painkiller similar to the one in marijuana

    A chemical compound found in liverworts may provide the pain and inflammation relief of pot’s THC but without the same kind of high.

    Both the molecule, called perrottetinene, and tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC — the mind-altering substance found in marijuana — have similar molecular structures. Lab tests with human brain cells and in mice have revealed that, like THC, perrottetinene easily...

    10/24/2018 - 17:34 Plants, Chemistry