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  • Reviews & Previews

    ‘Einstein’s Shadow’ explores what it takes to snap a black hole’s picture

    Einstein’s ShadowSeth FletcherEcco, $26.99

    Right now, a ragtag team of astronomers, assembled from institutes across the globe, may be peering in wonder at the first picture of a black hole’s shadow. The quest to create such an image has involved a massive level of scientific coordination, combining data from telescopes at eight observatories scattered from the South Pole to Hawaii...

    10/05/2018 - 13:07 Astronomy, Physics
  • News

    A new ultrafast laser emits pulses of light 30 billion times a second

    Blazingly fast lasers have just leveled up.

    Ultrafast lasers emit short, rapid-fire bursts of light, with each pulse typically lasting tens of millionths of a billionth of a second. A new laser pulses 30 billion times a second — about 100 times as fast as most ultrafast lasers, researchers report in the Sept. 28 Science.

    The speed boost was thanks to a new technique for making...

    10/05/2018 - 07:00 Physics, Technology
  • News

    Speeding up evolution to create useful proteins wins the chemistry Nobel

    Techniques that put natural evolution on fast-forward to build new proteins in the lab have earned three scientists this year’s Nobel Prize in chemistry.

    Frances Arnold of Caltech won for her method of creating customized enzymes for biofuels, environmentally friendly detergents and other products. She becomes the fifth woman to win the Nobel Prize in chemistry since it was first awarded...

    10/03/2018 - 18:46 Chemistry, Microbiology
  • Science Ticker

    Speeding up the evolution of proteins wins the chemistry Nobel

    Frances Arnold of Caltech, George Smith of the University of Missouri in Columbia and Gregory Winter of the University of Cambridge have won the Nobel Prize in chemistry for speeding up evolution to make proteins with new and useful properties. Such proteins are suitable for a variety of uses, ranging from new drugs to biofuels. The new laureates were announced October 3 at the Royal Swedish...

    10/03/2018 - 07:37 Chemistry
  • News

    Dazzling laser feats earn these physicists a Nobel

    Fantastic feats performed with lasers have earned three scientists the 2018 Nobel Prize in physics.

    Half of the award, which totals 9 million Swedish kronor (about $1 million), went to physicist Arthur Ashkin for his development of optical tweezers. The technique uses laser light to manipulate tiny particles such as viruses and bacteria.

    The other half of the prize went to two...

    10/02/2018 - 16:30 Physics
  • Science Ticker

    Groundbreaking ways of manipulating light win trio the 2018 physics Nobel

    Three scientists who invented innovative ways to manipulate light have won the Nobel Prize in physics. The 9-million-Swedish-kronor award (about $1 million) will be doled out to Arthur Ashkin of Bell Laboratories in Holmdel, N.J., Gérard Mourou of École Polytechnique in Palaiseau, France, and Donna Strickland of the University of Waterloo in Canada, the Nobel Prize committee announced October...

    10/02/2018 - 07:26 Physics
  • News in Brief

    This reflective paint could keep sunbaked buildings cool

    A new polymer-based paint that reflects nearly all incoming sunlight could help keep buildings, cars, airplanes and other sunbaked structures cool.

    This polymer paint, described online September 27 in Science, can be applied to various surfaces, including plastics, metals and wood. It also could be fashioned into recyclable tarpaulins for covering homes, cars or other enclosed spaces....

    09/28/2018 - 09:00 Materials, Technology, Sustainability
  • News

    Manta rays have an unusual mouth filter that resists clogging

    Manta rays were built for speed — and to filter feed.

    The aerodynamic ocean dwellers efficiently separate plankton from seawater using a previously unknown kind of filtration system that resists clogs and captures tiny bits of plankton, researchers report September 26 in Science Advances.

    Mantas are filter feeders, like many other ocean creatures. They pull plankton-laden seawater...

    09/26/2018 - 14:05 Animals, Physics
  • Feature

    Emily Balskus uses chemical logic to study the microbiome

    Emily Balskus, 38Chemistry and microbiologyHarvard University

    Chemist Emily Balskus of Harvard University is out to expose the crimes and misdemeanors of microbes living in the human gut. She’s shown, for example, how a common gut bacterium interferes with a heart failure treatment: The microbe breaks down the medication before the drug can do its job.

    Balskus, 38, originally...

    09/26/2018 - 08:34 Microbiology, Chemistry, Health
  • Feature

    Ibrahim Cissé unlocks cells’ secrets using physics

    Ibrahim Cissé, 35Physics and biophysicsMIT

    Ibrahim Cissé expected to join his father’s law firm one day. “There were no scientists where I grew up in Niger,” says the MIT biophysicist. “I certainly didn’t know [science] was a profession one could do.”  

    But Cissé’s parents had a telling clue about their young son’s eventual career path: a door sign he made that read “Laboratoire de...

    09/26/2018 - 08:33 Genetics, Physics, Cells