Earth

Watching electrons cool in 30 quadrillionths of a second

Watching electrons cool in 30 quadrillionths of a second

RIVERSIDE, Calif. (http://www.ucr.edu) -- Two University of California, Riverside assistant professors of physics are among a team of researchers that have developed a new way of seeing electrons cool off in an extremely short time period.

The development could have applications in numerous places where heat management is important, including visual displays, next-generation solar cells and photodetectors for optical communications.

New framework sheds light on how, not if, climate change affects cold-blooded animals

New framework sheds light on how, not if, climate change affects cold-blooded animals

Cold-blooded animals like lizards, insects and fish have a preferred body temperature range at which they hunt, eat, move quickly and reproduce. Fear that a warming climate will constrict this temperature range underlies recent studies that warn of the detrimental effects of climate change on the activity and survival of cold-blooded animals. While not contradicting these warnings, a new paper published in the latest issue of Ecology Letters offers a revised framework that may better answer how activity is affected by temperature.

Four new fungus gnat species from the Scandinavian north

Four new fungus gnat species from the Scandinavian north

One may think that the extreme north of Europe is low in insect life, except for the notorious blood-sucking flies. However, while it is a generally accepted truth that both plant and animal species' count is higher the closer one gets to the Equator, some insects display anomalous diversity gradient. Such is the case for European fungus gnats, for example, a highly diverse group of true flies. No less than about 1000 species are known to occur in the Scandinavian Peninsula, representing about 83% of the continent's total.

Mechanical quanta see the light

Mechanical quanta see the light

Quantum physics is increasingly becoming the scientific basis for a plethora of new "quantum technologies". These new technologies promise to fundamentally change the way we communicate, as well as radically enhance the performance of sensors and of our most powerful computers. One of the open challenges for practical applications is how to make different quantum technologies talk to each other. Presently, in most cases, different quantum devices are incompatible with one another, preventing these emerging technologies from linking, or connecting, to one another.

Quantum knots are real!

Quantum knots are real!

The very first experimental observations of knots in quantum matter have just been reported in Nature Physics by scientists at Aalto University (Finland) and Amherst College (USA). The scientists created knotted solitary waves, or knot solitons, in the quantum-mechanical field describing a gas of superfluid atoms, also known as a Bose-Einstein condensate.

Scientists have shown how to make a low-cost yet high precision glass nanoengraving

Scientists have shown how to make a low-cost yet high precision glass nanoengraving

In a joint study, scientists from the MIPT (Moscow Institute of Physics and Technology), ICP (Institute of Chemical Physics) named after Semenov, MSU (Moscow State University) and IPCP (Institute of Problems of Chemical Physics) have developed a mechanism of laser deposition of patterns on glass with a resolution of 1000 times lower than the width of a human hair. Focusing the laser was conducted with the help of small glass spheres, playing the role of the lens.

Warmer oceans could produce more powerful superstorms

Warmer oceans could produce more powerful superstorms

Hurricane Sandy became the second costliest hurricane to hit the United States when it blew ashore in October 2012, killing 159 people and inflicting $71 billion in damage. Informally known as a "superstorm" after it made landfall, Sandy was so destructive largely because of its unusual size and track. After moving north from the tropical waters where it spawned, Sandy turned out to sea before hooking back west, growing in size and crashing head-on into the East Coast, gaining strength when it merged with an eastbound mid-latitude storm.

Mounting evidence suggests early agriculture staved off global cooling

A new analysis of ice-core climate data, archeological evidence and ancient pollen samples strongly suggests that agriculture by humans 7,000 years ago likely slowed a natural cooling process of the global climate, playing a role in the relatively warmer climate we experience today.

A study detailing the findings is published online in a recent edition of the journal Reviews of Geophysics, published by the American Geophysical Union.

Using LEGO® blocks to develop stretchable electronics

A new article shows how toy bricks, such as LEGO® blocks, are not only for children--in the hands of engineers, they can become a powerful laboratory tool for conducting sophisticated tasks.

Researchers extended the use of toy bricks in the laboratory by developing a tensile tester for stretchable and flexible electronics, which might lead to products such as foldable iPads and smartphones or integrated electronics in clothing.

Promiscuity could reduce benefits of successful mating, research shows

Promiscuity could reduce benefits of successful mating, research shows.

Mating with a large number of partners may not be as good an indicator of success as it appears, new research has shown.

Instead, males that mate with multiple partners may actually experience a reduction in paternity rates, due to sperm competition, as their partners will also mate with many other males.

The innovative research project was carried out by scientists from the University of Exeter's Penryn Campus, in Cornwall.