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Physicists investigate the role of quantum entanglement in the magnetic compasses of animals
PhysOrg    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
Many animals possess some kind of magnetic sense, allowing them to navigate by using a magnetic field. The ability to detect a magnetic field, called magnetoreception, has been observed in a variety of animals, including birds, turtles, sharks, lobsters, cows, fungi, and bacteria. However, scientists do not fully understand the mechanisms responsible for this ability. In a new study, physicists have investigated the role of quantum interactions in magnetoreception, and have shown that quantum technologies could be used to enhance or reduce the performance of an animal's chemical compass, and potentially control other biological functions. Read the associated Physical Review Articles article. More



New batteries pack more punch
ScienceNOW    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
Electric cars face severe limits in how far they can drive before running out of juice. Better batteries that can both store more energy and give it up quickly are essential for extending that range. Now, researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in Cambridge have come up with a novel battery-making strategy that steers in that direction. For now, the new batteries can power only small devices. But if the strategy can be made to work on a larger scale, a task more difficult than just using more battery material, it could give electric car makers the jolt they need. More

Condensate created in freefall
Physics World    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
A Bose-Einstein condensate experiment -- lasers and all -- has been dropped repeatedly from a height of 146 meters. Designed by an international team of physicists, the experiment has shown that delicate multiparticle quantum systems can be created and analyzed in microgravity environments created during freefall. The result also suggests that it is possible to launch similar experiments into space, where they could test predictions of Einstein's general theory of relativity. More

Mass Transits: Kepler mission releases data on hundreds of possible exoplanets
Scientific American    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
The Kepler spacecraft, launched in 2009 to scour distant stellar systems for Earth-like planets, has yet to attain that lofty goal, but it is now returning a flood of data about all manner of planets outside the solar system. On June 15, the Kepler team released information on possible planets identified in the first month or so of the spacecraft's three-plus-year mission -- a massive set of more than 300 candidates that promises to significantly augment the known catalogue of extrasolar planets. More



One more proposal to plug the oil leak, but can we afford to make things worse?
Popular Science    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail
article
It seems that BP is resigned to let the Gulf oil leak flow until the relief wells are completed in August. But a nuclear physicist from California thinks he's devised a method that could stop the gushing well by pumping steel balls into the riser. It's likely to work, he says, and even if it fails it won’t make matters any worse. Naturally, not everyone involved is so optimistic. More

Thundercloud gamma rays hint at origins of lightning
NewScientist    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
Mysterious gamma ray bursts that occur in the first moments of a storm, as lightning jumps between clouds, hint at where lightning comes from. It is even possible that passengers in planes flying above storms could be bathed in dangerous radiation. More

Graphene finally goes big
ScienceNOW    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
Graphene has been tough to manufacture in anything larger than flakes a few centimeters across. Now researchers have managed to create rectangular sheets of graphene 76 centimeters in the diagonal direction and even use them to create a working touch-screen display. More

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Chu gives scientific advice behind the scenes in Gulf spill effort
CNN    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
While President Obama has made much of Energy Secretary Steven Chu's scientific accomplishments, Chu's role as Gulf oil disaster troubleshooter is a little murky. "It's very difficult to tell because he's doing all of his work behind the scenes," said William Galston, an expert on governance studies at the nonpartisan Brookings Institute. "I assume that he is giving very high quality technical advice to people who are trying to devise better solutions to an ongoing problem." More

US experiment hints at 'multiple God particles'
BBC News    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
There may be multiple versions of the elusive "God particle" - or Higgs boson - according to a new study. More

Aspirin and dental floss: Homespun high-energy physics
NewScientist    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
As the first physics results begin to emerge at the expensively engineered and hugely complex Large Hadron Collider, New Scientist looks at the everyday equipment that particle physicists couldn't live without – from aspirin to dental floss. More

What makes the sound of vuvuzelas so annoying?
NewScientist    Share    Share on FacebookTwitterShare on LinkedinE-mail article
Love 'em or loathe 'em, the blaring plastic trumpets have become the hallmark of matches at the 2010 World Cup. Trevor Cox, president of the UK Institute of Acoustics and an acoustic engineer at the University of Salford, UK, explains their appeal – or otherwise. More

 
 

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