245 articles from WEDNESDAY 8.7.2020

Scientists join forces to investigate airborne risk of coronavirus

WHO adviser says results from well-designed studies are needed before it changes its adviceCoronavirus – latest updatesSee all our coronavirus coverageA major research effort is under way to understand whether Covid-19 can spread through tiny airborne particles that are released by infected people and remain suspended in the air for hours.Scientists are working alongside sanitary engineers at...

Will astronauts ever visit gas giants like Jupiter?

Every week, the readers of our space newsletter, The Airlock, send in their questions for space reporter Neel V. Patel to answer. This week: Can we go to Jupiter? Once we move past the asteroid belt, is it realistic to assume there is a chance humans could ever explore any of the gas giants, like Jupiter, really close to its atmosphere? And what that would look like?  —Sarah...

Porous graphene ribbons doped with nitrogen for electronics and quantum computing

A team of physicists and chemists has produced the first porous graphene ribbons in which specific carbon atoms in the crystal lattice are replaced with nitrogen atoms. These ribbons have semiconducting properties that make them attractive for applications in electronics and quantum computing, as reported by researchers from the Universities of Basel, Bern, Lancaster and Warwick in the Journal of...

Study could rewrite Earth's history

New research has found evidence to suggest that the Earth's first continents were not formed by subduction in a modern-like plate tectonics environment as previously thought, and instead may have been created by an entirely different process.

CRISPR enables one-step hybrid seed production in crops

Crop hybrid technologies have contributed to the significant yield improvement worldwide in the past decades. However, designing and maintaining a hybrid production line has always been complex and laborious. Now, researchers in China have developed a new system combining CRISPR-mediated genome editing with other approaches that could produce better seeds compared with conventional hybrid methods...

Scaling up the quantum chip

MIT researchers have developed a process to manufacture and integrate "artificial atoms," created by atomic-scale defects in microscopically thin slices of diamond, with photonic circuitry, producing the largest quantum chip of its type.

Hummingbirds found able to understand numerical order

A team of researchers from the University of St Andrews in the U.K. and the University of Lethbridge in Canada has found that hummingbirds are able to understand the concept of numerical order. In their paper published in Proceedings of the Royal Society B, the group describes experiments they conducted with wild hummingbirds and what they learned from them.

Animals who try to sound 'bigger' are good at learning sounds

Some animals fake their body size by sounding 'bigger' than they actually are. Researchers studied 164 different mammals and found that animals who lower their voice to sound bigger are often skilled vocalists. Both strategies -- sounding bigger and learning sounds -- are likely driven by sexual selection, and may play a role in explaining the origins of human speech evolution.

Hearing persists at end of life

Hearing is widely thought to be the last sense to go in the dying process. Now, the first study to investigate hearing in palliative care patients who are close to death provides evidence that some may still be able to hear while in an unresponsive state. Electroencephalography (EEG) was used to measure the dying brain's response to sound. The findings may help family and friends bring comfort to...

Bespoke catalysts for power-to-X

Suitable catalysts are of great importance for efficient power-to-X applications -- but the molecular processes occurring during their use have not yet been fully understood. Using X-rays from a synchrotron particle accelerator, scientists have now been able to observe for the first time a catalyst during the Fischer-Tropsch reaction that facilitates the production of synthetic fuels under...