226 articles from FRIDAY 6.11.2020

New approach determines optimal materials designs with minimal data

Northwestern University researchers have developed a new computational approach to accelerate the design of materials exhibiting metal-insulator transitions (MIT), a rare class of electronic materials that have shown potential to jumpstart future design and delivery of faster microelectronics and quantum information systems—foundational technologies behind Internet of Things devices and...

What Biden will and won’t be able to achieve on climate change

Though the counts aren’t finished and the legal challenges could drag on for weeks, Joe Biden’s victory in the US presidential election is looking increasingly likely. If he does triumph, it will also be a win for action on climate change. But his ability to push through any sweeping legislation will be seriously constrained if, as appears likely, Republicans retain control of the Senate....

Lead-free magnetic perovskites

Scientists at Linköping University, Sweden, working with the perovskite family of materials, have developed an optoelectronic magnetic double perovskite. The discovery opens the possibility to couple spintronics with optoelectronics for rapid and energy-efficient information storage.

More plant diversity, less pesticide

Increasing plant diversity enhances the natural control of insect herbivory in grasslands. Species-rich plant communities support natural predators and simultaneously provide less valuable food for herbivores. This was found by a team of researchers led by the German Center for Integrative Biodiversity Research (iDiv), who conducted two analogous experiments in Germany and the U.S. Their results...

Researchers demonstrate a superconductor previously thought impossible

Superconductivity is a phenomenon in which an electric circuit loses its resistance and becomes extremely efficient under certain conditions. There are different ways in which this can happen, which were thought to be incompatible. For the first time, researchers have discovered a bridge between two of these methods to achieve superconductivity. This new knowledge could lead to a more general...

Common cold antibodies hold clues to COVID-19 behavior; lung scans speed COVID-19 diagnosis in stroke patients

Among people who were never infected with the new coronavirus, a few adults - and many children - may have antibodies that can neutralize the virus, researchers reported on Friday in Science. Among 302 such adults, 16 (5.3%) had antibodies, likely generated during infections with "common cold" coronaviruses, that reacted to a specific region of the spike protein on the new virus called the S2...

Ancient crocodiles' family tree reveals unexpected twists and turns

Despite 300 years of research, and a recent renaissance in the study of their biological make-up, the mysterious, marauding teleosauroids have remained enduringly elusive. Scientific understanding of this distant cousin of present day long snouted gharials has been hampered by a poor grasp of their evolutionary journey - until now.

Doctors debunk 15 flu myths

Two doctors debunk 15 of the most common myths about the flu, including how long the flu vaccine lasts, and why you have to get the flu shot...

Investigating optical activity under an external magnetic field

Optical activity in chiral molecules has become a hot topic in physics and optics, representing the ability to manipulate the polarized state of light. Understanding how molecules rotate the plane of plane-polarized light has widespread applications, from analytic chemistry to biology and medicine—where it can, for example, be used to detect the amount of sugar in a substance. A new study...

On the hunt for wild bananas in Papua New Guinea

The banana has its earliest origins in Papua New Guinea, where it was domesticated by indigenous communities at least 7,000 years ago. This ancestor, Musa acuminata, subspecies Banksii, looks very different from the ubiquitous Cavendish banana: peeling back its skin reveals hundreds of large, hard seeds that enable easy reproduction in the wild.

Sugar-coated viral proteins hijack and hitch a ride out of cells

Researchers from the Universities of Melbourne, York, Warwick and Oxford have shed light on how encapsulated viruses like hepatitis B, dengue and SARS-CoV-2 hijack the protein manufacturing and distribution pathways in the cell—they have also identified a potential broad spectrum anti-viral drug target to stop them in their tracks.

phyloFlash: New software for fast and easy analysis of environmental microbes

Microbiologists traditionally determine which organisms they are dealing with using the small subunit ribosomal RNA or in short SSU rRNA gene. This marker gene allows them to identify almost any living creature, be it a bacterium or an animal, and thus assign it to its place in the tree of life. Once the position in the tree of life is known, specific DNA probes can be designed to make the...

Germanium telluride's hidden properties at the nanoscale revealed

Germanium telluride (GeTe) is known as a ferrolectric Rashba semiconductor with a number of interesting properties. The crystals consist of nanodomains, whose ferrolectric polarization can be switched by external electric fields. Because of the so-called Rashba effect, this ferroelectricity can also be used to switch electron spins within each domain. Germanium telluride is therefore an...

Final dance of unequal black hole partners

Researchers used the Frontera supercomputer to model for the first time a black hole merger of two black holes with very different sizes (128:1). The research required seven months of constant computation. The results predict the gravitational waves such a merger would produce, as well as characteristics of the resulting merged black hole.

Baby dinosaurs were 'little adults'

Paleontologists have described for the first time an almost complete skeleton of a juvenile Plateosaurus and discovered that it looked very similar to its parents even at a young age. That could have important implications for how the young animals lived and moved around. The young Plateosaurus, nicknamed 'Fabian', was discovered in 2015 at the Frick fossil site in Switzerland.