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219,789 articles from PhysOrg

Jane Austen quote encoded in a polymer

Using a novel molecular-data-storage technique, researchers at the University of Texas at Austin have encoded a quote from Jane Austen's classic novel Mansfield Park in a series of oligomers, which a third party could read back without prior knowledge of the structures that encoded the passage. The findings, published April 21st in the journal Cell Reports Physical Science, illustrate a method to...

New process makes 'biodegradable' plastics truly compostable

Biodegradable plastics have been advertised as one solution to the plastic pollution problem bedeviling the world, but today's "compostable" plastic bags, utensils and cup lids don't break down during typical composting and contaminate other recyclable plastics, creating headaches for recyclers. Most compostable plastics, made primarily of the polyester known as polylactic acid, or PLA, end up in...

Central African forests are unequally vulnerable to global change

An international study coordinated by researchers from IRD and CIRAD reveals the composition of the tropical forests of Central Africa and their vulnerability to the increased pressure from climate change and human activity expected in the coming decades. Thanks to an exceptional dataset—an inventory of over 6 million trees across five countries—the researchers have produced the first...

In calculating the social cost of methane, equity matters

What is the cost of 1 ton of a greenhouse gas? When a climate-warming gas such as carbon dioxide or methane is emitted into the atmosphere, its impacts may be felt years and even decades into the future—in the form of rising sea levels, changes in agricultural productivity, or more extreme weather events, such as droughts, floods, and heat waves. Those impacts are quantified in a metric called...

Early Neolithic farmers modified the reproductive cycle of sheep

A study led by the UAB on the remains of animals found at the site of the Chaves cave obtains new data on the control of breeding and feeding of the first domesticated sheep herds found in the western Mediterranean region during the Neolithic period. The results, exceptional first time evidence of how early flocks of domesticated sheep fed and reproduced within the Iberian Peninsula, are currently...

Microplastics affect global nutrient cycle and oxygen levels in the ocean

The effects of the steadily increasing amount of plastic in the ocean are complex and not yet fully understood. Scientists at GEOMAR Helmholtz Centre for Ocean Research Kiel have now shown for the first time that the uptake of microplastics by zooplankton can have significant effects on the marine ecosystem even at low concentrations. The study, published in the international journal Nature...

Direct observation of the ad- and desorption of guest atoms into a mesoporous host

Most battery materials, novel catalysts, and storage materials for hydrogen have one thing in common: they have a structure composed of tiny pores in the nanometer range. These pores provide space which can be occupied by guest atoms, ions, and molecules. As a consequence, the properties of the guest and the host can change dramatically. Understanding the processes inside the pores is crucial to...

Insect evolution was more complex than previously assumed

Certain signaling proteins, which are responsible for the development of innate immune function in almost all animals are also required for the formation of the dorsal-ventral (back-belly) axis in insect embryos. A new study by researchers from the University of Cologne's Institute of Zoology suggests that the relevance of these signaling proteins for insect axis formation has increased...

Creativity and community: How modern humans overcame the Neanderthals

A new study is the first-ever to identify the genes for creativity in Homo sapiens that distinguish modern humans from chimpanzees and Neanderthals. The research identified 267 genes that are found only in modern humans and likely play an important role in the evolution of the behavioral characteristics that set apart Homo sapiens, including creativity, self-awareness, cooperativeness, and healthy...

Identification of the wettability of graphene layers at the molecular level

Graphene is a two-dimensional material in which carbon atoms are arranged in hexagonal structures, and it has unique physical and chemical properties such as sub-nanometer thickness, chemical stability, mechanical flexibility, electrical and thermal conductivity, optical transparency, and selective permeability to water. Due to these properties, various applications of graphene in transparent...

The sweet taste of success for a supported nickel phosphide nanoalloy catalyst

Catalysts lie at the heart of a greener and more sustainable future for chemical production. However, many of the catalysts currently in widespread use have limitations that affect their efficiency. Researchers from Osaka University have reported a stable and reusable nickel phosphide nanoalloy catalyst for the hydrogenation of maltose to maltitol that outperforms conventional catalysts. Their...

Picture perfect: Camera traps find endangered dryas monkeys

The endangered dryas monkey (Cercopithecus dryas), endemic to the Democratic Republic of the Congo, is one of Africa's most mysterious primates. The discovery of the dryas monkey killed by a hunter in the buffer zone of Lomami National Park in 2014 has prompted field research of this small species (5-7 pounds). However, they are difficult to detect because they live in dense vegetation in...

Study: Fish farming reduces genetic diversity of salmon in Swedish rivers

A team of researchers from Sweden, the U.K and the U.S., has found that fish stocking in Sweden has led to a reduction in diversity in Baltic salmon. In their paper published in Proceedings of the Royal Society B, the group describes their genetic study of Atlantic salmon that live in the Baltic Sea and spawn in Swedish rivers.

Defense mechanisms in aphids can become a double-edged sword, sharpened by the seasons

Evolution is unfolding in real time within many natural animal populations and researchers are now observing how this influences biodiversity in the field. In a newly published study in Molecular Ecology a team of Drexel University scientists examined the biological variations in pea aphids, insects that reproduce frequently enough to evolve before our eyes, by tracing the prevalence of their...

Essential oils restore insecticide effectiveness against bed bugs

Bed bugs tuck themselves away into dark, unseen spaces and multiply rapidly, making them difficult to control. That job has gotten even harder in recent years as the pests have developed resistance to the insecticides long used to eradicate them from homes, hotel rooms and other spaces.

NatGeo's 'Secrets of the Whales' surfaces little-known facts

When a killer whale slowly circled back toward wildlife photographer Brian Skerry in the middle of the ocean after discarding the giant sting ray it was devouring, panic is not what came to mind: "Part of my brain is thinking, 'I can't believe what I'm seeing,'" recalled Skerry. "'Don't screw it up.'"

Research explores human migration changes during the COVID-19 pandemic

The choice of where to live is a major economic and social decision and includes factors such as labor markets, schools, housing costs and access to amenities. In 2020, new research shows, a new factor made a prominent appearance: the COVID-19 pandemic. But the way it showed up might not be what you'd expect.