Science

Nanotechnology,Nature, Edge of Discovery, Questions, Observing Earth, Women in Science, Astrophysics and Space, Human World.

Nanowires – protein fibers with gold and silver atoms

In 2001, they coated yeast protein fibers with gold and silver atoms, which let the fibers conduct electricity. The fibers are just a few nanometers — a few billionths of a meter — wide. These so-called “nanowires” are useful in very small electronic circuits such as faster computer chips. Some diseases — such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease — are caused when proteins in the …

Does frost fall from the sky?

“In Chicago . . . my car windshield is often covered with frost first thing in the morning . . . but no frost accumulates if I leave the car under a carport or in the garage. So it seems that it must fall from the sky yet there’s nothing perceptible that’s falling. Does it fall? “ Does frost falls from the sky? Every night, as soon …

Early living humans in Europe – Neandertals and Cro Magnons

Scientists believe there were once two types of early living humans in Europe, Neandertals and Cro Magnons. They believe we’re descended from Cro Magnons, while, about 30,000 years ago, Neandertals disappeared. Still, scientists wonder did Neandertals pass on any of their genes by mating with our ancestors? John Relethford: I think that they formed a small portion of our ancestry, but I honestly don’t know for sure …

22° halo – St. Petersburg display of June 18, 1790

Lowitz’s drawing was made June 18, 1790. The especially unusual features are the two arcs here colored red that extend from the parhelic circle to join the faint 22° halo. These “Lowitz arcs” can be simulated by plate crystals that take a range of orientations about a horizontal axis passing through diametrically opposite prism edges. The HALO simulation is in two halves. The left hand …

Where dust was coming from? Marith Reheis

Marith Reheis is a research geologist with the US Geological Survey who studies dust. Marith Reheis: When I started doing this, I did everything… I would spend at least four weeks a year, driving around in the Mojave Desert from dust trap to dust trap, getting the samples, and having wonderful adventures! I really miss that part of it, actually. Right now dust is a …

Chlorine element and the liquid chlorine bleach

When you add chlorine bleach to a colored shirt, the chlorine molecules attack the dyes by breaking up the compounds. Hydrogen peroxide bleaches blondes, and sunlight can fade the color from a beach towel. But when you think bleach — and imagine its familiar smell — you’re probably thinking about Cl. A colored dye is a compound — a long string of different chemicals put together. The …

What happens if you break a magnet in half?

If you break a magnet in half, will each piece still have a north and a south pole? Magnets do have north and south poles. For example, Earth’s magnetic poles currently lie close to the north and south geographic poles, around which the planet turns. Within a magnet, individual atoms carry their own north and south poles — created by the constant motion of electrons …

Mind over Matter: Influence RNG

The Mind over Matter experiment is the first experiment that uses a real random number generator (RNG) connected to the Internet. The RNG produces random bits ‘1’ or ‘0’ based upon electronic noise. These bits are used in the experiment to determine if an object on the screen will grow or shrink. The participant’s goal is to ‘influence’ the random number generator in such a …

How satellites can help assess the damage from tornadoes

The havoc wrought by a tornado in instants often requires days to assess. It’s necessary to examine damage across wide regions where roads, bridges and infrastructure are often wiped out. Eventually disaster and relief officials use aerial photos. Tom Lillesand: All that takes a lot of effort and a lot of time. . . Tom Lillesand is director of the University of Wisconsin’s Environmental Remote …

Methane Hydrate

A chunk of methane hydrate looks like a piece of ice. But it’s really highly concentrated molecules of methane — the chief constituent of natural gas — trapped in a cage-like lattice of ice. As it melts, huge amounts of methane bubble out. These hydrates have been an isolated curiosity in the lab for a century. But in the past couple of decades, researchers have discovered …

What is antimatter, and how can we detect it?

All matter is made of atoms, and atoms are made in part of electrically charged particles called protons and electrons. In normal matter, electrons always have a negative electrical charge, and protons always have a positive charge. But physicists have found that, for every type of particle, there’s an antiparticle — with the opposite electric charge. Atoms of antimatter would have an anti-nucleus — made …

Minimum mass to hold an astronaut in orbit?

“How little mass could an object in space have and still hold an astronaut in orbit around itself?” We put your question to scientists who plan space missions to the asteroids, our solar system’s least massive worlds. They said that any two bodies in isolation can orbit each other because bodies with mass attract each other — no matter how small. That means, in theory, …