Researchers have demonstrated a technique that can determine whether bricks – the common building material – have ever been near a radiological source, and identify the specific type of source, such as high enriched uranium or plutonium.
An international team of scientists has used the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope to study the atmosphere of the hot exoplanet WASP-39b. By combining this new data with older data they created the most complete study yet of an exoplanet atmosphere. The atmospheric composition of WASP-39b hints that the formation processes of exoplanets can be very different from those of our own Solar System giants.
Physicists have managed to alter the flow of spin waves through a magnet, using only an electrical current. This is a huge step towards the spin transistor that is needed to construct spintronic devices. These promise to be much more energy efficient than conventional electronics.
Scientists have designed a novel strategy to synthesize ring-shaped cyclic molecules, highly sought-after by pharmaceutical and chemical industries, and known as gamma-lactams. This study describes how these five-membered rings can be prepared from inexpensive and readily available feedstock hydrocarbons, as well as from complex organic molecules, such as amino acids and steroids.
Molecular engineers have now show that it is possible to build complex, custom-designed transmembrane proteins from scratch. In the living world, transmembrane proteins naturally occur embedded in the membranes of cells and cellular organelles. They are essential for a number of functions, such as movement of signals or substances from inside or outside a living cell. The ability to design synthetic proteins to span membranes could allow scientists to build ones that can perform specific, useful tasks.
Striking just the right balance between softness and sturdiness, balsa wood is a choice material for crafting anything from model airplanes to full-size wind turbine blades. Scientists have opened up a new realm of possibilities for balsa by hijacking its natural structure with chemical and physical treatments to transform it into a ‘wood carbon sponge’ capable of enduring repeated compression and other extreme mechanical conditions.
Nasal distortions in selfies taken at close range are prompting people to seek out surgeons to make their noses smaller. Such was the experience of a facial plastic surgeon who worked with a mathematician to develop a model to show patients how much their nose becomes distorted in close-up photos.