Most people buy cornstarch to make custard or gravy, but two scientists have used it to solve a longstanding physics problem with a substance known to generations of Dr. Seuss readers as “Oobleck,” and to scientists as a non-Newtonian liquid.
The research team, made up of geneticists from Wilfrid Laurier University in Canada and the University of California, repeatedly subjected test flies to a 20-minute mathematics training session. The flies were exposed to two, three or four flashes of light, with two or four flashes coinciding with a shake of the container the flies were kept in. Following a pause, the flies were again subjected to the flashing light, however none prepared themselves for a repeat of the shake since they could not discern a difference between two, three or four flashes. That is, until the key 40th generation of descendants were put to the test.
The findings back-up the theory that numerical skills such as mental arithmetic are ancient constructs. Some of the more unusual natural fans of numeracy include salamanders, newborn chicks and mongoose lemurs, all of which have demonstrated basic skills in the lab. The humble fruit fly -- which has been a popular experimental tool for geneticists since the early 1900s, its brief life span making it evolve faster -- is the first example of a test subject gaining the skills through evolution, however.
Scientists have created an ‘early signs timeline’ for Alzheimer’s disease that they believe could help experts detect the condition up to 25 years before it strikes. The study, published in the New England Journal of Medicine, looked at 128 people with a family history of early Alzheimer’s.
The participants were all selected from the Dominantly Inherited Alzheimer's Network, a research centre for those who are genetically predestined to develop the degenerative disease, and considered to have (at least) a 50% chance of inheriting one of three gene mutations that cause the disease.
Robert Lanza, M.D. is considered one of the leading scientists in the world. He is currently Chief Scientific Officer at Advanced Cell Technology, and Adjunct Professor at Wake Forest University School of Medicine.
Scientists have found that Native American populations -- from Canada to the southern tip of Chile -- arose from at least three migrations, with the majority descended entirely from a single group of First American migrants that crossed over...
The big bang may not have been the beginning of the universe, but merely the beginning of one of an infinite series of universes. Two fundamental concepts in physics, both of which explain the nature of the Universe in many ways, have been difficult to reconcile with each other. European researchers have developed a mathematical approach to do so that has the potential to explain what came before the Big Bang. The big bang singularity --the single point from which the entire universe is supposed to have sprung-- is the major sticking point in the big bang theory; the calculations just can't account for such a singularity. Without evidence associated with the earliest instant of the expansion, the Big Bang theory does not provide any explanation for such an initial condition.
According to Einstein’s (classical) theory of general relativity, space is a continuum. Regions of space can be subdivided into smaller and smaller volumes without end. The fundamental idea of quantum mechanics is that physical quantities exist in discrete packets (quanta) rather than in a continuum. Further, these quanta and the physical phenomena related to them exist on an extremely small scale (Planck scale). So far, the theories of quantum mechanics have failed to ‘quantise’ gravity. Loop quantum gravity (LQG) is an attempt to do so. It represents space as a net of quantised intersecting loops of excited gravitational fields called spin networks. This network viewed over time is called spin foam.
Not only does LQG provide a precise mathematical picture of space and time, it enables mathematical solutions to long-standing problems related to black holes and the Big Bang. Amazingly, LQG predicts that the Big Bang was actually a ‘Big Bounce’, not a singularity but a continuum, where the collapse of a previous universe spawned the creation of ours.
European researchers initiated the ‘Effective field theory for loop quantum gravity’ (EFTFORLQG) project to further develop this exciting candidate theory reconciling classical and quantum descriptions of the Universe.
South African scientists claim to have uncovered the most complete skeleton yet of an ancient relative of man, hidden in a rock excavated from an archaeological site three years ago. The remains of a juvenile hominid skeleton, of the newly identified Australopithecus (southern ape) sediba species, are the most complete early human ancestor skeleton ever discovered. The skeleton is thought to be about 2 million years old. The upright-walking tree climber would have been aged between nine and 13 years when he or she died.
It is not certain whether the species, which had long arms, a small brain and a thumb, was a direct ancestor of humans' genus, Homo, or simply a close relative.
Scientists in Germany have come up with a new fluid for cooling the expensive batteries in electric cars and thereby extending their life, another potential step in improving the cost efficiency of electric propulsion.
HOUSTON — A Texas judge has ruled that the atmosphere and air must be protected for public use, just like water, which could help attorneys tasked with arguing climate change lawsuits designed to force states to cut emissions.