Scientific Serendipity
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Scientific Serendipity
Pebbles from the outer edges of science.


Seeds for blog stories.
Curated by honor harger
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We're Only Beginning to Understand How Our Brains Make Maps

We're Only Beginning to Understand How Our Brains Make Maps | Scientific Serendipity | Scoop.it

And the more scientists learn about how our brains construct cognitive maps of space, the more we may learn about how to design those spaces – streets, neighborhoods, cities – in the first place. Or, rather, we may learn more about the consequences of how we've built them so far. How could any urban planner, for starters, not love the idea that "place" is embedded in the brain?

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More people are bitten by New Yorkers each year than sharks

Shark Foundation - Foundation for research and the preservation of sharks
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Condensing matters drastically at Imperial

Condensing matters drastically at Imperial | Scientific Serendipity | Scoop.it

 

Will the universe go on expanding forever? Why should we care about climate change? Can we make objects invisible? These are Big questions with a capital B, which individually could occupy the mind of a scientist for an entire academic career. In fact I am sure they have.

But yesterday at Imperial College in London we asked a bunch of physicists to tackle questions of this size and stature and to answer them in 100 seconds or less – using nothing more than a white board and a few marker pens. It was a seriously tough challenge in the overlapping arts of brevity and clear communication.

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First Digital Laser Designed and Built in Africa

African physicists build the first laser with a beam that can be controlled and shaped digitally. 

 

The result is that the beam is already shaped in the required way when it emerges from the laser cavity.

 

“We have demonstrated a novel digital laser that allows arbitrary intra-cavity laser beam shaping to be executed on the fly,” says Sandile Ngcobo at the University of KwaZulu–Natal in South Africa

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The Universe Within by Neil Shubin

The Universe Within by Neil Shubin | Scientific Serendipity | Scoop.it

The Universe Within wants to use the testimony of living things now to tell a story of everything that ever was, starting with the first trillionth of a second of creation, the making of hydrogen, helium and lithium, the arrival of gravity, the gathering of the galaxies, the forging of 89 new elements, and the supernova scattering of fabric that will eventually become stars, planetary systems, oceans, continents and people.

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Quantum Physics in Microscope

Quantum Physics in Microscope | Scientific Serendipity | Scoop.it

Convergence of fields for quantum physics and biology has come up with a new microscope. Its inventors have said that the microscope has the potential of opening new avenues to resolve the mystery of living cells.

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27 Science Fictions That Became Science Facts In 2012

27 Science Fictions That Became Science Facts In 2012 | Scientific Serendipity | Scoop.it
We may never have our flying cars, but the future is here. From creating fully functioning artificial leaves to hacking the human brain, science made a lot of breakthroughs this year.
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Anti-Wi-Fi Activism 'Fear Mongering'

A new study of anti-WiFi activists in Canada found that much of the health concerns are driven by fear-mongering and profiteers.

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Discovery in synthetic biology takes us a step closer to new 'industrial revolution'

Discovery in synthetic biology takes us a step closer to new 'industrial revolution' | Scientific Serendipity | Scoop.it
Scientists report that they have developed a method that cuts down the time it takes to make new 'parts' for microscopic biological factories from 2 days to only 6 hours.
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We need to find the Theory of Everything

 

Each week the New Scientist runs a one minute interview with a scientist and last week it was Lisa Randall who told us that we shouldn't be obsessed with finding a theory of everything.

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Quantum Computing Hype Cycle

The year 2013 started turbulent for the quantum computing field with a valiant effort by long time skeptic and distinguished experimentalist Michel  I. Dyakonov  to relegate it to the status of a p...
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First Toy Multiverse

Researchers exploit the strange properties of a liquid metamaterial to watch Minkowski spacetimes leap in out and of existence
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The 'New Physics' Model of Dark Energy Nixed

The 'New Physics' Model of Dark Energy Nixed | Scientific Serendipity | Scoop.it
The 'New Physics' Model of Dark Energy Nixed The Daily Galaxy (blog) Last month, a group of European astronomers, using a massive radio telescope in Germany, made the most accurate measurement of the proton-to-electron mass ratio ever accomplished...
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The Paradox of the Proof

The Paradox of the Proof | Scientific Serendipity | Scoop.it
On August 31, 2012, Japanese mathematician Shinichi Mochizuki posted four papers on the Internet. The titles were inscrutable. The volume was daunting: 512 pages in total. The claim was audacious: ...
honor harger's insight:

"A proof is a social construct. If the community doesn’t understand it, you haven’t done your job.”

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Blackest Material Ever

Blackest Material Ever | Scientific Serendipity | Scoop.it
honor harger's insight:

"The substance appears perfectly flat; in effect, it’s a sheet of deep holes"

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New Zealand claims its place in radio astronomy history

New Zealand claims its place in radio astronomy history | Scientific Serendipity | Scoop.it

Last week some of the biggest names in the field gathered for an international conference which marked New Zealand's role in helping to kick-start radio astronomy research in the 1940s.  Attended by the doyenne of the field, Jocelyn Bell Burnell, and researchers and historians from New Zealand, Australia and the UK, the conference explored the work of John Bolton and Gordon Stanley, who detected radio waves from outside the solar system for the first time in August 1948 from sites in Pakiri and Piha in the North Island of New Zealand.

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Particle Physics in the Sky

Particle Physics in the Sky | Scientific Serendipity | Scoop.it
Much can be learned about hypothetical particles called axions by studying the evolution of massive stars.
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Hearing colour with the Eyeborg

From birth, Neil Harbisson lacked the ability to perceive color. Because of a rare condition called achromatopsia—total color-blindness—he always lived in a black-and-white world. But with the help of inventor Adam Montadon, Harbisson developed the “eyeborg,” a device that he wears on his head that translates colors into sound. The camera senses the color frequency in front of him, then sends different audible frequencies to a chip embedded in the back of his head.

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Vintage Science Diagrams, 1854

Vintage Science Diagrams, 1854 | Scientific Serendipity | Scoop.it

Edward Livingston Youmans (1821-1887), best-remembered as the founder of Popular Science magazine, was one of history’s greatest science writers and editors. Besides pioneering what Richard Feynman has termed “the role of scientific culture in modern society” with his journalistic endeavors, Youmans also authored a number of beautifully illustrated textbooks, including Chemical Atlas: Or, The Chemistry of Familiar Objects. 

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3D Printing a Moon Base?

3D Printing a Moon Base? | Scientific Serendipity | Scoop.it
The European Space Agency (ESA), along with a private sector partner, is investigating the practicality of constructing a lunar base using only 3D printing technology — and using only moon dust as the building material.
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An atom sheds light on neutron stars

The precise measurement of an exotic atom in the laboratory has refined scientists’ understanding of neutron stars, which are among the universe’s most extreme objects. The study, published January 22 in Physical Review Letters, could help scientists determine whether the crusts of neutron stars serve as the source of dozens of heavy elements such as zinc, silver and gold.

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NASA's Cassini watches Saturn storm choke on its own tail

NASA's Cassini watches Saturn storm choke on its own tail | Scientific Serendipity | Scoop.it
Call it a Saturnian version of the Ouroboros, the mythical serpent that bites its own tail.
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CMS looking back

The CMS collaboration have kindly posted a pleasant video that reveals the moments when they "unblinded" their Higgs diphoton results within the collaboration in the run-up to the public discovery ...
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Higgs Symposium: Careful Summary

Higgs Symposium: Careful Summary | Scientific Serendipity | Scoop.it
Ten days ago I started providing you with a more careful summary of the Higgs Symposium (held January 9-11 at the University of Edinburgh, as part of the new Higgs Center for Theoretical Physics), ...
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Particle Decelerator: Sea Above, Sky Below

Particle Decelerator: Sea Above, Sky Below | Scientific Serendipity | Scoop.it
Radio astronomers describe the noise storms of Jupiter and its moon Io as sounding like ocean waves breaking up on the beach. And here on the firmament we ...
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