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Today β€” 25 July 2024Science

Bat evolution study supports gliding-to-flying hypothesis

In new research published in PeerJ, researchers from the University of Washington, University of Texas at Austin and Oregon Institute of Technology, led by undergraduate student Abby Burtner, have advanced our understanding of the evolutionary origins of flight in bats.

Optimization algorithm successfully computes the ground state of interacting quantum matter

Over the past decades, computer scientists have developed various computing tools that could help to solve challenges in quantum physics. These include large-scale deep neural networks that can be trained to predict the ground states of quantum systems. This method is now referred to as neural quantum states (NQSs).

A chemist explains the chemistry behind decafΒ coffee

Close-up of coffee beans with roasted beans on table

Enlarge (credit: matusgajdos17 / 500px via Getty Images)

For many people, the aroma of freshly brewed coffee is the start of a great day. But caffeine can cause headaches and jitters in others. That’s why many people reach for a decaffeinated cup instead.

I’m a chemistry professor who has taught lectures on why chemicals dissolve in some liquids but not in others. The processes of decaffeination offer great real-life examples of these chemistry concepts. Even the best decaffeination method, however, does not remove all of the caffeineβ€”about 7 milligrams of caffeine usually remain in an 8-ounce cup.

Producers decaffeinating their coffee want to remove the caffeine while retaining allβ€”or at least mostβ€”of the other chemical aroma and flavor compounds. Decaffeination has a rich history, and now almost all coffee producers use one of three common methods.

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Investigating arc erosion performance of Ag-Taβ‚‚AlC, a new electrical contact material

Relays are extensively utilized in accelerators, satellites, rockets, and various advanced technology sectors. They play crucial roles in signal transmission, long-distance control implementation, and protection circuits, directly impacting the safety of aerospace and defense equipment systems. The selection of electrical contact material in a relay is crucial for its performance.

An MRI-like tool for quantum materials: Sensor can detect minute magnetic fields at atomic scale

An international research team from Germany's Forschungszentrum JΓΌlich and Korea's IBS Center for Quantum Nanoscience (QNS) has developed a quantum sensor capable of detecting minute magnetic fields at the atomic-length scale. This pioneering work realizes a long-held dream of scientists: an MRI-like tool for quantum materials.

Ancient marine animal had inventive past despite being represented by few species, new study finds

Brachiopods were evolving in new directions but this did not become an evolutionary success in terms of the numbers of species, researchers at the University of Bristol, the Open University, and the China University of Geosciences have found.

Chemical analyses find hidden elements from renaissance astronomer Tycho Brahe's alchemy laboratory

In the Middle Ages, alchemists were notoriously secretive and didn't share their knowledge with others. Danish Tycho Brahe was no exception. Consequently, we don't know precisely what he did in the alchemical laboratory located beneath his combined residence and observatory, Uraniborg, on the now Swedish island of Ven.

β€œNot a bluff”—NASA’s budget would shut down long-lived Chandra telescope

24 July 2024 at 21:50
Artist's illustration of the Chandra X-ray Observatory.

Enlarge / Artist's illustration of the Chandra X-ray Observatory. (credit: NASA/MSFC)

NASA launched the Chandra X-ray Observatory 25 years ago this week, opening a new eye on the Universe and giving astronomers vision into unimaginably violent cosmic environments like exploding stars and black holes. But Chandra's mission may soon end as NASA's science division faces a nearly billion-dollar budget shortfall.

NASA says it can no longer afford to fund Chandra at the levels it has since the telescope launched in 1999. The agency has a diminished budget for science missions this year, and the reductions may continue next year due to government spending caps in a deal reached between Congress and the Biden administration last year to suspend the federal debt ceiling.

Congress and the White House have prioritized funding for NASA's human spaceflight programs, primarily the rockets, spacecraft, landers, spacesuits, and rovers needed for the Artemis program to return astronauts to the Moon. Meanwhile, the funding level for NASA's science mission directorate has dropped.

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Yesterday β€” 24 July 2024Science

Scientists publish first experimental evidence for new groups of methane-producing organisms

A team of scientists from Montana State University has provided the first experimental evidence that two new groups of microbes thriving in thermal features in Yellowstone National Park produce methaneβ€”a discovery that could one day contribute to the development of methods to mitigate climate change and provide insight into potential life elsewhere in our solar system.

A brittle interface with low modulus to improve the mechanical properties of multiphase ceramics

Barium strontium aluminum silicate (BaxSr1βˆ’xAl2Si2O8, BSAS) ceramics possess both phase stability and resistance to water vapor corrosion, making them ideal materials for radome technology and electronic packaging. To address the low tolerance of BSAS ceramics to damage and defects, the introduction of nano-reinforcements is an effective approach to enhance their strength and toughness.

The aroma of tomato resistanceβ€”discovery of a new compound to protect from bacteria and drought

In a recent study published on the cover of the Plant Physiology journal, the IBMCP team has identified a new volatile compoundβ€”alpha-terpineolβ€”that effectively protects plants from Pseudomonas syringae. This pathogenic bacterium causes severe damage to various crops. This finding could improve crop protection treatments by providing natural and highly effective plant protection.

A laser-based method for measuring particle size distribution during the grinding process

How pharmaceuticals act, how efficient catalysts are and how effective and accurate printing inks function all depend on the size of the nanoparticles they contain. However, there are as of yet no methods for monitoring the particle size distribution during grinding processes.

New study confirms mammal-to-mammal avian flu spread

A new study provides evidence that a spillover of avian influenza from birds to dairy cattle across several U.S. states has now led to mammal-to-mammal transmissionβ€”between cows and from cows to cats and a raccoon.

Strangers trust others more when they put down their phones, experiment finds

It's practically a ritual: As soon as we sit down on the bus or get in line at the post office, we pull out our phones. Studies show average Americans check their phones almost 100 times a day, spending more than five hours daily staring at that pocket-sized screen. While scrolling through social media or checking sports scores may seem like a good way to kill time it may come at a social cost, according to a new study by Sandy Campbell, Ph.D. 24.

There's a new top fish of the Columbia River, and it doesn't mind the warm water

There is a new king of the Columbia. Each spring, a chrome tide of fish native to the East Coast floods the Northwest's mightiest river by the millions. Shad, not salmon, are thriving in the warm, still water created by hydroelectric dams throughout the Columbia River Basin.