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Physicists Pin Down Nuclear Reaction From Moments After the Big Bang

quantamagazine.org
  • They simulated the Big Bang in a lab, and measured the reaction rate of deuterium hit by a proton beam, revealing key details about the first minutes after the Big Bang.
  • Deuterium’s creation was the first step in Big Bang nucleosynthesis, a sequence of nuclear reactions that happened when cosmos was a soup of protons and neutrons.
  • The measurement allowed physicists to compare cosmos in the first few minutes to 380,000 years later, when it cooled down enough for electrons to orbit atomic nuclei.
  • It basically tells us that the standard model of cosmology is so far pretty correct.

Scientists make digital breakthrough in chemistry that could revolutionize the drug industry

cnbc.com
  • Chemist Lee Cronin with team built a “chemputer” that makes drug molecules, and now they created software that turns research papers into recipes for the machine.
  • The goal is to create a “Spotify for chemistry”, with recipes for molecules that can be quickly created for medication or research purposes.
  • Cronin’s system uses XDL, a “chemical description language”, which chemists can edit in plain English.
  • The system successfully extracted 12 recipes from chemical literature, including lidocaine, which the chemputer created with similar efficiency to human chemists.
  • Cronin started a company called Chemify, and his system is making ways into pharma - but competition’s growing in the market, with other systems like AutoSyn.

New measurements of the solar spectrum verify Einstein’s theory of General Relativity

iac.es
  • Researchers measured and confirmed the gravitational redshift (displacement of red lines in the light spectrum) of the sun, which was first theorised by Albert Einstein.
  • Solar spectrum reflected from the Moon, and the position of red lines in the solar spectrum was confirmed using a “laser frequency comb”.
  • Thus, they were able to verify one of the predictions from the Theory of General Relativity to a precision of a few meters per second.

Stanford scientists solve secret of nerve cells marking a form of schizophrenia

med.stanford.edu
  • In people with schizophrenia, brain cells keep firing unnecessary signals, and it might be caused by a genetic defect called 22q11.2 deletion syndrome.
  • It increases the risk for schizophrenia 30 times, and about 35% of people with this defect are diagnosed with an autism spectrum disorder early in their lives.
  • 22q11.2DS causes electrical defects in nerve cells, as scientists found by generating and manipulating clusters of brain cells in a dish.
  • Neurons generated from cells of 22q11.2DS carriers were more excitable, and showed less-than-normal voltage while they weren’t firing.
  • Applying antipsychotic drugs to the cells brought them back to normal, indicating that this is a good are for further studies of schizophrenia.

Humans are born with brains ‘prewired’ to see words

news.osu.edu
  • Researchers discovered a “visual word form area” (VWFA) in brain scans of newborns.
  • Even at birth, this area is strongly connected to the language network of the brain, disproving theories that it needs additional learning to become this way.
  • The team analyzed 40 newborn (less than a week old) brain scans, finding that the VWFA is different from areas that recognize faces.
  • This indicated that the VWFA is primed to recognize words before we’re exposed to them.
  • Now, the team is studying brain scans of 3-4 years, with the ultimate goal to understand how the brain becomes a reading brain.

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  • Science Science (84) Physicists Pin Down Nuclear Reaction From Moments After the Big Bang
  • Psychology Psychology (98) Risk of de­vel­op­ing men­tal dis­or­ders later in life po­ten­tially higher in chil­dren of low-in­come fam­il­ies
  • Cosmos Cosmos (40) The Building Blocks of Life Can Form Even Without Stars or Planets, Scientists Say
  • History History (19) ‘Viking’ was a job description, not a matter of heredity, massive ancient DNA study shows
  • Society Society (89) ‘Extremely aggressive’ internet censorship spreads in the world’s democracies
  • Medicine Medicine (87) Gut microbiome link to deadly lung disease
  • Technology Technology (104) Scientists produce rare diamonds in minutes at room temperature
  • Nature Nature (59) Humans, not climate, have driven rapidly rising mammal extinction rate