Science (category filter × )

Dark-matter detector observes exotic nuclear decay

nature.com
  • Physicists have achieved the first direct observation of two-neutrino double electron capture in xenon-124 nuclei.
  • This experiment is an important step towards changing the standard model of particle physics that our view of the world is based on.
  • Using a dark-matter detector, the XENON Collaboration looked for the decay of xenon-124 to tellurium-124, which involves two-neutrino double electron capture.
  • It is the standard-model equivalent of neutrinoless double electron capture, a type of nuclear decay that is key to proving certain new theories.

Pig brains partially revived four hours after death

bbc.com
  • In a new and ethically questionable experiment, scientists were able to temporarily preserve basic cell function in dead pig brains.
  • It involved 32 pig brains, connected to a special system 4 hours after being collected from the slaughterhouse.
  • For 6 hours, the system pumped a liquid designed to slow or reverse the death of brain cells.
  • The main finding is that cell death in the brain takes longer than scientists previously thought.
  • Death is a gradual process, and some parts of it can be postponed, preserved, or even reversed.

How long do neutrons live? Physicists close in on decades-old puzzle

nature.com
  • After 15 years of struggling with a measurement discrepancy, physicists might soon uncover precisely how long it takes a neutron to die.
  • Neutrons are stable inside atoms, but on their own they decay in about 15 minutes. Since 2005, there have been two measuring methods which - replicated in various labs across the world - generate results different by 8 seconds.
  • Solving this mystery will help scientists understand how much hydrogen, helium, and other light elements were created in the first few minutes after the Big Bang.
  • They could also hunt for new types of physics, as knowing the neutron’s lifetime would help constrain measurements of other subatomic particles.

A researcher needed three hours to identify me from my DNA

bloomberg.com
  • As more people in the US share their genetic data to public and private databases, it makes the job much easier for genealogists to identify people from genetic samples.
  • There has been a boom in consumer DNA testing, which has also enabled law enforcement to solve more cases.
  • Nowadays it can take as little as 10 hours for genealogists to identify suspects from genetic data only.
  • But there’s an issue with privacy - anyone can be exposed even if they haven’t made their own DNA public, as just one family member can expose multiple generations.

Microbes in the human body swap genes, even across tissue boundaries, study indicates

sciencedaily.com
  • By using a novel molecular data mining method, scientists have found that bacteria in our bodies swap genes across different tissues.
  • The team used genomic information to build ‘family trees’ of human bacteria and checked them against trees of microbial genes.
  • This method allowed them to identify horizontal gene transfer - the direct transfer of genes between organisms outside of reproduction.
  • Horizontal gene transfer between microbes in our bodies is 30% higher than is typically seen in nature.

Newsletter

Newsletter

Categories

  • Science Science (23) Dark-matter detector observes exotic nuclear decay
  • Psychology Psychology (23) The surprising truth about perfectionism in millennials
  • Cosmos Cosmos (13) From the Lunar far side, China’s rover reveals moon’s hidden depths
  • History History (9) Ancient rock art in the plains of India
  • Society Society (29) Psychedelics' role in beating alcoholism illustrated in LSD, psilocybin study
  • Medicine Medicine (13) End to Aids in sight as huge study finds drugs stop HIV transmission
  • Technology Technology (20) UVM study: AI can detect depression in a child’s speech
  • Nature Nature (13) Wood wide web: Trees' social networks are mapped