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Student astronomer finds missing galactic matter   12k 🔥

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Successor of the COMPASS experiment will measure fundamental properties of the proton and its relatives Most Recent Articles

New evidence regarding emerald production in Roman Egypt coming from Wadi Sikait

religion and belief

A new paper published in the Journal of Near Eastern Studies presents the results of and images from the resuming of the archaeological seasons in the Mons Smaragdus region in the Egyptian Eastern Desert. The region is known for Roman-era emerald mines, chronicled by authors like Pliny the Elder and Claudius Ptolemy, rediscovered in the 19th century by the French mineralogist Fréderic Cailliaud. During the 1990s, a team from the Berenike Project surveyed the area and conducted the first excavations, focusing on the main site identified, Sikait; archaeological digs resumed in January of 2018 and January 2020. googletag.cmd.push(function() { googletag.display('div-gpt-ad-1449240174198-2'); }); In the study, titled "New evidence regarding emerald production in Roman Egypt coming from Wadi Sikait (Eastern Desert)," authors J. Oller Guzmán, D. Fernández Abella, V. Trevín Pita, O. Achon Casas, and S. García-Dils de la Vega detail what was found in three buildings. The first structure, referred to as the "administrative building," was likely a temple long occupied between the first and the fourth to fifth centuries. Nineteen coins were recovered at the site, along with other items indicating ritual use like incense burners and bronze and steatite figurines. The "large temple," one of the most well-preserved structures standing in Sikait, also contained religious artifacts like bones, terracotta body parts, and amulets, and was likely occupied between the fourth and fifth centuries AD, although inner shrines were possibly used earlier, based on surviving traces of Egyptian hieroglyph and other materials. Finally, the "six windows building" complex, possibly a residential space, included an older inner cavity, which may have been related to mining activity. However, concerning this type of structure, common in Sikait, the authors write, "After analyzing most of these spaces, we can conclude that almost none of them can be identified as beryl mine...     Apr 15, 2021

Lipid research may help solve COVID-19 vaccine challenges


New research by University of Texas at Dallas scientists could help solve a major challenge in the deployment of certain COVID-19 vaccines worldwide—the need for the vaccines to be kept at below-freezing temperatures during transport and storage. googletag.cmd.push(function() { googletag.display('div-gpt-ad-1449240174198-2'); }); In a study published online April 13 in Nature Communications, the researchers demonstrate a new, inexpensive technique that generates crystalline exoskeletons around delicate liposomes and other lipid nanoparticles and stabilizes them at room temperature for an extended period—up to two months—in their proof-of-concept experiments. The Moderna and Pfizer/BioNTech COVID-19 vaccines use lipid nanoparticles—basically spheres of fat molecules—to protect and deliver the messenger RNA that generates a vaccine recipient's immune response to the SARS-CoV-2 virus. "The expense of keeping these vaccines very cold from the time they're made to the time they're delivered is a challenge that needs to be addressed, especially because many countries don't have sufficient infrastructure to maintain this kind of cold chain," said Dr. Jeremiah Gassensmith, associate professor of chemistry and biochemistry and of bioengineering at UT Dallas and a corresponding author of the study. "Although we did not include in this work the specific lipid nanoparticles used in current COVID-19 vaccines, our findings are a step toward stabilizing a lipid nanoparticle in a way that's never been done before, so far as we know." The idea for the research project began during a coffee-break discussion between Gassensmith and Dr. Gabriele Meloni, a corresponding co-author of the study and assistant professor of chemistry and biochemistry in the School of Natural Sciences and Mathematics at UT Dallas. Gassensmith's area of expertise is biomaterials and metal-organic frameworks, while Meloni's research focus is transmembrane transporter proteins. These prot...     Apr 15, 2021

Why do some alloys become stronger at room temperature?

environment, weather and energy

An alloy is typically a metal that has a few per cent of at least one other element added. Some aluminum alloys have a seemingly strange property. googletag.cmd.push(function() { googletag.display('div-gpt-ad-1449240174198-2'); }); "We've known that aluminum alloys can become stronger by being stored at room temperature—that's not new information," says Adrian Lervik, a physicist at the Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU). The German metallurgist Alfred Wilm discovered this property way back in 1906. But why does it happen? So far the phenomenon has been poorly understood, but now Lervik and his colleagues from NTNU and SINTEF, the largest independent research institute in Scandinavia, have tackled that question. Lervik recently completed his doctorate at NTNU's Department of Physics. His work explains an important part of this mystery. But first a little background, because Lervik has dug into some prehistory as well. "At the end of the 1800s, Wilm worked to try to increase the strength of aluminum, a light metal that had the recently become available. He melted and cast a number of different alloys and tested out various cooling rates common in steel production in order to achieve the best possible strength," says Lervik. One weekend when the weather was good Wilm decided to take a break from his experiments and instead take an early weekend to sail along the Havel River. "He returned to the lab on Monday and continued to run tensile tests of an alloy consisting of aluminum, copper and magnesium that he had started the week before. He discovered that the alloy's strength had increased considerably over the weekend. This alloy had simply stayed at room temperature during that time. Time had done the job that all sorts of other cooling methods couldn't do. Today this phenomenon is called natural aging. The American metallurgist Paul Merica suggested in 1919 that the phenomenon must be due to small particles of the various e...     Apr 14, 2021

Plasma device designed for consumers can quickly disinfect surfaces

science and technology

The COVID-19 pandemic has cast a harsh light on the urgent need for quick and easy techniques to sanitize and disinfect everyday high-touch objects such as doorknobs, pens, pencils, and personal protective gear worn to keep infections from spreading. Now scientists at the U.S. Department of Energy's (DOE) Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory and the New Jersey Institute of Technology (NJIT) have demonstrated the first flexible, hand-held, device based on low-temperature plasma—a gas that consists of atoms, molecules, and free-floating electrons and ions—that consumers can quickly and easily use to disinfect surfaces without special training. googletag.cmd.push(function() { googletag.display('div-gpt-ad-1449240174198-2'); }); Recent experiments show that the prototype, which operates at room temperature under normal atmospheric pressure, can eliminate 99.99 percent of the bacteria on surfaces, including textiles and metals in just 90 seconds. The device has shown a still-higher 99.9999 percent effectiveness when used with the antiseptic hydrogen peroxide. Scientists think it will be similarly effective against viruses. "We're testing it right now with human viruses," said PPPL physicist Sophia Gershman, first author of a paper in Scientific Reports that describes the device and the research behind it. Positive results welcomed The positive results were welcome at PPPL, which is widening its fusion research and plasma science portfolios. "We are very excited to see plasmas used for a broader range of applications that could potentially improve human health," said Jon Menard, deputy director for research at PPPL. The flexible hand-held device, called a dielectric barrier discharge (DBD), is built like a sandwich, Gershman said. "It's a high-voltage slice of bread on cheese that is an insulator and a grounded piece of bread with holes in it," she said. The high-voltage slice of "bread" is an electrode made of copper tape. The other slice is a ...     Apr 14, 2021