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May 20, 2019

Kavli and Nobel Laureates Tackle Science’s Big Questions

Posted by in categories: information science, science

The National Academy of Sciences is always an impressive place, with visitors greeted out front by a more-then-life-sized bronze statue of Albert Einstein. In keeping with the spirit of the academy, Einstein is not depicted standing with his eyes looking upward to some fantastic future. Rather, he is seated, looking slightly downward in thought, holding papers on which his equations are written—doing the hard work of trying to make that fantastic future happen.

On April 9th, the academy hosted an event, sponsored by the Kavli Foundation and produced by Scientific American, that honored 10 individuals who have also done the hard work of making the world better through their scientific research. The 10 were all winners of Nobel Prizes, Kavli Prizes or both. And for one hour, they took to the stage in the Fred Kavli Auditorium within the academy building to field questions by Scientific American Editor-In-Chief Mariette DiChristina. This video represents a few of the highlights of that panel discussion.

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May 20, 2019

New Artificial Intelligence Sees Like a Human, Bringing Us Closer to Skynet

Posted by in category: robotics/AI

The new technology could be used for the development of effective and time-sensitive search-and-rescue robots.

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May 20, 2019

The Tamagotchi is back after 23 years. This time it comes in colour

Posted by in category: futurism

There are four colours to choose from.

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May 20, 2019

Driverless cars working together can speed up traffic

Posted by in categories: robotics/AI, transportation

A fleet of driverless cars working together to keep traffic moving smoothly can improve overall traffic flow by at least 35 percent, researchers have shown.

The researchers, from the University of Cambridge, programmed a small fleet of miniature to drive on a multi-lane track and observed how the changed when one of the cars stopped.

When the cars were not driving cooperatively, any cars behind the stopped car had to stop or slow down and wait for a gap in the traffic, as would typically happen on a real road. A queue quickly formed behind the stopped car and overall traffic flow was slowed.

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May 20, 2019

NASA’s Juno Finds Changes in Jupiter’s Magnetic Field

Posted by in category: space

The discovery will help scientists further understand Jupiter’s interior structure — including atmospheric dynamics — as well as changes in Earth’s magnetic field. A paper on the discovery was published today in the journal Nature Astronomy.

“Secularvariation has been on the wish list of planetary scientists for decades,” said Scott Bolton, Juno principal investigator from the Southwest ResearchInstitute in San Antonio. “This discovery could only take place due toJuno’s extremely accurate science instruments and the unique nature of Juno’sorbit, which carries it low over the planet as it travels from pole to pole.”

Characterizing the magnetic field of a planetrequires close-up measurements. Juno scientists compared data from NASA’s pastmissions to Jupiter (Pioneer 10 and 11, Voyager 1 and Ulysses) to a new model ofJupiter’s magnetic field (called JRM09). The new model was based on datacollected during Juno’s first eight science passes of Jupiter using itsmagnetometer, an instrument capable of generating a detailed three-dimensionalmap of the magnetic field.

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May 20, 2019

Juno finds changes in Jupiter’s magnetic field

Posted by in category: space

NASA’s Juno mission to Jupiter made the first definitive detection beyond our world of an internal magnetic field that changes over time, a phenomenon called secular variation. Juno determined the gas giant’s secular variation is most likely driven by the planet’s deep atmospheric winds.

The discovery will help scientists further understand Jupiter’s interior structure—including atmospheric dynamics—as well as changes in Earth’s . A paper on the discovery was published today in the journal Nature Astronomy.

“Secular variation has been on the wish list of planetary scientists for decades,” said Scott Bolton, Juno principal investigator from the Southwest Research Institute in San Antonio. “This discovery could only take place due to Juno’s extremely accurate science instruments and the unique nature of Juno’s orbit, which carries it low over the planet as it travels from pole to pole.”

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May 20, 2019

Hyperspectral camera captures wealth of data in an instant

Posted by in categories: bioengineering, drones, space

Standard snapshots from space don’t quite show Earth in all its glory. There’s so much more to see.

To reveal details impossible to observe with the naked eye, Rice University engineers are building a portable spectrometer that can be mounted on a small satellite, flown on an airplane or a drone or someday even held in the hand.

Bioengineer Tomasz Tkaczyk and his colleagues at Rice’s Brown School of Engineering and Wiess School of Natural Sciences have published the first results from a NASA-funded project to develop a small, sophisticated spectrometer with unusual versatility. Their paper appears in Optics Express.

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May 20, 2019

A universal description of non-equilibrium colloid phase separation

Posted by in category: particle physics

Liquids, with their flowing dynamics, are often far from equilibrium. This makes it particularly hard to model processes in soft matter or living tissue, which contain liquids. New research from the University of Tokyo’s Institute of Industrial Science (IIS) offers an elegant approach to modeling the self-organization of out-of-equilibrium systems.

Such systems naturally try to self-organize into more stable states. Colloidal suspensions—homogeneous suspensions of undissolved in a liquid, which are widespread in nature—tend to separate out over time if colloids strongly attract with each other. A major difficulty in modeling this process is the complex dynamical interaction between colloids and liquid. The two components have very different dynamics that are hard to unite in a single model.

The IIS study, published in Nature Computational Materials, resolves this through an approach termed fluid particle dynamics (FPD). Instead of being treated as solids, the suspended particles are simulated as undeformable highly viscous liquid droplets. This effectively makes the colloidal suspension a binary liquid mixture, and removes the need for complicated treatment of a solid-liquid boundary condition.

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May 20, 2019

Next-Gen Megascope for Astronomy Taking Shape on Chilean Mountaintop

Posted by in category: space

The Giant Magellan Telescope should be observing the heavens by 2026.

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May 20, 2019

Is dark matter made of axions? Black holes may reveal the answer

Posted by in categories: cosmology, evolution, particle physics

What is dark matter made of? It’s one of the most perplexing questions of modern astronomy. We know that dark matter is out there, since we can see its obvious gravitational influence on everything from galaxies to the evolution of the entire universe, but we don’t know what it is. Our best guess is that it’s some sort of weird new particle that doesn’t like to talk to normal matter very often (otherwise, we would have seen it by now). One possibility is that it’s an exotic hypothetical kind of particle known as an axion, and a team of astronomers are using none other than black holes to try to get a glimpse into this strange new cosmic critter.

Axion Agenda

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