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Jul 21, 2023

Device makes hydrogen from sunlight with record efficiency

Posted by in categories: chemistry, energy

Rice University engineers can turn sunlight into hydrogen with record-breaking efficiency thanks to a device that combines next-generation halide perovskite semiconductors with electrocatalysts in a single, durable, cost-effective and scalable device.

The new technology is a significant step forward for and could serve as a platform for a wide range of chemical reactions that use solar-harvested electricity to convert feedstocks into fuels.

The lab of chemical and biomolecular engineer Aditya Mohite built the integrated photoreactor using an anticorrosion barrier that insulates the from water without impeding the transfer of electrons. According to a study published in Nature Communications, the device achieved a 20.8% solar-to-hydrogen conversion efficiency.

Jul 21, 2023

Newton’s first law appears to break down in the quantum realm

Posted by in categories: particle physics, quantum physics

Newton’s first law of motion says that particles move in straight lines unless influenced by a force but a new experiment shows that the quantum version of that assumption fails for quantum particles of light.

By Karmela Padavic-Callaghan

Jul 21, 2023

New record set for highest elemental superconducting transition temperature

Posted by in category: materials

A research team led by Prof. Chen Xianhui from the University of Science and Technology of China (USTC) of the Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS), collaborating with the team led by Prof. Sun Jian from Nanjing University, realized a new high superconducting transition temperature of 36 K in elemental materials under high pressure. Their study was published in Physical Review Letters.

Elemental materials provide clean and fundamental platforms for studying superconductivity. Since the discovery of superconductivity in the element mercury by Dutch scientist Heike Kamerlingh Onnes in 1911, more than 50 elements in total have been found to show superconductivity under atmospheric environments or high pressures. However, most elements have low superconducting critical temperatures (Tc), with the highest previous elemental Tc of 26 K being achieved by elemental titanium (Ti) at high pressures.

Previous studies revealed that elemental scandium (Sc) undergoes four structural phase transitions under pressure. Due to the limitations of early high-pressure experimental techniques, mysteries of the of elemental Sc at higher pressures have yet to be untangled.

Jul 21, 2023

Zygote Awakening: New Insights into Embryo Development

Posted by in categories: biotech/medical, genetics

Summary: Researchers reveal how a fertilized egg cell, or zygote, initiates its own genetic program, a process known as zygote genome activation.

The research identifies the OBOX gene family as master-regulators, crucial for this activation. These genes instruct the enzyme RNA polymerase II to transcribe the right genes at the right time, beginning the embryo’s development.

The team suggests that the genes’ functions are redundant to ensure this critical transition occurs successfully.

Jul 21, 2023

New method brings increased efficiency, precision and reliability in DNA editing

Posted by in category: biotech/medical

In a new study published in Nature Methods, researchers at the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology in Leipzig, Germany, describe improvements in the methods with which mutations can be introduced in human and other genomes—making these methods much more efficient and less error prone.

In the field of genome editing, scientists often need to change one letter—corresponding to one of the DNA bases Adenine, Guanine, Cytosine or Thymine—to another letter at one specific position in the genome. To do this, they use reagents that cut both strands of the DNA close to the position they want to change.

They then provide the cell with DNA molecules that contain the desired new letter in the hope that the cell’s repair systems will use these molecules to introduce the desired mutation when the DNA break is repaired. Since different repair systems in the cells compete with each other and only one of these systems is able to introduce the desired new mutation, applications of genome editing of single letters have so far been limited by low efficiency and unintended byproducts.

Jul 21, 2023

A quantum radar that outperforms classical radar by 20%

Posted by in categories: computing, quantum physics

Quantum technologies, a wide range of devices that operate by leveraging the principles of quantum mechanics, could significantly outperform classical devices on some tasks. Physicists and engineers worldwide have thus been working hard to achieve this long-sought “quantum advantage” over classical computing approaches.

A research team at Ecole Normale Supérieure de Lyon, CNRS recently developed a quantum that could significantly outperform all existing radars based on classical approaches. This new radar, introduced in a paper published in Nature Physics, concurrently measures an entangled probe and the idler photon states occurring once this probe reflects from target objects, merging with thermal noise.

“We invented a superconducting circuit in 2020 that was able, among other things, to generate entanglement, store and manipulate microwave quantum states and count the number of photons in a microwave field,” Benjamin Huard, one of the researchers who carried out the study, told “We then realized that it had all the features we needed to tackle one of the biggest challenges in microwave quantum metrology: demonstrating a in radar sensing.”

Jul 21, 2023

Scientists Diagnose The Youngest Case of Alzheimer’s Ever Reported

Posted by in categories: biotech/medical, neuroscience

Neurologists at a memory clinic in China diagnosed a 19-year-old with what they believe to be Alzheimer’s disease, making him the youngest person to be diagnosed with the condition in the world.

The male teenager began experiencing memory decline around age 17, and the cognitive losses only worsened over the years.

Continue reading “Scientists Diagnose The Youngest Case of Alzheimer’s Ever Reported” »

Jul 21, 2023

AI could give us digital immortality but we probably don’t want it

Posted by in categories: business, life extension, robotics/AI

In the 1990 fantasy drama — Truly, Madly, Deeply, lead character Nina, (Juliet Stevenson), is grieving the recent death of her boyfriend Jamie (Alan Rickman). Sensing her profound sadness, Jamie returns as a ghost to help her process her loss. If you’ve seen the film, you’ll know that his reappearance forces her to question her memory of him and, in turn, accept that maybe he wasn’t as perfect as she’d remembered. Here in 2023, a new wave of AI-based “grief tech” offers us all the chance to spend time with loved ones after their death — in varying forms. But unlike Jamie (who benevolently misleads Nina), we’re being asked to let artificial intelligence serve up a version of those we survive. What could possibly go wrong?

While generative tools like ChatGPT and Midjourney are dominating the AI conversation, we’re broadly ignoring the larger ethical questions around topics like grief and mourning. The Pope in a puffa is cool, after all, but thinking about your loved ones after death? Not so much. If you believe generative AI avatars for the dead are still a way out, you’d be wrong. At least one company is offering digital immortality already — and it’s as costly as it is eerie.

Continue reading “AI could give us digital immortality but we probably don’t want it” »

Jul 21, 2023

Does Einstein’s Theory of Special Relativity Suggest That There Is an Afterlife?: A Theoretical Physicist Explains

Posted by in category: quantum physics

“Let’s talk about the physics of dead grandmothers.” Thus does theoretical physicist Sabine Hossenfelder start off the Big Think video above, which soon gets into Einstein’s theory of special relativity. The question of how Hossenfelder manages to connect the former to the latter should raise in anyone curiosity enough to give these ten minutes a watch, but she also addresses a certain common category of misconception. It all began, she says, when a young man posed to her the following question: “A shaman told me that my grandmother is still alive because of quantum mechanics. Is this right?”

Upon reflection, Hossenfelder arrived at the conclusion that “it’s not entirely wrong.” For decades now, “quantum mechanics” has been hauled out over and over again to provide vague support to a range of beliefs all along the spectrum of plausibility. But in the dead-grandmother case, at least, it’s not the applicable area of physics. “It’s actually got something to do with Einstein’s theory of special relativity,” she says. With that particular achievement, Einstein changed the way we think about space and time, proving that “everything that you experience, everything that you see, you see as it was a tiny, little amount of time in the past. So how do you know that anything exists right now?”

Jul 21, 2023

Finding game-changing superconductors with machine learning tools

Posted by in categories: biotech/medical, nuclear energy, robotics/AI, supercomputing

Superconductors—found in MRI machines, nuclear fusion reactors and magnetic-levitation trains—work by conducting electricity with no resistance at temperatures near absolute zero, or −459.67°F.

The search for a conventional superconductor that can function at room temperature has been ongoing for roughly a century, but research has sped up dramatically in the last decade because of new advances in (ML) using supercomputers such as Expanse at the San Diego Supercomputer Center (SDSC) at UC San Diego.

Most recently, Huan Tran, a senior research scientist at Georgia Institute of Technology (Georgia Tech) School of Materials Science and Engineering, has worked on Expanse with Professor Tuoc Vu from Hanoi University of Science and Technology (Vietnam) to create an artificial intelligence/machine learning (AI/ML) approach to help identify new candidates for potential superconductors in a much faster and reliable way.

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