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Scientists Detect ‘Dark Lightning’ Energy Burst Linked to Visible Lightning

April 25, 2013 1 comment

Apr. 24, 2013 — Researchers have identified a burst of high-energy radiation known as ‘dark lightning” immediately preceding a flash of ordinary lightning. The new finding provides observational evidence that the two phenomena are connected, although the exact nature of the relationship between ordinary bright lightning and the dark variety is still unclear, the scientists said.

Three images, left to right, of the same thundercloud depict a less-than-10-milliseconds-long sequence of events: (left) formation within the cloud of a small channel, or ‘leader,’ of electrical conductivity (yellow line) with weak emission of radio signals (ripples), to (middle) a burst of both dark lightning (pink) and radio waves (larger ripples), to (right) a discharge of bright lightning and more radio waves. (Credit: Studio Gohde)

“Our results indicate that both these phenomena, dark and bright lightning, are intrinsic processes in the discharge of lightning,” said Nikolai Østgaard, who is a space scientist at the University of Bergen in Norway and led the research team.

He and his collaborators describe their findings in an article recently accepted in Geophysical Research Letters — a journal of the American Geophysical Union.

Dark lightning is a burst of gamma rays produced during thunderstorms by extremely fast moving electrons colliding with air molecules. Researchers refer to such a burst as a terrestrial gamma ray flash.

Read more:http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/04/130424210319.htm

Hints of life in the deepest scientific marine samples ever collected

November 19, 2012 Leave a comment

 Elizabeth Trembath-Reichert recently returned from the Research Vessel Chikyu off the coast of Japan’s Shimokita Peninsula, where she served as a member of the microbiology team aboard a (literally) groundbreaking leg of the Integrated Ocean Drilling Program. The expedition resulted in a new world record for deepest scientific marine drilling to 2,440 meters beneath the seafloor. But were there signs of life so far down? Here, Trembath-Reichert offers some answers … or at least what pass for answers for a suitably cautious scientist….

Read more: http://www.wired.com/wiredscience/2012/11/hints-of-life-in-deepest-scientific-marine-samples-ever-collected/

ATLAS and CMS publish observations of a new particle in the search for the Higgs boson

September 12, 2012 Leave a comment

10 September 2012

The ATLAS and CMS experiments at CERN today published observations of a new particle in the search for the Higgs boson in the journal Physics Letters B.

The papers: “Observation of a new boson at a mass of 125 GeV with the CMS experiment at the LHC” and “Observation of a new particle in the search for the Standard Model Higgs boson with the ATLAS detector at the LHC” are freely available online on ScienceDirect.

“These papers present the first observations of a new particle discovered by two big experiments at the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) in the search for the Standard Model Higgs boson which has spanned many decades and has involved many experiments,” says CMS spokesperson Joe Incandela. “They are the most important papers to come from the LHC so far and the findings are key to the field of particle physics. We are very pleased to see them published in Physics Letters B, accessible to all who may want to read them.”

Read more: http://public.web.cern.ch/public/

Prehistoric bugs from 230 million years ago found in amber


August 27, 2012

Scientists find oldest occurrence of arthropods preserved in amber 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

These photomicrographs are of the two new species of ancient gall mites in 230-million-year-old amber droplets from northeastern Italy, taken at 1000x magnification. The gall mites were named (left) Triasacarus fedelei and (right) Ampezzoa triassica. Credit: University of Göttingen/A. Schmidt

(Phys.org)—An international team of scientists has discovered the oldest record of arthropods—invertebrate animals that include insects, arachnids, and crustaceans—preserved in amber. The specimens, one fly and two mites found in millimeter-scale droplets of amber from northeastern Italy, are about 100 million years older than any other amber arthropod ever collected. The group’s findings, which are published today in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, pave the way for a better evolutionary understanding of the most diverse group of organisms in the world.

Amber is an extremely valuable tool for paleontologists because it preserves specimens with microscopic fidelity, allowing uniquely accurate estimates of the amount of evolutionary change over millions of years,” said corresponding author David Grimaldi, a curator in the American Museum of Natural History’s Division of Invertebrate Zoology and a world authority on amber and fossil arthropods.

Globules of fossilized resin are typically called amber. Amber ranges in age from the Carboniferous (about 340 million years ago) to about 40,000 years ago, and has been produced by myriad plants, from tree ferns to flowering trees, but predominantly by conifers. Even though arthropods are more than 400 million years old, until now, the oldest record of the animals in amber dates to about 130 million years. The newly discovered arthropods break that mold with an age of 230 million years. They are the first arthropods to be found in amber from the Triassic Period.

Read more: http://phys.org/news/2012-08-prehistoric-bugs-million-years.html

Higgs boson: scientists 99.999% sure ‘God Particle’ has been found


July 4, 2012

Scientists believe they have captured the elusive “God particle” that gives matter mass and holds the physical fabric of the universe together.

 A graphic showing traces of two high-energy photons measured at Cern - A quantum leap

A graphic showing traces of two high-energy photons measured at Cern Photo: GETTY
 

The historic announcement came in a progress report from the Large Hadron Collider particle accelerator.

Professor John Womersley, chief executive of the Science and technology Facilities Council, told reporters at a briefing in London: “They have discovered a particle consistent with the Higgs boson.

“Discovery is the important word. That is confirmed. It’s a momentous day for science.”

Scientists say it is a 5 sigma result which means they are 99.999% sure they have found a new particle.

Finding the Higgs plugs a gaping hole in the Standard Model, the theory that describes all the particles, forces and interactions that make up the universe.

Read more: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/science/science-news/9374758/Higgs-boson-scientists-99.999-sure-God-Particle-has-been-found.html

God particle is ‘found’: Scientists at Cern expected to announce on Wednesday Higgs boson particle has been discovered


July 2, 2012

  • Scientists ‘will say they are 99.99% certain’ the particle has been found
  • Leading physicists have been invited to event – sparking speculation that Higgs Boson particle has been found
  • ‘God Particle’ gives particles that make up atoms their mass

PUBLISHED: 14:00, 1 July 2012 | UPDATED: 14:41, 1 July 2012

Scientists at Cern will announce that the elusive Higgs boson ‘God Particle’ has been found at a press conference next week, it is believed.

Five leading theoretical physicists have been invited to the event on Wednesday – sparking speculation that the particle has been discovered.

Scientists at the Large Hadron Collider are expected to say they are 99.99 per cent certain it has been found – which is known as ‘four sigma’ level.

Big enough to matter: The collider, formed of superconducting magnets, stretches around 17miles or 27km - and is sensitive to the moon's gravityThe particle accelerator: It is within these tubes that physicists are hunting for the ‘God’ particle

Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-2167188/God-particle-Scientists-Cern-expected-announce-Higgs-boson-particle-discovered-Wednesday.html#ixzz1zS2FfcnV

A Step Toward Minute Factories That Produce Medicine Inside the Body


ScienceDaily (June 27, 2012) — Scientists are reporting an advance toward treating disease with minute capsules containing not drugs — but the DNA and other biological machinery for making the drug. In an article in ACS’ journal Nano Letters, they describe engineering micro- and nano-sized capsules that contain the genetically coded instructions, plus the read-out gear and assembly line for protein synthesis that can be switched on with an external signal.

Scientists are reporting an advance toward treating disease with minute capsules containing not drugs — but the DNA and other biological machinery for making the drug. (Credit: © Benicce / Fotolia)
 
Daniel Anderson and colleagues explain that development of nanoscale production units for protein-based drugs in the human body may provide a new approach for treating disease. These production units could be turned on when needed, producing medicines that cannot be taken orally or are toxic and would harm other parts of the body. Until now, researchers have only done this with live bacteria that were designed to make proteins at disease sites. But unlike bacterial systems, artificial ones are modular, and it is easier to modify them. That’s why Anderson’s group developed an artificial, remotely activated nanoparticle system containing DNA and the other “parts” necessary to make proteins, which are the workhorses of the human cell and are often used as drugs.