Scientific Discoveries this Week – 11/10/14

Melbourne, Australia- It is a known fact that there is no way the temperature can go below absolute zero, or negative 273 Kelvin. This is the point where all motion in matter stops and is thought to be unreachable. However, recent experiments using ultracold atoms have measured temperatures that are negative in the absolute temperature scale. Tapio Simula, Monash Research Fellow in Physics at Monash University, states, “The journey there, however, is quite the opposite to what you might expect. Simply removing heat from the equation to make things colder and colder is not the answer. Instead, you need to heat things hotter than infinitely hot!”. Research at Monash University is showing that under very special circumstances, a system may become more ordered when more energy is added beyond a value which corresponds to an infinite temperature. One could think of it as if the positive absolute zero is the point at which all motion stops, then the negative absolute zero is the point where all motion is as fast as possible, meaning that at negative absolute temperature, the system is hotter than positive absolute temperature. Research is still continuing and researchers at Monash University hope to achieve a temperature of below absolute zero.

Massachusetts, USA- Researchers at Harvard University has been working on a molecular “fountain of youth”. Trials have been done on mice and preliminary results show that the treatments are safe and do not induce major adverse side effects. Because muscles begin to lose tone, become inflamed, and start to resist insulin, many elderly people have trouble getting around and activities are limited. Harvard University researchers finished trials to reduce the functional “age” of muscle tissue. “Treating the mice with the metabolic co-enzyme NAD+ effectively reversed the aging process within the skeletal muscle by increasing muscle tone and producing effects similar to eating a healthy diet and exercising,” says Dr. David Sinclair from the department of Genetics. He then says that over time, NAD+ levels decrease and ATP production will decrease as well. However, by replenishing this important compound, muscles in the mice start to heal back to normal health. They hope that in the future, the “fountain of youth” will become a reality.

Geneva, Switzerland- Highways across Geneva, Switzerland now have tubes running across them with some weird green substance in it. Scientists like to call this substance algae. Dutch and French design firm, Cloud Collective, has come up with a solution to clean up the environment: an algae farm. Algae generate energy from photosynthesis using sunlight and carbon dioxide, all while producing oxygen. A perfect way to maximize production of oxygen from algae is to place them right next to the highways. The algae act as a filter and they are free to thrive and mature. After a period of time, the matured algae can be extracted to create biofuel, electricity, and even cosmetic products. In the future, the company hopes that more people will incorporate this idea to create a greener environment.

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