Scientific Discoveries

Not-So-Scientific discoveries this week: 3/31/14

Boulder, CO – Researchers for the Center for Recreational Marijuana Studies in Boulder, Colorado, have released a study definitively proving that “Dark Side of the Moon” does in fact sync up to “The Wizard of Oz” and that it is “really far out and trippy, man”. While work is still being done to confirm the discovery, experts in the field of watching movies while high are already hailing this the greatest discovery in the field since the discovery that “Another Brick in the Wall” syncs up with “Wall-E,” known as Another Brick in the Wall-E.

Scientific discoveries this week: 3/24/14

South Pole – Researchers at the Amundsen–Scott South Pole Station have detected waves of gravitational energy in the oldest light detectable by telescopes. This is being seen as a residual marker for the exponential growth of the universe in the first trillionths of a trillionth of a trillionth of a second of the universe, giving large amounts of support to the Big Bang theory. The discovery has been confirmed to five-sigma values.

Scientific discoveries this week: 3/17/14

Garching, Germany – The European Southern Observatory’s Very Large Telescope (VLT) has spotted the largest known yellow star, which has been named HR 5171 A. This star is among the ten largest stars discovered and is more than 1300 times the diameter of the sun. The star is a part of a binary star system where the second star touches the main star. Observations from the past sixty years show that this is a rapidly changing star system. The star is 12000 light-years from Earth and has been growing for the past forty years. Scientists used interferometry to study the star. This technique combines the light collected from many telescopes, which effectively created a telescope 140m in size.

Scientific discoveries this week: 3/3/14

Jack Hills, Australia – A piece of zircon discovered in an outcrop on a sheep farm in Western Australia has been discovered to been discovered to be the oldest unchanging piece of earth discovered, at an age of 4.4 billion years. John Valley, the geoscience professor from the University of Wisconsin who led the research, claims that this could imply that the planet was capable of sustaining earth 4.3 billion years ago where the earliest fossils are 3.4 billion years old, implying life-sustaining temperatures earlier than previously thought.

Scientific discoveries this week: 2/24/14

New Bionic Hand Gives Amputee a Sense of Touch, Switzerland
Dennis Aabo Sørensen from Denmark is the world’s first amputee to get an artificial hand that can feel objects. This artificial hand was connected to Dennis’s nervous system and allowed him to grip, manipulate, and feel objects. This new prosthesis adds a sense of touch compared to other prosthesis. “The sensory feedback was incredible. I could feel things that I hadn’t been able to feel in over nine years,” said Sørensen. More development in the field of bionics is still necessary, but one day people could maybe control prosthetics with their brains.

Scientific discoveries this week: 2/10/14

A major breakthrough made by researchers at Tel Aviv University may hold answers pertaining to the origin of the universe. When the first stars formed, the universe was filled with hydrogen atoms. This study suggests that the black holes that formed from these first stars heated the hydrogen gas that filled the universe later than previously estimated. According to Professor Rennan Barkana of Tel Aviv University, the discovery of the delayed heating of the universe results in a “new prediction of an early time at which the sky was uniformly filled with radio waves emitted by the hydrogen gas.”

Scientific discoveries this week: 2/3/14

Dinosaurs not only fascinate the general population, they also offer a glimpse into the Earth’s history. Paleontologists from the University of Pennsylvania, classified a new species of dinosaur based on fossils discovered in China’s northwestern Gansu Province, now known as Yongjinglong datangi. The herbivorous species, estimated to be between 50 and 60 feet long, lived during the Cretaceous period, about 100 million years ago.

Scientific Discoveries: 1/27/14

What time is it anyways?
University of Colorado, Boulder—A group of researchers led by the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) developed a strontium atomic clock that is hailed as the most stable and precise device for measuring time in existence. The strontium clock, said to be able to accurately tell time for approximately the next 5 billion years, is housed in at the Joint Institute for Laboratory Astrophysics located at the University of Colorado Boulder. Though the clock holds new world records for both its precision and stability, researchers believe the clock still has room for improvement. Jun Ye, group leader and NISIT/JILA Fellow, said, “We already have plans to push the performance even more. You can expect more new breakthroughs in our clocks in the next five to 10 years.”

Scientific discoveries this week: 1/27/14

Pro-EU integration protests escalated into open conflict between protesters and riot police in Kiev as it did early in last December following the passing of laws to punish and discourage protesting in response to the movement in Ukraine. Riot police, while not authorized to use live ammunition, have been photographed using molotov cocktails and improvised fragmentation grenades to disperse protesters. While dialogue has opened between government officials and opposition leaders, there is skepticism whether anything useful will come from the talks.

Scientific discoveries this week: 1/20/14

#1: Madison, Wisconsin—Learning Comes at a Cost: Sleep
The purpose of sleep perplexes scientists, and though there are common theories, none of them have been proven as fact. However, a recent study may hold a key to understanding the need for getting enough shut-eye every night. Dr. Giulio Tononi and Dr. Chiara Cirelli, leading sleep scientists at the University of Wisconsin, recently published their findings on the importance of sleep to learning in the journal Neuron. The scientists developed the synaptic homeostasis sleep, or “SHY” hypothesis. SHY states that the importance of sleep is in the abilities to save energy by weakening brain cell connections, avoid stress on the cellular level, and maintain neurons’ ability to respond to stimuli. According to Tononi, sleep is the price the brain pays for learning and memory. “During wake, learning strengthens the synaptic connections throughout the brain, increasing the need for energy and saturating the brain with new information,” Tononi said. “Sleep allows the brain to reset, helping integrate, newly learned material with consolidated memories, so the brain can begin anew the next day.”

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