Tag Archives: holy grail

Africa’s poison ‘apple’ provides common ground for saving elephants, raising livestock

While African wildlife often run afoul of ranchers and pastoralists securing food and water resources for their animals, the interests of fauna and farmer might finally be unified by the “Sodom apple,” a toxic invasive plant that has overrun vast swaths of East African savanna and pastureland.

Should the ominous reference to the smitten biblical city be unclear, the Sodom apple, or Solanum campylacanthum, is a wicked plant. Not a true apple, this relative of the eggplant smothers native grasses with its thorny stalks, while its striking yellow fruit provides a deadly temptation to sheep and cattle. (more…)

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Black holes do not exist as we thought they did

On January 24, the journal Nature published an article entitled “There are no black holes.” 1 It doesn’t take much to spark controversy in the world of physics…But what does this really mean? In a brief article published on arXiv, a scientific preprint server, Stephen Hawking proposed a theory of black holes that could reconcile the principles of general relativity and quantum physics.

To better understand Hawking’s remarks, Forum interviewed Robert Lamontagne, an astrophysicist at the Department of Physics, Université de Montréal, and Executive Director of the Observatoire du Mont-Mégantic.

What is a black hole? (more…)

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CU-Boulder team develops new water splitting technique that could produce hydrogen

A University of Colorado Boulder team has developed a radically new technique that uses the power of sunlight to efficiently split water into its components of hydrogen and oxygen, paving the way for the broad use of hydrogen as a clean, green fuel.

The CU-Boulder team has devised a solar-thermal system in which sunlight could be concentrated by a vast array of mirrors onto a single point atop a central tower up to several hundred feet tall. The tower would gather heat generated by the mirror system to roughly 2,500 degrees Fahrenheit (1,350 Celsius), then deliver it into a reactor containing chemical compounds known as metal oxides, said CU-Boulder Professor Alan Weimer, research group leader. (more…)

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Long Predicted Atomic Collapse State Observed in Graphene

Berkeley Lab researchers recreate elusive phenomenon with artificial nuclei

The first experimental observation of a quantum mechanical phenomenon that was predicted nearly 70 years ago holds important implications for the future of graphene-based electronic devices. Working with microscopic artificial atomic nuclei fabricated on graphene, a collaboration of researchers led by scientists with the U.S. Department of Energy’s Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab) and the University of California (UC) Berkeley have imaged the “atomic collapse” states theorized to occur around super-large atomic nuclei.

“Atomic collapse is one of the holy grails of graphene research, as well as a holy grail of atomic and nuclear physics,” says Michael Crommie, a physicist who holds joint appointments with Berkeley Lab’s Materials Sciences Division and UC Berkeley’s Physics Department. “While this work represents a very nice confirmation of basic relativistic quantum mechanics predictions made many decades ago, it is also highly relevant for future nanoscale devices where electrical charge is concentrated into very small areas.” (more…)

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‘On Quest for Information Science’s Holy Grail: Quantum Computing’

*Q & A: Dr. Michael Freedman discusses his past accomplishments and current pursuits to build a quantum computer.*

Santa Barbara, Calif.Mountain climbing is all about testing and pushing limits. But it’s not enough to rely on physical strength and stamina alone. To conquer a mountain, one must also possess the mental toughness and problem-solving skills needed to navigate difficult, potentially dangerous, terrain.

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