Tag Archives: precision

JILA strontium atomic clock sets new records in both precision and stability

Heralding a new age of terrific timekeeping, a research group at JILA—a joint institute of the University of Colorado Boulder and the National Institute of Standards and Technology—has unveiled an experimental strontium atomic clock that has set new world records for both precision and stability. 

The clock is in a laboratory at JILA, located on the CU-Boulder campus.  (more…)

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Prostate cancer: moving beyond ‘watchful waiting’

Prostate cancer is the second-leading cause of cancer death in American men: the American Cancer Society expects the disease will claim nearly 30,000 lives in 2013. The disease mainly affects older men—the median age of diagnosis is 67—and it’s a slow-growing cancer, so most men diagnosed with the disease are likely to die of other causes.

Brad Davis, a veterinarian with a family history of prostate cancer, was diagnosed at age 54. A blood test he had taken showed elevated levels of prostate-specific antigen (PSA), a protein that may indicate the presence of the disease, and a biopsy confirmed the diagnosis. (more…)

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SBRT Can Be a Lifesaver for the Right Patients

Radiation delivered in high doses with pinpoint precision is becoming a useful tool for some patients who are otherwise running out of options.

Roy Decker, MD, PhD, keeps a photograph in his desk drawer of a woman in her 80s with the horse she still loves to ride. It’s a testament to life after lung cancer.

In 2008, doctors told the woman she was not a candidate for surgery and there was nothing else they could do. Then she found her way to Yale and became one of the first patients here to be treated with stereotactic body radiotherapy (SBRT), which delivers high doses of radiation with pinpoint precision. Just a few treatments wiped away her disease. (more…)

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Pollination with Precision: How Flowers Do It

Pollination could be a chaotic disaster. With hundreds of pollen grains growing long tubes to ovules to deliver their sperm to female gametes, how can a flower ensure that exactly two fertile sperm reach every ovule? In a new study, Brown University biologists report the discovery of how plants optimize the distribution of pollen for successful reproduction.

PROVIDENCE, R.I. [Brown University] — Next Mother’s Day, say it with an evolved model of logistical efficiency — a flower. A new discovery about how nature’s icons of romance manage the distribution of sperm among female gametes with industrial precision helps explain why the delicate beauties have reproduced prolifically enough to dominate the earth.

In pollination, hundreds of sperm-carrying pollen grains stick to the stigma suspended in the middle of a flower and quickly grow a tube down a long shaft called a style toward clusters of ovules, which hold two female sex cells. This could be a chaotic frenzy, but for the plant to succeed, exactly two fertile sperm should reach the two cells in each ovule — no more, no less. No ovule should be left out, either because too many tubes have gone elsewhere, or because the delivered sperm don’t work. (more…)

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