The Manhattan Project
Some of the greatest advances in science have come from humanity’s more destructive impulses. This is not the fault of science - when we discover powerful truths about the universe it’s up to us to decide how to use them because they can either be boons or banes to the world. There may be no better example of this than the work done by the Manhattan Project - the years long, multinational effort to develop an atomic bomb during World War II. The project created unfathomably destructive weapons and led to a 50 year Cold War with the USSR, but is also the source of a lot of information about the atom we didn’t have before, which has led to advances in many beneficial fields, like energy production and medicine. Science, like history, is always complicated.
References for this episode can be found in the Google document here: http://dft.ba/-4WtS
CO2 Key to Making Valuable Chemical Cheaply
A key advance, newly reported by chemists from Brown and Yale Universities, could lead to a cheaper and more sustainable way to make acrylate, an important commodity chemical used to make materials from polyester fabrics to diapers.
Chemical companies churn out billions of tons of acrylate each year, usually by heating propylene, a compound derived from crude oil. “What we’re interested in is enhancing both the economics and the sustainability of how acrylate is made,” says Wesley Bernskoetter, assistant professor of chemistry at Brown, who led the research. “Right now, everything that goes into making it is from relatively expensive, nonrenewable carbon sources.”
Read more: http://www.laboratoryequipment.com/news/2013/03/co2-key-making-valuable-chemical-cheaply
Exercise Routine May Soon Be Included in Medical Charts
Roll up a sleeve for the blood pressure cuff. Stick out a wrist for the pulse-taking. Lift your tongue for the thermometer. Report how many minutes you are active or getting exercise. Wait, what? If the last item isn’t part of the usual drill at your doctor’s office, a movement is afoot to change that. One recent national survey indicated only a third of Americans said their doctors asked about or prescribed physical activity.
Kaiser Permanente, one of the nation’s largest nonprofit health insurance plans, made a big push a few years ago to get its southern California doctors to ask patients about exercise. Since then, Kaiser has expanded the program across California and to several other states. Now almost 9 million patients are asked at every visit, and some other medical systems are doing it, too.
Read more: http://www.laboratoryequipment.com/news/2013/01/exercise-routine-may-soon-be-included-medical-charts
Giant squid filmed in Pacific depths, Japan scientists report
by Shingo Ito
Scientists and broadcasters said Monday they have captured footage of an elusive giant squid roaming the depths of the Pacific Ocean, showing it in its natural habitat for the first time ever.
Japan’s National Science Museum succeeded in filming the deep-sea creature at a depth of more than half a kilometre (a third of a mile) after teaming up with Japanese public broadcaster NHK and the US Discovery Channel.
The massive invertebrate is the stuff of legend, with sightings of a huge ocean-dwelling beast reported by sailors for centuries. The creature is thought to be the genesis of the Nordic legend of Kraken, a sea monster believed to have attacked ships in waters off Scandinavia over the last millennium.
Modern-day scientists on their own Moby Dick-style search used a submersible to descend to the dark and cold depths of the northern Pacific Ocean, where at around 630 m (2,066 ft) they managed to film a three-metre specimen. After around 100 missions, during which they spent 400 hours in the cramped submarine, the three-man crew tracked the creature from a spot some 15 km (9 mi) east of Chichi island in the north Pacific.
Museum researcher Tsunemi Kubodera said they followed the enormous mollusc to a depth of 900 m as it swam into the ocean abyss…
(read more: PhysOrg) (image: NHK/Discovery Channel)
Oxygen - the enemy of your beer: Cheers Physics
Physicist Rik Sargent chats to Andy from Redemption brewing about the physics behind keeping beer separate from oxygen in the air when moving it to a conditioning tank.
Exposure to oxygen causes reactions in beer that lead to unwanted flavours. Therefore the physics of storing beer is paramount for keeping beer tasting its best.
Method Cools Trapped Antimatter
Researchers have proposed a method for cooling trapped antihydrogen which they believe could provide “a major experimental advantage” and help to map the mysterious properties of antimatter that have, to date, remained elusive.
The new method, developed by a group of researchers from the USA and Canada, could potentially cool trapped antihydrogen atoms to temperatures 25 times colder than already achieved, making them much more stable and a lot easier to experiment on.
Read more: http://www.laboratoryequipment.com/news/2013/01/method-cools-trapped-antimatter
Halting climate change will require “a fundamental and disruptive overhaul of the global energy system” to eradicate harmful carbon dioxide emissions, not just stabilize them, according to new findings by UC Irvine and other scientists.
In a Jan. 9 paper in Environmental Research Letters, UC…
The plan could help jump-start manned exploration of deep space, carving out a path to the Red Planet and perhaps even more far-flung destinations.