Week in Science (16 – 22 May 2021)

Science News related to Nanofiber Filter for Coronavirus Aerosols, Stunning Simulation of Stars, Machine Learning to Study Cellular Self-Assembly, Origins of Life, New Type of Particle Accelerator, Natural Riddle of Water Filtration, Most Ancient Galaxy with Spiral Morphology

Note: None of the news bits (and cover picture) given here are written/owned by NewAnced's authors. The links on each of the news bits will redirect to the news source. Content given under each headline is a basic gist and not the full story.

*Cover Picture Credits: ALMA (ESO/NAOJ/NRAO), T. Tsukui & S. Iguchi*

1. Nanofiber Filter Captures Almost 100% Of Coronavirus Aerosols

Source: University of California – Riverside 17 May 2021

A filter made from polymer nanothreads blew three kinds of commercial masks out of the water by capturing 99.9% of coronavirus aerosols in an experiment. The study compared the effectiveness of surgical and cotton masks, a neck gaiter, and electrospun nanofiber membranes at removing coronavirus aerosols to prevent airborne transmission. The cotton mask and neck gaiter only removed about 45%-73% of the aerosols. The surgical mask did much better, removing 98% of coronavirus aerosols. But the nanofiber filter removed almost all of the coronavirus aerosols.

Original written by: Holly Ober

2. Stunning Simulation of Stars Being Born Is Most Realistic Ever

Source: Northwestern University 18 May 2021

A team of astrophysicists has developed the most realistic, highest-resolution 3D simulation of star formation to date. The result is a visually stunning, mathematically-driven marvel that allows viewers to float around a colorful gas cloud in 3D space while watching twinkling stars emerge. Called STARFORGE (Star Formation in Gaseous Environments), the computational framework is the first to simulate an entire gas cloud — 100 times more massive than previously possible and full of vibrant colors — where stars are born.

3. Researchers Use ‘Hole-y’ Math and Machine Learning to Study Cellular Self-Assembly

Source: Brown University 18 May 2021

A research team is working to use topology in training computers to classify how human cells organize into tissue-like architectures. In a study, the researchers demonstrated a machine learning technique that measures the topological traits of cell clusters. They showed that the system can accurately categorize cell clusters and infer the motility and adhesion of the cells that comprise them.

4. Origins of Life Researchers Develop A New Ecological Biosignature

Source: Santa Fe Institute 20 May 2021

In groundbreaking new work, a team has developed a new ecological biosignature that could help scientists detect life in vastly different environments. The new research takes its starting point from the idea that stoichiometry, or chemical ratios, can serve as biosignatures.

5. New Type of Particle Accelerator: Electrons Riding A Double Wave

Source: Helmholtz-Zentrum Dresden-Rossendorf 20 May 2021

An international research group has now made significant progress in the further development of compact plasma accelerators, considered a promising technology for the future. The team was able to combine two different plasma technologies for the first time and build a novel hybrid accelerator. The concept could advance accelerator development and, in the long term, become the basis of highly brilliant X-ray sources for research and medicine, as the experts describe.

6. Solving a Natural Riddle of Water Filtration

Source: University of Texas at Austin 20 May 2021

An international team of researchers has found a way to replicate a natural process that moves water between cells, with a goal of improving how we filter out salt and other elements and molecules to create clean water while consuming less energy.

7. Researchers Discover the Most Ancient Galaxy with Spiral Morphology

Source: National Institutes of Natural Sciences 21 May 2021

Analyzing data obtained with the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA), researchers found a galaxy with a spiral morphology by only 1.4 billion years after the Big Bang. This is the most ancient galaxy of its kind ever observed. The discovery of a galaxy with a spiral structure at such an early stage is an important clue to solving the classic questions of astronomy: “How and when did spiral galaxies form?”

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