Week in Science (24 – 30 Jan 2021)

Science News related to Global Ice Loss at Record Rate, Compelling Evidence of Neutrino Process, Optical Scanner Design for Adaptive Driving Beam, A Mild Way to Upcycle Plastics Used in Bottles, Exploring the Dark Universe, Purported Phosphine on Venus More Likely to Be Ordinary Sulfur Dioxide


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.

1. Global Ice Loss Increases at Record Rate


Source: University of Leeds 25 Jan 2021


The rate at which ice is disappearing across the planet is speeding up, according to new research. Scientists found that the rate of ice loss from the Earth has increased markedly within the past three decades, from 0.8 trillion tonnes per year in the 1990s to 1.3 trillion tonnes per year by 2017.

2. Compelling Evidence of Neutrino Process Opens Physics Possibilities


Source: DOE/Oak Ridge National Laboratory 26 Jan 2021


The COHERENT particle physics experiment has firmly established the existence of a new kind of neutrino interaction. Because neutrinos are electrically neutral and interact only weakly with matter, the quest to observe this interaction drove advances in detector technology and has added new information to theories aiming to explain mysteries of the cosmos.

3. Optical Scanner Design for Adaptive Driving Beam Systems Can Lead to Safer Night Driving


Source: SPIE--International Society for Optics and Photonics 26 Jan 2021


Researchers have come up with an alternative to conventional Adaptive Driving Beam (ADB) systems: a microelectromechanical systems (MEMS) optical scanner that relies on the piezoelectric effect of electrically induced mechanical vibrations. The light intensity is modulated by the ADB controller based on the traffic, steering wheel angle, and vehicle cruising speed. Hence, enabling better road safety for drivers and pedestrians.

4. A Mild Way to Upcycle Plastics Used in Bottles into Fuel and Other High-Value Products


Source: American Chemical Society 27 Jan 2021


Researchers have combined a ruthenium-carbon catalyst and mild, lower-energy reaction conditions to convert plastics used in bottles and other packaging into fuels and chemical feedstock. The researchers developed a method to react simple hydrocarbon chains with hydrogen in the presence of noble- or transition-metal nanoparticles under mild conditions.

5. Mira’s Last Journey: Exploring the Dark Universe


Source: DOE/Argonne National Laboratory 27 Jan 2021


A team of physicists and computer scientists performed one of the five largest cosmological simulations ever. Data from the simulation will inform sky maps to aid leading large-scale cosmological experiments. The simulation, called the Last Journey, follows the distribution of mass across the universe over time — in other words, how gravity causes a mysterious invisible substance called ​“dark matter” to clump together to form larger-scale structures called halos, within which galaxies form and evolve.


Original written by: Savannah Mitchem

6. Purported Phosphine on Venus More Likely to Be Ordinary Sulfur Dioxide


Source: University of Washington 27 Jan 2021


A team of researchers has used a robust model of the conditions within the atmosphere of Venus to revisit and comprehensively reinterpret the radio telescope observations underlying the initial phosphine claim. As they report in a paper, the group that first announced the detection of phosphine, likely wasn’t detecting phosphine at all.


Original written by: James Urton


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