Week in Science (14 – 20 Feb 2021)

Science News related to Light Used to Detect Quantum Information Stored, Supercomputer Turning Back Cosmic Clock, Evidence of A Reduced Atmosphere on Ancient Mars, New Gravity to The Mysteries of The Universe, Quest for Other Earths, Optimizing Solar Fuel Production, First Black Hole Ever Detected More Massive Thought, Swimming Upstream on Sound Waves, Speed Limit Applying in The Quantum World


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 credit: University of Nottingham*

1. Light Used to Detect Quantum Information Stored In 100,000 Nuclear Quantum Bits


Source: University of Cambridge 15 Feb 2021


The researchers were able to inject a ‘needle’ of highly fragile quantum information in a ‘haystack’ of 100,000 nuclei. Using lasers to control an electron, the researchers could then use that electron to control the behaviour of the haystack, making it easier to find the needle. They were able to detect the ‘needle’ with a precision of 1.9 parts per million: high enough to detect a single quantum bit in this large ensemble.

2. Supercomputer Turns Back Cosmic Clock


Source: National Institutes of Natural Sciences 16 Feb 2021


Astronomers have tested a method for reconstructing the state of the early Universe by applying it to 4000 simulated universes using the ATERUI II supercomputer at the National Astronomical Observatory of Japan (NAOJ). They found that together with new observations the method can set better constraints on inflation, one of the most enigmatic events in the history of the Universe. The method can shorten the observation time required to distinguish between various inflation theories.

3. Planetary Scientists Discover Evidence for A Reduced Atmosphere on Ancient Mars


Source: The University of Hong Kong 16 Feb 2021


The transition from a reduced planet to an oxidised planet is referred to as the Great Oxidation Event or GOE. This transition was a central part of our planet’s evolution, and fundamentally linked to the evolution of life here – specifically to the prevalence of photosynthesis that produced oxygen. Planetary geologists have discovered that Mars underwent a great oxygenation event of its own – billions of years ago, the red planet was not so red.

4. Quantum Collaboration Gives New Gravity to The Mysteries of The Universe


Source: University of Nottingham 17 Feb 2021


Scientists have used cutting-edge research in quantum computation and quantum technology to pioneer a radical new approach to determining how our Universe works at its most fundamental level. An international team of experts has demonstrated that only quantum and not classical gravity could be used to create a certain informatic ingredient that is needed for quantum computation.

5. On the Quest for Other Earths


Source: ETH Zurich 17 Feb 2021


An international research team has developed a new method for directly imaging smaller planets in the habitable zone of a neighbouring star system. This opens up new possibilities in the search for extraterrestrial life.


Original written by: Felix Würsten

6. Tuning Electrode Surfaces to Optimize Solar Fuel Production


Source: DOE/Brookhaven National Laboratory 18 Feb 2021


Scientists have demonstrated that modifying the topmost layer of atoms on the surface of electrodes can have a remarkable impact on the activity of solar water splitting. As they reported, bismuth vanadate electrodes with more bismuth on the surface (relative to vanadium) generate higher amounts of electrical current when they absorb energy from sunlight.

7. First Black Hole Ever Detected Is More Massive Than We Thought


Source: International Centre for Radio Astronomy Research 19 Feb 2021


New observations of the first black hole ever detected have led astronomers to question what they know about the Universe’s most mysterious objects. New research shows the system known as Cygnus X-1 contains the most massive stellar-mass black hole ever detected without the use of gravitational waves.

8. Swimming Upstream on Sound Waves


Source: ETH Zurich 19 Feb 2021


Scientists have succeeded in propelling microvehicles against a fluid flow using ultrasound. In future, these tiny vehicles are set to be introduced into the human bloodstream, thereby revolutionising the field of medicine. They have developed microvehicles that are manipulated by an external field and can swim against the flow.


Original written by: Fabio Bergamin

9. A Speed Limit Also Applies in The Quantum World


Source: University of Bonn 19 Feb 2021


Even in the world of the smallest particles with their own special rules, things cannot proceed infinitely fast. Physicists have now shown what the speed limit is for complex quantum operations. The results are important for the realization of quantum computers, among other things.


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