Week in Science (7 – 13 Mar 2021)

Science News related to Machine Learning for Battery Research, Algorithm Helping Artificial Intelligence, Infection of Human Cells During Spaceflight, Breaking the Warp Barrier for FTL Travel, Growing Most Lifelike Woven Bone Yet, Wearable Microgrid, Microscopic Wormholes, Electronic Textiles and Cellulose Thread, Proving 60-Year-Old Physics Theory, Smallest Gravitational Force Yet, Learning Faster with Quantum Technology, Black Hole on The Move


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. In A Leap for Battery Research, Machine Learning Gets Scientific Smarts


Source: DOE/SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory 8 Mar 2021


Scientists have taken a major step forward in harnessing machine learning to accelerate the design for better batteries: Instead of using it just to speed up scientific analysis by looking for patterns in data, as researchers generally do, they combined it with knowledge gained from experiments and equations guided by physics to discover and explain a process that shortens the lifetimes of fast-charging lithium-ion batteries.


Original written by: Glennda Chui

2. Algorithm Helps Artificial Intelligence Systems Dodge “Adversarial” Inputs


Source: Massachusetts Institute of Technology 8 Mar 2021


A new deep-learning algorithm is designed to help machines navigate in the real, imperfect world, by building a healthy “skepticism” of the measurements and inputs they receive. The team combined a reinforcement-learning algorithm with a deep neural network, both used separately to train computers in playing video games like Go and chess, to build an approach they call CARRL, for Certified Adversarial Robustness for Deep Reinforcement Learning.


Original written by: Jennifer Chu

3. First Infection of Human Cells During Spaceflight


Source: Arizona State University 9 Mar 2021


Researchers have described the infection of human cells by the intestinal pathogen Salmonella Typhimurium during spaceflight. They showed how the microgravity environment of spaceflight changes the molecular profile of human intestinal cells and how these expression patterns are further changed in response to infection. The researchers were also able to detect molecular changes in the bacterial pathogen while inside the infected host cells.


Original written by: Richard Harth

4. Breaking the Warp Barrier for Faster-Than-Light Travel


Source: University of Göttingen 9 Mar 2021


Faster-than-light transport would require vast amounts of hypothetical particles and states of matter that have “exotic” physical properties. This type of matter either cannot currently be found or cannot be manufactured in viable quantities. In contrast, new research gets around this problem by constructing a new class of hyper-fast ‘solitons’ using sources with only positive energies that can enable travel at any speed. This reignites debate about the possibility of faster-than-light travel based on conventional physics.

5. Researchers Grow Most Lifelike Woven Bone Yet Starting from Cells


Source: Eindhoven University of Technology 9 Mar 2021


Researchers have interwoven various bone cells into an 'organoid' that can independently make new, hard bone tissue. It’s the most complete 3D model of bone formation to date. The 3D model allows for the study of the key biochemical processes in unprecedented detail and could help in cracking the many mysteries surrounding bone formation. Moreover, the lab-grown bone is particularly suitable for testing and designing new treatments for bone diseases such as osteoporosis or osteogenesis imperfecta.

6. ‘Wearable Microgrid’ Uses the Human Body to Sustainably Power Small Gadgets


Source: University of California - San Diego 9 Mar 2021


Nanoengineers have developed a “wearable microgrid” that harvests and stores energy from the human body to power small electronics. It consists of three main parts: sweat-powered biofuel cells, motion-powered devices called triboelectric generators, and energy-storing supercapacitors. All parts are flexible, washable, and can be screen printed onto clothing.


Original written by: Liezel Labios

7. Microscopic Wormholes Possible in Theory


Source: University of Oldenburg 10 Mar 2021


Wormholes are hypothetical shortcuts between two distant points in space. In a new theory, physicists showed that microscopic, traversable wormholes could exist without having to rely on exotic matter or a new theory of gravity. The physicists presented a new theoretical model that makes microscopic wormholes seem less far-fetched than in previous theories.

8. Huge Potential for Electronic Textiles Made with New Cellulose Thread


Source: Chalmers University of Technology 10 Mar 2021


Electronic textiles offer revolutionary new opportunities in various fields, in particular healthcare. But to be sustainable, they need to be made of renewable materials. A research team presented a thread made of conductive cellulose, which offers fascinating and practical possibilities for electronic textiles. The results showed how cellulose thread offers huge potential as a material for electronic textiles and can be used in many different ways.

9. IceCube Detection of High-Energy Particle Proves 60-Year-Old Physics Theory


Source: University of Wisconsin-Madison 10 Mar 2021


On Dec. 6, 2016, a high-energy particle hurtled to Earth from outer space at close to the speed of light. The particle, an electron antineutrino, smashed into an electron deep inside the ice sheet at the South Pole. This collision produced a particle that quickly decayed into a shower of secondary particles, triggering the sensors of the IceCube Neutrino Observatory, a massive telescope buried in the Antarctic glacier.


Original written by: Madeleine O’Keefe

10. Quantum Physicists Measure the Smallest Gravitational Force Yet


Source: University of Vienna 10 Mar 2021


Researchers have succeeded in measuring the gravitational field of a gold sphere, just 2 mm in diameter, using a highly sensitive pendulum - and thus the smallest gravitational force. The experiment opens up new possibilities for testing the laws of gravity on previously unattained small scales.

11. Robots Learn Faster with Quantum Technology


Source: University of Vienna 11 Mar 2021


Artificial intelligence is part of our modern life by enabling machines to learn useful processes such as speech recognition and digital personal assistants. A crucial question for practical applications is how fast such intelligent machines can learn. An experiment has answered this question, showing that quantum technology enables a speed-up in the learning process. The physicists have achieved this result by using a quantum processor for single photons as a robot.

12. Astronomers Detect a Black Hole on the Move


Source: Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics 12 Mar 2021


Scientists have long theorized that supermassive black holes can wander through space—but catching them in the act has proven difficult. Now, researchers have identified the clearest case to date of a supermassive black hole in motion. The researchers have been working to observe this rare occurrence for the last five years by comparing the velocities of supermassive black holes and galaxies.


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