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SCIENCE

Parker Solar Probe launches on historic journey to touch the sun

Hours before the rise of the very star it will study, NASA’s Parker Solar Probe launched from Florida Sunday to begin its journey to the Sun, where it will undertake a landmark mission. The spacecraft will transmit its first science observations in December, beginning a revolution in our understanding of …

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First particle accelerator beam measurement in six dimensions

The first full characterization measurement of an accelerator beam in six dimensions will advance the understanding and performance of current and planned accelerators around the world. A team of researchers led by the University of Tennessee, Knoxville conducted the measurement in a beam test facility at the Department of Energy’s …

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Laziness helped lead to extinction of Homo erectus

New archaeological research from The Australian National University (ANU) has found that Homo erectus, an extinct species of primitive humans, went extinct in part because they were ‘lazy’. An archaeological excavation of ancient human populations in the Arabian Peninsula during the Early Stone Age, found that Homo erectus used ‘least-effort …

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Glaucoma may be an autoimmune disease

Glaucoma, a disease that afflicts nearly 70 million people worldwide, is something of a mystery despite its prevalence. Little is known about the origins of the disease, which damages the retina and optic nerve and can lead to blindness. A new study from MIT and Massachusetts Eye and Ear has …

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Pairs of small colliding galaxies may seed future stars

A pair of dwarf galaxies closely circling the Milky Way, the Large and Small Magellanic Clouds, were in the throes of merging into one when they fell into our galaxy. The duo is thought to hold enough gas to replenish half of the Milky Way’s supply of star-making fuel, and …

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Ultrahot planets have starlike atmospheres

Recent observations by NASA’s Hubble and Spitzer space telescopes of ultrahot Jupiter-like planets have perplexed theorists. The spectra of these planets have suggested they have exotic — and improbable — compositions. However, a new study just published by a research team that includes Arizona State University astrophysicist Michael Line, an …

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Neuroscientists get at the roots of pessimism

Many patients with neuropsychiatric disorders such as anxiety or depression experience negative moods that lead them to focus on the possible downside of a given situation more than the potential benefit. MIT neuroscientists have now pinpointed a brain region that can generate this type of pessimistic mood. In tests in …

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Introducing the latest in textiles: Soft hardware

The latest development in textiles and fibers is a kind of soft hardware that you can wear: cloth that has electronic devices built right into it. Researchers at MIT have now embedded high speed optoelectronic semiconductor devices, including light-emitting diodes (LEDs) and diode photodetectors, within fibers that were then woven …

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There and back again: Mantle xenon has a story to tell

The Earth has been through a lot of changes in its 4.5 billion year history, including a shift to start incorporating and retaining volatile compounds from the atmosphere in the mantle before spewing them out again through volcanic eruptions. This transport could not have begun much before 2.5 billion years …

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Novel approach to coherent control of a three-level quantum system

For the first time, researchers were able to study quantum interference in a three-level quantum system and thereby control the behavior of individual electron spins. To this end, they used a novel nanostructure, in which a quantum system is integrated into a nanoscale mechanical oscillator in form of a diamond …

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Elliptical elegance in glittering host of galaxies

Whereas ESO’s Very Large Telescope (VLT) can observe very faint astronomical objects in great detail, when astronomers want to understand how the huge variety of galaxies come into being they must turn to a different sort of telescope with a much bigger field of view. The VLT Survey Telescope (VST) …

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