Science snapshots from Berkeley Lab

New Berkeley Lab breakthroughs: engineering chemical-producing microbes; watching enzyme reactions in real time; capturing the first image of ‘electron ice’; revealing how skyrmions really move

Campaigning for More Marie Curies: More Women Means Changes for Physics, Engineering

Amy Sue Bix, a leading expert on the history of science and women and gender studies, will speak in an upcoming Lyne Starling Trimble lecture Wednesday, Sept. 29, in a live webcast. Her talk will delve into how the dramatic shift of girls and young women toward STEM occurred, how diversity will play a role in the nature and purpose of science and engineering, the changes in gender relations in the scientific community, and escalating concern for girls’ psychological well-being and personal opportunities.

Regulator Proteins or Symphonies of Genes: Statistical Modeling Points Way Toward Unified Theory for DNA Folding

Researchers seek to point a way toward a unified theory for how DNA changes shape when expressing genes. Presenting their work in Biophysics Reviews, the scientists use an approach called statistical mechanics to explore the phenomenon of so-called expression waves of gene regulation.

One scientist’s trash is another’s treasure:

While making materials samples to pursue their own research goals, scientists at the U.S. Department of Energy’s Ames Laboratory discovered that an unwanted byproduct of their experiments was an extremely high-quality and difficult-to-obtain substance sought after by scientists researching layered materials.

2021 AIP Helleman Fellows to Study Intercellular Communication, History of String Theory, Dark Matter

AIP’s Center for History of Physics selects Robert van Leeuwen, Pepijn Moerman, and Jaco de Swart as the recipients of the 2021 AIP Robert H.G. Helleman Memorial Fellowships. The fellowships are made possible by a gift from Robert H.G. Helleman to establish an endowment for supporting young physicists with Dutch citizenship in their pursuit of research activities in physics in the United States.

Main Attraction: Scientists Create World’s Thinnest Magnet

Scientists at Berkeley Lab and UC Berkeley have created an ultrathin magnet that operates at room temperature. The ultrathin magnet could lead to new applications in computing and electronics – such as spintronic memory devices – and new tools for the study of quantum physics.

Harnessing AI To Search for New Materials With Exotic Properties

With the support of a prestigious $542,813 National Science Foundation Faculty Early Career Development (CAREER) grant, physicist Trevor David Rhone is turning to artificial intelligence to help determine which combination of elements might form new materials with interesting properties for advancing both scientific understanding and technological applications, such as data storage, spintronics, and quantum computing.

People of Argonne’s history: A look at leaders who made Argonne what it is today

Since its founding, Argonne has employed and partnered with innovators whose contributions have dramatically pushed the frontiers of our understanding and improved the world.

Argonne announces 2022 Maria Goeppert Mayer Fellows, honoring the legacy of the physics Nobel Laureate

Argonne’s Maria Goeppert Mayer is one of only four women to win the Nobel Prize in physics. Today, on her 115th birthday, Argonne announces the award of its 2022 Maria Goeppert Mayer Fellowship to four outstanding early-career doctoral scientists.

Tree Pollen Carries SARS-CoV-2 Particles Farther, Facilitates Virus Spread

A study on the role of microscopic particles in virus transmission suggests pollen is nothing to sneeze at. In Physics of Fluids, researchers investigate how pollen facilitates the spread of an RNA virus like the COVID-19 virus. The study draws on cutting-edge computational approaches for analyzing fluid dynamics to mimic the pollen movement from a willow tree, a prototypical pollen emitter. Airborne pollen grains contribute to the spread of airborne viruses, especially in crowded environments.

Blavatnik Family Foundation, New York Academy of Sciences Name 31 Finalists for 2021 Blavatnik National Awards for Young Scientists

The 2021 Blavatnik National Awards today named 31 finalists for the world’s largest unrestricted prize honoring early-career scientists. The finalists were culled from 298 nominations by 157 U.S. research institutions across 38 states. They have made trailblazing discoveries in wide-ranging fields, from the neuroscience of addiction to the development of gene-editing technologies, from designing next-generation battery storage to understanding the origins of photosynthesis, from making improvements in computer vision to pioneering new frontiers in polymer chemistry.

DOE names six Argonne scientists to receive Early Career Research Program awards

Six Argonne scientists receive Department of Energy’s Early Career Research Program Awards.

Researchers Find Semimetal That Clings to a Quantum Precipice

In an open access paper published in Science Advances, Johns Hopkins physicists and colleagues at Rice University, the Vienna University of Technology (TU Wien), and the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), present experimental evidence of naturally occurring quantum criticality in a material.

Physics, Engineering Undergrads Receive LLNL-AIP Leadership Scholarships

The Society of Physics Students has awarded leadership scholarships to Elyzabeth Graham, Emma Moreland, and Natalie Douglass, three undergraduate members who are currently studying physics and engineering and will each receive a $2,000 scholarship. The scholarships are made possible by a gift from the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory for AIP-SPS members. The purpose of the LLNL-AIP leadership scholarship is to encourage the study of physics and the pursuit of higher education with a preference for those who are traditionally underrepresented in physics and astronomy, including women.

Physicists Crack the Code to Signature Superconductor Kink Using Supercomputing

A team performed simulations on the Summit supercomputer and found that electrons in cuprates interact with phonons much more strongly than was previously thought, leading to experimentally observed “kinks” in the relationship between an electron’s energy and the momentum it carries.

UCI-led team challenges existence of recently proposed exoplanet at Barnard’s star

In 2018, astronomers announced that they had discovered an exoplanet orbiting Barnard’s star, our solar system’s second-closest stellar neighbor, but further analysis by an international group of researchers headed by a graduate student at the University of California, Irvine has cast doubt on the finding.

Save-the-Date: Acoustics in Focus, June 8-10, Offers New Presentation Options

The Acoustical Society of America will hold its 180th meeting June 8-10. To ensure the safety of attendees, volunteers, and ASA staff, the June meeting, “Acoustics in Focus,” will be hosted entirely online with new features to ensure an exciting experience for attendees. Reporters are invited to attend the meeting at no cost and participate in a series of virtual press conferences featuring a selection of newsworthy research.

Staring into space: Physicists predict neutron stars may be bigger than previously imagined

That neutron star is the densest celestial body that astronomers can observe, with a mass about 1.4 times the size of the sun. However, there is still little known about these impressive objects. Now, a Florida State University researcher has published a piece in Physical Review Letters arguing that new measurements related to the neutron skin of a lead nucleus may require scientists to rethink theories regarding the overall size of neutron stars. In short, neutron stars may be larger than scientists previously predicted.

Trust Science Pledge Highlights 2021 International Day of Light Celebration

The annual International Day of Light celebrates light and the role it plays in science, culture, art, education, and many other diverse fields. This year, the day, Sunday, May 16, takes on a special role as organizers invite everyone to #TrustScience. The steering committee of the International Day of Light decided to emphasize the importance of evidence-based solutions in science by asking supporters to sign the Trust Science Pledge.

AIP, Member Societies Seek Presidential, Congressional Action on Key Scientific Issues

AIP and six scientific societies are calling on the new White House and 117th Congress to support research and education in the physical sciences to address critical issues facing our society. In the week of hearings on President Joe Biden’s nominee to lead the White House OSTP, a letter sent to the president and congressional leaders highlights calls for action on these foundational issues and outlines several cornerstone policy issues that need attention, funding, and support.

Detecting, Exploiting Non-Line-of-Sight Paths for Terahertz Signals in Wireless Communications

After developing a link discovery method in 2020 using terahertz radiation, Rice and Brown researchers addressed what would happen if a wall or other reflector creates a non-line-of-sight path from the base station to the receiver. In APL Photonics, they consider two different generic types of transmitters and explore how their characteristics can be used to determine whether an NLOS path contributes to the signal received by the receiver.

2021 Posters on the Hill Spotlights Exemplary Undergraduate Research Projects for Policymakers, Scholars, and the Public

Via a virtual public poster session on April 28, undergraduate researchers from colleges and universities in 42 states and the District of Columbia will share their research projects in the 2021 Posters on the Hill event, sponsored by the Council on Undergraduate Research.

Rutgers Expert Available to Discuss Supernova Discovery

New Brunswick, N.J. (April 21, 2021) – Rutgers University–New Brunswick astrophysicist John P. (Jack) Hughes is available for interviews on a supernova (exploding star) discovery published today in the journal Nature. The discovery, made with NASA’s Chandra X-ray Observatory, features…

Boosting Fiber Optics Communications with Advanced Quantum-Enhanced Receiver

Fiber optic technology is the holy grail of high-speed, long-distance telecommunications. Still, with the continuing exponential growth of internet traffic, researchers are warning of a capacity crunch. In AVS Quantum Science, researchers show how quantum-enhanced receivers could play a critical role in addressing this challenge. The scientists developed a method to enhance receivers based on quantum physics properties to dramatically increase network performance while significantly reducing the error bit rate and energy consumption.