Nominations Still Accepted for 2021 Andrew Gemant Award

The American Institute of Physics is still accepting nominations for the 2021 Andrew Gemant Award. The deadline to apply is Jan. 31, 2021. The Gemant Award is presented every year and recognizes the accomplishments of a person who has made significant contributions to the cultural, artistic, or humanistic dimension of physics. Self-nominations are permitted, and nominations of women, members of underrepresented minority groups, and scientists from outside the United States are encouraged.

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AAPM Advances Best Practices for Patient Safety in X-Ray Imaging

Since April 2019, the American Association of Physicists in Medicine has championed a critical way to make X-ray imaging safer and more effective by discontinuing the long-standing practice of placing leaded shields over patient gonads. Today, the National Council on Radiation Protection and Measurements released a statement recommending the discontinuation of routine shielding of patient gonads during X-ray imaging exams and AAPM stands ready to help imaging providers, patients and caregivers to understand and adopt these new best practices – practices that will ensure safer and higher-quality X-ray exams.

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Singing a Tumor Test Song

Singing may be the next-generation, noninvasive approach to determining the health of a patient’s thyroid. When a person sings, the vibrations create waves in the tissue near the vocal tract called shear waves. If a tumor is present in the thyroid, the elasticity of its surrounding tissue increases, stiffening, and causing the shear waves to accelerate. Using ultrasound imaging to measure these waves, researchers can determine the elasticity of the thyroid tissue. They demonstrate the technique in Applied Physics Letters.

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Can Sodium-Ion Batteries Replace Trusty Lithium-Ion Ones?

Sodium-ion batteries are a potential replacement for lithium batteries, but different anodes are needed for the same level of performance. Amorphous carbon is known to be a useful anode, because it has defects and voids that can be used to store sodium ions. Nitrogen/phosphorus-doped carbon also offers appealing electrical properties. In Applied Physics Reviews, researchers describe how they applied basic physical concepts of atomic scale to build high-performance anodes for sodium-ion batteries.

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Disposable Helmet Retains Cough Droplets, Minimizes Transmission to Dentists, Otolaryngologists

Dentists and otolaryngologists are at particular risk of infection of COVID-19, since they need direct access to the mouth, nose, and throat of patients. The current solutions are expensive, not highly effective, and not very accessible. In Physics of Fluids, researchers discuss their design of an open-faced helmet for patient use that is connected to a medical-grade air filtration pump from the top that creates a reverse flow of air to prevent cough droplets from exiting the helmet.

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Wearable Electronics for Continuous Cardiac, Respiratory Monitoring

A small and inexpensive sensor, announced in Applied Physics Letters and based on an electrochemical system, could potentially be worn continuously by cardiac patients or others who require constant monitoring. A solution containing electrolyte substances is placed into a small circular cavity that is capped with a thin flexible diaphragm, allowing detection of subtle movements when placed on a patient’s chest. The authors suggest their sensor could be used for diagnosis of respiratory diseases.

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Hand-Held Device Measures Aerosols for Coronavirus Risk Assessment

Understanding aerosol concentrations and persistence in public spaces can help determine infection risks. However, measuring these concentrations is difficult, requiring specialized personnel and equipment. Now, researchers demonstrate that a commercial hand-held particle counter can be used for this purpose and help determine the impacts of risk-reducing measures, like ventilation improvements. They describe the quick and easy, portable process in the journal Physics of Fluids.

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Astrophysicist Catherine Cesarsky Selected as 2020 Tate Award for International Leadership in Physics Winner

The American Institute of Physics announced the winner of the 2020 John Torrence Tate Award for International Leadership in Physics to French astrophysicist Catherine Cesarsky. Named after the celebrated American physicist John Torrence Tate, the Tate medal was established in 1959 and is awarded by AIP every two years to non-U.S. citizens for their leadership, research contributions, and service to the international physics community. Previous winners include Fabiola Gianotti, Roald Sagdeev, and Jean Trân Thanh Vân.

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Device Mimics Life’s First Steps in Outer Space

A device developed by scientists at the CY Cergy Paris University and Paris Observatory promises insight into how the building blocks of life form in outer space. In Review of Scientific Instruments, the scientists detail how VENUS — an acronym of the French phrase “Vers de Nouvelles Syntheses,” which means “toward new syntheses” — mimics how molecules come together in the freezing darkness of interstellar space.

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