Current Wave News and Events

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D-Wave demonstrates performance advantage in quantum simulation of exotic magnetism
Researchers at D-Wave Systems published a milestone study in collaboration with scientists at Google, demonstrating a computational performance advantage, increasing with both simulation size and problem hardness, to over 3 million times that of corresponding classical methods. This work was achieved on a practical application with real-world implications, simulating the topological phenomena behind the 2016 Nobel Prize in Physics. This performance advantage is a meaningful step in the journey toward applications advantage in quantum computing. (2021-02-18)

Investigating the wave properties of matter with vibrating molecules
The working group led by Prof. Stephan Schiller, Ph.D. from Heinrich Heine University Düsseldorf (HHU) has used a novel, high-precision laser spectroscopic experiment to measure the internal vibration of the simplest molecule. This allowed the researchers to investigate the wave character of the motion of atomic nuclei with unprecedented accuracy. They present their findings in the current edition of Nature Physics. (2021-02-18)

Rich nations see virus rates fall quicker -- study
Richer countries were more likely to see rates of COVID-19 fall faster during the first wave of the pandemic, according to new research published in the journal Frontiers in Public Health. (2021-02-18)

Cells use concentration gradients as a compass
Biophysicists at Ludwig-Maximilians-Universitaet (LMU) in Munch have developed a new theory, which accounts for the observation that cells can perceive their own shapes, and use this information to direct the distribution of proteins inside the cell. (2021-02-16)

A sharper look at the interior of semiconductors
A research team at Friedrich Schiller University Jena (Germany) developed a high-resolution imaging method based on extreme short-wave UV light. It can be used to examine internal structures in semiconductors non-destructively, and with nanometre precision as the team reported in the current issue of the journal 'Optica'. (2021-02-16)

Study finds alligator hearts keep beating no matter what
A new study reported by Georgia Tech researchers finds that an alligator heart will not fibrillate when exposed to drastic temperature changes, unlike a rabbit (mammal) heart, which is critically vulnerable to heart trauma under those conditions. The research could help better understand how the heart works and what can cause a deadly arrhythmia - which fundamentally happens when the heart doesn't pump blood correctly any longer. (2021-02-15)

The songs of fin whales offer new avenue for seismic studies of the oceanic crust
The songs of fin whales can be used for seismic imaging of the oceanic crust, providing scientists a novel alternative to conventional surveying. (2021-02-11)

Difficulties to care for ICU patients caused by COVID-19
Intensive care nurses highlight patient isolation, fear of the unknown and using nurses who do not usually work in the ICU as key factors in caring for critical COVID-19 patients (2021-02-10)

A new type of university is emerging to meet the challenges of today
A new type of university is emerging, one that steps beyond the American research university model and is nimble and responsive, takes responsibility for what happens outside its walls and can scale up to meet the demands and challenges of modern society. Arizona State University President Michael Crow says they are part of the ''fifth wave'' of universities. (2021-02-09)

Quantum computing enables simulations to unravel mysteries of magnetic materials
A multi-institutional team became the first to generate accurate results from materials science simulations on a quantum computer that can be verified with neutron scattering experiments and other practical techniques. (2021-02-09)

A study presents an algorithm that automates electrocardiogram recordings
Artificial intelligence can help health personnel to diagnose heart diseases, as shown in a study published in Scientific Reports, by Guillermo Jiménez-Pérez and Oscar Camara, members of the PhySense group, and Alejandro Alcaine, a researcher at the University of San Jorge, Zaragoza. (2021-02-09)

1918 pandemic second wave had fatal consequences
In the event of a pandemic, delayed reactions and a decentralized approach by the authorities at the start of a follow-up wave can lead to longer-lasting, more severe and more fatal consequences, researchers from the universities of Zurich and Toronto have found. The interdisciplinary team compared the Spanish flu of 1918 and 1919 in the Canton of Bern with the coronavirus pandemic of 2020. (2021-02-08)

The pandemic lockdown's psychological impact on pregnant women
During the lockdown in the first wave of the COVID-19 pandemic in Spain, pregnant women had higher symptoms of depression and anxiety. The finding comes from a study published in Acta Obstetricia et Gynecologica Scandinavica, which also revealed that women with higher body mass index and lower social support were most affected. (2021-02-03)

New realm of personalized medicine with brain stimulation
Millions of patients suffering from neurological and mental disorders such as depression, addiction, and chronic pain are treatment-resistant. New research paves the way for a promising alternative: personalized deep brain stimulation. Researchers have found a way to predict what effect electrical stimulation will have on an individual's brain activity across multiple brain regions. The work represents a major step forward in achieving new therapies for a whole host of neurological and mental disorders. (2021-02-01)

Tsunamis and tsunami warning: recent progress and future prospects
There have been frequent tsunamis since the 21st century, drawing the attention of many countries on the study of tsunami mechanism and warning. Tsunami records also play an essential role in deriving earthquake rupture models in subduction zones. A recent paper reviews the recent progress and limitations of tsunami research, from the aspects of tsunami generation, propagation, inversion and warning. Potential tsunami warning strategies are discussed and future prospects on tsunami research are provided. (2021-02-01)

Metamaterial tiles boost sensitivity of large telescopes
A multi-institutional group of researchers has developed new metamaterial tiles that will help improve the sensitivity of telescopes being built at the preeminent Simons Observatory in Chile. (2021-01-26)

Optimal information about the invisible
Laser beams can be used to precisely measure an object's position or velocity. Normally, a clear, unobstructed view of this object is required. Irregular environments scatter the light beam - but as it turns out, precisely this effect can be used to obtain optimum information in difficult situations. (2021-01-25)

White turns into (extreme-)ultraviolet
Researchers from the Max Born Institute for Nonlinear Optics and Short Pulse Spectroscopy (MBI) have developed a new method to modify the spectral width of extreme-ultraviolet (XUV) light. By employing a novel phase-matching scheme in four-wave mixing, they could compress the spectral width of the initial broadband light by more than hundred times. The detailed experimental and theoretical results have been published in Nature Photonics. (2021-01-25)

Nearly one in four families hesitant to take their child to ER during COVID-19 pandemic
During the first wave of the COVID-19 pandemic, nearly one in four families responded that they would be unlikely to bring their child to the Emergency Department if they had an emergency condition, according to a survey from Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children's Hospital of Chicago published in the journal Academic Emergency Medicine. (2021-01-25)

Crystal structures in super slow motion
Laser beams are used to change the properties of materials in an extremely precise way. However, the underlying processes generally take place at such unimaginably fast speeds and at such a small scale that they have so far eluded direct observation. Göttingen researchers have now managed to film, for the first time, the laser transformation of a crystal structure with nanometre resolution and in slow motion in an electron microscope. The results were published in Science. (2021-01-22)

Many junior doctors feel out of their depth with the end-of-life decisions faced during COVID-19 pandemic
In normal times, end-of-life care discussions are most commonly led by senior doctors. However, new research from a busy London hospital shows that the high numbers of deaths taking place in hospitals during the COVID-19 pandemic, frequently out-of-hours, is leading to junior (foundation level) doctors having to lead on these difficult discussions with families, often with no formal experience or training. (2021-01-20)

Using ancient fossils and gravitational-wave science to predict earth's future
New research on predicting the earth's future climate: Using gravitational-wave science, a group of international scientists, including Australian OzGrav astrophysicist Ilya Mandel, studied ancient marine fossils as a predictor of climate change. (2021-01-19)

Psychological well-being declined during second wave of the pandemic - especially for men
Our psychological well-being follows the rise and fall of the infection rate, but whereas psychological well-being fell most for women during the spring lockdown, it is men who are hardest hit during the second wave. This is shown by a new study from Aarhus University, Denmark. (2021-01-19)

Heart attack patients in England 'fearful' of seeking medical help amid COVID crisis
Data analysis is revealing a second sharp drop in the number of people admitted to hospital in England with acute heart failure or a heart attack. The decline began in October, as the numbers of COVID-19 infections began to surge ahead of the second lockdown, which came into force in early November. (2021-01-19)

Rethinking spin chemistry from a quantum perspective
Summary Researchers at Osaka City University use quantum superposition states and Bayesian inference to create a quantum algorithm, easily executable on quantum computers, that accurately and directly calculates energy differences between the electronic ground and excited spin states of molecular systems in polynomial time. (2021-01-18)

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. (2021-01-12)

'Galaxy-sized' observatory sees potential hints of gravitational waves
Scientists believe that planets like Earth bob in a sea of gravitational waves that spread throughout the universe. Now, an international team has gotten closer than ever before to detecting those cosmic ripples. (2021-01-11)

Arecibo observatory helps find possible 'first hints' of low-frequency gravitational waves
Data from Arecibo Observatory in Puerto Rico has been used to help detect the first possible hints of low-frequency disturbances in the curvature of space-time. The results were presented today at the 237th meeting of the American Astronomical Society, which was held virtually, and are published in The Astrophysical Journal Letters (2021-01-11)

A charge-density-wave topological semimetal
A novel material has been discovered that is characterised by the coupling of a charge density wave with the topology of the electronic structure. (2021-01-09)

Mapping the introduction of the COVID-19 epidemic in the United Kingdom using genomic analysis
The SARS-CoV-2 virus was introduced to the United Kingdom well over 1,000 times in early 2020, according to researchers who analyzed more than 50,000 viral sequences from the first wave of the COVID-19 pandemic in the UK. (2021-01-08)

Psychological distress during first months of pandemic equal to that during prior year
The first longitudinal study of psychological distress during the coronavirus pandemic shows that more than 10% of Americans reported experiencing symptoms of significant psychological distress during April and May of 2020 -- the same amount that reported experiencing distress during the prior year. Distress was most common among people who reported distress during the prior year. (2021-01-04)

Surveys identify relationship between waves, coastal cliff erosion
Researchers have always known that waves were an important part of the cliff erosion process, but they haven't been able to separate the influence of waves and rain before. After decades of debate over the differing roles that both play, new findings provide an opportunity to improve forecasts. (2020-12-28)

Quantum wave in helium dimer filmed for the first time
For the first time, an international team of scientists from Goethe University and the University of Oklahoma has succeeded in filming quantum physical effects on a helium dimer as it breaks apart. The film shows the superposition of matter waves from two simultaneous events that occur with different probability: The survival and the disintegration of the helium dimer. This method might in future make it possible to track experimentally the formation and decay of quantum Efimov systems. (2020-12-23)

Controlling cardiac waves with light to better understand abnormally rapid heart rhythms
Over 300,000 people die each year in the US due to sudden cardiac death. In many cases, sudden cardiac death is caused by abnormally rapid heart rhythms called tachycardias, which means the heart cannot pump adequate blood to the body. In Chaos, researchers use mice to study tachycardias and find there are intrinsic mechanisms that exist in heart tissue that they hypothesize lead to the self-termination of rapid cardiac rhythm. (2020-12-22)

Brazilian researcher experiments with electron-plasma interactions
The study could help upgrade satellite communications equipment. (2020-12-21)

Performance breakthrough by topological-insulator into a waveguide-resonator system
Topological insulator (TI), a major discovery in condensed matter physics since this century, has now been introduced into waveguide-resonator systems. Along with basic similarities with classical ones, a TI enhanced system shows great advantages. A recent research in Nanjing University boosted the confidence of using the concepts of TI for practical device performance and functionalities, with applications being novel signal processing, sensing, lasering, energy harvesting, and intense wave-matter interactions. (2020-12-20)

2D material controls light twice stronger
POSTECH research team identifies second-harmonics generation interference in 2D heterobilayers. (2020-12-17)

Financial woes grow worse during pandemic for American families
Many Americans have lost their jobs or are working less because of the shutdowns caused by the coronavirus pandemic. A survey that has been tracking a representative sample of Americans over the course of the pandemic finds that the financial struggles of many families are growing worse. (2020-12-17)

Combined observations of neutron stars constrain their equation of state and the Hubble constant
Combining signals from multiple observations of neutron stars has allowed researchers to better understand the properties of ultra-dense matter and constrain the Hubble constant, which describes how fast the Universe is expanding, according to a new study. (2020-12-17)

The Lancet Infectious Diseases: Largest seroprevalence study in the region finds number of people infected with SARS-CoV-2 in Iran may be higher than expected
A study tracking seroprevalence across Iran suggests that the number of people who have had the SARS-CoV-2 virus is 17.1% overall and 20.0% in high-risk occupations. The findings suggest that an estimated almost 4.3 million people across the 18 cities sampled were infected with the virus by the end of April 2020, compared with 800,000 clinically confirmed cases by November 2020 for the whole country (population 81.8 million). (2020-12-15)

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