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Researcher is optimistic about meeting 'Grand Challenge' of global prosperity
Lawrence M. Cathles, Cornell University professor of earth and atmospheric sciences, outlines his optimism about the world's prospects for sustaining the human population in an environmentally responsible way in his article, (2013-10-24)

Ancient iron-rich rocks point to early occurrence of land-based life
Iron-rich rock formations dating to 2.3 billion years ago suggest that the Earth's land masses were covered with living things at least a billion years earlier than previously thought, according to a Penn State geologist. (1999-10-25)

Oxford University students condemn their university's practice of investing in companies that manufacture arms
In a comment published in this week's edition of the Lancet, a group of students, graduates and lecturers at Oxford University condemns its practice of investing in companies that manufacture arms. (2011-06-02)

How fossil corals can shed light on the Earth's past climate
Researchers have used radiocarbon measured in deep-sea fossil corals to shed light on carbon dioxide levels during the Earth's last deglaciation. (2015-09-24)

Wheat and couch grass can extract toxic metals from contaminated soils
Irina Shtangeeva is a researcher at the Department of Soil Science and Soil Ecology, St Petersburg University. She has studied the ability of wheat and couch grass to accumulate toxic substances. Both plants were capable of absorbing various chemical elements from contaminated soils. Although the plants were able to accumulate high concentrations of toxicants, they could survive under negative environmental conditions (2020-08-10)

Most of the sand in Alberta's oilsands came from eastern North America, study shows
They're called the Alberta oilsands but most of the sand actually came from the Appalachian region on the eastern side of the North American continent, a new University of Calgary-led study shows. The oilsands also include sand from the Canadian Shield in northern and east-central Canada and from the Canadian Rockies in western Canada, the study says. (2014-03-12)

Astronomers discover gold in ancient star
A team of astronomers has discovered gold in an ancient star in the halo of the Milky Way, the first time the existence of the element has been discovered in a star other than the sun. It also provides clues to the age of the star, the galaxy and the universe. (2002-01-10)

Crucial new data on the origin of the Dolmens of Antequera, a World Heritage Site
The results obtained indicate the Neolithic chronology of the cave (probably, at least, at the beginning of the 4th millennium BC) and its importance as a place of reference for the Neolithic (and possibly even older) population of the region, which would explain the anomalous orientation of the Menga dolmen. (2018-06-28)

Deciphering clues to prehistoric climate changes locked in cave deposits
Jessica Oster and her colleagues have shown that the analysis of a stalagmite from a cave in north east India can detect the link between El Nino conditions in the Pacific Ocean and the Indian monsoon. (2015-05-22)

University of Toronto astronomer part of team that finds new way to study supernovae
An international team of astronomers has found a better way to examine the origins and evolution of galaxies that form following supernova explosions -- the starting point for the formation of galaxies when a star explodes -- and they have discovered new supernovae in the process. (2009-07-08)

Research finds new molecular structures in boron-based nanoclusters
Researchers have shown that clusters of boron and lanthanide atoms form interesting 'inverse sandwich' structures that could be useful as molecular magnets. (2018-07-12)

Clemson University researchers working on sensor that could help keep nation safe
A sensor in development at Clemson University could help search for some of the globe's most potentially destructive weapons to keep them out of the hands of terrorists and rogue nations. (2016-06-28)

Neutron-rich nucleus shapeshifts between a rugby ball and a discus
Researchers have shown that there are two coexisting, competing quantum shapes at low energy in 98Kr, never before seen for neutron-rich Kr isotopes. The team also showed that these isotopes experience a gentle onset of deformation with added neutrons, in sharp contrast with neighboring isotopes of rubidium, strontium, and zirconium, which change shapes suddenly at neutron number 60. This study marks a decisive step towards an understanding of the limits of this quantum phase transition region, and was published in Physical Review Letters. (2017-06-23)

Gamma-ray weapons
A third class of weapon that blurs the distinction between nuclear and conventional weapons could give army commanders an advantage of increased force, which could lead to the possibility of the next arms race. The explosive stimulates the release of energy from the nuclei of certain elements in the form of gamma radiation - but does not involve nuclear fission or fusion. The technology has already been included in the US Department of Defense's Militarily Critical Technologies List. (2003-08-13)

Moon whets appetite for water
Scientists at the Carnegie Institution's Geophysical Laboratory, with colleagues, have discovered a much higher water content in the moon's interior than previous studies. Their research suggests that the water was preserved from the hot magma that was present when the moon began to form some 4.5 billion years ago, and that it is likely widespread in the moon's interior. (2010-06-14)

The cause of the red coloration in stalagmites
A study by the UPV/EHU confirms the cause of the mysterious red colour of the stalagmites in the Goikoetxe Cave located in the Urdaibai Biosphere Reserve, and its potential use as an indicator of palaeoclimate changes on the Cantabrian seaboard between 7,000 and 5,000 years ago. (2020-04-27)

Radon testing as a campus community service
Radon is the second leading cause of lung cancer -- attributable to an estimated 20,000 deaths in the United States per year from exposure to the gas, according to the Environmental Protection Agency. At last month's Health Physics Society meeting in Providence, Rhode Island, however, a scientist described an alternative program that provided convenient, impartial, and cost-effective assistance from an unlikely source: the local university. (2006-07-12)

Muon opportunists: Detecting the unseen with natural probes
Earth is showered constantly by particles called muons that are created by cosmic rays, and clever scientists are finding ways to use them as probes of dense objects, including a massive pyramid in Mexico and volcanoes in Japan. American researchers also have proposed using the energetic particles to detect smuggled nuclear materials in vehicles and cargo containers. (2005-02-19)

Lead levels in drinking water spike when copper and lead pipes joined
Lead pipes once used routinely in municipal water distribution systems are a well-recognized source of dangerous lead contamination, but new research from Washington University in St. Louis suggests that the partial replacement of these pipes can make the problem worse. The research shows that joining old lead pipes with new copper lines using brass fittings spurs galvanic corrosion that can dramatically increase the amount of lead released into drinking water supplies. (2011-12-15)

Using new technique, scientists uncover a delicate magnetic balance for superconductivity
Researchers deliberately created atomic-level disorder in order to probe the workings of heavy fermion compounds. They found that, rather than hindering superconductivity, magnetism was an essential ingredient -- and understanding this coexistence may be a key for future advances in superconductivity. (2011-10-19)

Human settlement in the Americas may have occurred in the late Pleistocene
Analysis of a skeleton found in the Chan Hol cave near Tulum, Mexico, suggests human settlement in the Americas occurred in the late Pleistocene era, according to a study published Aug. 30, 2017, in the open-access journal PLOS ONE by Wolfgang Stinnesbeck from Universit├Ąt Heidelberg, Germany, and colleagues. (2017-08-30)

Time-lapse snapshots of a nova's fading light
Scientists in a collaboration led by Dai Takei of the RIKEN SPring-8 Center in Japan have, for the first time, examined a detailed 'time lapse' X-ray image of the expansion of a classical nova explosion using the GK Persei nova -- a binary star system which underwent a nova explosion in 1901. (2015-03-17)

Earth's orbital changes have influenced climate, life forms for at least 215 million years
Every 405,000 years, gravitational tugs from Jupiter and Venus slightly elongate Earth's orbit, an amazingly consistent pattern that has influenced our planet's climate for at least 215 million years and allows scientists to more precisely date geological events like the spread of dinosaurs, according to a Rutgers-led study. (2018-05-07)

Hiroshima porcelain pieces provide insight into exposure levels
Scientists are still studying the after-effects of the nuclear disaster caused by an atomic bomb dropped on Hiroshima on August 6, 1945. The amount of neutron fluence, for example, has been calculated from the site to establish what might be a safe level of exposure for humans. Scientists have recently realized that there are discrepancies in earlier estimates. According to the latest research, the standards for a safe level of exposure to humans might be too conservative. (2002-03-25)

Late Pleistocene human mandibles from the Niah Caves may hint at ancient diets
Three human mandibles may provide new insight into the diet of Late Pleistocene hunter-gatherers in Borneo, according to a study published June 6, 2018, in the open-access journal PLOS ONE by Darren Curnoe from the University of New South Wales, Australia, and colleagues. (2018-06-06)

Crystals reveal the danger of sleeping volcanoes
Most active volcanoes on Earth are dormant and are normally not considered hazardous. A team of volcanologists from the University of Geneva has devised a technique that can predict their devastating potential. The scientists used zircon, a tiny crystal contained in volcanic rocks, to estimate the volume of magma that could be erupted once Nevado de Toluca volcano (Mexico) will wake up from its dormancy. Up to 350 km3 of magma are currently lying below. (2020-11-05)

Making industrial isotopes cheaper and with less pollution
Gaseous diffusion, a dirty, expensive process which provides relatively pure forms of elements for microelectronics, medical tracers and nuclear fuel, may have met its match. (1999-09-16)

Metal collector made of bacteria
Bacteria, fungi and plants sometimes produce metal-binding substances that can be harnessed, for example for the extraction of raw materials, for their separation, for cleaning soils or for medical purposes. Professor Dirk Tischler, Head of the Microbial Biotechnology research group at Ruhr-Universit├Ąt Bochum (RUB), outlines how these natural substances or modified semi-artificial variants of them can be produced according to genetic information in an article in Natural Product Reports from May 19, 2020. (2020-05-26)

Composite material for water purification
Fresh, clean water coming directly from the tap is a true luxury. In developing countries, people often have no choice but to use a contaminated river for drinking water. Water filters can help by quickly converting polluted surface or ground water into safe drinking water. In the journal Angewandte Chemie, researchers have now introduced a novel multifunctional composite material that removes inorganic, organic, radioactive, and microbial impurities from water. (2017-01-13)

Energy Department awards $103 million for post-genomic research
Secretary of Energy Spencer Abraham today announced five major research awards for post-genomic research. The awards total $103 million over the next five years. Research will be conducted at six national laboratories, 16 universities and research hospitals and four private research institutes. (2002-07-31)

Particles collected by Hayabusa give absolute age of asteroid Itokawa
Japanese scientists, including those from Osaka University, closely examined particles collected from the asteroid Itokawa by the spacecraft Hayabusa, finding that the parent body of Itokawa was formed about 4.6 billion years ago when the solar system was born and that it was destroyed by a collision with another asteroid about 1.5 billion years ago. (2018-08-27)

Research shows radiometric dating still reliable (again)
Recent puzzling observations of tiny variations in nuclear decay rates have led some to question the science behind carbon-14 dating and similar techniques. However NIST scientists along with researchers from Oak Ridge and several universities tested the hypothesis that solar radiation might affect the rate at which radioactive elements decay and found no detectable effect. (2010-09-15)

Did extreme fluctuations in oxygen, not a gradual rise, spark the Cambrian explosion?
Five hundred and forty million years ago, during the Cambrian period, life suddenly went nuts. 'Blossomed' is far too mild a word: instead, geologists call this sudden diversification an 'explosion.' But what exactly sparked the Cambrian explosion? (2018-06-04)

New outdoor drone will aid disaster response monitoring of radiation
University of Bristol researchers have unveiled a large semi-autonomous drone called the ARM system which could be used to provide visual and thermal monitoring of radiation after a release of nuclear material. (2013-11-14)

Researchers perfect nanoscience tool for studies of nuclear waste storage
Studying radiation chemistry and electronic structure of materials at scales smaller than nanometres, the University of Guelph team prepared samples of clay in ultra-thin layers. Working at the TRIUMF particle accelerator, they bombarded the samples with antimatter subatomic particles. They found their system is a proven tool for radiation studies of material to be used to store nuclear waste -- important for Canadian nuclear industry looking to build its first geological repository. (2019-12-12)

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