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Mar 3, 2024

David Eagleman, investigator of the secrets of our minds

Posted by in categories: food, law, mobile phones, neuroscience

Nothing of the mind is foreign to David Eagleman, neuroscientist, technologist, entrepreneur and one of the most interesting scientific writers of our time. Born in New Mexico 52 years ago, he now researches cerebral plasticity, synesthesia, perception of time and what he called neurolaw, the intersection of the brain’s knowledge and its legal implications. His 2011 book Incognito: The Secret Lives of the Brain has been translated into 28 languages, and he returned to publishing with Livewired: The Inside Story of the Ever-Changing Brain, which focuses on a fundamental idea for today’s neuroscience: that the brain is constantly changing to be able to adapt to experience and learning. The science he brings to us isn’t merely top-notch, but firsthand, and his brilliant, crystal-clear writing — a perfect reflection of his mind — turns one of the most complex subjects of modern-day research into food for thought for the interested reader. We spoke with him in California by videoconference, the first interview that he’s given to a Spanish publication in a decade.

Could a newborn brain learn to live in a five-dimensional word? “We don’t actually know which things are pre-programmed and how much is experiential in our brains,” he replies. “If you could raise a baby in a five-dimensional world, which, of course, is unethical to do as an experiment, you might find that it’s perfectly able to function in that world. The general story of brain plasticity is that everything is more surprising than we thought, in terms of the brain’s ability to learn whatever world it drops into.”

Eagleman pulls out a sizable bowl of salad from somewhere, scoops a forkful into his mouth and continues his argument: “The five-dimensional world is hypothetical, but what we do see, of course, is that babies dropping into very different cultures around the planet, whether that’s a hyper-religious culture or an atheist culture, whether it’s a culture that lives on agriculture or a culture that is super technically advanced like here in Silicon Valley, the brain has no problem adjusting. My kids, when they were very young, could operate an iPad or cell phone just as easily as somebody growing up in a different place would operate farming equipment. So, we do know that brains are extremely flexible.”

Mar 3, 2024

Wait … Did We Finally Find the Source of Dark Energy?!

Posted by in categories: cosmology, physics

For the first time ever, we can explain its entire existence with no new physics.

Mar 3, 2024

Cancer Prevention and Control Panel

Posted by in category: biotech/medical

This CU Cancer Center Lunch and Learn from 2/21/2024 featured CU Cancer Center members Rajesh Agarwal, PhD, Stacy Fischer, MD, and Jamie L. Studts, PhD.

Mar 2, 2024

MOSAIC: A Modular System for Assistive and Interactive Cooking

Posted by in category: futurism

MOSAIC

A modular system for assistive and interactive cooking.


Join the discussion on this paper page.

Mar 2, 2024

James Webb Detected Intensely Red Supermassive Black Hole in Early Universe

Posted by in category: cosmology

NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope (JWST) has detected a unique and “intensely red” supermassive black hole hidden in one of the oldest part of the universe.

Scientists proposed the reddish black hole was the outcome of an enlarged universe just 700 million years following the Big Bang, as given in a paper published this month in the journal Nature. Its colors are because of a solid layer of dust compressing a lot of its light, they said.

Whereas for the first time the cosmic monster was technically invented last year, astronomers have now spotted that it is much more massive than anything else of its type in the field, making it strange discovery that could rescript the way we think how supermassive black holes increase relative to their host galaxies.

Mar 2, 2024

Stealthy stem cells to treat disease

Posted by in categories: biotech/medical, genetics, health

Strategies differ, but there are some gene edits that all researchers agree must underpin any universal stem-cell-derived therapy. There is also widespread consensus that the optimal product should incorporate as few edits as possible, both to minimize the potential for unintended genetic consequences and to streamline manufacturing and regulatory approval.

Beyond that, the scientific community is divided. The complexities of the immune system have fuelled spirited debates over the exact genetic manipulations necessary to create a cell therapy that is both capable of bypassing immune defences and delivering meaningful health benefits.

“The immune system is pervasive and persistent,” says Charles Murry, a cardiovascular pathologist at the University of Washington in Seattle and chief executive of StemCardia in Seattle, one of a growing number of biotechnology companies developing gene-editing strategies to overcome immune barriers in regenerative cell treatments.

Mar 2, 2024

AI-enabled atomic robotic probe to advance quantum material manufacturing

Posted by in categories: chemistry, quantum physics, robotics/AI

Scientists from the National University of Singapore (NUS) have pioneered a new methodology of fabricating carbon-based quantum materials at the atomic scale by integrating scanning probe microscopy techniques and deep neural networks. This breakthrough highlights the potential of implementing artificial intelligence (AI) at the sub-angstrom scale for enhanced control over atomic manufacturing, benefiting both fundamental research and future applications.

Open-shell magnetic nanographenes represent a technologically appealing class of new carbon-based quantum materials, which host robust π-spin centres and non-trivial collective quantum magnetism. These properties are crucial for developing high-speed electronic devices at the molecular level and creating quantum bits, the building blocks of quantum computers. Despite significant advancements in the synthesis of these materials through on-surface synthesis, a type of solid-phase chemical reaction, achieving precise fabrication and tailoring of the properties of these quantum materials at the atomic level has remained a challenge.

The figure illustrates the chemist-intuited atomic robotic probe that would allow chemists to precisely fabricate organic quantum materials at the single-molecule level. The robotic probe can conduct real-time autonomous single-molecule reactions with chemical bond selectivity, demonstrating the fabrication of quantum materials with a high level of control. (© Nature Synthesis)

Mar 2, 2024

Brain repairs with nanorobots

Posted by in categories: biotech/medical, robotics/AI

Researchers have found that nerve cells, carried by magnetically powered nanorobots, can be guided towards specific sites in brain tissue to then establish structural and functional connections with the nerve cells of that tissue. While not yet realised in living organisms, the researchers believe their nanorobotic system could potentially be used in patients to treat nerve-related degenerative diseases and injuries.

They describe their findings in the journal Advanced Materials (“A Neurospheroid-Based Microrobot for Targeted Neural Connections in a Hippocampal Slice”).

In the study, a magnetic neurospheroid (Mag-Neurobot), which is made up of magnetic nanorobots carrying live nerve cells (neurons), was introduced into a slice of brain tissue and then magnetically guided to a precise location within that tissue using an external magnetic field.

Mar 2, 2024

Movies of ultrafast electronic circuitry in space and time

Posted by in categories: computing, innovation

The increasing demand for ever-faster information processing has ushered in a new era of research focused on high-speed electronics operating at frequencies nearing terahertz and petahertz regimes. While existing electronic devices predominantly function in the gigahertz range, the forefront of electronics is pushing towards millimeter waves, and the first prototypes of high-speed transistors, hybrid photonic platforms, and terahertz metadevices are starting to bridge the electronic and optical domains.

However, characterizing and diagnosing such devices pose a significant challenge due to the limitations of available diagnostic tools, particularly in terms of speed and spatial resolution. How shall one measure a breakthrough device if it’s the fastest and smallest of its kind?

In response to this challenge, a team of researchers from the University of Konstanz now proposes an innovative solution: They create femtosecond electron pulses in a transmission electron microscope, compress them with infrared laser light to merely 80 femtosecond duration, and synchronize them to the inner fields of a laser-triggered electronic transmission line with the help of a photoconductive switch. Then, using a pump-probe approach, the researchers directly sense the local electromagnetic fields in their electronic devices as a function of space and time.

Mar 2, 2024

Faster charging with diamond nanomembranes

Posted by in categories: sustainability, transportation

Diamond is known for its outstanding thermal conductivity. This makes the material ideal for cooling electronic components with high power densities, such as those used in processors, semiconductor lasers or electric vehicles. Researchers at Fraunhofer USA, an independent international affiliate of the Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft, have succeeded in developing wafer-thin nanomembranes from synthetic diamonds that can be integrated into electronic components, thereby reducing the local heat load by up to ten times. This helps to improve the road performance and service life of electric cars and significantly reduces battery charging time.

An increase in power density and the resulting higher heat dissipation in electronic components require new materials. Diamond is known for its high thermal conductivity, which is four to five times higher than that of copper. For this reason, it is a particularly interesting material when it comes to cooling power electronics in electric transportation, photovoltaics or storage systems.

Until now, heat sinks made of copper or aluminum plates have increased the heat-emitting surface of components that produce heat, thus preventing damage due to overheating.

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