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Nov 30, 2018

We could move to another planet with a spaceship like this

Posted by in categories: employment, physics, space travel

Proxima b, our nearest neighboring exoplanet, is almost 25 trillion miles away. Even one of our fastest spaceships—the 31,600-mile-per-hour New Horizons—would take hundreds of thousands of years to get there. Assuming we can’t figure out how to warp space-time (seems unlikely, but fingers crossed), we’re still looking at a couple-hundred-year trip in the best-case scenario, which leads to the real problem: No human crew could survive the entire ride. Science-fiction writers have long floated so-called generation ships as a solution. Designers would outfit these interplanetary cruise vessels to support a community of adults and their children, and their children’s children, and their children’s children’s children…until humanity finally reaches a new celestial shore. Here’s our best guess for what it would take to sow the seeds of an extrasolar species.

Career planning

Successive generations need to fill all the vital crew roles—such as medics and mechanics—which doesn’t leave much room for freedom of choice. A version of modern career tests would assign occupations based on aptitude, passions, and available jobs.

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Nov 30, 2018

Physicists finally calculated where the proton’s mass comes from

Posted by in category: particle physics

A proton’s mass is more than just the sum of its parts. And now scientists know just what accounts for the subatomic particle’s heft.

Protons are made up of even smaller particles called quarks, so you might expect that simply adding up the quarks’ masses should give you the proton’s mass. However, that sum is much too small to explain the proton’s bulk. And new, detailed calculations show that only 9 percent of the proton’s heft comes from the mass of constituent quarks. The rest of the proton’s mass comes from complicated effects occurring inside the particle, researchers report in the Nov. 23 Physical Review Letters.

Quarks get their masses from a process connected to the Higgs boson, an elementary particle first detected in 2012 (SN: 7/28/12, p. 5). But “the quark masses are tiny,” says study coauthor and theoretical physicist Keh-Fei Liu of the University of Kentucky in Lexington. So, for protons, the Higgs explanation falls short.

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Nov 30, 2018

Recruiting The Next Generation Of SciFri’s Educator Collaborative

Posted by in categories: biotech/medical, education

When did you first get the science bug? For me, it was my professor Tom Carlson who taught a summer class about medical ethnobotany. Seeing him chase bumblebees around the University of California, Berkeley botanical garden and describe how they fit into a foxglove flower was a life-changing experience. And this personal story is not unique—many of us can probably name a science teacher, professor, parent, or educator who got us hooked on science. That’s why education is such an important part of what we do at Science Friday. We know that’s where the spark for science often ignites.

It’s also why we team up with science educators across the country in our Science Friday Educator Collaborative Program, in which educators work with SciFri staff to develop resources for science learners everywhere. Two of this year’s Educator Collaborators, Randy Otaka and Katie Brown guide us through their creative process of designing hands-on STEM activities—from modeling camouflaging cephalopod skin with cocktail umbrellas to using design thinking to better engineer shelters for disaster relief. And if you are an educator and this sounds like something you want to do, applications are now open for the 2019 program! Science Friday’s education director Ariel Zych joins Ira to tell you how to be a part of the next cohort.

Apply for the 2019 SciFri Educator Collaborative cohort! You can click on the green notepad at the top of this page or click here to go straight to the form. We will be accepting applications until Friday, January 4th, 2019 5 PM EST.

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Nov 30, 2018

Equipment for Moon Mining Operations are Being Developed

Posted by in categories: energy, space

The technology needed for mining water ice on the moon and converting it into fuel is pretty straight forward. Various groups are already making the actual needed hardware. Paragon Space Development and Giner are already making key pieces of what is needed. If we are making large amounts of fuel on the moon then we are massively lowering the cost of all missions in space. The cost of anything from higher earth orbit and beyond becomes several times cheaper.

After the D-day invasion, the Allies made a temporary port. We need to move beyond thinking science missions to working on logistics and supply chains.

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Nov 30, 2018

The most amazing health innovations of 2018

Posted by in categories: biotech/medical, health

Countless new products and medications hit stores’ shelves and doctors’ prescription pads every year. Many are a result of small tweaks to already available treatments. A select few, though, totally change the game: A preventative migraine drug slashes monthly headaches in half, an injectable gene restores sight to those with a degenerative eye condition, and a better-designed sunscreen helps more people keep damaging rays at bay. These 10 medical advances represent how science, technology, and creative thinking can help us live longer, better lives.

Aimovig by Amgen & Novartis

Aimovig by Amgen & Novartis

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Nov 30, 2018

The Longevity Leaders Conference

Posted by in categories: biotech/medical, business, life extension

February 4th, 2019 sees the launch of the Longevity Leaders Conference in St Paul’s, London, which promises to be an interesting event on the conference calendar.

The conference aims to cover both the science of aging research and the business side of the industry, in a similar manner to our own annual conference, Ending Age-Related Diseases, which we host in New York. Mixing the worlds of science and business is a good idea as we move ever closer to the first true rejuvenation technologies arriving.

It is essential to begin forging bonds between the researchers who are making the science a reality and the investors and angels who have the knowledge and expertise to take the science to market.

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Nov 30, 2018

The First Clinical Trial of a Male Birth Control Gel Is Under Way

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

An elusive medical advance might finally be within grasp, one that could make some couples’ sex lives a lot more convenient. This week, researchers officially kicked off the first wide-scale clinical trial of a male contraceptive topical gel.

The trial, funded by the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD), is set to enroll 420 relatively healthy and young couples. The couples will be recruited from nine different study sites in seven countries scattered across the globe, including Chile, England, and Sweden. But the first batch of volunteers will come from sites in the U.S. in Seattle, California, and Kansas.

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Nov 30, 2018

NASA Announces New Partnerships for Commercial Lunar Payload Delivery

Posted by in categories: innovation, space travel

We are making tangible progress in America’s return to the Moon’s surface to stay. The innovation of America’s aerospace companies, wedded with our goals in science and human exploration are going to help us achieve amazing things on the Moon and feed forward to Mars.


Nine U.S. companies now are eligible to bid on NASA delivery services to the lunar surface through Commercial Lunar Payload Services (CLPS) contracts, as one of the first steps toward long-term scientific study and human exploration of the Moon and eventually Mars.

These companies will be able to bid on delivering science and technology payloads for NASA, including payload integration and operations, launching from Earth and landing on the surface of the Moon. NASA expects to be one of many customers that will use these commercial landing services.

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Nov 30, 2018

Animated scale of the universe

Posted by in category: space

Click on photo to start video.

This 3-minute animation will change the way you see the universe.

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Nov 30, 2018

Probing quantum physics on a macroscopic scale

Posted by in category: quantum physics

Why does quantum mechanics work so well for microscopic objects, yet macroscopic objects are described by classical physics? This question has bothered physicists since the development of quantum theory more than 100 years ago. Researchers at Delft University of Technology and the University of Vienna have now devised a macroscopic system that exhibits entanglement between mechanical phonons and optical photons. They tested the entanglement using a Bell test, one of the most convincing and important tests to show a system behaves non-classically.

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