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Jul 18, 2024

How social media sabotages your brain’s friendship mechanism | Arthur Brooks

Posted by in category: neuroscience

This interview is an episode from ‪@The-Well, our publication about ideas that inspire a life well-lived, created with the ‪@JohnTempletonFoundation. Subscrib…

Jul 18, 2024

NASA, SpaceX Unveil Spaceship That Will Take International Space Station Out Of Orbit

Posted by in category: space travel

Once docked, the ISS will “drift down” to 220 km (136 miles) above the Earth’s surface over the following year.

Once in position, the vehicle will fire its 30 Draco engines for a series of burns setting up for a final re-entry burn four days later.

The deorbiting vehicle will be tasked with firing its engines to keep the station on course and powering it when comes into contact with thickening layers of the upper atmosphere during its descent.

Jul 18, 2024

Mining The Sea or Mining The Sky?

Posted by in categories: climatology, habitats, sustainability

An intense discussion is now going on at the International Seabed Authority (ISA), starting in March 2024, and proceeding up to August, for its various instances, committees, and general assembly. The most critical point concerns the call for licenses, which are being advanced by several commercial mining entities, to explore deep sea grounds, seeking rare minerals highly in demand, fueling the energy and green transitions worldwide. Clean energy technologies require more materials, such as copper, lithium, nickel, cobalt, aluminum, and rare earth elements, than fossil fuel-based technologies. Demand for critical minerals could surge 450% by 2050 to meet Paris Agreement climate goals[1]. The deep sea, particularly in the form of polymetallic nodules (PMNs), contains significant cobalt resources. Estimates suggest that by 2035, deep-sea mining of PMNs could produce 61,200 tons of cobalt per year, which could account for up to 50% of current annual global cobalt demand[2].

For the first time, ISA is considering the revision of deep-sea mineral exploitation regulations [3]. Commercial deep-sea mining has attracted increased attention, particularly owing to potential oceanic challenges, including pollution, overfishing, biodiversity, and habitat loss, acidification, rising water temperatures, and climate change. Those favoring commercial mining highlight the need for a supply of materials necessary for global energy transition. Recent meetings in Kingston, Jamaica, have focused on revising the draft regulations for deep-sea mineral exploitation. While some progress has been made, several areas of disagreement remain, particularly regarding environmental protections and the speed of issuing commercial permits. The ISA is aiming to finalize the new regulations by July 2025, but there are concerns that this deadline may not be met.

On the commercial side, The Metals Company (TMC), Canada, anticipates submitting an application for a mining exploitation license in 2024, potentially starting mining operations in 2025, even before the regulations are fully in place. While ISA has not granted any commercial licenses for deep-sea mining, some countries are moving forward independently. Norway already passed a bill in January 2024, which authorizes prospecting for deep-sea minerals, accelerating the hunt for the precious metals that are in high demand for green technologies. Environmental scientists have warned such oceanic exploitation could be devastating for marine life. The outlook concerns Norwegian waters, nevertheless, agreements on mining in international waters could also be reached this year.

Jul 18, 2024

Revamp for High-Pressure-Superconductivity Measurements

Posted by in category: futurism

The pressures at which some elements start superconducting are so high that making detailed measurements of the transition has been impossible—until now.

Jul 18, 2024

Temperature Affects Aging in Granular Materials

Posted by in categories: life extension, particle physics

Experiments on a bed of plastic beads reveal a temperature-dependent stiffening over time, which appears to be related to molecular-scale deformations.

Inside a geological fault, small rocks and pebble-sized grains can become increasingly lodged together over time so that the push—or stress—needed to get the granular material flowing grows with time. This frictional “aging” can be attributed to several effects, but researchers have now isolated a thermal effect that appears to be related to molecular-level deformations [1]. The team performed experiments on a bed of tiny beads, or grains, slowly rotating them in a start–stop manner that revealed the signatures of grain aging. The temperature dependence of the effect suggested that the behavior arises from a thermally driven interlocking between irregularities on the grain surfaces. The results could provide new insights into the stick–slip behavior recorded in geological faults.

Granular materials—those made of small particles, like sand or soil—have unique properties. For example, in the polymer industry, the force required to begin stirring granular ingredients on Mondays is greater than on other days because the grains have been left immobile over the weekend. This aging effect, in which the force required to break the network of frictional contacts depends on the time that the particles have been resting, also plays a role in the occurrence of earthquakes and landslides. “The longer you wait, the stronger the granular network becomes,” says Kasra Farain from the University of Amsterdam.

Jul 18, 2024

High-speed camera for molecules: Entangled photons enable Raman spectroscopy

Posted by in categories: biotech/medical, chemistry, quantum physics

Conversely, stimulated Raman spectroscopy represents a modern analytical method used to study molecular vibrational properties and interactions, offering valuable insights into molecular fine structure. Its applications span various domains, including , biomedical research, materials science, and environmental monitoring.

By combining these two techniques, an exceptionally powerful analytical tool for studying complex molecular materials emerges.

In a new paper published in Light: Science & Applications, a team of scientists, led by Professor Zhedong Zhang and Professor Zhe-Yu Ou from Department of Physics, City University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong, China, developed a microscopic theory for the ultrafast stimulated Raman spectroscopy with quantum-light fields.

Jul 18, 2024

A new approach to accelerate the discovery of quantum materials

Posted by in categories: materials, quantum physics

Researchers at the Department of Energy’s Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab) and several collaborating institutions have successfully demonstrated an innovative approach to find breakthrough materials for quantum applications. The study is published in the journal Nature Communications.

Jul 18, 2024

Physicists develop new theorems to describe the energy landscape formed when quantum particles gather together

Posted by in categories: particle physics, quantum physics

An international team of physicists, centered at Trinity, has proven new theorems in quantum mechanics that describe the “energy landscapes” of collections of quantum particles.

Jul 18, 2024

Paving the way to extremely fast, compact computer memory

Posted by in categories: chemistry, computing, quantum physics

For decades, scientists have been studying a group of unusual materials called multiferroics that could be useful for a range of applications including computer memory, chemical sensors and quantum computers.

Jul 18, 2024

Small steps for electrons—big steps for the future? Ultrafast microscope reveals electron pathways in solar cells

Posted by in categories: solar power, sustainability

In the search for more efficient and sustainable energy generation methods, a class of materials called metal halide perovskites have shown great promise. In the few years since their discovery, novel solar cells based on these materials have already achieved efficiencies comparable to commercial silicon solar cells.

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