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Category: Science

A fun take on the latest science news with enough data to sink your teeth into. Lagrange Point goes beyond the glossy summary and gets in depth with the research from across the world.

October 26, 2020

Episode 402 - Feathers on Dinosaurs and Pterosaurs

We dive in to the debate around feathers on dinosaurs and pterosaurs. When did the first feathers develop? How did they form and what was their connection to modern birds? What can we learn by studying the feathers of modern birds and dinosaurs? Did Pterosaurs have feathers? Why would pterosaurs feathers upend our understanding of feathered dinosaurs? What colour where archaeopteryx feathers? How different were the feathers of archaeopteryx from modern birds?

  1. Ryan M. Carney, Helmut Tischlinger, Matthew D. Shawkey. Evidence corroborates identity of isolated fossil feather as a wing covert of ArchaeopteryxScientific Reports, 2020; 10 (1) DOI: 10.1038/s41598-020-65336-y
  2. Thomas G. Kaye, Michael Pittman, Gerald Mayr, Daniela Schwarz, Xing Xu. Detection of lost calamus challenges identity of isolated Archaeopteryx featherScientific Reports, 2019; 9 (1) DOI: 10.1038/s41598-018-37343-7
  3. David M. Unwin, David M. Martill. No protofeathers on pterosaursNature Ecology & Evolution, 2020; DOI: 10.1038/s41559-020-01308-9
  4. Zixiao Yang, Baoyu Jiang, Maria E. McNamara, Stuart L. Kearns, Michael Pittman, Thomas G. Kaye, Patrick J. Orr, Xing Xu, Michael J. Benton. Pterosaur integumentary structures with complex feather-like branchingNature Ecology & Evolution, 2018; 3 (1): 24 DOI: 10.1038/s41559-018-0728-7
October 19, 2020

Episode 401 - Space Collisions and cleaning up debris

Dodging collisions faster than a speeding bullet. We look at cleaning up space debris. Explosions and collisions of spaceships is great in sci-fi but bad news for us on Earth. Space is rapidly filling with satellites. What happens to them at the end of their life? Collisions in space (or near misses) are becoming more and more common. How can we clean up space and keep the skies safe for important satellites.

  1. Crane, L. (n.d.). Two old spacecraft just avoided catastrophically colliding in orbit. Retrieved October 17, 2020, from https://www.newscientist.com/article/2257525-two-old-spacecraft-just-avoided-catastrophically-colliding-in-orbit/
  2. Davenport, C. (2020, October 16). A rocket booster and a dead satellite avoided a collision Thursday, illustrating the 'ticking time bomb' of space debris. Retrieved October 17, 2020, from https://www.washingtonpost.com/technology/2020/10/15/space-collision-might-happen-thursday/
  3. Marks, P. (2017, April 18). Satellite swarms could increase space junk risk by 50 per cent. Retrieved October 17, 2020, from https://www.newscientist.com/article/2128024-satellite-swarms-could-increase-space-junk-risk-by-50-per-cent/
  4. Wall, M. (2019, April 24). Meet OSCaR: Tiny Cubesat Would Clean Up Space Junk. Retrieved October 17, 2020, from https://www.space.com/space-junk-cleanup-cubesat-oscar.html
  5. Wall, M. (2020, June 23). Foam 'spider webs' from tiny satellites could help clean up space junk. Retrieved October 17, 2020, from https://www.space.com/space-junk-cleanup-foam-satellite-technology.html
  6. Wells, T. (2019, April 24). Rensselaer team developing tool to battle space debris. Retrieved October 17, 2020, from https://phys.org/news/2019-04-rensselaer-team-tool-space-debris.html
October 12, 2020

Episode 400 - Nobel Prizes, Collaboration, and more sustainable trees

The Nobel Prize's legacy on gender and diversity is poor, but are they turning it around? We celebrate the winners of the Nobel Prize, but look critically at the challenges of the system. How do you recognize the collaboration of 100s or 1000s of people with a single award? Is science advanced through singular genius or the collaboration of many? How can CRISPR help us create a more sustainable planet? Growing trees that are easier to process but still able to thrive is possible with CRISPR. How can making trees with less lignin help make a greener planet?

  1. Advanced information. NobelPrize.org. Nobel Media AB 2020. Sat. 10 Oct 2020. <https://www.nobelprize.org/prizes/chemistry/2020/advanced-information
  2. Barbara De Meester, Barbara Madariaga Calderón, Lisanne de Vries, Jacob Pollier, Geert Goeminne, Jan Van Doorsselaere, Mingjie Chen, John Ralph, Ruben Vanholme, Wout Boerjan. Tailoring poplar lignin without yield penalty by combining a null and haploinsufficient CINNAMOYL-CoA REDUCTASE2 alleleNature Communications, 2020; 11 (1) DOI: 10.1038/s41467-020-18822-w
October 5, 2020

Episode 399 - Avoiding Fatbergs and Breaking down Plastic

Breaking up fatbergs, and breaking down plastic with smarter materials. Sewers are a dangerous place, with fat bergs and sulphuric acid, but can they be cleaned up? Portland Cement has helped build the modern world, but does it also cause problems in our sewers? how can we stop our sewers from corroding with better materials? Breaking down plastic takes a long time, but through in a super team of enzymes and it could be done in days. A super team of enzymes helps break down plastic and could lead to a circular economy.

  1. Brandon C. Knott, Erika Erickson, Mark D. Allen, Japheth E. Gado, Rosie Graham, Fiona L. Kearns, Isabel Pardo, Ece Topuzlu, Jared J. Anderson, Harry P. Austin, Graham Dominick, Christopher W. Johnson, Nicholas A. Rorrer, Caralyn J. Szostkiewicz, Valérie Copié, Christina M. Payne, H. Lee Woodcock, Bryon S. Donohoe, Gregg T. Beckham, John E. McGeehan. Characterization and engineering of a two-enzyme system for plastics depolymerizationProceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 2020; 202006753 DOI: 10.1073/pnas.2006753117
  2. Rajeev Roychand, Jie Li, Saman De Silva, Mohammad Saberian, David Law, Biplob Kumar Pramanik. Development of zero cement composite for the protection of concrete sewage pipes from corrosion and fatbergsResources, Conservation and Recycling, 2021; 164: 105166 DOI: 10.1016/j.resconrec.2020.105166
September 28, 2020

Episode 398 - Ig Nobel Prize ‘20 - Alligators and Spiders

We find out more about two more Ig Nobel prizes, for Accoustics and Entomology. Spiders aren't insects, but they're pretty similar. So why do so many entomologists fear spiders? Lots of legs, moves suddenly, weird shape, are fine for entomologists but add 2 extra legs and it's right out. Extra legs are a deal breaker for entomologists with a fear of spiders. Helium, Alligators in a tank, and resonant frequencies won this group a Ig Nobel prize. You've heard of beard song, but what about Alligator on helium song? Alligators and Birds can help us understand the songs of Dinosaurs.

  1. A Chinese Alligator in Heliox: Formant Frequencies in a Crocodilian,” Stephan A. Reber, Takeshi Nishimura, Judith Janisch, Mark Robertson, and W. Tecumseh Fitch, Journal of Experimental Biology, vol. 218, 2015, pp. 2442-2447.
  2. Arachnophobic Entomologists: When Two More Legs Makes a Big Difference,” Richard S. Vetter, American Entomologist, vol. 59, no. 3, 2013, pp. 168-175.
September 21, 2020

Episode 397 - Ignobel Prize ‘20 - Physics

We celebrate the Ignobel Prizes once again, and this year we take a deep dive into the Physics prize for 2020. Faraday waves (standing waves in liquids or liquid filled objects) look pretty, but can anything filled with like have one? What about a worm? Can you make Faraday waves and resonant frequencies in Worms? What happens when a laser, a worm, and a speaker go into a lab? The result is an Ignobel Prize.

  1. Maksymov, I.S., Pototsky, A. Excitation of Faraday-like body waves in vibrated living earthworms. Sci Rep 10, 8564 (2020). https://doi.org/10.1038/s41598-020-65295-4
  2. 2020 Ceremony. (2020, September 18). Retrieved September 18, 2020, from https://www.improbable.com/ig-about/the-30th-first-annual-ig-nobel-prize-ceremony/
September 14, 2020

Episode 396 - Is that food safe to eat

Is that food safe to eat? How can you tell if food has gone bad beyond just reading a date? Ever been confused by best before or use by? A new type of label could make it a mater of colors. Color based labels could help detect if your food has gone bad or is contaminated by bacteria. How can we study the microbes that live inside our intestines? The gut microbiome is incredibly fascinating but difficult to study without damaging it. A tiny pill that takes snapshots of micro organisms inside your stomach as it passes through.

  1. Doyoon Kim, Yunteng Cao, Dhanushkodi Mariappan, Michael S. Bono Jr., A. John Hart, Benedetto Marelli. A Microneedle Technology for Sampling and Sensing Bacteria in the Food Supply ChainAdvanced Functional Materials, 2020 DOI: 10.1002/adfm.202005370
  2. Lu Chen, Lina Gruzinskyte, Steffen Lynge Jørgensen, Anja Boisen, Sarvesh Kumar Srivastava. An Ingestible Self-Polymerizing System for Targeted Sampling of Gut Microbiota and BiomarkersACS Nano, 2020; DOI: 10.1021/acsnano.0c05426
September 7, 2020

Episode 395 - Learning from unusual plants

Plants are incredibly important for a healthy planet and a well fed population. How can we improve our plants by learning from some unusual ones? You normally picture a plant with lots of leaves, but some only grow one lonely leaf. Deep in limestone caves of South East Asia grows a plant with only ever one giant leaf. How can a plant survive with just one leaf and why does it continue to grow in size? What can we learn by studying the root systems of different plants? Can breeding plants to have more flexible roots lead to more resilient crops?

  1. Ayaka Kinoshita, Hiroyuki Koga, Hirokazu Tsukaya. Expression Profiles of ANGUSTIFOLIA3 and SHOOT MERISTEMLESS, Key Genes for Meristematic Activity in a One-Leaf Plant Monophyllaea glabra, Revealed by Whole-Mount In Situ Hybridization. Frontiers in Plant Science, 2020; 11 DOI: 10.3389/fpls.2020.01160
  2. James D. Burridge, Harini Rangarajan, Jonathan P. Lynch. Comparative phenomics of annual grain legume root architecture. Crop Science, 2020; DOI: 10.1002/csc2.20241
August 31, 2020

Episode 394 - Travelling through time with telescopes

Telescopes can help us travel back in time to the early universe. We can watch galaxies form, the universe have a makeover and giant black holes appear. Using different telescopes we can learn about the cosmic dawn and the cosmic noon. The early universe was hazy and hard for light to travel far. What gave the early universe a makeover to allow starlight to travel? What fed the super hungry super massive black-holes of the early universe? Where did the early black holes find enough food to make them swell to massive sizes? What can we learn from the cosmic noon when most of the stars in the universe were formed? 

  1. NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center. (2020, January 6). Astronomers spot distant galaxy group driving ancient cosmic makeover. ScienceDaily. Retrieved January 11, 2020 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2020/01/200106141610.htm
  2. Emanuele Paolo Farina, Fabrizio Arrigoni-Battaia, Tiago Costa, Fabian Walter, Joseph F. Hennawi, Alyssa B. Drake, Roberto Decarli, Thales A. Gutcke, Chiara Mazzucchelli, Marcel Neeleman, Iskren Georgiev, Anna-Christina Eilers, Frederick B. Davies, Eduardo Bañados, Xiaohui Fan, Masafusa Onoue, Jan-Torge Schindler, Bram P. Venemans, Feige Wang, Jinyi Yang, Sebastian Rabien, Lorenzo Busoni. The REQUIEM Survey. I. A Search for Extended Lyα Nebular Emission Around 31 z > 5.7 Quasars. The Astrophysical Journal, 2019; 887 (2): 196 DOI: 10.3847/1538-4357/ab5847
  3. T. Mauch et al. The 1.28 GHz MeerKAT DEEP2 Image. The Astrophysical Journal, 2019 [link]
August 24, 2020

Episode 393 - Microbial life in a teaspoon of the ocean

Life in the ocean is more than just fish, whales and squid, it goes down to a microbial level. We can learn a lot about the health of a whole reef system by studying microbial life in the water. Just one teaspoon of the ocean contains thousands of unique microbes. The ocean currents carry and mix ocean microbes. What makes a healthy reef? Well take a look at the microbes. How can nutrient and soil runoff damage a reef?

  1. Maria G. Pachiadaki, Julia M. Brown, Joseph Brown, Oliver Bezuidt, Paul M. Berube, Steven J. Biller, Nicole J. Poulton, Michael D. Burkart, James J. La Clair, Sallie W. Chisholm, Ramunas Stepanauskas. Charting the Complexity of the Marine Microbiome through Single-Cell GenomicsCell, 2019; 179 (7): 1623 DOI: 10.1016/j.cell.2019.11.017
  2. Laura Weber, Patricia González‐Díaz, Maickel Armenteros, Víctor M. Ferrer, Fernando Bretos, Erich Bartels, Alyson E. Santoro, Amy Apprill. Microbial signatures of protected and impacted Northern Caribbean reefs: changes from Cuba to the Florida KeysEnvironmental Microbiology, 2019; DOI: 10.1111/1462-2920.14870
August 17, 2020

Episode 392 - How brains process and overload of information

Your senses bombard your brain with an overload of information, so how does it process it all? How does y our brain decide what information to focus on? The brain can focus voluntarily or involuntarily on regions of an image to best process it. How does your brain decide which parts of an image to focus on? What part of your brain helps gatekeep the waves of sensory input before it gets processed? How can your brain help regulate and manage an overload of sensory inputs.

  1. Antonio Fernández, Marisa Carrasco. Extinguishing Exogenous Attention via Transcranial Magnetic StimulationCurrent Biology, 2020; DOI: 10.1016/j.cub.2020.07.068
  2. Yinqing Li, Violeta G. Lopez-Huerta, Xian Adiconis, Kirsten Levandowski, Soonwook Choi, Sean K. Simmons, Mario A. Arias-Garcia, Baolin Guo, Annie Y. Yao, Timothy R. Blosser, Ralf D. Wimmer, Tomomi Aida, Alexander Atamian, Tina Naik, Xuyun Sun, Dasheng Bi, Diya Malhotra, Cynthia C. Hession, Reut Shema, Marcos Gomes, Taibo Li, Eunjin Hwang, Alexandra Krol, Monika Kowalczyk, João Peça, Gang Pan, Michael M. Halassa, Joshua Z. Levin, Zhanyan Fu, Guoping Feng. Distinct subnetworks of the thalamic reticular nucleusNature, 2020; DOI: 10.1038/s41586-020-2504-5
August 10, 2020

Episode 391 - Mysteries of the sun, stellar weather and magnetic fields

The sun contains many mysteries, which are hard to unravel without special space probes. Why is the sun's corona so much hotter than the sun's surface? What helps form the biggest solar flares? When two arches of the sun's magnetic fields meet it can create some dangerous flares. Solar storms and solar flares can destroy satellites, power grids and spaceships. How can we better predict stellar weather and avoid disaster? Mapping out the Suns magnetic field can help us better predict stellar weather.

  1. European Space Agency. (2020, July 16). Solar Orbiter's first images reveal 'campfires' on the Sun: ESA/NASA mission returns first data, snaps closest pictures of the Sun. ScienceDaily. Retrieved August 7, 2020 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2020/07/200716120652.htm
  2. Kanya Kusano, Tomoya Iju, Yumi Bamba, Satoshi Inoue. A physics-based method that can predict imminent large solar flaresScience, 2020; 369 (6503): 587 DOI: 10.1126/science.aaz2511
August 3, 2020

Episode 390 - Cool fabrics, melting ice and recycling e-waste

From cool fabrics, to melting ice and recycling e-waste. How can a fabric let air through, but keep water out? Clothing that is breathable, water resistant and thermally efficient hits the sweet spot of a super fabric. Making clothes more efficient at cooling but also self cleaning can reduce our reliance on air conditioning. Using electricity and some polymers we can spin up some new cool clothing fabrics. Melting ice in your frozen over freezer can be made easier with biphillic materials. Materials that both hate and love water at the same time, can help melt ice and make heater exchangers more efficient. Recycling e-waste can be tricky, but what if we could use the by-products to  make new, stronger coatings for steel? Turning e-waste into a steel boosting coating.

  1. Rumana Hossain, Veena Sahajwalla. Material Microsurgery: Selective Synthesis of Materials via High-Temperature Chemistry for Microrecycling of Electronic Waste. ACS Omega, 2020; 5 (28): 17062 DOI: 10.1021/acsomega.0c00485
  2. Xi Yu, Yang Li, Xianfeng Wang, Yang Si, Jianyong Yu, Bin Ding. Thermoconductive, Moisture-Permeable, and Superhydrophobic Nanofibrous Membranes with Interpenetrated Boron Nitride Network for Personal Cooling Fabrics. ACS Applied Materials & Interfaces, 2020; 12 (28): 32078 DOI: 10.1021/acsami.0c04486
  3. Yashraj Gurumukhi, Shreyas Chavan, Soumyadip Sett, Kalyan Boyina, Srivasupradha Ramesh, Peter Sokalski, Kirk Fortelka, Maury Lira, Deokgeun Park, Juo-Yun Chen, Shreyas Hegde, Nenad Miljkovic. Dynamic Defrosting on Superhydrophobic and Biphilic Surfaces. Matter, 2020; DOI: 10.1016/j.matt.2020.06.029
July 27, 2020

Episode 389 - Chronic Pain, Ears, Long lasting Electrodes

Treating chronic pain through tiny electrodes in your ear. Can 3 phase like stimulating of nerves in your eye help treat chronic pain? Mapping out the inside of the ear in incredibly fine detail can help treat chronic pain. Fine tuning tiny electrodes inside the ear can help relieve chronic pain. Using a printer, tattoo paper and polymers to make long lasting electrodes. Flexible, thin and long lasting electrodes can make it easier to study the brain and the heart. Studying the brain over the long term just got easier with tattoo paper based electrodes.

  1. Babak Dabiri, Stefan Kampusch, Stefan H. Geyer, Van Hoang Le, Wolfgang J. Weninger, Jozsef Constantin Széles, Eugenijus Kaniusas. High-Resolution Episcopic Imaging for Visualization of Dermal Arteries and Nerves of the Auricular Cymba Conchae in HumansFrontiers in Neuroanatomy, 2020; 14 DOI: 10.3389/fnana.2020.00022
  2. Laura M. Ferrari, Usein Ismailov, Jean-Michel Badier, Francesco Greco, Esma Ismailova. Conducting polymer tattoo electrodes in clinical electro- and magneto-encephalographynpj Flexible Electronics, 2020; 4 (1) DOI: 10.1038/s41528-020-0067-z
July 20, 2020

Episode 388 - Cleaning, drinking and shaping water

Making water safe to drink, from evaporation to treatment. How do you simply evaporate water to make it safe? A piece of aluminium and a laser can hold the key to providing cheap and safe drinking water to the world. Pharmaceutical waste can build up in waster water, so how can it be treated? How can two little electrodes deal with the problem of pharmaceutical waste in water? Changing the course of a river can have huge consequences. What can we learn by studying the changes caused by the Panama Canal?

  1. Subhash C. Singh, Mohamed ElKabbash, Zilong Li, Xiaohan Li, Bhabesh Regmi, Matthew Madsen, Sohail A. Jalil, Zhibing Zhan, Jihua Zhang, Chunlei Guo. Solar-trackable super-wicking black metal panel for photothermal water sanitationNature Sustainability, 2020; DOI: 10.1038/s41893-020-0566-x
  2. Yassine Ouarda, Clément Trellu, Geoffroy Lesage, Matthieu Rivallin, Patrick Drogui, Marc Cretin. Electro-oxidation of secondary effluents from various wastewater plants for the removal of acetaminophen and dissolved organic matterScience of The Total Environment, 2020; 738: 140352 DOI: 10.1016/j.scitotenv.2020.140352
  3. Jorge Salgado, María I. Vélez, Catalina González-Arango, Neil L. Rose, Handong Yang, Carme Huguet, Juan S. Camacho, Aaron O'Dea. A century of limnological evolution and interactive threats in the Panama Canal: Long-term assessments from a shallow basinScience of The Total Environment, 2020; 729: 138444 DOI: 10.1016/j.scitotenv.2020.138444
July 13, 2020

Episode 387 - Black holes dancing, colliding and third wheeling

Scientists have discovered the closet black hole to Earth, but relax it's 1000 Light years away. Ever felt like a third wheel, just be thankful it's not a black hole. A binary star system that can be seen with the naked eye with a lurking black hole. Super massive  black holes are hard to get your head around but can unleash tremendous energy. When two super massive black holes dance around each other, the fireworks are spectacular. Predicting when two black holes will graze past each other helps us refine our understanding of the universe.

  1. Th. Rivinius, D. Baade, P. Hadrava, M. Heida and R. Klement. A naked-eye triple system with a nonaccreting black hole in the inner binaryAstronomy & Astrophysics, 2020 DOI: 10.1051/0004-6361/202038020
  2. Seppo Laine, Lankeswar Dey, Mauri Valtonen, A. Gopakumar, Stanislaw Zola, S. Komossa, Mark Kidger, Pauli Pihajoki, José L. Gómez, Daniel Caton, Stefano Ciprini, Marek Drozdz, Kosmas Gazeas, Vira Godunova, Shirin Haque, Felix Hildebrandt, Rene Hudec, Helen Jermak, Albert K. H. Kong, Harry Lehto, Alexios Liakos, Katsura Matsumoto, Markus Mugrauer, Tapio Pursimo, Daniel E. Reichart, Andrii Simon, Michal Siwak, Eda Sonbas. Spitzer Observations of the Predicted Eddington Flare from Blazar OJ 287The Astrophysical Journal, 2020; 894 (1): L1 DOI: 10.3847/2041-8213/ab79a4
July 6, 2020

Episode 386 - T-rex, Raptors and Giant Squid go a hunting

How fast did T-Rex really go? Was it a sprinter or an endurance runner? Being chased by a T-Rex is scary, but you have to be ready for a marathon not a sprint. T-Rex's long legs helped it be efficient rather than speedy. Did raptors hunt in packs or just near each other? What links Komodo dragons and hunting raptors? Can we figure out if raptors hunted in packs by studying their teeth? Can Komodo dragons help bust Jurrassic Park myths? We also find out about an epic battle between Giant squid and a fish trapped for eternity as fossils.

  1. T. Alexander Dececchi, Aleksandra M. Mloszewska, Thomas R. Holtz, Michael B. Habib, Hans C. E. Larsson. The fast and the frugal: Divergent locomotory strategies drive limb lengthening in theropod dinosaursPLOS ONE, 2020; 15 (5): e0223698 DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0223698
  2. J.A. Frederickson, M.H. Engel, R.L. Cifelli. Ontogenetic dietary shifts in Deinonychus antirrhopus (Theropoda; Dromaeosauridae): Insights into the ecology and social behavior of raptorial dinosaurs through stable isotope analysisPalaeogeography, Palaeoclimatology, Palaeoecology, 2020; 109780 DOI: 10.1016/j.palaeo.2020.109780
  3. University of Plymouth. (2020, May 6). Fossil reveals evidence of 200-million-year-old 'squid' attack. ScienceDaily. Retrieved May 15, 2020 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2020/05/200506133625.htm
June 29, 2020

Episode 385 - Understanding what makes water stick together

What seems simple but it's deceptively complex. What makes water molecules stick together, or ice to float on top? Water has many mysteries, like ice floating on liquid. The key lies in the energy distribution. Shooting super high frequency lasers at water can help figure out what makes ice float or water stick together. Cheap and efficient ways to clean water is essential for saving lives across the globe. How can cyrstaline sponges help soak up bad chemicals like hexavalent chromium.

  1. Martina Havenith-Newen, Raffael Schwan, Chen Qu, Devendra Mani, Nitish Pal, Gerhard Schwaab, Joel M. Bowman, Gregory Tschumper. Observation of the low frequency spectrum of water trimer as a sensitive test of the water trimer potential and the dipole moment surface. Angewandte Chemie International Edition, 2020; DOI: 10.1002/anie.202003851
  2. Bardiya Valizadeh, Tu N. Nguyen, Stavroula Kampouri, Daniel T. Sun, Mounir D. Mensi, Kyriakos Stylianou, Berend Smit, Wendy L. Queen. A novel integrated Cr(vi) adsorption–photoreduction system using MOF@polymer composite beads. Journal of Materials Chemistry A, 2020; DOI: 10.1039/d0ta01046d
June 22, 2020

Episode 384 - Plants regenerating and fighting off invaders

How do plants manage to recover from damage or fungal attacks? What happens when you shoot a laser at some cress? Studying the way plants respond to damage helps us understand their regeneration methods. Plant cells can regenerate to recover from damage, but what controls this process? Fighting off a fungal invasion means an arms race between plants and fungus. Plants like cabbage use a special mustard oil bomb to fight back against fungal invaders. Fungal invaders like white mold can render even the most sophisticate plant defences useless.

  1. Lukas Hoermayer, Juan Carlos Montesinos, Petra Marhava, Eva Benková, Saiko Yoshida, Jiří Friml. Wounding-induced changes in cellular pressure and localized auxin signalling spatially coordinate restorative divisions in rootsProceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 2020; 202003346 DOI: 10.1073/pnas.2003346117
  2. Jingyuan Chen, Chhana Ullah, Michael Reichelt, Franziska Beran, Zhi-Ling Yang, Jonathan Gershenzon, Almuth Hammerbacher, Daniel G. Vassão. The phytopathogenic fungus Sclerotinia sclerotiorum detoxifies plant glucosinolate hydrolysis products via an isothiocyanate hydrolaseNature Communications, 2020; 11 (1) DOI: 10.1038/s41467-020-16921-2
June 15, 2020

Episode 383 - Pulsars and fast radio bursts

From pulsars to fast radio bursts, we look at interstellar mysteries. Just how do Pulsars work? How long does it take for a Pulsar to be fed by surrounding matter? All that accretion disk matter spillaring around a Pulsar takes a long time to get there. What are Fast Radio Bursts? mysterious signals from deep space, or wobbly highly magnetised neutron stars? Magnetars, fast radio bursts and flares. What causes a fast radio burst in space to repeat?

  1. D R Lorimer, E F Keane, A Karastergiou, M Caleb, R P Breton, C G Bassa, D Agarwal, V Morello, B W Stappers, M B Mickaliger, K M Rajwade. Possible periodic activity in the repeating FRB 121102Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society, 2020; 495 (4): 3551 DOI: 10.1093/mnras/staa1237
  2. Brian D Metzger, Ben Margalit, Lorenzo Sironi, Fast radio bursts as synchrotron maser emission from decelerating relativistic blast waves, Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society, Volume 485, Issue 3, May 2019, Pages 4091–4106, https://doi.org/10.1093/mnras/stz700
  3. Hall, S., & Quanta Magazine. (n.d.). A Surprise Discovery Points to the Source of Fast Radio Bursts. Retrieved June 13, 2020, from https://www.quantamagazine.org/a-surprise-discovery-shows-magnetars-create-fast-radio-bursts-20200611/
  4. Monash University. (2020, June 3). Astronomers capture a pulsar 'powering up'. ScienceDaily. Retrieved June 13, 2020 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2020/06/200603104549.htm
  5. A. J. Goodwin and D. M. Russell and D. K. Galloway et al, A 12 day delay between optical and X-ray activity during outburst rise in a low-mass X-ray binary, arXiv, astro-ph.HE, 2006.02872, 2020