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Category: Science & Medicine

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.

June 25, 2018

Episode 280 - Nanodiamonds, Stardust, Comets and erasing Stars

Astronomy can be quite beautiful at times. From nano-diamonds giving the galaxy a shimmering glow, to stardust leftover from the creation of the solar system hitching a ride on a coment. We also find out about new ways to hunt for exoplanets by erasing stars with filters.

  1. Hope A. Ishii, John P. Bradley, Hans A. Bechtel, Donald E. Brownlee, Karen C. Bustillo, James Ciston, Jeffrey N. Cuzzi, Christine Floss, David J. Joswiak. Multiple generations of grain aggregation in different environments preceded solar system body formation. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 2018; 201720167 DOI: 10.1073/pnas.1720167115
  2. J. S. Greaves, A. M. M. Scaife, D. T. Frayer, D. A. Green, B. S. Mason, A. M. S. Smith. Anomalous microwave emission from spinning nanodiamonds around stars. Nature Astronomy, 2018; DOI: 10.1038/s41550-018-0495-z
  3. H.J. Hoeijmakers, H. Schwarz, I.A.G. Snellen, R.J. de Kok, M. Bonnefoy, G. Chauvin, A.M. Lagrange, J.H. Girard. Medium-resolution integral-field spectroscopy for high-contrast exoplanet imaging: Molecule maps of the beta Pictoris system with SINFONI. Astronomy & Astrophysics, 2018; DOI: 10.1051/0004-6361/201832902
  4. Image Credit: S. Dagnello, NRAO/AUI/NSF
June 18, 2018

Episode 279 - Helping farmers fight back against climate change

How can we feed the planet? What can we do to improve our crop yields particularly for the staples like rice and corn? How can NASA help farmers deal with a changing climate? 


  1. Cacious Stanford Nyakurwa, Edmore Gasura, Peter S. Setimela, Stanford Mabasa, Joyful Tatenda Rugare, Simbarashe Mutsvanga. Reaction of New Quality Protein Maize Genotypes toCrop Science, 2018; 58 (3): 1201 DOI: 10.2135/cropsci2017.10.0639
  2. Eduardo Anibele Streck, Ariano Martins de Magalhaes, Gabriel Almeida Aguiar, Paulo Karling Henrique Facchinello, Paulo Ricardo Reis Fagundes, Daniel Fernandes Franco, Maicon Nardino, Antônio Costa de Oliveira. Genetic Progress in 45 Years of Irrigated Rice Breeding in Southern BrazilCrop Science, 2018; 58 (3): 1094 DOI: 10.2135/cropsci2017.06.0383
  3. NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center. (2018, June 1). NASA soil moisture data advances global crop forecasts. ScienceDaily. Retrieved June 15, 2018 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2018/06/180601134729.htm
June 18, 2018

Episode 279 - Helping farmers fight back against climate change

June 11, 2018

Episode 278 - Lasers combs for wifi and detecting smells

Everyone loves lasers! From science fiction to the military and even scientists in labs. This week we look at using lasers to solve some unusual problems. From something deceptively simple as how to describe a smell to the complexities of better data transmission over WiFi.

  1. Sarah K. Scholten, Christopher Perrella, James D. Anstie, Richard T. White, Waddah Al-Ashwal, Nicolas Bourbeau Hébert, Jérôme Genest, Andre N. Luiten. Number-Density Measurements of CO2 in Real Time with an Optical Frequency Comb for High Accuracy and Precision. Physical Review Applied, 2018; 9 (5) DOI: 10.1103/PhysRevApplied.9.054043
  2. Marco Piccardo, Dmitry Kazakov, Noah A. Rubin, Paul Chevalier, Yongrui Wang, Feng Xie, Kevin Lascola, Alexey Belyanin, Federico Capasso. Time-dependent population inversion gratings in laser frequency combs. Optica, 2018; 5 (4): 475 DOI: 10.1364/OPTICA.5.000475
  3. Image: Extreme ultraviolet (EUV) frequency comb, : Baxley/JILA, 2012, www.nist.gov/pml/div689/euv_comb.cfm
June 4, 2018

Episode 277 - Breaking down the brain and figuring out how the pieces work

Our brains are incredibly complex machines, running millions of calculations in no time at all. But how do these fantastic circuits work? If you follow AI and computer science you may have heard of a ''neural net'' style program which mimics how the brain learns, but really, how do the messages get passed between neurons along such networks? Does shape matter? Can we study individual pathways? What happens if you try and pulse the brain to give it a boost? We find out about neurons, their networks and more.



  1. Shotaro Yoshida, Midori Kato-Negishi, Shoji Takeuchi. Assembly and Connection of Micropatterned Single Neurons for Neuronal Network FormationMicromachines, 2018; 9 (5): 235 DOI: 10.3390/mi9050235
  2. Fong Kuan Wong, Kinga Bercsenyi, Varun Sreenivasan, Adrián Portalés, Marian Fernández-Otero, Oscar Marín. Pyramidal cell regulation of interneuron survival sculpts cortical networksNature, 2018; 557 (7707): 668 DOI: 10.1038/s41586-018-0139-6
  3. Nicole C Swann, Coralie de Hemptinne, Margaret C Thompson, Svjetlana Miocinovic, Andrew M Miller, Ro’ee Gilron, Jill L Ostrem, Howard J Chizeck, Philip A Starr. Adaptive deep brain stimulation for Parkinson’s disease using motor cortex sensingJournal of Neural Engineering, 2018; 15 (4): 046006 DOI: 10.1088/1741-2552/aabc9b