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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.

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