Physics

Neutron-rich nucleus shapeshifts between a rugby ball and a discus

There are two coexisting, competing quantum shapes at low energy in 98Kr, never before seen for neutron-rich Kr isotopes, report scientists. The team also showed that these isotopes experience a gentle onset of deformation with added neutrons, in sharp contrast with neighboring isotopes of rubidium, strontium, and zirconium, which change shapes suddenly at neutron number 60. This study marks a decisive step towards an understanding of the limits of this quantum phase transition region.

Magnetic nanoknots evoke Lord Kelvin's vortex theory of atoms

(Phys.org)—In the late 1800s when scientists were still trying to figure out what exactly atoms are, one of the leading theories, proposed by Lord Kelvin, was that atoms are knots of swirling vortices in the aether. Although this idea turned out to be completely wrong, it ushered in modern knot theory, which today is used in various areas of science such as fluid dynamics, the structure of DNA, and the concept of chirality.

A single electron's tiny leap sets off 'molecular sunscreen' response

In experiments at the Department of Energy's SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory, scientists were able to see the first step of a process that protects a DNA building block called thymine from sun damage: When it's hit with ultraviolet light, a single electron jumps into a slightly higher orbit around the nucleus of a single oxygen atom.

Neutron-rich nucleus shapeshifts between a rugby ball and a discus

An international team led by scientists from IPN Orsay (CNRS/Université Paris-Sud), CEA, and RIKEN (Japan) has performed the first spectroscopy of the extremely neutron-rich isotopes krypton 98 and 100. This experiment showed that there are two coexisting, competing quantum shapes at low energy in 98Kr, never before seen for neutron-rich Kr isotopes. The team also showed that these isotopes experience a gentle onset of deformation with added neutrons, in sharp contrast with neighboring isotopes of rubidium, strontium, and zirconium, which change shapes suddenly at neutron number 60.

NASA Awards Contract for Atmospheric Trace-Gas Monitoring Mission

NASA has awarded a contract to the University of Oklahoma in Norman for a first-of-its-kind Earth science mission that will extend our nation’s lead in measuring key carbon-based greenhouse gases and vegetation health from space to advance our understanding of Earth’s natural exchanges of carbon between the land, atmosphere and ocean.

Single electron's tiny leap sets off 'molecular sunscreen' response

Scientists have seen the first step of a process that protects a DNA building block called thymine from sun damage: When it's hit with ultraviolet light, a single electron jumps into a slightly higher orbit around the nucleus of a single oxygen atom.

Piling on pressure solves enduring mystery about metal's makeup

Extreme pressure experiments and powerful supercomputing have enabled scientists to solve a decades-old puzzle about the fundamental properties of the widely used metal lithium.

Quantum thermometer or optical refrigerator?

In an arranged marriage of optics and mechanics, physicists have created microscopic structural beams that have a variety of powerful uses when light strikes them.

NASA Opens Media Credentialing for Sept. 15 Cassini Saturn Finale

Media accreditation is now open for events around the conclusion of Cassini's mission at Saturn. The spacecraft, which has explored the ringed planet and its moons since 2004, will make a fateful plunge into Saturn's atmosphere on Sept. 15, ending its long and discovery-rich mission.

NASA Selects Logistics Management Services Contractor

NASA has selected Lockwood Hills Federal, LLC of Herndon, Virginia, to provide institutional logistics management services for the agency’s Ames Research Center in Moffett Field, California.

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