Physics

Cells move as concentration shifts

What do wound healing, cancer metastasis, and bacteria colonies have in common? They all involve the collective displacement of biological cells. New research sheds some new light on the physical mechanisms provoking the displacement of a sheet of cell, known as an epithelium. It typically covers our organs including the stomach and intestine, as well as our epidermis.

Unraveling genetic networks

If genes are the currency of life, then the whole economies are genetic networks, which include genes as well as the complex webs of interactions and interconnections between them. Genetic networks are integrally important to the proper development and functioning of an organism, just as genes are, but they tend to be far more complex and difficult to understand.

Ask Discover: Does Dark Matter Affect the Navigation of a Spacecraft?

This question came up as part of a new Q&A column running monthly in DISCOVER magazine. I love responding to reader queries; answering them in a meaningful way almost always leads to some interesting new ideas. So please, keep the questions coming!

On to the answer part. You might think that dark matter would be a significant factor when NASA plots the kind of trajectories that sent Cassini to Saturn, or the New Horizons spacecraft on its way to a 2015 rendezvous with Pluto. But as wi

Tetrapod nanocrystals light the way to stronger polymers

Researchers have developed advanced opto-mechanical stress probes based on tetrapod quantum dots (tQDs) that allow precise measurement of the tensile strength of polymer fibers with minimal impact on the polymer's mechanical properties. These fluorescent tQDs could lead to stronger, self-repairing polymer nanocomposites.

Physicists use dysprosium to put bounds on maximum speed of electrons

Albert Einstein's assertion that there's an ultimate speed limit – the speed of light – has withstood countless tests over the past 100 years, but that didn't stop University of California, Berkeley, postdoc Michael Hohensee and graduate student Nathan Leefer from checking whether some particles break this law.

Experimental quest to test Einstein's speed limit

Special relativity states that the speed of light is the same in all frames of reference and that nothing can exceed that limit. UC Berkeley physicists used a novel experimental system -- the unusual electron orbitals of dysprosium -- to test whether the maximum speed of electrons follows this rule. The answer is yes, to tighter limits than ever before. They plan another experiment a thousand times more sensitive, approaching the realm where theory may break down.

When fluid dynamics mimic quantum mechanics

Researchers expand the range of quantum behaviors that can be replicated in fluidic systems, offering a new perspective on wave-particle duality.

NASA and Korean Space Agency Discuss Space Cooperation

NASA Administrator Charles Bolden and the president of the Korea Aerospace Research Institute (KARI), Seung Jo Kim, met in Washington Monday to discuss collaboration in aeronautics research and space exploration, including KARI's robotic lunar mission and NASA's asteroid initiative.

NASA Welcomes New Chief Scientist

NASA Administrator Charles Bolden has named planetary geologist Ellen Stofan the agency's chief scientist, effective Aug. 25.

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