Science

    • Lasers that can twist?

      Lasers that can twist?

      When talking about lasers, it's common knowledge that it goes a straight line. However, that isn't the case for the new laser, developed by the University of Witwatersrand. Instead, researchers have demonstrated the world's first metasurface laser that produces "super-chiral light" - light with ultra-high angular momentum.

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    • Nuclear fusion might be solved thanks to cutting-edge AI

      Nuclear fusion might be solved thanks to cutting-edge AI

      Scientists believe the world will see it’s first working thermonuclear fusion reactor by the year 2025, mostly in the face of ITER - the international nuclear fusion research and engineering megaproject. That’s a tall order in short form, however, especially when you consider that fusion has been “almost here” for nearly a century.

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    • In order for the quarantine to work, 80% of people need to do it

      In order for the quarantine to work, 80% of people need to do it

      Strong social distancing measures can curb the pandemic in 13 weeks or so - but only if 80% of the people do it, a new study claims. If 70% or less do it, the pandemic may not be curbed. The numbers were calculated for Australia’s demographics, but they carry important lessons for the entire world, and the numbers are likely not that different for other countries.

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    • In the hope of a coronavirus treatment

      In the hope of a coronavirus treatment

      An antiviral originally designed to tackle Ebola. An anti-malarial treatment dating back to World War II. A drug combo already used against HIV. A molecule involved in regulating inflammation in the body tested on marmosets. You might ask what all of these drugs have in common? Well, according to the World Health Organisation, these compounds have the highest likelihood of working against Covid-19. Thus, they are all on focus on WHO's megatrial, called SOLIDARITY. 

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    • DeepMind unlocks secret of human brain

      DeepMind unlocks secret of human brain

      Developments in artificial intelligence often draw inspiration from how humans think, but now AI has turned the tables to teach us about how brains learn. In a paper published in Nature last week, DeepMind, Alphabet’s AI subsidiary, has used lessons from reinforcement learning to propose a new revolutionary theory about the reward mechanisms within our brains. 

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    • Meet the xenobots: the very first 'living' robots

      Meet the xenobots: the very first 'living' robots

      In another lifetime, if they had been allowed to follow their natural development, the stem cells taken from embryonic frogs would have turned into skin and heart tissue within living, breathing animals. Instead, in configurations designed by algorithms and constructed by humans, those cells have been assembled into something new and immensely revolutionary: the first-ever robots constructed entirely out of living cells.

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    • Sun yields its secrets to Parker Solar Probe

      Sun yields its secrets to Parker Solar Probe

      NASA's Parker Solar Probe made the closest ever flyby of the Sun in August 2018, collecting massive amounts of data using cutting-edge scientific instruments from a distance of 15 million miles - a mission that also, incidentally, set the record for the fastest-ever human-made object of all time.

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    • The future of humanity through the eyes of science

      The future of humanity through the eyes of science

      Next week, the Ratio forum for popular science will once again bring together a plethora of international lecturers tasked with translating the beauty of science into everyday language. In the seven years since its inception, the forum has been able to attract lecturers from all around the world, who have revealed to its audience mysteries like where extraterrestrial life hides; how humankind can colonise Space; what mathematics models, dead people and malaria have in common; the psychology of ghosts; how the brain neurons work and so on and so forth.

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    • NASA's James Webb Space Telescope is finally complete

      NASA's James Webb Space Telescope is finally complete

      Following more than two decades of design and construction, engineers have now finally put the last remaining pieces in place for NASA’s next generation orbiting observatory, the James Webb Space Telescope. Built to succeed Hubble as NASA’s premier space telescope, the now-complete instrument will take our space exploration capabilities to whole new levels, with the sensitivity to spot a single firefly a million kilometers away.

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