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Latest and Breaking Chemistry & Physics News

New molecular target identified for treating cerebral malaria
(Harvard School of Public Health) A drug already approved for treating other diseases may be useful as a treatment for cerebral malaria, according to researchers at Harvard T. H. Chan School of Public Health. They discovered a novel link between food intake during the early stages of infection and the outcome of the disease, identifying two molecular pathways that could serve as new targets for treatment.

Crystal light: New light-converting materials point to cheaper, more efficient solar power
(University of Toronto Faculty of Applied Science & Engineering) Engineers have shone new light on an emerging family of solar-absorbing materials that could clear the way for cheaper and more efficient solar panels and LEDs. The materials, called perovskites, are particularly good at absorbing visible light, but had never been thoroughly studied in their purest form: as perfect single crystals. Using a new technique, researchers grew large, pure perovskite crystals and studied how electrons move through the material as light is converted to electricity.

Complex environments push 'brain' evolution
(University of Wisconsin-Madison) Little animations trying to master a computer game are teaching neuroscience researchers how the brain evolves when faced with difficult tasks. Neuroscientists at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and Michigan State University have programmed animated critters that they call 'animats.' The critters have a rudimentary neural system made of eight nodes: two sensors, two motors, and four internal computers that coordinate sensation, movement and memory.

Where did the missing oil go? New FSU study says some is sitting on the Gulf floor
(Florida State University) A new study led by Florida State University professor of oceanography Jeff Chanton finds that some 6 million to 10 million gallons of oil from the BP oil spill are buried in the sediment on the Gulf floor, about 62 miles southeast of the Mississippi Delta.

Generating Möbius strips of light
(University of Rochester) A collaboration of researchers from Canada, Europe and the USA have experimentally produced Mbius strips from the polarization of light, confirming a theoretical prediction that it is possible for light's electromagnetic field to assume this peculiar shape.

Los Alamos develops new technique for growing high-efficiency perovskite solar cells
(DOE/Los Alamos National Laboratory) Los Alamos National Laboratory researchers reveal a new solution-based hot-casting technique that allows growth of highly efficient and reproducible solar cells from large-area perovskite crystals.

Powerful tool promises to change the way scientists view proteins
(Garvan Institute of Medical Research) Life scientists now have access to a publicly available web resource that streamlines and simplifies the process of gleaning insight from 3-D protein structures. Aquaria, as it's known, is fast, easy-to-use and contains twice as many models as all other similar resources combined.

Erectile dysfunction drugs could protect liver from sepsis-induced damage, says Pitt team
(University of Pittsburgh Schools of the Health Sciences) Drugs that are on the market to treat erectile dysfunction could have another use: they might be able to protect the liver from damage caused by sepsis, a systemic inflammatory response to infection, say researchers at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine. They recently published their findings in Science Signaling.

In a role reversal, RNAs proofread themselves
(Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory) Building a protein is a lot like a game of telephone: information is passed along from one messenger to another, creating the potential for errors. Enzymatic machines proofread at each step, and scientists at CSHL have uncovered a new quality control mechanism along this path. But in a remarkable role reversal, the proofreading isn't done by an enzyme. Instead, one of the messengers itself has a built-in mechanism to prevent errors.

CAT scan of nearby supernova remnant reveals frothy interior
(Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics) Cassiopeia A, or Cas A for short, is one of the most well studied supernova remnants in our galaxy. But it still holds major surprises. Harvard-Smithsonian and Dartmouth College astronomers have generated a new 3-D map of its interior using the astronomical equivalent of a CAT scan. They found that the Cas A supernova remnant is composed of a collection of about a half dozen massive cavities -- or 'bubbles.'

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