Another Higgs rumor reminds us how science is correctly done

first_img More information: via: Discovery News Large Hadron Collider experiments bring new insight into primordial universe Citation: Another Higgs rumor reminds us how science is correctly done (2011, April 25) retrieved 18 August 2019 from The Atlas detector at the LHC at CERN in Geneva, Switzerland. Image credit: LHC. ( — With the Large Hadron Collidor (LHC) running smoothly for well over a year now, the excitement surrounding the possibility for the discovery of new physics has generated a few rumors – speculations that have not been published in peer-reviewed journals. The latest came last week, when an anonymous person posted the abstract of a note on Columbia University mathematician Peter Woit’s blog that claimed an intriguing observation. Explore further © 2010 The abstract, which comes from an internal note from the ATLAS experiment at CERN, claims to have observed a resonance at 115 GeV. “This large enhancement over the standard model rate implies that the present result is the first definitive observation of physics beyond the standard model,” the memo says. “Exciting new physics, including new particles, may be expected to be found in the very near future.”As Woit noted, the resonance could signify the much anticipated Higgs boson: “It’s the sort of thing you would expect to see if there were a Higgs at that mass, but the number of events seen is about 30 times more than the standard model would predict.”When the Nature blog The Great Beyond asked ATLAS spokesperson Fabiola Gianotti about the rumor, she said that these kinds of signals frequently appear during data analysis, and are later falsified after more detailed scrutiny.“Only official ATLAS results, i.e. results that have undergone all the necessary scientific checks by the Collaboration, should be taken seriously,” she said.Other scientists have emphasized that it’s simply unscientific to publicly discuss internal material before the collaboration officially publishes a result. In the case of ATLAS, the collaboration involves 3,000 scientists from around the world who work together to analyze every detail of the data.So why publicize the rumors in the first place? For Woit, who decided to write a full blog post on the comment he received, the reason is to expose the rumor for what it is.“I’ve generally taken the point of view that it’s not my job to stop rumors, but rather to put out accurate information about them when available to me,” he wrote.In the meantime, everyone not involved in the ATLAS collaboration might just let those scientists do their work in peace, and wait patiently for an official publication before discussing the research. This document is subject to copyright. Apart from any fair dealing for the purpose of private study or research, no part may be reproduced without the written permission. The content is provided for information purposes only.last_img read more

DNA analysis suggests colugos are part of a primate sister group

first_imgA photo of a colugo, with young. Credit: Norman Lim Journal information: Science Advances More information: V. C. Mason et al. Genomic analysis reveals hidden biodiversity within colugos, the sister group to primates, Science Advances (2016). DOI: 10.1126/sciadv.1600633AbstractColugos are among the most poorly studied mammals despite their centrality to resolving supraordinal primate relationships. Two described species of these gliding mammals are the sole living members of the order Dermoptera, distributed throughout Southeast Asia. We generated a draft genome sequence for a Sunda colugo and a Philippine colugo reference alignment, and used these to identify colugo-specific genetic changes that were enriched in sensory and musculoskeletal-related genes that likely underlie their nocturnal and gliding adaptations. Phylogenomic analysis and catalogs of rare genomic changes overwhelmingly support the contested hypothesis that colugos are the sister group to primates (Primatomorpha), to the exclusion of treeshrews. We captured ~140 kb of orthologous sequence data from colugo museum specimens sampled across their range and identified large genetic differences between many geographically isolated populations that may result in a >300% increase in the number of recognized colugo species. Our results identify conservation units to mitigate future losses of this enigmatic mammalian order. © 2016 Explore further (—An international team of researchers has found genetic evidence that suggests that colugos are part of a primate sister group. In their paper published in the journal Science Advances, the team describes how they obtained tissue samples of the gliding mammals, performed genetic testing on them and found a surprising relationship between them and primates. Citation: DNA analysis suggests colugos are part of a primate sister group (2016, August 15) retrieved 18 August 2019 from This document is subject to copyright. Apart from any fair dealing for the purpose of private study or research, no part may be reproduced without the written permission. The content is provided for information purposes only. Scientists and casual observers alike have debated for some time the family tree of colugos (also known as flying lemurs)—many have suggested they are most closely related to tree shews due to a physical resemblance. They look a lot like bats, with stretchable membrane-like wings, but unlike bats, they cannot fly—instead they leap off branches and glide through the air in a way reminiscent of flying squirrels. They live in the treetops in remote parts of Asia and because of that have been notoriously difficult to study—making things even more difficult is their failure to survive for long in captivity. In this new effort the researchers sought to solve the question of their ancestry by conducting a DNA analysis on an available tissue sample from a specimen from West Java.Their analysis consisted of using illumine instruments to sequence DNA from the sample which they used to create a genome assembly. In so doing they were able to identify 23,081 protein-coding genes which they then promptly compared to sequences made of other 21 mammals. They report that their analysis revealed colugos split off from other mammals approximately 80 million years ago and that the comparisons uncovered a relationship close enough to primates to call them a sister group. The team also tested tissue from a variety of colugo museum samples and in so doing discovered that there are far more species of colugos than anyone had imagined, from as few as 7 to perhaps 14.The findings by the team are expected to contribute to a growing base of information related to the evolution of the earliest primates and may also help better understand the genetic origins of some modern human maladies—they found signs of positive selection in the colugos, for example, that if present in other mammals, may have led to night blindness and retinal degeneration. Functional gene evolution and positive selection in colugos and ancestral primates. Colugo gliding with patagium fully extended. Credit: Mason et al. Sci. Adv. 2016; 2 : e1600633 Colugos glide to save time, not energylast_img read more

Functionalizing unactivated alkanes using reactions based on catalysts made from moreabundant materials

first_img Currently, unactivated alkanes are considered difficult to functionalize—most use an approach that involves opening hydrocarbon C-H bonds using a process involving precious and expensive metals. In this new effort, the team has found a way to use silicon and boron as catalysts instead. This is important because of the industry need to convert alkanes such as natural gas and petroleum to more valuable products.Alkanes do react relatively easily at high temperatures, as is seen in internal combustions engines, but such reactions are considered to be extremely difficult to control. Functionalizing alkanes allows for gaining more from them than just their energy potential, it allows for extracting components that can be used as precursors for the creation of rare chemicals which, in some cases, are considerably more valuable. Because they are relatively inert, and the bonds between the carbon and hydrogen are strong, they are difficult to functionalize. To break those strong bonds, the team made even stronger ones.The group started with benzene rings, preparing them with silicon and fluorine substitutes. They next primed a cycle using additional activated silicon, which they paired with carborane—this forced the fluorine to create an aryl intermediate which was able to break the C-H alkane bonds (which notably included methane). The resultant ring then released silicon, which kept the reaction proceeding. The team notes that the reaction can be conducted under temperature ranges from 30° to 100°C. It is not yet clear whether the process can be scaled to be cost effective, but if so, it could lead to a drop in prices for some products, particularly those based on increasingly abundant natural gas.The group is scheduled to give a presentation regarding their work at the next ACS meeting. Reactions involving putative phenyl cations. (A) Mascarelli’s reaction (12). (B) Siegel’s intramolecular Friedel-Crafts reaction of aryl fluorides (15). (C) Our dual C–F/C–H functionalization strategy. R = ethyl or triisopropyl; R1 = aryl, alkyl, halide, or silyl ether; WCA, weakly coordinating anion; TMS, trimethylsilyl; Mes, mesityl; Me, methyl; cat., catalytic. Credit: (c) Science (2017). DOI: 10.1126/science.aam7975 Explore further Researchers devise new, lower cost method to create more usable fuels © 2017 More information: Brian Shao et al. Arylation of hydrocarbons enabled by organosilicon reagents and weakly coordinating anions, Science (2017). DOI: 10.1126/science.aam7975AbstractOver the past 80 years, phenyl cation intermediates have been implicated in a variety of C–H arylation reactions. Although these examples have inspired several theoretical and mechanistic studies, aryl cation equivalents have received limited attention in organic methodology. Their high-energy, promiscuous reactivity profiles have hampered applications in selective intermolecular processes. We report a reaction design that overcomes these challenges. Specifically, we found that β-silicon–stabilized aryl cation equivalents, generated via silylium-mediated fluoride activation, undergo insertion into sp3 and sp2 C–H bonds. This reaction manifold provides a framework for the catalytic arylation of hydrocarbons, including simple alkanes such as methane. This process uses low loadings of Earth-abundant initiators (1 to 5 mole percent) and occurs under mild conditions (30° to 100°C).center_img (—A team of chemists at the University of California has developed a cheaper way to functionalize unactivated alkanes (hydrocarbons such as ethane, methane and propane) by using much more abundant catalysts. In their paper published in the journal Science, the team describes the reaction design they created that overcomes prior challenges related to high-energy reactivity profiles. This document is subject to copyright. Apart from any fair dealing for the purpose of private study or research, no part may be reproduced without the written permission. The content is provided for information purposes only. Journal information: Science Citation: Functionalizing unactivated alkanes using reactions based on catalysts made from more-abundant materials (2017, March 31) retrieved 18 August 2019 from read more

Researchers isolate hydrogen fluoride and water to understand acid dissolution

first_img This document is subject to copyright. Apart from any fair dealing for the purpose of private study or research, no part may be reproduced without the written permission. The content is provided for information purposes only. To understand the fundamental mechanism behind acid dissolution, Zhang et al. from the Institute for Chemical Research at Kyoto University encapsulated HF, as well as HF•H2O and H2O within a C70 fullerene. They found that in order to force the molecules into the open fullerene cavity, the molecules required “pushing from the outside” using high pressure conditions, and “pulling from the inside” via molecular interactions between HF and H2O. They were able to identify how hydrogen bonding occurred between these two molecules. Their work appears in Science Advances.Prior work by Zhang et al. showed that the C70 fullerene could be opened in a three-step process that involved the addition of a pyridazine derivative either to the alpha or beta bonds on the C70. This created a 13-member ring opening that formed slightly different compounds, denoted by α-13mem and β-13mem. Dehydration of both compounds resulted in a 16-member ring opening. The ring could be closed again via hydrolysis and a two-step process. β-16mem was large enough to capture H2O, but α-16mem was not. Given these results from previous studies, for the current study, Zhang et al. used α-16mem to try to encapsulate HF. Instead, they found three different possibilities within the fullerenes: HF@C70, (HF•H2O)@C70, and H2O@C70.Their reaction conditions required high pressure (9000 atm) to “push” the guest molecule into the α-16mem cavity. Time-dependent studies showed that HF filled the cavity first, followed by H2O•HF, and then H2O. Notably, the open cage did not entrap H2O when HF was not present, indicating that the interaction between H2O and HF prompted H2O encapsulation. Further studies showed that HF is “pulling” H2O into the cavity while the high pressure environment “pushes” it into the cavity.This process allowed the authors to study the interaction between H2O and HF within a confined environment using 1H NMR. NMR analysis showed that that the (H2O•HF)@C70 was down-shifted from H2O@C70 and HF@C70, which indicated hydrogen bonding. Furthermore, shift and coupling values indicated that oxygen was acting as the hydrogen-bond acceptor.Using single-crystal x-ray diffraction, Zhang et al. demonstrated the structure of the (HF•H2O)@C70, and report the first x-ray structure for doubly encapsulated C70. These analyses and experimental studies confirmed that the H+ ion in HF forms a linear hydrogen bond with the O in H2O. Additionally, compared to theoretical calculations of free H2O and HF, the studies of the encapsulated molecules revealed close contact with hydrogen and oxygen that may be characteristic of H3O+•F-.The C70 fullerene derivative provides an excellent nanoenvironment for studying isolated chemical species, something that has not been available to chemists in the past. This isolated environment allowed the authors to investigate the interactions of two compounds without interference from the surrounding environment and provided important insights into a ubiquitous chemical process. Citation: Researchers isolate hydrogen fluoride and water to understand acid dissolution (2017, May 10) retrieved 18 August 2019 from © 2017 Explore further More information: Rui Zhang et al. Isolation of the simplest hydrated acid, Science Advances (2017). DOI: 10.1126/sciadv.1602833AbstractDissociation of an acid molecule in aqueous media is one of the most fundamental solvation processes but its details remain poorly understood at the distinct molecular level. Conducting high-pressure treatments of an open-cage fullerene C70 derivative with hydrogen fluoride (HF) in the presence of H2O, we achieved an unprecedented encapsulation of H2O·HF and H2O. Restoration of the opening yielded the endohedral C70s, that is, (H2O·HF)@C70, H2O@C70, and HF@C70 in macroscopic scales. Putting an H2O·HF complex into the fullerene cage was a crucial step, and it would proceed by the synergistic effects of “pushing from outside” and “pulling from inside.” The structure of the H2O·HF was unambiguously determined by single crystal x-ray diffraction analysis. The nuclear magnetic resonance measurements revealed the formation of a hydrogen bond between the H2O and HF molecules without proton transfer even at 140°C.center_img Journal information: Science Advances (—Beginning level chemistry classes learn about Brønsted-Lowry acids. These acids dissociate in water to form an H+ ion and a negatively charged counterion. While this is a fundamental lesson, the actual mechanism of dissolution is a bit of a mystery. The H+ molecule combines with water to form H3O+, but the number of water molecules needed to hydrate the simplest acid, HF, is unknown. Attempts to isolate HF and H2O are difficult, largely because of the high reactivity of HF and the tendency of water to form hydrogen bonds. Credit: Zhang et al. Water dimer captured inside a fullerene-C70last_img read more

Maxwells demon extracts work from quantum measurement

first_imgThe new Maxwell’s demon extracts work from a system by making a quantum measurement. Credit: Elouard et al. ©2017 American Physical Society © 2017 The team of Alexia Auffèves at CNRS and Université Grenoble Alpes have published a paper on the new Maxwell’s demon in a recent issue of Physical Review Letters.”In the classical world, thermodynamics teaches us how to extract energy from thermal fluctuations induced on a large system (such as a gas or water) by coupling it to a hot source,” Auffèves told “In the quantum world, the systems are small, and they can fluctuate—even if they are not hot, but simply because they are measured. In our paper, we show that it is possible to extract energy from these genuinely quantum fluctuations, induced by quantum measurement.” In the years since James Clerk Maxwell proposed the first demon around 1870, many other versions have been theoretically and experimentally investigated. Most recently, physicists have begun investigating Maxwell’s demons that operate in the quantum regime, which could one day have implications for quantum information technologies.Most quantum versions of the demon have a couple things in common: They are thermally driven by a heat bath, and the demon makes measurements to extract information only. The measurements do not actually extract any work, but rather the information gained by the measurements allows the demon to act on the system so that energy is always extracted from the cycle.The new Maxwell’s demon differs from previous versions in that there is no heat bath—the demon is not thermally driven, but measurement-driven. Also, the measurements have multiple purposes: They not only extract information about the state of the system, but they are also the “fuel” for extracting work from the system. This is because, when the demon performs a measurement on a qubit in the proposed system, the measurement projects the qubit from one state into a superposition of states, which provides energy to the qubit simply due to the measurement process. In their paper, the physicists proposed an experiment in which projective quantum non-demolition measurements can be performed with light pulses repeated every 70 nanoseconds or so. Since recent experiments have already demonstrated the possibility of performing measurements at such high frequencies, the physicists expect that the new Maxwell’s demon could be readily implemented using existing technology. In the future, they also plan to investigate potential applications for quantum computing.”This engine is a perfect proof of concept evidencing that quantum measurement has some energetic footprint,” Auffèves said. “Now I would like to reverse the game and use this effect to estimate the energetic cost of quantum tasks, if they are performed in the presence of some measuring entity. This is the case in a quantum computer, which is continuously ‘measured’ by its surroundings. This effect is called decoherence and is the biggest enemy of quantum computation. Our work provides tools to estimate the energy needed to counteract it.” This document is subject to copyright. Apart from any fair dealing for the purpose of private study or research, no part may be reproduced without the written permission. The content is provided for information purposes only. (—Physicists have proposed a new type of Maxwell’s demon—the hypothetical agent that extracts work from a system by decreasing the system’s entropy—in which the demon can extract work just by making a measurement, by taking advantage of quantum fluctuations and quantum superposition. More information: Cyril Elouard et al. “Extracting Work from Quantum Measurement in Maxwell’s Demon Engines.” Physical Review Letters. DOI: 10.1103/PhysRevLett.118.260603, Also at arXiv:1702.01917 [quant-ph]center_img Physicists read Maxwell’s Demon’s mind Journal information: Physical Review Letters Citation: Maxwell’s demon extracts work from quantum measurement (2017, July 10) retrieved 18 August 2019 from Explore furtherlast_img read more

An evening with royals

first_imgThey recently hosted the performance of  Aamir Raza and Virat Hussain’s play Mehernama.The hotel played a perfect host to theatre doyens and impresarios Aamir Raza Husain and his wife Virat Husain and the guests enjoyed the splendid performance and rounded off the lovely evening with cocktails and scrumptious delicacies.A close knit group of  theatre lovers sat mesmerized as each scene unfolded and took everyone down the lanes of history. The gathering of 400 guests were completely in awe of the magnificent set depicting the emperor’s palace that reflected exquisite craftsmanship. Also Read – ‘Playing Jojo was emotionally exhausting’The  fine  performance  by  the artists and the witty one liners in between added to the richness of the experience. The play took the audience back in history where they got a chance to witness the story of Empress Nur Jahan unfold in front of their eyes on stage.It was not just a lesson in history, it was an artistic celebration of the rich Mughal culture and opulence the country once witnessed.This  play  is  an  extravagant  drama  on the life of Nur Jahan. born as Mehr-un-Nissa, was Empress of the Mughal Empire as the chief consort of Emperor Jahangir. A strong, charismatic and well-educated woman, she is considered to be one of the most powerful and influential women of the 17th century Mughal Empire.Nur Jahan remains the only empress of india whose name appears on the coinage and currency  of  Hindu stan.  For eighteen years she ruled this country without fear or favor, and became a model of powerful medieval womanhood.  Mehernama is  a  Love saga between  Emperor  Jahangir  and Empress Nur Jahan and is beautifully  directed  and designed by the Husains.last_img read more

Ode to spring

first_imgSpring, the season of life and rebirth, comes with an eternal treasure of bliss for mankind. Getting up in the early morning, to listen to the small bird singing on the tree, is like meditation. The birds utter the meaning of the wind – a voice of the grass, the flowers and the green leaves as they chirp in a melodious tone. Sweetness of dew and rifts of sunshine, the fragrance of the new bloom – all that is symbolic of spring-time are expressed in the canvases of the 14 artists. Also Read – ‘Playing Jojo was emotionally exhausting’A group art show by 14 artists was inaugurated in Noida on February 22 by Kavita Sharma, president,? South Asian University.?  The month-long show titled Spring Breeze, has upcoming and established artists from various parts of the country.   The show will be on till March 22, and there are about 100 paintings on display by various artists. The mood of the spring season reflects in various art works in the form of flowers, birds and musicians.  The delicious wind rushes among the trees and they bow and rise; it touches the top of the peepal and banyan that gleam in the sun. As the first colour of spring appears in Nature, the panoramic view transforms into a muse for the artists. Also Read – Leslie doing new comedy special with NetflixAccording to Kavita Sharma, “Art should not be viewed just as a piece of work, rather to understand art, there is a need for art appreciation courses on weekends or on holidays so people can have an understanding of art and its nuances.”The artists who have participated in the show are: Bhaskar Singha, Gautam Parth Roy, Suman Palakshi, Sandeep Passan, Surbhi Soni, Sonal Pandey, Reeta Roy, Puja Pandey, Santanu Sarkar, Monica Pandey,  Shekhar Mukherjee, Hemant Kumar, Kashinath Bose and Chitra Singh.last_img read more

No bins at Metro station due to terror threat HC not convinced

first_imgDelhi High Court on Friday told DMRC that not having dustbins on metro platforms due to fear of bomb blasts was a “very myopic view of security”, as airports and even railway stations have garbage bins. The court, which directed Delhi Metro Rail Corporation (DMRC) to “examine viability of having spittoons and dustbins on the stations”, also queried it on whether drinking water and toilet facilities were easily available to commuters. “Don’t you have dustbins at airports and bus stations? Can you protect people by not having dustbins? This is a very myopic view of security,” Justice Rajiv Shakdher said. The court also directed DMRC to indicate on affidavit how many toilet and drinking water facilities are available at metro stations and whether the amenities are generally accessible to commuters.  Also Read – Company director arrested for swindling Rs 345 crore“Show me toilets are available and can be easily accessed. Not telling you to redraw your stations,” the court said to DMRC. The court also issued notice to Centre, city government and DMRC, seeking their replies by August 11, the next date of hearing. The orders and observations came on plea of Kush Kalra, a metro commuter who has sought directions to DMRC to provide safe drinking water, toilets and dustbin facilities to passengers of Delhi Metro.  Also Read – Man who cheated 20 women on matrimonial websites arrestedAdvocate Kush Sharma, appearing for Kalra, argued in court “if a commuter was only travelling with a metro card and no money then he or she will not get a drop of water to drink at any of the stations for free” and alleged this was discrimination between those who have money and those who do not.  The court also refused to accept DMRC’s argument that non-availability of toilet and water facilities at all stations is due to the reason that journey on the metro is for short duration.  Meanwhile, the Delhi High Court on Friday issued notice to the central and city governments and Delhi Metro Rail Corporation (DMRC) on a plea seeking directions to Delhi Metro to provide safe drinking water, toilets and dustbin facilities to its passengers. Justice Rajiv Shakdher asked the metro to file an affidavit indicating whether the metro stations have toilets and drinking water facilities and the same are available to the commuters and posted the matter for August 11.last_img read more

Burundi president Nkurunziza sworn in for third term

first_imgBurundian President Pierre Nkurunziza was sworn in for a controversial third term in power on Thursday, the presidency said, following elections last month, weeks of protests and a failed coup.Nkurunziza took the “oath for a new term of five years”, the presidency said in a statement, in a surprise ceremony on Thursday, announced only a few hours in advance.In his oath, the Nkurunziza swore loyalty to the constitution and “to dedicate all my forces to the defence of the best interests of the nation, to assure national unity and the cohesion of the Burundian people, social peace and justice.”  Also Read – Nine hurt in accident at fireworks show in French resortHis third term has been condemned as unconstitutional by the opposition and provoked months of protests. There have been a string of killings since his reelection, including of a top general, killed in a rocket attack last month.No foreign head of state was present, and only South Africa was represented at ministerial level. Several African countries, as well as China and Russia, sent their ambassadors.The ambassadors of European Union nations and the United States did not attend, but were represented by lower ranking officials. Nkurunziza won 69.41 percent of the vote, an immediate first round victory.  Also Read – Pakistan Army ‘fully prepared’ to face any challenge: Army spokesmanBut the United Nations observer mission said the vote last month was not “inclusive free and credible” and was held “in an environment of profound mistrust” between political rivals. Burundi’s constitution only allows a president to be elected twice – for a total of 10 years in power – but before these polls Nkurunziza argued he had only been directly elected by the people once. In power since 2005, when he was selected by parliament, he was re-elected in 2010. Nkurunziza, a 51-year-old former sports teacher and born-again Christian, was a Hutu rebel leader during the central African country’s 13-year civil war, when at least 300,000 people were killed.The opposition and international community claimed a third term violated the Arusha accords that had brought that conflict, which raged between 1993 and 2006, to an end.That war pitted rebels from the majority Hutu people against an army dominated by the minority Tutsi.Top international envoys from the United Nations, African Union, European Union, Belgium and United States have called on all sides to “recommit to a transparent, inclusive, and comprehensive political dialogue”.last_img read more

Body of one Metro construction worker found

first_imgKolkata: The body of one of the two Metro Railway construction workers who had been trapped under the debris following the collapse of Majerhat Bridge, was recovered from the accident site on Wednesday evening.The other victim is feared to be still trapped under the debris. It has been learnt that both the victims hailed from Murshidabad district, who had come to the city to work as construction labourers. After the incident occurred, the family members of the two victims came all the way to the city from the district to trace them. They were aimlessly roaming around the accident site on Wednesday morning, with a hope that they might find them alive. Also Read – Rain batters Kolkata, cripples normal lifeThey were carrying the photographs of the victims in their hands and also pleaded to the police and disaster management team to tell them if they had found any trace of the victims. There were many curious onlookers who congregated at the accident site from early Wednesday morning to have a glimpse of the collapsed bridge. Police faced difficulties in handling the rush of onlookers. The body of Pranab Dey was recovered by the police and disaster management team on Wednesday, while Goutam Mondal is still feared to be trapped. A search operation is still going on. Some of the local people said that some more victims might have been trapped under the debris. The death toll might go up once the police and disaster management team clear the debris, said worried local residents.last_img read more