Plasma plumes help shield Earth from damaging solar storms

The Earth's magnetic field, or magnetosphere, stretches from the planet's core out into space, where it meets the solar wind, a stream of charged particles emitted by the sun. For the most part, the magnetosphere acts as a shield to protect the Earth from this high-energy solar activity.

Did you know oxygen has different shapes?

Oxygen-16, one of the key elements of life on earth, is produced by a series of reactions inside of red giant stars. Now a team of physicists, including one from North Carolina State University, has revealed how the element’s nuclear shape changes depending on its state, even though other attributes such as spin and parity don’t appear to differ. Their findings may shed light on how oxygen is produced.

Number of days without rain to dramatically increase in some world regions

By the end of the 21st century, some parts of the world can expect as many as 30 more days a year without precipitation, according to a new study by Scripps Institution of Oceanography, UC San Diego researchers.

Computer model predicts vastly different ecosystem for Antarctica's Ross Sea

The Ross Sea, a major, biologically productive Antarctic ecosystem, "clearly will be extensively modified by future climate change" in the coming decades as rising temperatures and changing wind patterns create longer periods of ice-free open water, affecting the life cycles of both predators and prey, according to a paper published by researchers funded by the National Science Foundation (NSF).

Quantum physics secures new cryptography scheme

The way we secure digital transactions could soon change. An international team has demonstrated a form of quantum cryptography that can protect people doing business with others they may not know or trust – a situation encountered often on the internet and in everyday life, for example at a bank's ATM.

Creating a graphene-metal sandwich to improve electronics

Researchers have discovered that creating a graphene-copper-graphene “sandwich” strongly enhances the heat conducting properties of copper, a discovery that could further help in the downscaling of electronics.

Report: Scientists find new way to upgrade natural gas

America's current energy boom may take a new direction thanks to the discovery of a new way to turn raw natural gas into upgraded liquid alcohol fuel.

Surface characteristics influence cellular growth on semiconductor material

Changing the texture and surface characteristics of a semiconductor material at the nanoscale can influence the way that neural cells grow on the material. The finding stems from a study performed by researchers at North Carolina State University, the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and Purdue University, and may have utility for developing future neural implants.

Quantum chaos in ultracold gas discovered

The team of Francesca Ferlaino, Institute for Experimental Physics of the University of Innsbruck, Austria, has experimentally shown chaotic behavior of particles in a quantum gas. "For the first time we have been able to observe quantum chaos in the scattering behavior of ultracold atoms," says an excited Ferlaino.

Can material rivaling graphene be mined out of rocks? Yes, if...

Will one-atom-thick layers of molybdenum disulfide, a compound that occurs naturally in rocks, prove to be better than graphene for electronic applications? There are many signs that might prove to be the case. But physicists from the Faculty of Physics at the University of Warsaw have shown that the nature of the phenomena occurring in layered materials are still ill-understood and require further research.

Turing’s theory of morphogenesis validated 60 years after his death

British mathematician Alan Turing’s accomplishments in computer science are well known—he’s the man who cracked the German Enigma code, expediting the Allies’ victory in World War II.

Water-rich gem points to vast 'oceans' beneath the Earth

A University of Alberta diamond scientist has found the first terrestrial sample of a water-rich gem that yields new evidence about the existence of large volumes of water deep beneath the Earth.

Computer system simulates the behavior of tax evaders

Tax fraud is a very serious problem for society, especially in Spain, where tax evasion represents almost one-fourth of its Gross Domestic Product.

Report: Long-term warming likely to be significant despite recent slowdown

A new NASA study shows Earth's climate likely will continue to warm during this century on track with previous estimates, despite the recent slowdown in the rate of global warming.

Ocean food web is key in the global carbon cycle

Nothing dies of old age in the ocean. Everything gets eaten and all that remains of anything is waste. But that waste is pure gold to oceanographer David Siegel, director of the Earth Research Institute at UC Santa Barbara.

Four new man-made gases detected in the atmosphere

Scientists at the University of East Anglia have identified four new man-made gases in the atmosphere – all of which are contributing to the destruction of the ozone layer.

Claim: Small biomass power plants could help rural economies, stabilize national power grid

As energy costs rise, more Americans are turning to bioenergy to provide power to their homes and workplaces. Bioenergy is renewable energy made from organic sources, such as biomass.

Report: Sun's energy influences 1,000 years of natural climate variability in North Atlantic

Changes in the sun's energy output may have led to marked natural climate change in Europe over the last 1000 years, according to researchers at Cardiff University.

First animals oxygenated the ocean, study suggests

The evolution of the first animals may have oxygenated the earth's oceans – contrary to the traditional view that a rise in oxygen triggered their development. New research led by the University of Exeter contests the long held belief that oxygenation of the atmosphere and oceans was a pre-requisite for the evolution of complex life forms.

Smartphones become ‘eye-phones’ with low-cost devices developed by ophthalmologists

Researchers at the Stanford University School of Medicine have developed two inexpensive adapters that enable a smartphone to capture high-quality images of the front and back of the eye. The adapters make it easy for anyone with minimal training to take a picture of the eye and share it securely with other health practitioners or store it in the patient's electronic record.