Mysterious Magnetic Nanoparticles

Cerium Oxide, CeO2, contains no magnetic cations and so should not exhibit magnetism of any kind. Yet they do. They produce a magnatisation curve that is not affected by temperature when they are placed in an alternating magnetic field. This anhysteretic magnetisation (gaining magnetisation) continues to gain potency before getting saturated in very strong magnetic fields. There is currently very little valid and reproducible data on the affect and no theoretical explanation meaning that currently any even half reasonable theory would be excepted. A recent project has been undertaken in order to gain the data required to at least understand how the system behaves and the actual experiments will and have been taking place in Trinity College , Dublin. This is a perfect example of how there will always be more questions that need answering. The myth that physics is a “done science,” where there are no major discoveries left to be found can be broken by simply going to a local university and asking a PhD student what they are working on.


Weekly Roundup 8

This week on physics news: Humans artificial evolution continues; observing odd effects in nature; and creating clever contraptions for science. Generally speaking we do everything we do because evolution makes us do it. I have yet to find a precedent where I could not reason this to be the case and so I will attempt to do it again for science and in fact knowledge in general. Clearly it must be advantageous to us to know more about our surroundings. Originally this would have been knowing where to get fresh water and we evolved the intellect to perform experiments: if we drink the water and get sick it’s not clean, if we do and don’t it is. But we only do science because it is what we evolved to do, what if there is another subject just as important and just as real as science that we simply don’t notice because we have not evolved to. If we met an alien they would probably have a branch or a field of study that we don’t simply because our culture is different. It is a retelling of the age old question; how do you know something doesn’t exist just because you can’t see it?

Compact Electronic Chemistry

There has been a push over the last decade to make electronic as small as possible while maintaining most of the power and processing speed we expect from any modern day appliance. This of course leads to the natural conclusion of electronic components that are in fact single molecules with properties that mirror those in electrical circuits. This field is known as single molecule electronics and involves the understanding of things like electron transport at electrical junctions as well as the construction of single molecule wires. This field is very interesting as it combines physics, chemistry and engineering in order to design some of the most creative electronic circuits imaginable. The uses of such technology is of course endless and hopefully in the future every phone and computer will contain components that are just single molecules.

Slightly Strange Subatomic Particle

Scientists analysing data collected from Fermilabs over five years ago has discovered a new addition to a special group of particles, the tetraquarks. Currently to our knowledge quarks (one of the smallest fundamental particles) can join to make four different classifications of particles. Two quarks is a meson, and three a baryon. These two are the most common structures and baryons like protons and neutrons make up close enough to all matter. The two other structures are tetraquarks with four quarks and dibaryons with six quarks. The discovery of this new tetraquark named X(5568)  is interesting as it contains no two quarks of the same flavour. It is made of an up, down, strange and bottom quark and is extremely energetic having a rest mass of 5568 megaelectronvolts which is where it gets its name. This particle will help physicists understand the strong interaction better as the strong interaction only affects quark holding particles.

Measuring A Black Holes Matter Disk

Quasar are an astronomical phenomenon where a region about the size of our solar system can produce light up to a hundred times brighter than the Milky Way. This massive amount of energy is released because of matter falling into a super massive black hole at the center of these quasars, a black hole that can be ten to ten thousand times the size of a regular black hole. The fact there is so much matter and that it is orbiting at such speeds along with being in a incredibly strong gravitational field makes observation of even the most outer parts of the quasar incredibly difficult. But a team at the University of Grenada has managed to collect information about these outer rings using an affect called gravitational lensing. This is where light is bent around something massive in between the quasar and us focusing the light from a single point of the quasar a lot like a magnifying glass.This research is the first of its kind and pushes our knowledge of quasars from quasars from the theoretical and macro scale to the observational internal working of the system.

Stopping S Waves in Gasses

In physics and chemistry there are a set of rules that govern how the interaction of gas particles will affect each other, a key center of thermodynamics and kinematics. These models based microscopic observation and mathematical analysis have only been constructed for s-waves (transverse waves) and now, thanks to the work of a collaboration of universities, p-waves as well. By using a super cold gas taken down to only 50K the s-waves were no longer capable of forming and by observing how trends and correlations in the interacting atoms formed they were able to characterise the properties of these p-waves and extrapolate their research to all other forms of quantum gasses. This will allow for more accurate predictions about how Fermi states in these atoms come to rise and methods for which to observe them.

Tricking Drug Tough Cancer Cells

Many cancers most notably leukemia are highly resistant to all but the most aggressive cancer drugs that often do more harm to the patient than good. But scientists from the University of Ohio have recently released a paper detailing research on a new method for “tricking,” the cancer cells into absorbing the drugs themselves. By using the flexible nature of the hydrogen and glysoscidic bonds in DNA it is possible to fold a strand of DNA into a capsule that when placed around the cancer drug increases its effectiveness against the leukemia cells by  confusing their drug immunity systems into allowing what they think is harmless DNA past. This research is still in its early stages and has only just begun being tested on mice but the results seem promising and in a decade biochemists may have a new tool to add to their arsenal to fight the every varied types of cancer.