Sunday Science (29 Nov – 5 Dec 2020)

Science News related to Venus Figurines, Simulating the Universe, Cost of Protecting Trees for Climate Change, China’s Lander on Moon, Ice Sheets Facing Irreversible Melting, Cell Membranes in Super Resolution, Sound of a “Perfect” Fluid, Primates’ Visual Systems, Storing Solar Energy for Months or Years, Graphene-Enhanced Heat Pipes

Note: I do not write/own any of the science news bits (and cover picture) given here. The links on each of the news bits will redirect to the news source. The content given under each headline is a basic gist and not the full story.


1. New Theory on ‘Venus’ Figurines

Source: University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus

1 Dec 2020

One of world’s earliest examples of art, the enigmatic ‘Venus’ figurines carved some 30,000 years ago, have intrigued and puzzled scientists for nearly two centuries. Now a researcher believes he’s gathered enough evidence to solve the mystery behind these curious totems. He says the key to understanding the statues lays in climate change and diet.

Original written by: David Kelly


2. Next Step in Simulating the Universe

Source: University of Tsukuba

1 Dec 2020

Computer simulations have struggled to capture the impact of elusive particles called neutrinos on the formation and growth of the large-scale structure of the Universe. But now, a research team from Japan has developed a method that overcomes this hurdle. In a study, researchers present simulations that accurately depict the role of neutrinos in the evolution of the Universe.


3. Cost of Planting, Protecting Trees to Fight Climate Change Could Jump

Source: North Carolina State University

1 Dec 2020

Planting trees and preventing deforestation are considered key climate change mitigation strategies, but a new analysis finds the cost of preserving and planting trees to hit certain global emissions reductions targets could accelerate quickly. In the analysis, researchers report costs will rise steeply under more ambitious emissions reductions plans.

Original written by: Laura Oleniacz


4. China’s Chang’e 5 Mission Lands on The Moon

Source: The Verge

1 Dec 2020

China’s Chang’e 5 mission, tasked with bringing a sample of lunar dirt back to Earth, successfully landed on the Moon on Tuesday, marking the third time that China has placed a robotic spacecraft on the lunar surface. The lander will soon begin digging up samples of lunar soil, which will be returned to our planet later this month.

Original written by: Loren Grush


5. Greenland Ice Sheet Faces Irreversible Melting

Source: University of Reading

2 Dec 2020

New research has demonstrated how climate change could lead to irreversible sea level rise as temperatures continue to rise and the Greenland ice sheet continues to decline. In the most detailed ever study of the Greenland ice sheet, researchers showed how the massive Greenland ice sheet faces a point of no return, beyond which it will no longer fully regrow, permanently changing sea levels around the world.


6. Cell Membranes in Super Resolution

Source: University of Würzburg

2 Dec 2020

Expansion microscopy (ExM) enables the imaging of cells and their components with a spatial resolution far below 200 nanometres. For the first time ever, expansion microscopy allows the imaging of even the finest details of cell membranes. This offers new insights into bacterial and viral infection processes.

Original written by: Robert Emmerich


7. Physicists Capture the Sound of A “Perfect” Fluid

Source: Massachusetts Institute of Technology

3 Dec 2020

Physicists have created a perfect fluid in the laboratory, and recorded the sound of it. This recording is a product of a glissando of sound waves that the team sent through a carefully controlled gas of elementary particles known as fermions. The results should help scientists study the viscosity in neutron stars, the plasma of the early universe, and other strongly interacting fluids.

Original written by: Jennifer Chu


8. The Same Visual System for All Primates

Source: Université de Genève

3 Dec 2020

Primates process visual information in front of their eyes, similar to pixels in a digital camera, using small computing units located in the visual cortex of their brains. Scientists have now investigated whether these computational units scale across the large differences in size between primates.


9. Material That Can Store Solar Energy for Months or Years

Source: Lancaster University

3 Dec 2020

Researchers studying a crystalline material have discovered it has properties that allow it to capture energy from the sun. The energy can be stored for several months at room temperature, and it can be released on demand in the form of heat.


10. Cooling Electronics Efficiently with Graphene-Enhanced Heat Pipes

Source: Chalmers University of Technology

3 Dec 2020

Researchers have found that graphene-based heat pipes can help solve the problems of cooling electronics and power systems used in avionics, data centres, and other power electronics. The graphene-enhanced heat pipe exhibits a specific thermal transfer coefficient which is about 3.5 times better than that of copper-based heat pipe.

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