Scientists hail Oxford University vaccine breakthrough

Watch: Oxford COVID vaccine ‘up to 90% effective’

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Scientists have hailed the news of the latest successful trial of a coronavirus vaccine, saying they “can see the end of the tunnel”.

The results of a large-scale trial of the COVID-19 vaccine developed by the University of Oxford and manufacturer AstraZeneca has been welcomed by health experts and the government.

England’s chief medical officer, Professor Chris Whitty, tweeted that it was a “very encouraging step forward”.

Overall, the vaccine was revealed to be 70% effective against coronavirus. However, it can be up to 90%

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Scientists stuff graphene with light

No losses: Scientists stuff graphene with light
Credit: Daria Sokol/MIPT

Physicists from MIPT and Vladimir State University, Russia, have converted light energy into surface waves on graphene with nearly 90% efficiency. They relied on a laser-like energy conversion scheme and collective resonances. The paper was published in Laser & Photonics Reviews.

Manipulating light at the nanoscale is a task crucial for being able to create ultracompact devices for optical energy conversion and storage. To localize light on such a small scale, researchers convert optical radiation into so-called surface plasmon-polaritons. These SPPs are oscillations propagating along the interface between two materials with drastically different refractive indices—specifically, a metal and a dielectric or air. Depending on the materials chosen, the degree of surface wave localization varies. It is the strongest for light localized on a material only one atomic layer thick, because such 2-D materials have high refractive indices.

The existing schemes for converting light to SPPs on

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Scientists optimize productivity of pultrusion manufacturing process

Scientists optimize productivity of pultrusion manufacturing process
Credit: Skolkovo Institute of Science and Technology

A group of scientists from the Skoltech Center for Design, Manufacturing and Materials (CDMM) and University of Salerno (Italy) focused on improving pultrusion process productivity by optimizing pulling speed and structural parameters. They discovered and analyzed the interconnection between pulling speed of pultrusion and severity of manufactured induced shape distortions, matrix cracking and delaminations, mechanical characteristics. The research results are recently published in the journal Composite Structures.

In recent years, fiber reinforced polymers (FRPs) have garnered considerable interest from the engineering community, resulting in the widespread adoption of composite structures. Among the many current composite manufacturing processes, pultrusion is the most efficient, combining high production rates with low material waste.

It is well known that the construction market is highly competitive. Therefore, every manufacturer is seeking for the possibility to increase productivity while still maintaining optimum structural characteristics of the produced elements.

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Computer Scientists Achieve the ‘Crown Jewel’ of Cryptography

In 2018, Aayush Jain, a graduate student at the University of California, Los Angeles, traveled to Japan to give a talk about a powerful cryptographic tool he and his colleagues were developing. As he detailed the team’s approach to indistinguishability obfuscation (iO for short), one audience member raised his hand in bewilderment.

Original story reprinted with permission from Quanta Magazine, an editorially independent publication of the Simons Foundation whose mission is to enhance public understanding of science by covering research develop­ments and trends in mathe­matics and the physical and life sciences.

“But I thought iO doesn’t exist?” he said.

At the time, such skepticism was widespread. Indistinguishability obfuscation, if it could be built, would be able to hide not just collections of data but the inner workings of a computer program itself, creating a sort of cryptographic master tool from which nearly every other cryptographic protocol could be built.

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Our Milky Way’s Biggest Collision Was With The ‘Kraken Galaxy’ Not The ‘Gaia Sausage,’ Say Scientists

Where does our galaxy come from? 

It’s one of the biggest questions in cosmology and yet only now are astronomers beginning to unravel the mysterious mergers that resulted in the Milky Way. 

The first complete family tree of our home galaxy has been reconstructed by an international team of astrophysicists. They used artificial intelligence to decipher the movements of the 150 globular clusters that orbit the Milky Way. 

In doing so they’re uncovered a massive collision billions of years ago between our galaxy and what they’ve dubbed the “Kraken” galaxy, an event that added millions of stars to the Milky Way.

It’s thought that globular clusters—dense clumps of stars older than most in the Milky Way and related to each other—are the

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Heat and dust help launch Martian water into space, scientists find

Heat and dust help launch Martian water into space, scientists find
This graph shows how the amount of water in the atmosphere of Mars varies depending on the season. During global and regional dust storms, which happen during southern spring and summer, the amount of water spikes. Credit: University of Arizona/Shane Stone/NASA Goddard/Dan Gallagher

Scientists using an instrument aboard NASA’s Mars Atmosphere and Volatile EvolutioN, or MAVEN, spacecraft have discovered that water vapor near the surface of the Red Planet is lofted higher into the atmosphere than anyone expected was possible. There, it is easily destroyed by electrically charged gas particles—or ions—and lost to space.

Researchers said that the phenomenon they uncovered is one of several that has led Mars to lose the equivalent of a global ocean of water up to hundreds of feet (or up to hundreds of meters) deep over billions of years. Reporting on their finding on Nov. 13 in the journal Science, researchers said that

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For the First Time Ever, Scientists Witnessed the Birth of a Supermassive Magnetar After Two Stars Collided | Smart News

This year, astronomers witnessed a cosmic spectacle when two neutron stars—the dense remains of collapsing stars—crashed into each other billions of lightyears away. Their gargantuan collision lit up the galaxy with a flash and gave rise to a magnetar—a supermassive star with a hyper-powerful magnetic field. Astronomers have known about magnetars, but this event marks the first time they’ve ever witnessed one being born, reports Rafi Letzer for Live Science.

Using remarkably powerful equipment, including the Hubble Space Telescope and the Swift Observatory, the scientists observed a quick flash of light on May 22. The stars’ collision certainly didn’t occur that night—instead, it occurred 5.47 billion years ago, and its light had just reached Earth, according to a press release.

The team observed a quick flash of gamma radiation, the result of the stars crashing and sending space matter blasting through the galaxy to settle among the stars. Then

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Scientists can’t rule out giant asteroid Apophis impacting Earth in 2068

In a year of so much catastrophe and stress, it’s no wonder so many people have been fixating on asteroids and whether they might strike Earth. That worry is projecting into the future as we look at welcoming massive asteroid Apophis to our neighborhood.

a close up of a rock: A general representation of what an asteroid looks like. NASA/JPL-Caltech

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A general representation of what an asteroid looks like. NASA/JPL-Caltech

Apophis is set to make a series of visits over the coming decades, but the one that’s led to some breathless headlines at the moment is an anticipated close approach in 2068. The asteroid is estimated to be over 1,000 feet (300 meters) in size. That’s like having the Eiffel Tower fly through space.

Researchers at the University of Hawaii Institute for Astronomy (IfA) announced the detection of a phenomenon called Yarkovsky acceleration on the asteroid. “This acceleration arises from an extremely weak force on an object due to non-uniform thermal radiation,”

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Scientists Are Developing New Materials to Keep Us Cool

Scientists are finding new cooling methods that may even be as innovative as this!

Scientists are finding new cooling methods that may even be as innovative as this!
Photo: Charly Triballeau (Getty Images)

The world is getting hotter, and the most common technologies to cool down our homes are making things worse. In a new special issue of the journal Science, researchers have identified key ways to get us out of that catch-22. They include cutting-edge technologies and materials that could fundamentally change air conditioning for the better.

One of the most commonly used cooling technologies on Earth is vapor compression refrigeration, which essentially uses a heat engine but runs it backwards. Normally, heat flows from hot places to cold places, but this method uses a heated refrigerant liquid which is able to pull heat from a warm place instead. Another version of the process can be used to heat homes, too.

In one study published in the

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In new step toward quantum tech, scientists synthesize ‘bright’ quantum bits

In new step toward quantum tech, scientists synthesize ‘bright’ quantum bits
Graduate student Berk Kovos, postdoctoral scholar Sam Bayliss, and graduate student Peter Mintun (left to right) work on qubit technology in the Awschalom lab in the Pritzker School of Molecular Engineering. Credit: Pratiti Deb, University of Chicago

With their ability to harness the strange powers of quantum mechanics, qubits are the basis for potentially world-changing technologies—like powerful new types of computers or ultra-precise sensors.

Qubits (short for quantum bits) are often made of the same semiconducting materials as our everyday electronics. But an interdisciplinary team of physicists and chemists at the University of Chicago and Northwestern University has developed a new method to create tailor-made qubits: by chemically synthesizing molecules that encode quantum information into their magnetic, or “spin,” states.

This new bottom-up approach could ultimately lead to quantum systems that have extraordinary flexibility and control, helping pave the way for next-generation quantum technology.

“This is a proof-of-concept of a

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