Physical Sciences

Modern techniques for analysing solar activity

After studying the Sun’s activity for many centuries, astronomers are well aware that its magnetic field changes over faithfully repeating cycles. So far, however, they haven’t figured out why. Dr Yusuke Iida at Niigata University, Japan believes that new strides towards a solution to the mystery could be made by moving away from purely theoretical models. Through a combination of […]

Read More…

Physical Sciences

Electrode modification techniques for organic electronics

Traditionally, wires and circuitry have been made from conductive metals and inorganic semiconductors such as silicon that allow the controlled flow of charge between one component and another. However, now it is possible to make such circuits on truly miniature scales using organic molecules, i.e., materials mostly made up of carbon. Professor Dr Gregor Witte, Dr Alrun Hauke, Felix Widdascheck […]

Read More…

Physical Sciences

The origin of life: The conditions that sparked life on Earth

The origin of life on Earth has been a long-debated issue. There have been many theories as to how life evolved, but Professors Shigenori Maruyama (ELSI, Tokyo Institute of Technology), Ken Kurokawa (National Institute of Genetics), and Dr Toshikazu Ebisuzaki (RIKEN) have found a way to narrow the field to a single likely theory. By identifying a list of nine […]

Read More…

Physical Sciences

Mechanisms of motion: Combining physical biology and numerical models

Eukaryotic cells are capable of migrating in response to external stimuli, moving towards a more favourable environment or during processes like wound healing and embryonic development. The mechanisms by which cells migrate is highly complex and often tightly coordinated. Combining mathematical models and theories with physical biology experiments, Dr Tetsuya Hiraiwa, a fellow at the Mechanobiology Institute at the National […]

Read More…

Physical Sciences

Unifying quantum mechanics with Einstein’s general relativity

The quantum nature of gravity is an enigma which has eluded even the brightest of physicists for many decades. Now, Dr Norma G. Sanchez at the French CNRS LERMA Observatory of Paris-PSL Sorbonne Université describes a possible solution. Her approach takes the form of a general theory, incorporating both quantum mechanics and Einstein’s theory of general relativity. If correct, her […]

Read More…

Physical Sciences

Insights into the complex world of amorphous solids

Solid materials come in many different varieties, from highly rigid, ordered crystalline materials to the more slippery, irregular world of amorphous solids. While we have good theories for understanding the properties and behaviour of crystalline materials, the disorder in the structure of amorphous solids makes their fundamental physics complicated to understand. However, Professor Hideyuki Mizuno at the University of Tokyo […]

Read More…

Physical Sciences

Smart tests of intumescent coatings for thermal insulation

Intumescent coatings are a crucial component of many thermal insulation systems, but until now, researchers have faced significant challenges in testing their responses to heat. In his research, Dr Jiyuan Kang at Case Western Reserve University in Ohio has developed sophisticated new methods for imaging the materials during heating; revealing their responses to fires in unprecedented levels of detail. By […]

Read More…

Physical Sciences

On Hadron Deformation
Shaping our understanding of the proton

The proton is the smallest particle known to science that can exist in isolation and has a size but, until now, the shape of the proton has been little more than a guessing game. Professor C.N. Papanicolas, Academician and President of the Cyprus Institute and his team have helped to change that—and provided us with a new understanding of this most important […]

Read More…

Physical Sciences

The mystery of the Victorian purple dye

William Henry Perkin, a young London chemist, patented a synthesis in 1856 for a purple dye he created by accident whilst trying to synthesise quinine, a Victorian anti-malarial. This discovery brought purple, a colour so expensive it had previously only been afforded by royalty and the church, to the mass-market. But there is an unsolved mystery: using Perkin’s patented method, […]

Read More…

Physical Sciences

Quantum molecular modelling for efficient chemical synthesis

Computer Aided Design informs the world around us, but it has taken a long time to have a significant impact on the chemical synthesis industry. Professor Martín Jaraíz at the University of Valladolid in Spain has proposed a novel approach to using a quantum mechanical tool called Density Functional Theory (DFT) in combination with microkinetic modelling to more accurately predict […]

Read More…