Science in the news
Welcome to the "science in the news" page, where you can find links to some of the amazing science breakthroughs that are happening every day!
- Nuclear events make a flower bloomResearchers at the Nara Institute of Science and Technology (NAIST) report AGAMOUS and CRABS CLAW partner in a feed-forward system to terminate the floral meristem and form the gynoecium in Arabidopsis plants. The findings give new understanding on the epigenetics that determine fruit number and size.
- Online game trains players how to sort waste correctlyA simple online game can teach people to more accurately sort waste--with lasting results, a new UBC study has found. Study participants who played the game developed by UBC researchers received immediate feedback on their sorting choices. The second time they played--when feedback was no longer provided--players still improved their average accuracy from 69 per cent to 84 per cent. Even when a week passed between games, players still improved their accuracy.
- Tenacious and flexible goal pursuit gets older people on the moveTenacious goal pursuit and flexible goal adjustment have been shown to help maintain psychological well-being despite age related challenges and losses. A recent study demonstrates that tenacity and flexibility are beneficial for out-of-home mobility as well.
- Immune cells sacrifice themselves to protect us from invading bacteriaOur immune systems are working overtime this time of year. Knowing that a bunch of dedicated immune cells are willing to explode themselves to inform other cells about the danger may offer a bit of consolation.
- Using water molecules to unlock neurons' secretsEPFL researchers have developed a method to observe the electrical activity of neurons by analyzing the behavior of surrounding water molecules. This simple and non-invasive method, which could eliminate the need for electrodes and fluorophores, can be used to monitor the activity within a single neuron or potentially on an entire region of the brain.
Intel Young Scientists Awards 2014
Nathan Han, 15, of Boston, Massachusetts, won the Gordon E. Moore Award for developing a machine learning software tool to study mutations of a gene linked to breast and ovarian cancer. Using data from publicly available databases, Han examined detailed characteristics of mutations of the BRCA1 tumor suppressor gene, vital in protecting cells from developing cancer, in order to “teach” his software to differentiate between mutations that cause disease and those that do not. His tool exhibits an 81 percent accuracy rate and could be used to more accurately identify cancer threats from BRCA1 gene mutations. Applications for Han’s research extend from identifying specific mutations that cause cancer and other diseases, to advancements in the fields of genomics, bioinformatics and big data. The Gordon E. Moore Award, named in honor of the Intel co-founder and retired chairman/CEO, includes USD 75,000 in scholarship funds.
Runners-up honors went to two individuals: Lennart Kleinwort, 15, of Wurzburg, Germany, developed a new mathematical tool for smartphones and tablets that brings capabilities to hand-held devices, previously available only with more sophisticated and expensive computing tools; and Shannon Lee, 17, of Singapore, developed a novel electrocatalyst that may significantly improve batteries of the future.