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  • richardmitnick 10:28 am on February 27, 2020 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: "Ancient meteorite site on Earth could reveal new clues about Mars’ past", Overwhelming evidence exists that Mars had liquid water oceans roughly 4 billion years ago., Suevite rock formed nearly 15 million years ago by the Ries Crater meteorite impact-Similarly impact-generated rocks exist on the rims of ancient crater lakes on Mars, UC Riverside   

    From UC Riverside: “Ancient meteorite site on Earth could reveal new clues about Mars’ past” 

    UC Riverside bloc

    From UC Riverside

    February 26, 2020
    Jules Bernstein

    1
    A sample of suevite rock formed nearly 15 million years ago by the Ries Crater meteorite impact. Similarly impact-generated rocks exist on the rims of ancient crater lakes on Mars. (NASA)

    Scientists have devised new analytical tools to break down the enigmatic history of Mars’ atmosphere — and whether life was once possible there.

    A paper detailing the work was published today in the journal Science Advances. It could help astrobiologists understand the alkalinity, pH and nitrogen content of ancient waters on Mars, and by extension, the carbon dioxide composition of the planet’s ancient atmosphere.

    2
    Jezero Crater, landing site for the upcoming Mars 2020 rover mission. (NASA/JPL/JHUAPL/MSSS/Brown University)

    Mars of today is too cold to have liquid water on its surface, a requirement for hosting life as we know it.

    “The question that drives our interests isn’t whether there’s life on present-day Mars,” said Tim Lyons, UCR distinguished professor of biogeochemistry. “We are driven instead by asking whether there was life on Mars billions of years ago, which seems significantly more likely.”

    However, “Overwhelming evidence exists that Mars had liquid water oceans roughly 4 billion years ago,” Lyons noted.

    The central question astrobiologists ask is how that was possible. The red planet is farther from the sun than Earth is, and billions of years ago the sun generated less heat than it does today.

    “To have made the planet warm enough for liquid surface water, its atmosphere would likely have needed an immense amount of greenhouse gas, carbon dioxide specifically,” explained Chris Tino, a UCR graduate student and co-first-author of the paper along with Eva Stüeken, a lecturer at the University of St. Andrews in Scotland.

    Since sampling Mars’ atmosphere from billions of years ago to learn its carbon dioxide content is impossible, the team concluded that a site on Earth whose geology and chemistry bear similarities to the Martian surface might provide some of the missing pieces. They found it in southern Germany’s Nordlinger Ries crater.

    Formed roughly 15 million years ago after being struck by a meteorite, Ries crater features layers of rocks and minerals better preserved than almost anywhere on Earth.

    The Mars 2020 rover will land in a similarly structured, well-preserved ancient crater. Both places featured liquid water in their distant past, making their chemical compositions comparable.

    According to Tino, it’s unlikely that ancient Mars had enough oxygen to have hosted complex life forms like humans or animals.

    However, some microorganisms could have survived if ancient Martian water had both a neutral pH level and was highly alkaline. Those conditions imply sufficient carbon dioxide in the atmosphere — perhaps thousands of times more than what surrounds Earth today — to warm the planet and make liquid water possible.

    While pH measures the concentration of hydrogen ions in a solution, alkalinity is a measure dependent on several ions and how they interact to stabilize pH.

    “Ries crater rock samples have ratios of nitrogen isotopes that can best be explained by high pH,” Stüeken said. “What’s more, the minerals in the ancient sediments tell us that alkalinity was also very high.”

    However, Martian samples with mineral indicators for high alkalinity and nitrogen isotope data pointing to relatively low pH would demand extremely high levels of carbon dioxide in the past atmosphere.

    The resulting carbon dioxide estimates could help solve the long-standing mystery of how an ancient Mars located so far from a faint early sun could have been warm enough for surface oceans and perhaps life. How such high levels could have been maintained and what might have lived beneath them remain important questions.

    “Before this study, it wasn’t clear that something as straightforward as nitrogen isotopes could be used to estimate the pH of ancient waters on Mars; pH is a key parameter in calculating the carbon dioxide in the atmosphere,” Tino said.

    Funding for this study came from the NASA Astrobiology Institute, where Lyons leads the Alternative Earths team based at UCR.

    Included in the study were Gernot Arp of the Georg-August University of Göttingen and Dietmar Jung of the Bavarian State Office for the Environment.

    When samples from NASA’s Mars 2020 rover mission are brought back to Earth, they could be analyzed for their nitrogen isotope ratios. These data could confirm the team’s suspicion that very high levels of carbon dioxide made liquid water possible and maybe even some forms of microbial life long ago.

    “It could be 10-20 years before samples are brought back to Earth,” Lyons said. “But I am delighted to know that we have perhaps helped to define one of the first questions to ask once these samples are distributed to labs in the U.S. and throughout the world.”

    See the full article here .

    five-ways-keep-your-child-safe-school-shootings

    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    Stem Education Coalition

    UC Riverside Campus

    The University of California, Riverside is one of 10 universities within the prestigious University of California system, and the only UC located in Inland Southern California.

    Widely recognized as one of the most ethnically diverse research universities in the nation, UCR’s current enrollment is more than 21,000 students, with a goal of 25,000 students by 2020. The campus is in the midst of a tremendous growth spurt with new and remodeled facilities coming on-line on a regular basis.

    We are located approximately 50 miles east of downtown Los Angeles. UCR is also within easy driving distance of dozens of major cultural and recreational sites, as well as desert, mountain and coastal destinations.

     
  • richardmitnick 2:55 pm on February 19, 2020 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: "Connecting the world through images and sound", , UC Riverside   

    From UC Riverside: “Connecting the world through images and sound” 

    UC Riverside bloc

    From UC Riverside

    February 20, 2020
    Sandra Baltazar Martinez
    Senior Public Information Officer
    (951) 827-2653
    sandrab.martinez@ucr.edu

    UCR professor’s research weaves together an immersive visual and auditory presentation of Riverside, Brazil, India, Russia, and Germany.

    Within a three-year span, Paulo C. Chagas traveled to four countries, collecting sounds and images along the way.

    The videos, photos, and sounds were captured using a 360-degree camera and ambisonics microphone as he walked the citrus fields here in Riverside, and the streets of Brazil, India, Russia, and Germany. This exploration of geographic and cultural contexts is now a visual and auditory exhibit titled “Sound Imaginations,” which opens Feb. 29 at UC Riverside’s Culver Center of the Arts in downtown Riverside.

    “The idea is to show that sound is synesthetic,” said Chagas, a professor of composition in UCR’s Department of Music. “I want to make a connection as humans, to be inspired by listening cultures. When you look at different aspects of life, sound and vision are very important components. With this project, I want to emphasize both the ambiguity and the plurality of life.”

    1
    UCR professor Paulo C. Chagas in front of a 360 camera lens. (Courtesy Paulo C. Chagas)

    Chagas captured a variety of stunning sights and experiences, including a religious procession in India; a warm, sunny day at a Brazilian park; as well as colorful Russian architecture. The images were then layered with sounds of machines, people talking, birds chirping — much like musical instruments in an orchestra.

    The project was funded by UCR’s Center for Ideas and Society, and Chagas will incorporate his work into a spring quarter course called “sound studies and sound art.”

    Chagas said he used the relationship between sound and images to gain insight into how different cultures have used different approaches to the act of listening, how individuals listen in different ways, and how people listen to surrounding machines, living beings, spaces, and cultures.

    Chagas’ exhibit includes nine screens and eight speakers that will provide an immersive multivisual and multisound channel projection.

    “Sound Imaginations” will open from Feb. 29-March 8. An opening reception is scheduled for Saturday, Feb. 29, 6-9 p.m. and an artist talk is set for Thursday, March 5, at 6 p.m.

    For hours of operation and admission, visit UCR Culver Center of the Arts.

    See the full article here .

    five-ways-keep-your-child-safe-school-shootings

    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    Stem Education Coalition

    UC Riverside Campus

    The University of California, Riverside is one of 10 universities within the prestigious University of California system, and the only UC located in Inland Southern California.

    Widely recognized as one of the most ethnically diverse research universities in the nation, UCR’s current enrollment is more than 21,000 students, with a goal of 25,000 students by 2020. The campus is in the midst of a tremendous growth spurt with new and remodeled facilities coming on-line on a regular basis.

    We are located approximately 50 miles east of downtown Los Angeles. UCR is also within easy driving distance of dozens of major cultural and recreational sites, as well as desert, mountain and coastal destinations.

     
  • richardmitnick 12:40 pm on February 5, 2020 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: An unusual monster galaxy that existed about 12 billion years ago when the universe was only 1.8 billion years old., An unusual monster galaxy XMM-2599 lived fast and died young., , , , , , UC Riverside   

    From UC Riverside: “Astronomers discover unusual monster galaxy in the very early universe” 

    UC Riverside bloc

    From UC Riverside

    February 5, 2020
    Iqbal Pittalwala

    XMM-2599 lived fast and died young, says UC Riverside-led international team.

    1
    Gillian Wilson (left) and Benjamin Forrest. (UCR/I. Pittalwala)

    2
    The three panels show, from top to bottom, what XMM-2599’s evolutionary trajectory might be, beginning as a dusty star-forming galaxy, then becoming a dead galaxy, and perhaps ending up as a “brightest cluster galaxy,” or BCG. (NRAO/AUI/NSF/B. Saxton; NASA/ESA/R. Foley; NASA/StScI)

    An international team of astronomers led by scientists at the University of California, Riverside, has found an unusual monster galaxy that existed about 12 billion years ago, when the universe was only 1.8 billion years old.

    Dubbed XMM-2599, the galaxy formed stars at a high rate and then died. Why it suddenly stopped forming stars is unclear.

    “Even before the universe was 2 billion years old, XMM-2599 had already formed a mass of more than 300 billion suns, making it an ultramassive galaxy,” said Benjamin Forrest, a postdoctoral researcher in the UC Riverside Department of Physics and Astronomy and the study’s lead author. “More remarkably, we show that XMM-2599 formed most of its stars in a huge frenzy when the universe was less than 1 billion years old, and then became inactive by the time the universe was only 1.8 billion years old.”

    The team used spectroscopic observations from the W. M. Keck Observatory’s powerful Multi-Object Spectrograph for Infrared Exploration, or MOSFIRE, to make detailed measurements of XMM-2599 and precisely quantify its distance.

    Keck/MOSFIRE on Keck 1, Mauna Kea, Hawaii, USA

    Keck 1, operated by Caltech and the University of California, Maunakea Hawaii USA, 4,207 m (13,802 ft)

    Study results appear in The Astrophysical Journal.

    “In this epoch, very few galaxies have stopped forming stars, and none are as massive as XMM-2599,” said Gillian Wilson, a professor of physics and astronomy at UCR in whose lab Forrest works. “The mere existence of ultramassive galaxies like XMM-2599 proves quite a challenge to numerical models. Even though such massive galaxies are incredibly rare at this epoch, the models do predict them. The predicted galaxies, however, are expected to be actively forming stars. What makes XMM-2599 so interesting, unusual, and surprising is that it is no longer forming stars, perhaps because it stopped getting fuel or its black hole began to turn on. Our results call for changes in how models turn off star formation in early galaxies.”

    The research team found XMM-2599 formed more than 1,000 solar masses a year in stars at its peak of activity — an extremely high rate of star formation. In contrast, the Milky Way forms about one new star a year.

    “XMM-2599 may be a descendant of a population of highly star-forming dusty galaxies in the very early universe that new infrared telescopes have recently discovered,” said Danilo Marchesini, an associate professor of astronomy at Tufts University and a co-author on the study.

    The evolutionary pathway of XMM-2599 is unclear.

    “We have caught XMM-2599 in its inactive phase,” Wilson said. “We do not know what it will turn into by the present day. We know it cannot lose mass. An interesting question is what happens around it. As time goes by, could it gravitationally attract nearby star-forming galaxies and become a bright city of galaxies?”

    Co-author Michael Cooper, a professor of astronomy at UC Irvine, said this outcome is a strong possibility.

    “Perhaps during the following 11.7 billion years of cosmic history, XMM-2599 will become the central member of one of the brightest and most massive clusters of galaxies in the local universe,” he said. “Alternatively, it could continue to exist in isolation. Or we could have a scenario that lies between these two outcomes.”

    The team has been awarded more time at the Keck Observatory to follow up on unanswered questions prompted by XMM-2599.

    “We identified XMM-2599 as an interesting candidate with imaging alone,” said co-author Marianna Annunziatella, a postdoctoral researcher at Tufts University. “We used Keck to better characterize and confirm its nature and help us understand how monster galaxies form and die. MOSFIRE is one of the most efficient and effective instruments in the world for conducting this type of research.”

    Other researchers taking part include Daniel Lange-Vagle and Theodore Peña of Tufts University; Adam Muzzin and Cemile Marsan of York University, Canada; Ian McConachie and Jeffrey Chan of UCR; Percy Gomez of Keck Observatory; Erin Kado-Fong of Princeton University; Francesco La Barbera of INAF–Osservatorio Astronomico di Capodimonte, Italy; Ivo Labbe of Swinburne University of Technology, Australia; Julie Nantais of Andrés Bello National University, Santiago, Chile; Mario Nonino of Astronomical Observatory of Trieste, Italy; Paolo Saracco of Astronomical Observatory of Brera, Italy; Mauro Stefanon of Leiden University, Netherlands; and Remco F. J. van der Burg of the European Southern Observatory, Germany.

    Wilson led the W. M. Keck Observatory data acquisition. Forrest led the processing and analysis.

    The study was supported by grants from the National Science Foundation and NASA.

    See the full article here .

    five-ways-keep-your-child-safe-school-shootings

    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    Stem Education Coalition

    UC Riverside Campus

    The University of California, Riverside is one of 10 universities within the prestigious University of California system, and the only UC located in Inland Southern California.

    Widely recognized as one of the most ethnically diverse research universities in the nation, UCR’s current enrollment is more than 21,000 students, with a goal of 25,000 students by 2020. The campus is in the midst of a tremendous growth spurt with new and remodeled facilities coming on-line on a regular basis.

    We are located approximately 50 miles east of downtown Los Angeles. UCR is also within easy driving distance of dozens of major cultural and recreational sites, as well as desert, mountain and coastal destinations.

     
  • richardmitnick 9:52 am on January 28, 2020 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , UC Riverside   

    From UC Riverside: “Scientists short-circuit maturity in insects, opening new paths to disease prevention” 

    UC Riverside bloc

    From UC Riverside

    January 28, 2020
    Jules Bernstein

    1
    Image shows the developing brain of an immature fruit fly. Green color shows the cell layer forming the blood-brain barrier, which physically separates the brain from the circulation. (Yamanaka/UCR)

    Puberty-controlling hormone does not travel freely into the brain as previously thought.

    New research from UC Riverside shows scientists may soon be able to prevent disease-spreading mosquitoes from maturing. Using the same gene-altering techniques, they may also be able help boost reproduction in beneficial bumblebees.

    The research shows that, contrary to previous scientific belief, a hormone required for sexual maturity in insects cannot travel across a mass of cells separating the blood from the brain — unless it is aided by a transporter protein molecule.

    “Before this finding, there had been a longstanding assumption that steroid hormones pass freely through the blood-brain barrier,” said Naoki Yamanaka, an assistant professor of entomology at UCR, who led the research. “We have shown that’s not so.”

    The study, published this month in the journal Current Biology, details the effects on sexual maturity in fruit flies when the transporter protein is blocked.

    Blocking the transporter not only prevented the steroid from entering the brain, it also permanently altered the flies’ behavior. When flies are in their infancy or “maggot” stage, they usually stay on or in a source of food.

    Later, as they prepare to enter a more adult phase of life, they exhibit “wandering behavior,” in which they come out of their food to find a place to shed their outer body layer and transform into an adult fly.

    When the transporter gene was blocked, Yamanaka said the flies entered a median stage between infancy and adulthood, but never wandered out of their food, and died slowly afterward without ever reaching adulthood or reproducing.

    “Our biggest motivation for this study was to challenge the prevailing assumption about free movement of steroids past the blood-brain barrier, by using fruit flies as a model species,” Yamanaka said. “In the long run, we’re interested in controlling the function of steroid hormone transporters to manipulate insect and potentially human behaviors.”

    Currently, Yamanaka is examining whether altering genes in mosquitoes could have a similar effect. Since mosquitoes are vectors for numerous diseases, including Zika, West Nile Virus, malaria and Dengue fever, there is great potential for the findings to improve human health.

    Conversely, there may be a way to alter the genes to manipulate reproduction in beneficial insects as well, in order to help them. Bumblebees, whose populations have been declining in recent years, pollinate many favorite human food crops.

    Also, there is the potential for this work to more directly impact humans. Steroid hormones affect a variety of behaviors and reactions in the human body. For example, the human body under stress makes a steroid hormone called cortisol. It enters the brain so humans can cope with the stressful situation.

    However, when chronic stress is experienced, cortisol can build up in the brain and cause multiple issues. “If the same machinery exists for cortisol in humans, we may be able to block the transporter in the blood-brain barrier to protect our brain from chronic stress,” Yamanaka said.

    “It’s an exciting finding,” said Yamanaka. “It was just in flies, but more than 70% of human disease-related genes have equivalents in flies, so there is a good chance this holds true for humans too.”

    See the full article here .

    five-ways-keep-your-child-safe-school-shootings

    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    Stem Education Coalition

    UC Riverside Campus

    The University of California, Riverside is one of 10 universities within the prestigious University of California system, and the only UC located in Inland Southern California.

    Widely recognized as one of the most ethnically diverse research universities in the nation, UCR’s current enrollment is more than 21,000 students, with a goal of 25,000 students by 2020. The campus is in the midst of a tremendous growth spurt with new and remodeled facilities coming on-line on a regular basis.

    We are located approximately 50 miles east of downtown Los Angeles. UCR is also within easy driving distance of dozens of major cultural and recreational sites, as well as desert, mountain and coastal destinations.

     
  • richardmitnick 4:04 pm on January 27, 2020 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: "Detection of very high frequency magnetic resonance could revolutionize electronics", A team of physicists has discovered an electrical detection method for terahertz electromagnetic waves which are extremely difficult to detect., , The discovery could help miniaturize the detection equipment on microchips and enhance sensitivity., UC Riverside   

    From UC Riverside: “Detection of very high frequency magnetic resonance could revolutionize electronics” 

    UC Riverside bloc

    From UC Riverside

    January 27, 2020
    Iqbal Pittalwala

    UC Riverside-led research has applications in ultrafast and spin-based nanoscale devices.

    1
    Physicist Jing Shi

    A team of physicists has discovered an electrical detection method for terahertz electromagnetic waves, which are extremely difficult to detect. The discovery could help miniaturize the detection equipment on microchips and enhance sensitivity.

    2
    Simple experiment explains magnetic resonance. UC Riverside physics students design a table-top experiment for the classroom.

    Terahertz is a unit of electromagnetic wave frequency: One gigahertz equals 1 billion hertz; 1 terahertz equals 1,000 gigahertz. The higher the frequency, the faster the transmission of information. Cell phones, for example, operate at a few gigahertz.

    The finding, reported today in Nature, is based on a magnetic resonance phenomenon in anti-ferromagnetic materials. Such materials, also called antiferromagnets, offer unique advantages for ultrafast and spin-based nanoscale device applications.

    The researchers, led by physicist Jing Shi of the University of California, Riverside, generated a spin current, an important physical quantity in spintronics, in an antiferromagnet and were able to detect it electrically. To accomplish this feat, they used terahertz radiation to pump up magnetic resonance in chromia to facilitate its detection.

    In ferromagnets, such as a bar magnet, electron spins point in the same direction, up or down, thus providing collective strength to the materials. In antiferromagnets, the atomic arrangement is such that the electron spins cancel each other out, with half of the spins pointing in the opposite direction of the other half, either up or down.

    The electron has a built-in spin angular momentum, which can precess the way a spinning top precesses around a vertical axis. When the precession frequency of electrons matches the frequency of electromagnetic waves generated by an external source acting on the electrons, magnetic resonance occurs and is manifested in the form of a greatly enhanced signal that is easier to detect.

    In order to generate such magnetic resonance, the team of physicists from UC Riverside and UC Santa Barbara worked with 0.24 terahertz of radiation produced at the Institute for Terahertz Science and Technology’s Terahertz Facilities at the Santa Barbara campus. This closely matched the precession frequency of electrons in chromia. The magnetic resonance that followed resulted in the generation of a spin current that the researchers converted into a DC voltage.

    “We were able to demonstrate that antiferromagnetic resonance can produce an electrical voltage, a spintronic effect that has never been experimentally done before,” said Shi, a professor in the Department of Physics and Astronomy.

    Shi, who directs Department of Energy-funded Energy Frontier Research Center Spins and Heat in Nanoscale Electronic Systems, or SHINES, at UC Riverside, explained subterahertz and terahertz radiation are a challenge to detect. Current communication technology uses gigahertz microwaves.

    “For higher bandwidth, however, the trend is to move toward terahertz microwaves,” Shi said. “The generation of terahertz microwaves is not difficult, but their detection is. Our work has now provided a new pathway for terahertz detection on a chip.”

    Although antiferromagnets are statically uninteresting, they are dynamically interesting. Electron spin precession in antiferromagnets is much faster than in ferromagnets, resulting in frequencies that are two-three orders of magnitude higher than the frequencies of ferromagnets — thus allowing faster information transmission.

    “Spin dynamics in antiferromagnets occur at a much shorter timescale than in ferromagnets, which offers attractive benefits for potential ultrafast device applications,” Shi said.

    Antiferromagnets are ubiquitous and more abundant than ferromagnets. Many ferromagnets, such as iron and cobalt, become antiferromagnetic when oxidized. Many antiferromagnets are good insulators with low dissipation of energy. Shi’s lab has expertise in making ferromagnetic and antiferromagnetic insulators.

    Shi’s team developed a bilayer structure comprised of chromia, an antiferromagnetic insulator, with a layer of metal on top of it to serve as the detector to sense signals from chromia.

    Shi explained that electrons in chromia remain local. What crosses the interface is information encoded in the precessing spins of the electrons.

    “The interface is critical,” he said. “So is spin sensitivity.”

    The researchers addressed spin sensitivity by focusing on platinum and tantalum as metal detectors. If the signal from chromia originates in spin, platinum and tantalum register the signal with opposite polarity. If the signal is caused by heating, however, both metals register the signal with identical polarity.

    “This is the first successful generation and detection of pure spin currents in antiferromagnetic materials, which is a hot topic in spintronics,” Shi said. “Antiferromagnetic spintronics is a major focus of SHINES.”

    The technology has been disclosed to UCR Technology Commercialization, assigned UC case number 2019-105, and is patent pending.

    Shi was joined in the study by Junxue Li, Ran Cheng, Mark Lohmann, Wei Yuan, Mohammed Aldosary, and Peng Wei of UC Riverside; and C. Blake Wilson, Marzieh Kavand, Nikolay Agladze, and Mark S. Sherwin at UC Santa Barbara.

    The research at UC Riverside was supported by SHINES.

    See the full article here .

    five-ways-keep-your-child-safe-school-shootings

    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    Stem Education Coalition

    UC Riverside Campus

    The University of California, Riverside is one of 10 universities within the prestigious University of California system, and the only UC located in Inland Southern California.

    Widely recognized as one of the most ethnically diverse research universities in the nation, UCR’s current enrollment is more than 21,000 students, with a goal of 25,000 students by 2020. The campus is in the midst of a tremendous growth spurt with new and remodeled facilities coming on-line on a regular basis.

    We are located approximately 50 miles east of downtown Los Angeles. UCR is also within easy driving distance of dozens of major cultural and recreational sites, as well as desert, mountain and coastal destinations.

     
  • richardmitnick 8:52 am on January 24, 2020 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: "Can I mix those chemicals? There’s an app for that!", , , UC Riverside   

    From UC Riverside: “Can I mix those chemicals? There’s an app for that!” 

    UC Riverside bloc

    From UC Riverside

    January 23, 2020
    Holly Ober

    1

    New technology can find the safest way to store and dispose of reactive chemicals.

    Improperly mixed chemicals cause a shocking number of fires, explosions, and injuries in laboratories, businesses, and homes each year.

    A new open source computer program called ChemStor developed by engineers at the University of California, Riverside, can prevent these dangerous situations by telling users if it is unsafe to mix certain chemicals.

    2
    A visual representation showing how graph coloring register allocation works. (Jason Ott/UCR)

    The Centers for Disease Control estimates 4,500 injuries a year are caused by the mixture of incompatible pool cleaning chemicals, half of which occur in homes. Even in laboratories and factories where workers are trained in safe storage protocols, mix-ups and accidents happen, often after chemicals are inadvertently combined in a waste container.

    The UC Riverside engineers’ work is published in the Journal of Chemical Information and Modeling. Their program adapts a computer science strategy to allocate resources for efficient processor use, known as graph coloring register allocation. In this system, resources are colored and organized according to a rule that states adjacent data points, or nodes, sharing an edge cannot also share a color.

    “We color a graph such that no two nodes that share an edge have the same color,” said first author Jason Ott, a doctoral student in computer science who led the research.

    “The idea comes from maps,” explained co-author William Grover, an assistant professor of bioengineering in the Marlan and Rosemary Bourns College of Engineering with a background in chemistry. “In a map of the U.S., for example, no two adjacent states share a color, which makes them easy to tell apart.”

    ChemStor draws from an Environmental Protection Agency library of 9,800 chemicals, organized into reactivity groups. It then builds a chemical interaction graph based on the reactivity groups and computes the smallest number of colors that will color the graph such that no two chemicals that can interact also share the same color.

    ChemStor next assigns all the chemicals of each color to a storage or waste container after confirming there is enough space. Chemicals with the same color can be stored together without a dangerous reaction, while chemicals with different colors cannot.

    If two or more chemicals can be combined in the same cabinet or added to a waste container without forming possibly dangerous combinations of chemicals, ChemStor determines the configuration is safe. ChemStor also indicates if no safe storage or disposal configuration can be found.

    Grover, who experienced a destructive lab fire caused by incompatible chemicals during his days as an undergraduate, said he takes the threat very seriously.

    “I’m responsible for the safety of the people in my lab, and ChemStor would be like a safety net under our already strict storage protocols,” Grover said.

    ChemStor’s functionality is currently limited to a command line interface only, where the user manually enters the type of chemicals and amount of storage space into a computer.

    Updates are forthcoming to make ChemStor more user-friendly, including a smartphone app utilizing the camera to gather information about chemicals and storage options, as well as an integration with digital voice assistants, some of which have already begun to be developed specifically for chemists, making ChemStor a natural addition.

    “Any system can communicate with ChemStor as long as the input is fashioned in a way that ChemStor expects,” Ott said. The code is available here.

    See the full article here .

    five-ways-keep-your-child-safe-school-shootings

    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    Stem Education Coalition

    UC Riverside Campus

    The University of California, Riverside is one of 10 universities within the prestigious University of California system, and the only UC located in Inland Southern California.

    Widely recognized as one of the most ethnically diverse research universities in the nation, UCR’s current enrollment is more than 21,000 students, with a goal of 25,000 students by 2020. The campus is in the midst of a tremendous growth spurt with new and remodeled facilities coming on-line on a regular basis.

    We are located approximately 50 miles east of downtown Los Angeles. UCR is also within easy driving distance of dozens of major cultural and recreational sites, as well as desert, mountain and coastal destinations.

     
  • richardmitnick 9:10 am on January 17, 2020 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: "America’s most widely consumed oil causes genetic changes in the brain", , , , Soybean oil not only leads to obesity and diabetes but could also affect neurological conditions like autism; Alzheimer’s disease; anxiety; and depression., The findings only apply to soybean oil — not to other soy products, UC Riverside   

    From UC Riverside: “America’s most widely consumed oil causes genetic changes in the brain” 

    UC Riverside bloc

    From UC Riverside

    January 17, 2020
    Jules L Bernstein
    Senior Public Information Officer
    (951) 827-4580
    jules.bernstein@ucr.edu

    1
    news.ucr.edu

    New UC Riverside research shows soybean oil not only leads to obesity and diabetes, but could also affect neurological conditions like autism, Alzheimer’s disease, anxiety, and depression.

    Used for fast food frying, added to packaged foods, and fed to livestock, soybean oil is by far the most widely produced and consumed edible oil in the U.S., according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture. In all likelihood, it is not healthy for humans.

    It certainly is not good for mice. The new study, published this month in the journal Endocrinology, compared mice fed three different diets high in fat: soybean oil, soybean oil modified to be low in linoleic acid, and coconut oil.

    2
    Chart depicts consumption of edible oils in the U.S. for 2017/18. (USDA)

    The same UCR research team found in 2015 [PLOS ONE] that soybean oil induces obesity, diabetes, insulin resistance, and fatty liver in mice. Then in a 2017 study [Nature Scientific Reports], the same group learned that if soybean oil is engineered to be low in linoleic acid, it induces less obesity and insulin resistance.

    However, in the study released this month, researchers did not find any difference between the modified and unmodified soybean oil’s effects on the brain. Specifically, the scientists found pronounced effects of the oil on the hypothalamus, where a number of critical processes take place.

    “The hypothalamus regulates body weight via your metabolism, maintains body temperature, is critical for reproduction and physical growth as well as your response to stress,” said Margarita Curras-Collazo, a UCR associate professor of neuroscience and lead author on the study.

    3
    Comparison of oxytocin hormone in the hypothalamus of mice fed three different diets. The image on the far right shows very little oxytocin in mice fed a soybean oil diet. (UCR)

    The team determined a number of genes in mice fed soybean oil were not functioning correctly. One such gene produces the “love” hormone, oxytocin. In soybean oil-fed mice, levels of oxytocin in the hypothalamus went down.

    The research team discovered roughly 100 other genes also affected by the soybean oil diet. They believe this discovery could have ramifications not just for energy metabolism, but also for proper brain function and diseases such as autism or Parkinson’s disease. However, it is important to note there is no proof the oil causes these diseases.

    Additionally, the team notes the findings only apply to soybean oil — not to other soy products or to other vegetable oils.

    “Do not throw out your tofu, soymilk, edamame, or soy sauce,” said Frances Sladek, a UCR toxicologist and professor of cell biology. “Many soy products only contain small amounts of the oil, and large amounts of healthful compounds such as essential fatty acids and proteins.”

    A caveat for readers concerned about their most recent meal is that this study was conducted on mice, and mouse studies do not always translate to the same results in humans.

    Also, this study utilized male mice. Because oxytocin is so important for maternal health and promotes mother-child bonding, similar studies need to be performed using female mice.

    One additional note on this study — the research team has not yet isolated which chemicals in the oil are responsible for the changes they found in the hypothalamus. But they have ruled out two candidates. It is not linoleic acid, since the modified oil also produced genetic disruptions; nor is it stigmasterol, a cholesterol-like chemical found naturally in soybean oil.

    Identifying the compounds responsible for the negative effects is an important area for the team’s future research.

    “This could help design healthier dietary oils in the future,” said Poonamjot Deol, an assistant project scientist in Sladek’s laboratory and first author on the study.

    “The dogma is that saturated fat is bad and unsaturated fat is good. Soybean oil is a polyunsaturated fat, but the idea that it’s good for you is just not proven,” Sladek said.

    Indeed, coconut oil, which contains saturated fats, produced very few changes in the hypothalamic genes.

    “If there’s one message I want people to take away, it’s this: reduce consumption of soybean oil,” Deol said about the most recent study.

    See the full article here .

    five-ways-keep-your-child-safe-school-shootings

    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    Stem Education Coalition

    UC Riverside Campus

    The University of California, Riverside is one of 10 universities within the prestigious University of California system, and the only UC located in Inland Southern California.

    Widely recognized as one of the most ethnically diverse research universities in the nation, UCR’s current enrollment is more than 21,000 students, with a goal of 25,000 students by 2020. The campus is in the midst of a tremendous growth spurt with new and remodeled facilities coming on-line on a regular basis.

    We are located approximately 50 miles east of downtown Los Angeles. UCR is also within easy driving distance of dozens of major cultural and recreational sites, as well as desert, mountain and coastal destinations.

     
  • richardmitnick 11:52 am on January 6, 2020 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: "Scientists develop new method to detect oxygen on exoplanets", , , , , UC Riverside   

    From UC Riverside: “Scientists develop new method to detect oxygen on exoplanets” 

    UC Riverside bloc

    From UC Riverside

    January 6, 2020
    Jules Bernstein

    Scientists have developed a new method for detecting oxygen in exoplanet atmospheres that may accelerate the search for life.

    One possible indication of life, or biosignature, is the presence of oxygen in an exoplanet’s atmosphere. Oxygen is generated by life on Earth when organisms such as plants, algae, and cyanobacteria use photosynthesis to convert sunlight into chemical energy.

    UC Riverside helped develop the new technique, which will use NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope to detect a strong signal that oxygen molecules produce when they collide.

    NASA/ESA/CSA Webb Telescope annotated

    This signal could help scientists distinguish between living and nonliving planets.

    1
    Conceptual image of water-bearing (left) and dry (right) exoplanets with oxygen-rich atmospheres. The red sphere is the M-dwarf star around which the exoplanets orbit. The dry exoplanet is closer to the star, so the star appears larger. (NASA/GSFC/Friedlander-Griswold)

    Since exoplanets, which orbit stars other than our sun, are so far away, scientists cannot look for signs of life by visiting these distant worlds. Instead, they must use a cutting-edge telescope like Webb to see what’s inside the atmospheres of exoplanets.

    “Before our work, oxygen at similar levels as on Earth was thought to be undetectable with Webb,” said Thomas Fauchez of NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center and lead author of the study. “This oxygen signal is known since the early 1980s from Earth’s atmospheric studies but has never been studied for exoplanet research.”

    UC Riverside astrobiologist Edward Schwieterman originally proposed a similar way of detecting high concentrations of oxygen from nonliving processes and was a member of the team that developed this technique. Their work was published today in the journal Nature Astronomy.

    “Oxygen is one of the most exciting molecules to detect because of its link with life, but we don’t know if life is the only cause of oxygen in an atmosphere,” Schwieterman said. “This technique will allow us to find oxygen in planets both living and dead.”

    When oxygen molecules collide with each other, they block parts of the infrared light spectrum from being seen by a telescope. By examining patterns in that light, they can determine the composition of the planet’s atmosphere. Schwieterman helped the NASA team calculate how much light would be blocked by these oxygen collisions.

    Intriguingly, some researchers propose oxygen can also make an exoplanet appear to host life when it does not, because it can accumulate in a planet’s atmosphere without any life activity at all.

    If an exoplanet is too close to its host star or receives too much star light, the atmosphere becomes very warm and saturated with water vapor from evaporating oceans. This water could then be broken down by strong ultraviolet radiation into atomic hydrogen and oxygen. Hydrogen, which is a light atom, escapes to space very easily, leaving the oxygen behind.

    Over time, this process may cause entire oceans to be lost while building up a thick oxygen atmosphere — more even, than could be made by life. So, abundant oxygen in an exoplanet’s atmosphere may not necessarily mean abundant life but may instead indicate a history of water loss. Schwieterman cautions that astronomers are not yet sure how widespread this process may be on exoplanets.

    “It is important to know whether and how much dead planets generate atmospheric oxygen, so that we can better recognize when a planet is alive or not,” he said.

    Schwieterman is a visiting postdoctoral fellow at UCR who will soon start as assistant professor of astrobiology in the Department of Earth and Planetary Sciences.

    The research received funding from Goddard’s Sellers Exoplanet Environments Collaboration, which is funded in part by the NASA Planetary Science Division’s Internal Scientist Funding Model. This project has also received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation program under the Marie Sklodowska-Curie Grant, the NASA Astrobiology Institute Alternative Earths team, and the NExSS Virtual Planetary Laboratory.

    Webb will be the world’s premier space science observatory when it launches in 2021. It will allow scientists to solve mysteries in our solar system, look beyond to distant worlds around other stars, and probe the mysterious structures and origins of our universe and our place in it.

    Bill Steigerwald and Nancy Jones of NASA Goddard Space Flight Center made significant contributions to this article.

    See the full article here .

    five-ways-keep-your-child-safe-school-shootings

    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    Stem Education Coalition

    UC Riverside Campus

    The University of California, Riverside is one of 10 universities within the prestigious University of California system, and the only UC located in Inland Southern California.

    Widely recognized as one of the most ethnically diverse research universities in the nation, UCR’s current enrollment is more than 21,000 students, with a goal of 25,000 students by 2020. The campus is in the midst of a tremendous growth spurt with new and remodeled facilities coming on-line on a regular basis.

    We are located approximately 50 miles east of downtown Los Angeles. UCR is also within easy driving distance of dozens of major cultural and recreational sites, as well as desert, mountain and coastal destinations.

     
  • richardmitnick 11:37 am on December 7, 2019 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , Magnetic resonance describes a resonant excitation of electron or atomic nuclei spins residing in a magnetic field by means of electromagnetic waves., , , UC Riverside   

    From UC Riverside: “Simple experiment explains magnetic resonance” 

    UC Riverside bloc

    From UC Riverside

    December 5, 2019
    Iqbal Pittalwala

    1
    Photo shows the experimental setup. Credit: Barsukov lab, UC Riverside.

    Physicists at University of California, Riverside, have designed an experiment to explain the concept of magnetic resonance. The project was carried out by undergraduate students in collaboration with local high school teachers.

    A versatile technique employed in chemistry, physics, and materials research, magnetic resonance describes a resonant excitation of electron or atomic nuclei spins residing in a magnetic field by means of electromagnetic waves. Magnetic resonance also provides the basis for magnetic resonance imaging, or MRI — the central noninvasive tool in diagnostic medicine and medical research.

    “Two of my undergraduate students developed the demonstration experiment based on a compass, an object everybody can relate to,” said Igor Barsukov, an assistant professor in the UC Riverside Department of Physics and Astronomy, who supervised the project.

    Barsukov explained the compass is placed in the middle of a wire coil that is fed with a small alternating voltage. A refrigerator magnet in the vicinity of the compass aligns its needle. When the fridge magnet is brought closer to the compass, the needle starts to oscillate at a “sweet spot.” When the magnet is moved away from the sweet spot, the oscillation stops. This oscillation corresponds to magnetic resonance of the compass needle in the magnetic field of the fridge magnet.

    “During outreach events for the broader public, people often share with us their concerns about MRI procedures they need to undergo in a hospital,” Barsukov said. “They associate it with radiation. We wanted to design a hands-on, table-top experiment to alleviate their concerns and to provide a visual explanation for the underlying physics.”

    Barsukov’s team initiated a collaboration with the Physics Teacher Academy, a UCR-based program providing training for local high school teachers, to ensure it is also suitable for a high-school classroom.

    “Close interaction with the teachers changed our perspective on what a good demonstration experiment aimed at improving scientific literacy should be,” Barsukov said. “We decided to employ 3D-printing techniques for the experimental setup and smartphone-based voltage generators. It reduces the time burden for instructors and makes the presentation more accessible and appealing to students.”

    2
    Igor Barsukov (right) is seen here with coauthor David Nelson, an undergraduate student in Barsukov’s lab at UC Riverside. (UCR/Barsukov lab)

    The project was recently published in The Physics Teacher and presented in early November 2019 in the educational section of Magnetism and Magnetic Materials, a major conference in magnetism research.

    “The project turned out to be truly synergistic,” Barsukov said. “We learned a lot from the high school teachers we worked with and were able to design an exciting tool for outreach, which I can also use in my classes at UCR. Working on this project was a great lab experience for my students.”

    Barsukov and his students were joined in the project by Daniel L. McKinney, a local high school teacher; and Michael Anderson, an associate professor of physics education at UC Riverside.

    The work was funded by the National Science Foundation. The Physics Teacher Academy is supported by the California Science Project

    See the full article here .

    five-ways-keep-your-child-safe-school-shootings

    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    Stem Education Coalition

    UC Riverside Campus

    The University of California, Riverside is one of 10 universities within the prestigious University of California system, and the only UC located in Inland Southern California.

    Widely recognized as one of the most ethnically diverse research universities in the nation, UCR’s current enrollment is more than 21,000 students, with a goal of 25,000 students by 2020. The campus is in the midst of a tremendous growth spurt with new and remodeled facilities coming on-line on a regular basis.

    We are located approximately 50 miles east of downtown Los Angeles. UCR is also within easy driving distance of dozens of major cultural and recreational sites, as well as desert, mountain and coastal destinations.

     
  • richardmitnick 5:24 pm on December 6, 2019 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: "Gamma-ray laser moves a step closer to reality", , , UC Riverside   

    From UC Riverside: “Gamma-ray laser moves a step closer to reality” 

    UC Riverside bloc

    From UC Riverside

    December 5, 2019
    Iqbal Pittalwala

    1

    A physicist at the University of California, Riverside, has performed calculations showing hollow spherical bubbles filled with a gas of positronium atoms are stable in liquid helium.

    The calculations take scientists a step closer to realizing a gamma-ray laser, which may have applications in medical imaging, spacecraft propulsion, and cancer treatment.

    Extremely short-lived and only briefly stable, positronium is a hydrogen-like atom and a mixture of matter and antimatter — specifically, bound states of electrons and their antiparticles called positrons. To create a gamma-ray laser beam, positronium needs to be in a state called a Bose-Einstein condensate — a collection of positronium atoms in the same quantum state, allowing for more interactions and gamma radiation. Such a condensate is the key ingredient of a gamma-ray laser.

    “My calculations show that a bubble in liquid helium containing a million atoms of positronium would have a number density six times that of ordinary air and would exist as a matter-antimatter Bose-Einstein condensate,” said Allen Mills, a professor in the Department of Physics and Astronomy and sole author of the study that appears today in Physical Review A.

    Helium, the second-most abundant element in the universe, exists in liquid form only at extremely low temperatures. Mills explained helium has a negative affinity for positronium; bubbles form in liquid helium because helium repels positronium. Positronium’s long lifetime in liquid helium was first reported in 1957.

    When an electron meets a positron, their mutual annihilation could be one outcome, accompanied by the production of a powerful and energetic type of electromagnetic radiation called gamma radiation. A second outcome is the formation of positronium.

    Mills, who directs the Positron Laboratory at UC Riverside, said the lab is configuring an antimatter beam in a quest to produce the exotic bubbles in liquid helium that Mills’ calculations predict. Such bubbles could serve as a source of positronium Bose-Einstein condensates.

    “Near term results of our experiments could be the observation of positronium tunneling through a graphene sheet, which is impervious to all ordinary matter atoms, including helium, as well as the formation of a positronium atom laser beam with possible quantum computing applications,” Mills said.

    The research was supported by the National Science Foundation.

    See the full article here .

    five-ways-keep-your-child-safe-school-shootings

    Please help promote STEM in your local schools.

    Stem Education Coalition

    UC Riverside Campus

    The University of California, Riverside is one of 10 universities within the prestigious University of California system, and the only UC located in Inland Southern California.

    Widely recognized as one of the most ethnically diverse research universities in the nation, UCR’s current enrollment is more than 21,000 students, with a goal of 25,000 students by 2020. The campus is in the midst of a tremendous growth spurt with new and remodeled facilities coming on-line on a regular basis.

    We are located approximately 50 miles east of downtown Los Angeles. UCR is also within easy driving distance of dozens of major cultural and recreational sites, as well as desert, mountain and coastal destinations.

     
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