(from Greek ἔντομος, entomos, “that which is cut in pieces or engraved/segmented”, hence “insect”; and -λογία, -logia) - the scientific study of insects, a branch of arthropodology, which in turn is a branch of biology. At some 1.3 million described species, insects account for more than two-thirds of all known organisms, date back some 400 million years, and have many kinds of interactions with humans and other forms of life on earth. Though technically incorrect, the definition is sometimes widened to include the study of terrestrial animals in other arthropod groups or other phyla, such as arachnids, myriapods, earthworms, land snails, and slugs.
Scientists Find Origin of Giant Synapses
How do we locate the spatial position of sounds? Scientists have revealed a mechanism responsible for the creation of giant synapses in the brain that allow us to efficiently process auditory information.
Humans and most mammals can determine the spatial origin of sounds with remarkable acuity. We use this ability all the time – crossing the street; locating an invisible ringing cell phone in a cluttered bedroom. To accomplish this small daily miracle, the brain has developed a circuit that’s rapid enough to detect the tiny lag that occurs between the moment the auditory information reaches one of our ears, and the moment it reaches the other. The mastermind of this circuit is the “Calyx of Held,” the largest known synapse in the brain. EPFL scientists have revealed the role that a certain protein plays in initiating the growth of these giant synapses. The discovery, published in Nature Neuroscience, could also help shed light on a number of neuropsychiatric disorders.
Read more: http://www.laboratoryequipment.com/news/2013/05/scientists-find-origin-giant-synapses
Scientists Discover Colors of Ancient Ivory Sculptures
The fabled ivory carvings from the ancient Phoenician city of Arslan Tash — literally meaning “Stone Lion” — may appear a dull monochrome in museums today, but they glittered with brilliant blue, red, gold and other colors 2,800 years ago, a new study has confirmed after decades of speculation. It appears in the ACS journal Analytical Chemistry.
Read more: http://www.laboratoryequipment.com/news/2013/05/scientists-discover-colors-ancient-ivory-sculptures
Laboratory Equipment: Imaging Method Tracks Effects of Nanomedicines on Tissues -
A pioneering imaging technique to track the effects of next-generation nanomedicines on patients has been harnessed by a Univ. of Strathclyde academic.
Prof. Ravi Kumar and Dimitrios Lamprou, of the Strathclyde Institute of Pharmacy and Biomedical Sciences, believe an advanced form of atomic…
Neutron Star Suddenly Slows Down
Astronomers using NASA’s Swift X-ray Telescope have observed a spinning neutron star suddenly slowing down, yielding clues they can use to understand these extremely dense objects.
A neutron star is the crushed core of a massive star that ran out of fuel, collapsed under its own weight, and exploded as a supernova. A neutron star can spin as fast as 43,000 times per minute and boast a magnetic field a trillion times stronger than Earth’s. Matter within a neutron star is so dense a teaspoonful would weigh about a billion tons on Earth.
Read more: http://www.laboratoryequipment.com/news/2013/05/neutron-star-suddenly-slows-down
Physicists Develop Low-Power Polariton Laser
Lasers are an unseen backbone of modern society. They’re integral to technologies ranging from high-speed Internet services to Blu-ray players.
The physics powering lasers, however, has remained relatively unchanged through 50 years of use. Now, an international research team led by Stanford’s Yoshihisa Yamamoto, a professor of electrical engineering and of applied physics, has demonstrated a revolutionary electrically driven polariton laser that could significantly improve the efficiency of lasers.
Read more: http://www.laboratoryequipment.com/news/2013/05/physicists-develop-low-power-polariton-laser
Method Improves Carbon-Fiber Composites for Airplanes
These days, aerospace engineering is all about the light stuff: building airplanes with lighter wings, fuselage and landing gear in an effort to reduce fuel costs.
Advanced carbon-fiber composites have been used in recent years to lighten planes’ loads. These materials can match aluminum and titanium in strength but at a fraction of the weight, and can be found in aircraft like the Boeing 787 and Airbus A380, reducing such jets’ weight by 20 percent.
read more: http://www.laboratoryequipment.com/news/2013/05/method-improves-carbon-fiber-composites-airplanes
Experiment to Examine the Beginnings of the Universe
When did the first stars and galaxies form in the universe? How brightly did they burn their nuclear fuel? Scientists will seek to gain answers to these questions with the launch of the Cosmic Infrared Background ExpeRIment (CIBER) on a Black Brant XII suborbital sounding rocket between 11 and 11:59 p.m. EDT, June 4 from the Wallops Flight Facility in Virginia.
/Jamie Bock, CIBER principal investigator from the California Institute of Technology, says, “The first massive stars to form in the universe produced copious ultraviolet light that ionized gas from neutral hydrogen. CIBER observes in the near infrared, as the expansion of the universe stretched the original short ultraviolet wavelengths to long near-infrared wavelengths today. CIBER investigates two telltale signatures of first star formation – the total brightness of the sky after subtracting all foregrounds, and a distinctive pattern of spatial variations.”
Read more: http://www.laboratoryequipment.com/news/2013/05/experiment-examine-beginnings-universe
Drug Side Effects Are Inevitable
A new study of both computer-created and natural proteins suggests that the number of unique pockets – sites where small molecule pharmaceutical compounds can bind to proteins – is surprisingly small, meaning drug side effects may be impossible to avoid. The study also found that the fundamental biochemical processes needed for life could have been enabled by the simple physics of protein folding.
Studying a set of artificial proteins and comparing them to natural proteins, researchers at the Georgia Institute of Technology have concluded that there may be no more than about 500 unique protein pocket configurations that serve as binding sites for small molecule ligands. Therefore, the likelihood that a molecule intended for one protein target will also bind with an unintended target is significant, says Jeffrey Skolnick, a professor in the School of Biology at Georgia Tech.
Read more: http://www.laboratoryequipment.com/news/2013/05/drug-side-effects-are-inevitable