Magnetic field lines tangled like spaghetti in a bowl might be behind the most powerful particle accelerators in the universe. That’s the result of a new computational study by researchers from the Department of Energy’s SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory, which simulated particle emissions from distant active galaxies. At the core of these active galaxies, supermassive

Smithsonian scientists and collaborators are revising the history of one of the world’s most important crops. Drawing on genetic and archaeological evidence, researchers have found that a predecessor of today’s corn plants still bearing many features of its wild ancestor was likely brought to South America from Mexico more than 6,500 years ago. Farmers in

MIT researchers have invented a way to fabricate nanoscale 3-D objects of nearly any shape. They can also pattern the objects with a variety of useful materials, including metals, quantum dots, and DNA. “It’s a way of putting nearly any kind of material into a 3-D pattern with nanoscale precision,” says Edward Boyden, an associate

The speed and distance at which planets orbit their respective blazing stars can determine each planet’s fate—whether the planet remains a longstanding part of its solar system or evaporates into the universe’s dark graveyard more quickly. In their quest to learn more about far-away planets beyond our own solar system, astronomers discovered that a medium-sized

Nano-sized particles already make bicycles and tennis rackets lighter and stronger, protect eyeglasses from scratches, and help direct chemotherapy drugs to cancer cells. But their usefulness depends on being able to precisely sculpt them into the right configurations—no easy task when they’re so tiny that thousands of them could fit into the thickness of a

Half of the people pursuing careers as scientists at higher education institutions will drop out of the field after five years, according to a new analysis from researchers at Indiana University Bloomington. That number contrasts sharply with the departure rate of scientists in the 1960s, when a much higher fraction spent their full careers in

Billions of tiny transistors supply the processing power in modern smartphones, controlling the flow of electrons with rapid on-and-off switching. But continual progress in packing more transistors into smaller devices is pushing toward the physical limits of conventional materials. Common inefficiencies in transistor materials cause energy loss that results in heat buildup and shorter battery

Researchers at John Innes Centre have shed light on how catnip—also known as catmint—produces the chemical that sends cats into a state of wanton abandon. The remarkable effect catnip has on cats is well known thanks to the scores on online videos showing pets enjoying its intoxicating highs. The substance that triggers this state of

A characteristic feature of modern humans is the unusually round skull and brain, in contrast to the elongated shape seen in other human species. By studying Neandertal DNA fragments found in the genomes of living Europeans, scientists have now discovered genes that influence this globular shape. An interdisciplinary research team, led by the Max Planck

Researchers at MIT, Draper, and Brigham and Women’s Hospital have designed an ingestible capsule that can be controlled using Bluetooth wireless technology. The capsule, which can be customized to deliver drugs, sense environmental conditions, or both, can reside in the stomach for at least a month, transmitting information and responding to instructions from a user’s

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