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Virginia Tech chemistry Professor Harry Dorn has developed a new area of fullerene chemistry that may be the backbone for development of molecular semiconductors and quantum computing applications.

Dorn plays with the hollow carbon molecules known as fullerenes as if they are tinker toys. First, in 1999, he figured out how to put atoms inside the 80-atom molecule, then how to do it reliably, how to change the number of atoms forming the carbon cage, and how to change the number and kinds of atoms inside the cage, resulting in a new, more sensitive MRI material and a vehicle to deliver radioactive atoms for applications in nuclear medicine.


Astronomers have been able to study planet-forming discs around young Sun-like stars in unsurpassed detail, clearly revealing the motion and distribution of the gas in the inner parts of the disc. This result, which possibly implies the presence of giant planets, was made possible by the combination of a very clever method enabled by ESO's Very Large Telescope.

Planets could be home to other forms of life, so the study of exoplanets ranks very high in contemporary astronomy. More than 300 planets are already known to orbit stars other than the Sun, and these new worlds show an amazing diversity in their characteristics. But astronomers don't just look at systems where planets have already formed - they can also get great insights by studying the discs around young stars where planets may currently be forming. "This is like going 4.6 billion years back in time to watch how the planets of our own Solar System formed," says Klaus Pontoppidan from Caltech, who led the research.


Apparently, you can tell a lot about people from the way they move - gender, age, and even mood.

Researchers say they have found that observers perceive masculine motion as coming toward them, while a characteristically feminine walk looks like it's headed the other way.

Such studies are done by illuminating only the joints of model walkers and asking observers to identify various characteristics about the largely ambiguous figures.

Space is extremely cold, near absolute zero, and it is a vacuum, so no oxygen, plus there is the threat of lethal radiation from stars. It is considered the most hostile of environments, where unprotected humans would last for a fraction of a second.

But research by Ingemar Jönsson and colleagues in Current Biology shows that some animals — the tardigrades, or 'water-bears' — can do away with space suits and can survive exposure to open-space vacuum, cold and radiation just fine.


The protein IKKalpha (IKKα) regulates the cell cycle of keratinocytes and plays a key role in keeping these specialized skin cells from becoming malignant, researchers at The University of Texas M. D. Anderson Cancer Center report in Cancer Cell.

Keratinocytes originate in the basal layer of the epidermis to replace skin cells at the surface that have been shed. As keratinocytes gradually move up through the skin layers, they differentiate and eventually form the top layer of the skin, which is composed of squamous cells. The cycle ends through terminal differentiation, in which cells lose their ability to reproduce by dividing in two. They eventually die.

An athlete's ability to sweat may do more than keep the body cool. It also may prevent the development of exercise-induced asthma (EIA), a common respiratory condition among trained athletes. New research appearing in the September issue of CHEST, the peer-reviewed journal of the American College of Chest Physicians (ACCP), shows that athletes with EIA produce less sweat, tears, and saliva than those who do not have breathing problems.

Warren Lockette, MD, lead study author and advisor to the University of Michigan's NCAA Division I women's swimming team, has worked with many Olympians and future professional athletes with EIA. "It is unclear why so many elite athletes have exercise-induced asthma," he said. "It is possible that they manifest symptoms of exercise-induced asthma simply because their levels of exertion and breathing rate are so high compared with the average, competitive sportsman."