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Data from the ESA/NASA spacecraft SOHO shows clearly that powerful starquakes ripple around the Sun in the wake of mighty solar flares that explode above its surface. The observations give solar physicists new insight into a long-running solar mystery and may even provide a way of studying other stars.

The outermost quarter of the Sun’s interior is a constantly churning maelstrom of hot gas. Turbulence in this region causes ripples that criss-cross the solar surface, making it heave up and down in a patchwork pattern of peaks and troughs.


Researchers at the Department of Energy's Pacific Northwest National Laboratory found that the restless movement of oxygen atoms heals radiation-induced damage in the engineered ceramic yttria-stabilized zirconia.

This may lead to development of radiation-resistant materials for nuclear power plants and waste storage.

Scientists Ram Devanathan and Bill Weber modeled how well that ceramic and other materials stand up to radiation. "If you want a material to withstand radiation over millennia, you can't expect it to just sit there and take it. There must be a mechanism for self-healing," said Devanathan.


Your contact lenses of the future could be completely biodegradable. A soft contact lens is a hydrogel - a solid, gelatinous mass consisting of water incorporated in a polymer network.

Now Berkeley researchers have developed a technique for the formation of hybrid materials from synthetic polymers and proteins, fusing the biological functions of proteins with the processing properties of plastics.

Aaron P. Esser-Kahn and Matthew B. Francis say they have successfully synthesized a green-fluorescing biodegradable gel that responds to changes in pH value and temperature. These polymer-protein hybrid materials can also be used in sensors, nanomachine parts, or drug-delivery systems.

Increased carbon dioxide in the Earth's atmosphere is causing microscopic ocean plants to produce greater amounts of calcium carbonate (chalk) - with potentially wide ranging implications for predicting the cycling of carbon in the oceans and climate modelling.

That is the conclusion of an international team of scientists led by investigators based at the UK's National Oceanography Centre, Southampton and the University of Oxford, published in Science, on 18 April 2008.

Co lead-author, Dr M Debora Iglesias-Rodriguez, of the University of Southampton's School of Ocean and Earth Science at the National Oceanography Centre, Southampton said:

A connection between vitamin D level and the risk of developing breast cancer has been implicated for a long time, but its clinical relevance had not yet been proven.

Sascha Abbas and colleagues from the working group headed by Dr. Jenny Chang-Claude at the German Cancer Research Center (Deutsches Krebsforschungszentrum, DKFZ), collaborating with researchers of the University Hospitals in Hamburg-Eppendorf, have now obtained clear results: While previous studies had concentrated chiefly on nutritional vitamin D, the researchers have now investigated the complete vitamin D status. To this end, they studied 25-hydroxyvitamin D (25(OH)D) as a marker for both endogenous vitamin D and vitamin D from food intake.

When a hypothetical, quantum-scale balloon is popped in a vacuum, do the particles inside spread out as predicted by classical mechanics or do something else, since matter at the infinitesimally small quantum scale is both a wave and a particle, and its location cannot be fixed precisely because measurement alters the system?

The question is deceptively complex, since quantum particles do not look or act like air molecules in a real balloon. Theoretical physicists at the University of Southern California have an answer Heisenberg would be proud of.

Quantum-scale chaos exists … sort of.