Best of Last Week—Detection of exotic looping photons, ocean warming confirmed and a cancer killing pepper plant

January 9, 2017 by Bob Yirka recap
The red path shows an exotic looped trajectory of light through a three-slit structure, which was observed for the first time in the new study. Credit: Magaña-Loaiza et al. Nature Communications

(ScienceX)—It was a good week for physics and the start of another new year as an international team of researchers reported the detection of exotic looped trajectories of light in a three-slit experiment—a new take on the famous double-slit experiment revealed that photons were actually looping back around and returning through another slit. Another team with members from institutions in the U.S. and Korea reported that multiple copies of the Standard Model could solve the hierarchy problem, leading perhaps to an explanation of why some of the fundamental forces are so much stronger than others.

It was also a good week for space news as a combined team of researchers from the University of Minnesota and the North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences got a first look at a new, extremely rare galaxy—(PGC 1000714), which appears to belong to the Hoag-type class of galaxies. Also, NASA visualizer Ernie Wright released a lunar profile and moon data that provides a more accurate 2017 eclipse path than ever before—it showed the path the moon's shadow will follow during this summer's solar eclipse. Also, Hubble provided an interstellar road map for the Voyager satellites' galactic trek as they move into the .

In other news, a team led by researchers at the University of California and Berkeley Earth found evidence that confirmed the results of a study confirming the steady warming of the oceans for the past 75 years—the study published two years ago suggested that the oceans have continued to warm even as the atmosphere experienced a global warming hiatus. Also, Israeli aeronautics firm Urban Aeronautics announced that a drone big enough to carry people passed another milestone—flying autonomously over uneven terrain. And there was a report in the New England Journal of Medicine outlining the means by which an artificial 'voice box' implant has been helping cancer patients speak again. The device is made by French company Protip Medical. Also, a pair of researchers, Nicole Cameron and Cheryl McCormick with Binghamton University and Brock University respectively reported on evidence they had found showing that females seeking a sex partner can tell whether males experienced stress during adolescence.

And finally, if you are a connoisseur of Indian food, you might be interested in a study conducted by UT Southwestern Medical Center—researchers there uncovered the mechanism for cancer-killing properties of a type of pepper plant. Known more widely as the long pepper, it is used to spice up Indian dishes and has been suspected of possessing medicinal properties for thousands of years.

Explore further: Physicists detect exotic looped trajectories of light in three-slit experiment