Best of Last Week – Storing data using an atom, selling Martian dirt, reducing screen time to improve child cognition
It was another good week for physics as a team at Radboud University discovered a new mechanism for information storage in one atom—using a scanning tunneling microscope to detect single cobalt atoms on a black phosphorus surface. And an international team of researchers used a Hyper Suprime-Cam survey to map dark matter in the universe—offering the deepest wide-field map yet of the three-dimensional distribution of matter in the universe.
In space news, an international team of researchers found evidence that ancient Mars had the right conditions for underground life—they found there was likely enough dissolved hydrogen to support a subsurface biosphere. And a team at the University of Central Florida announced plans to sell Martian dirt for $20 a kilogram—the dirt is a simulant the group cooks up in their lab that can be used in research efforts. And a large team with members from the U.S. and Europe announced the first observation of dust storms on Titan—the Saturn moon is just the third solar system body known to have such events.
In news that made worldwide headlines, Abel Prize winner and Fields medalist Sir Michael Atiyah claims to have solved one of math's greatest mysteries, the Riemann hypothesis. Also, a team at the University of Hong Kong reported that the world's first human case of a rat disease had been diagnosed—prior to the finding, it was not known if the rat version of hepatitis E could jump to humans. And a team at the University of Texas at Austin announced that they had found evidence suggesting that a common weed killer could be linked to bee deaths—they found that glyphosate in Roundup may make bees more susceptible to infections. In somewhat related news, a team with members from several institutions in the U.S. found that DEET doesn't actually repel insects—instead, it confuses them—and some other critters, as well.
And finally, if you are a parent with growing children, you might want to check out a study by a team with members from across Canada—they found that limiting children's recreational screen time to less than two hours a day could be linked to better cognition.
© 2018 ScienceX