Best of Last Week – Rarest event ever recorded, a Marsquake detected and generational effects of a popular weed killer
It was a good week for physics as The XENON Collaboration research team announced that they had built a dark matter detector that observed the rarest event ever recorded—the radioactive decay of xenon-124. Also, a team led by Adam Riess of the Space Telescope Science Institute announced that the mystery of the universe's expansion rate has widened based on new Hubble data. The researchers report a discrepancy between results from two important techniques used to measure the expansion rate. And a team at Utah State University's Splash Lab found a new mode of rock skipping they call "water walking"—it happens when elastic spheres move quickly across the top of a tank of water. Also, a pair of researchers, Chris Boyce with Columbia Engineering and Christoph Müller with ETH Zurich, demonstrated bubbles of sand that appear to defy the laws of physics—a new kind of instability in grains of sand.
It was a good week for news from space as well, as the French space agency Cnes announced that the SEIS probe has detected what they describe as a "marsquake," the first tremor detected on the Red Planet. Also, the international collaboration known as the Event Horizon Telescope, which produced the first-ever picture of a black hole event horizon, released an image of the giant galaxy around the giant black hole—elliptical galaxy Messier 8. And a team at the University of Arkansas reported that their research on disk galaxies sheds new light on the movement of stars.
In other news, an international team of researchers announced that they had found several new crabs, including Callichimaera perplexa, the platypus of crabs. Also, a team at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai announced evidence indicating that a short period of parental sexual contact prior to pregnancy increased the offspring's risk of schizophrenia.
And finally, if you, like millions of others across the northern hemisphere, have plans to battle weeds this summer, you might want to take a look at a rat study conducted by a team at Washington State University—they found health effects across generations from a very popular weed killer—glyphosate, the world's most popular weed killer.
Explore further: The giant galaxy around the giant black hole
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