Monday, July 22

Science

Forest office: The role of wood in Paris’s low-carbon building boom
Science

Forest office: The role of wood in Paris’s low-carbon building boom

New Scientist‘s Graham Lawton recently visited two construction sites in Paris that showcase the wonder material of the future: wood. Each site uses wood as an alternative to typical modern construction materials such as steel and concrete, and the potential benefits are numerous: from lower carbon emissions to improved mental health. Wooden construction, it would seem, could help restore our health and the planet’s. At Marcadet Belvédère, a former parcel terminus for the French railway network overlooked by the Basilica of the Sacred Heart, property developer WO2 is adding five extra storeys to the existing concrete shell to create new office space. The new storeys are mostly made of cross-laminated timber (CLT), an engine...
How materials that rewind light can test physics’ most extreme ideas
Science

How materials that rewind light can test physics’ most extreme ideas

For an experiment designed to reverse time, the apparatus was surprisingly simple: little more than a tank of water. With a puff of air to disturb the surface, Emmanuel Fort created a set of ripples moving outwards in concentric circles. Then, as the waves spread, he gave the tank a practised jolt – at which point they suddenly started travelling inward, refocusing at the point of origin. Fort’s work in 2016 was the first of what has become a deluge of experiments in which waves are manipulated, controlled and even reversed with unprecedented precision. And these days, we are no longer just playing with water. Researchers have figured out how to create a range of “temporal metamaterials” that can manipulate and rewind electromagnetic waves, including visible light its...
New Report Provides a Ranking of Sustainability Around the World – State of the Planet
Science

New Report Provides a Ranking of Sustainability Around the World – State of the Planet

As the world continues to face new challenges connected to climate change, how do we tally national and global efforts toward achieving sustainability goals and addressing intensifying environmental concerns? For the last 25 years, the Center for International Earth Science Information Network (CIESIN) has collaborated with the Yale Center for Environmental Law and Policy on the Environmental Performance Index (EPI)—essentially, an evidence-based and multi-faceted sustainability scorecard. While there has some been progress toward sustainability in recent years, the 2024 EPI highlights many areas for improvement. A figure showing the 2024 EPI framework, aggregating 58 indicators into 11 issue categories and three main policy objectives. Source: Block S et al. 2024 Environmental P...
Bioelectronic patch uses living bacteria to treat psoriasis in mice
Science

Bioelectronic patch uses living bacteria to treat psoriasis in mice

This living bioelectronic device is being used to treat psoriasis in miceJiuyun Shi and Bozhi Tian/University of Chicago A bioelectronic device that incorporates living skin bacteria reduces inflammation and boosts healthy skin regeneration in mice experiencing psoriasis, a chronic autoimmune disease that is characterised by the accelerated growth of skin cells. A future version of the technology might help treat some of the 125 million people worldwide with psoriasis. “For the mouse model, four days or close to one week should be enough for treatment,” says Bozhi Tian at the University of Chicago, whose team developed the device. “If you’re thinking about the potential clinical application in a human subject then a longer time will be needed – but that can easily be d...
Quantum time travel: The experiment to ‘send a particle into the past’
Science

Quantum time travel: The experiment to ‘send a particle into the past’

Ryan wills/istock/Amtitus When Seth Lloyd first published his ideas about quantum time loops, he hadn’t considered all the consequences. For one thing, he hadn’t anticipated the countless emails he would get from would-be time travellers asking for his help. If he could have his time over again, he jokes, he “probably wouldn’t have done it”. Sadly, Lloyd, a physicist at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, won’t be revisiting years gone by. Spoiler alert: no one will go back in time during the course of this article. But particles? That is another matter. Theoretical routes to the past called time loops have long been hypothesised by physicists. But because they are plagued by impracticalities and paradoxes, they have been dismissed as impossible for just as long...