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December 12, 2012
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  • Stephen Hawking wins Special Fundamental Physics Prize
    Stephen Hawking was awarded the Special Fundamental Physics Prize for his long line of contributions to the field of physics, including the widely accepted theory that black holes emit radiation and glow. Russian billionaire Yuri Milner established the $2.9 million award in July, the largest sum given for a science prize. "No one undertakes research in physics with the intention of winning a prize. ... Nevertheless prizes like these play an important role in giving public recognition for achievement in physics. They increase the stature of physics and interest in it," said Hawking, who is thinking of spending the money on his autistic grandson and a holiday home. The Guardian (London) (12/11) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
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  Science in the News 
  • Study shifts theoretical framework around origins of life
    A group of researchers seeks to look at the origins of life 3.7 billion years ago based on factors other than chemistry, which most scientists have relied upon in theorizing how life began. "People have been fixated on a problem of chemistry ... that we have a set of ingredients and instructions to follow," said astrobiologist Paul Davies, who co-authored the study. "That approach is failing to capture the essence of what life is about." The study, published Tuesday in the Journal of the Royal Society Interface, focuses on such phenomena as the two-way flow of information and multiple information storage points in living organisms. LiveScience.com (12/11) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  • Archaeologists use radiocarbon dating to locate ancient river harbor
    A team of French and Italian archaeologists used geological coring to identify the hypothetical site of Ostia, an ancient harbor city founded by Roman King Ancus Marcius around 620 B.C. Archaeologists previously identified a number of other ruins from the city, which was a port and outer defense for the Roman empire, but the harbor's whereabouts were unknown. The team used radiocarbon dating on river sediment samples to pinpoint the harbor. Sci-News.com (12/11) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  • Concussions in children may have lingering effects
    Children who suffered concussions showed changes in their cognitive functioning and brain structure two weeks after their injuries, according to a study in the Journal of Neuroscience. Although other concussion-related symptoms waned after three months, brain scans revealed that children with concussions still had structural changes in the white matter. MyHealthNewsDaily.com (12/11) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  • Virus found in Middle East could threaten animals along with humans
    Scientists believe that a SARS-like virus that infected nine people -- five fatally -- in the Middle East this summer may also pose a threat to animals such as pigs and bats. The virus, which researchers were able to code in the Netherlands, causes multiple illnesses, such as gastrointestinal infections and colds. Their study -- published Tuesday in mBio -- explores a number of questions surrounding the virus' origins and capabilities. ScienceMag.org/ScienceNow blog (12/11) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  • Raindrop-flinging flowers could hold clues to crime scene spatters
    Splash-cup plants, which have blooms whose conical shape helps them deflect raindrops at as much as five times the drops' terminal speed, could prove useful in designing energy-collecting devices and making sense of blood spatters at crime scenes. A research team used high-speed videos of droplets hitting real plants and plastic models to verify the velocity-enhancing shape of the flowers, which grow in rainforests and deserts alike. "By understanding the types of geometries that produce certain blood-splash patterns, a crime scene could be better understood," said Guillermo Amador, a Georgia Institute of Technology fluids researcher who helped produce the recently released report. LiveScience.com (12/11) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  • NASA will reveal discovery of primitive galaxies today
    NASA's Hubble Space Telescope has helped scientists identify "a previously unseen population of primitive galaxies that formed more than 13 billion years ago," officials said in a statement Monday. NASA will officially announce the findings today at 2 p.m. EST. Most astronomers believe the universe originated 13.7 billion years ago. Space.com (12/11) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  • Other News
  Research Policy Regulations 
  • National Ignition Facility will try slower approach to laser fusion
    The U.S. government has outlined a plan for achieving thermonuclear fusion in its National Ignition Facility in California after the failure of a six-year plan to achieve fusion. The new plan aims to use a "slower, more deliberate approach to achieving ignition," according to this article, but some critics have expressed doubt that the method will be successful. Nature (12/11) LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
  Sigma Xi News 
  • Membership in Sigma Xi is an honor worth sharing
    Take a look at our website today and learn more about the honor of membership in Sigma Xi. LinkedInFacebookTwitterEmail this Story
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--Josiah Royce,
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