July 30, 2021
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Light has been detected from behind a black hole for the first time, bolstering Einstein's theory of general relativity, according to findings reported in Nature. Astrophysicists used telescopes to detect the light coming from the far side of I Zwicky 1, looking at the coronal flares the supermassive black hole produces and finding that some of their X-rays appear to be bouncing off the accretion disk.
Full Story: Gizmodo (7/28) 
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Improving Teacher Wellness and Self-Care
As teachers prepare to head back to the classroom, many are looking for ways to manage and protect their mental and emotional health, especially after what has been an incredibly taxing past year. Join SmartBrief on August 26th as mental health experts offer practical tips and ideas to help teachers and school leaders. Register Now
Science in the News
Water can be made electrically conductive without the high pressures typically needed for such a transition, according to research published in Nature. Small amounts of water vapor condensed onto droplets of a mixture of potassium and sodium and took on a golden color, indicating that electrons emitted from the sodium-potassium droplet had diffused into the water and interacted with positive metallic ions.
Full Story: Nature (free content) (7/28) 
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The brain of a horseshoe crab that lived about 310 million years ago was preserved due to siderite, an iron carbonate mineral, which formed rapidly and preserved its soft tissues, according to findings reported in Geology. Typically, soft tissues are lost because of their quick decay, but researchers were able to learn more about the creature's central nervous system due to the preservation of the horseshoe crab specimen found at the Mazon Creek site in Illinois.
Full Story: The Conversation (7/26) 
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Polar bears may use tools to help them kill walruses
Polar bears may use tools like ice chunks or boulders to kill walruses, which would otherwise be difficult to take down for food, a study in Arctic suggests. Researchers used accounts from explorers, Inuit hunters and naturalists, plus observations of bears using tools at zoos, to piece together their findings.
Full Story: Science News (7/29) 
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Brain aging, dementia may be mitigated by air quality
(Alexi Rosenfeld/Getty Images)
New research involving a group of 2,232 community-dwelling women ages 74 to 92 showed that lessening exposure to air pollution may result in lower dementia risk and slower brain aging. The results, presented at the Alzheimer's Association International Conference, suggest that controlling air quality can have positive short- and long-term effects.
Full Story: Medscape (free registration) (7/26) 
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A study of data from Medicaid enrollees, published online in Arthritis Care & Research, found that people with a history of post-traumatic stress disorder carried twice the risk for later systemic lupus erythematosus, compared with those without PTSD. Study authors noted that trauma exposure is linked to metabolic and hormonal changes that can impact the immune system and the body's inflammatory response.
Full Story: MedPage Today (free registration) (7/27) 
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Researchers in South Korea used 3D printing to create an implant that accounts for the shape of a damaged tissue to continuously deliver drugs to patients with acute liver failure. The implant requires only one surgery to be placed next to the liver and be connected to a port that allows for the drug supply to be topped up.
Full Story: Korea Biomedical Review (7/28) 
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Funding Watch
The Anschutz Foundation has awarded a $2 million grant to Colorado State University to study ways to prepare for future infectious illnesses and prevent pandemics. The interdisciplinary research will focus on monitoring and surveillance of potential threats as well as more effective ways to distribute treatments and vaccines.
Full Story: KDVR-TV (Denver) (7/27) 
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Sigma Xi News
The Sigma Xi Student Research Conference will be held this November in conjunction with the Society's 2021 Annual Meeting in Niagara Falls, NY. High school, undergraduate, and graduate students are invited to submit abstracts for oral and poster presentations across all research disciplines.
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Sigma Xi invites in-person and remote submissions to its 2021 STEM Art and Film Festival, featuring categories for visual arts, performing arts, films, and presentations. Submissions should portray the beauty of science, communicate abstract principles, promote STEM education, exemplify the integration of the arts in STEM, or depict scientific discoveries and phenomena.
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It is a time in which we will redefine what it means to be human, for this is not just the start of a revolution, it is the start of an evolution.
David A. Sinclair,
biologist, professor of genetics
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