The Koyal Group Info Mag: Mätä muna avaruudessa? Sitähän komeettoja haisee

Oletko koskaan miettinyt, mitä komeetta voisi haisee kuin se matkansa avaruuteen? No, enään: Lyhyt vastaus on, että se haisee, tähtitieteilijät sanovat.


Tämä on tuomio, jota Euroopan avaruusjärjestön Rosetta komeetta avaruusalus, joka on haistaa noin Churyumov-Gerasimenkoa komeetta viimeiset pari kuukautta.


Altistuminen auringonvalolle aiheuttaa "kaasun vapautuminen" ja noidan pataa sekoitus rikkivetyä, formaldehydi, ammoniakki ja syaanivetyä muutaman muun syövyttäviä kaasuja heitetty, tutkijat raportoivat.


Tuloksena hautua toisi mieleen mätä muna, alkoholi, hevosen pissalle kanssa ehkä jotkut karvasmantelit heitetty, Euroopan tutkijat raportoivat.


"Jos voisit haistaa komeetta, haluat luultavasti halua, että sinulla oli ei", he sanoivat hieman ironinen blogi lähetetty ESAn verkkosivuilla.


Väline kyytiin Rosetta avaruusalus, massaspektrometrissä, on analysoinut allekirjoitukset kaasujen keitettiin pois komeetan pää, tai kooma, koska se tulee lähemmäs ja lähemmäs aurinkoa.


Niin epämiellyttävää kuin komeetan "aromi" ääniä (ja todennäköisesti haisee), se on tutkijoiden innoissaan, mitä se voi paljastaa noin antiikin kemialliset aineosat oman aurinkokuntamme.


"Sen hajuvettä ei ehkä Chanel nro 5, mutta komeetat selvästi on omat mieltymykset," tutkija Kathrin Altwegg yliopiston Bernin sanoi.


Churyumov-Gerasimenkoa peräisin Kuiperin vyöhyke, alue aurinkokunnan ulottuu kiertoradalla Neptunuksen ulospäin, ja sen kaasumainen meikki voi verrata muihin komeetat mistä vieläkin kauempana Oort pilvi.


Erot sisällön komeettoja mistä ne voisivat auttaa ymmärtämään kemian meikki aurinkokunnan sillä se oli, tutkijat sanovat.


Rosetta avaruusalus, käynnistettiin vuonna 2004, saapui naapurustossa komeetta elokuussa, tulossa ensimmäinen tieteellinen koetin koskaan mennä kiertoradan komeetta.


Se on mukana pieni robotti Lander, dubattuna Philaen ja varustettu omalla sviitti tieteen välineitä, jotka ESAn tutkijat ohjaavat alas komeetan pintaan marraskuussa.


Komeetta, jossa Rosetta avaruusalus seuraavat pitkin, tekee sen lähin lähestymistapa aurinko - noin 114 miljoonaa kilometriä - on 13 elokuu 2015.


Komeetta on nimetty sen discoverers, Klim Ivanovych Churyumov ja Svetlana Ivanovna Gerasimenkoa, joka ensimmäisenä havaittu sen aikana tutkimuksen kaukoputken valokuvauslevyille vuonna 1969.


Sen kiertoaika Auringon ympäri on 6,45 vuotta, ja se pyörii kerran 12,4 tuntia, kun se matkansa aurinkokunnan.


The Koyal Group Info Mag: Nobel Prize for work on brain's navigation system

STOCKHOLM (AP) — How do we remember where we parked the car? And how do we figure out a shortcut to work when there's a big traffic jam?


The brain, it turns out, has a GPS-like function that enables people to produce mental maps and navigate the world — a discovery for which three scientists won the Nobel Prize in medicine Monday.


Husband-and-wife scientists Edvard Moser and May-Britt Moser of Norway and New York-born researcher John O'Keefe were honored for breakthroughs in experiments on rats that could help pave the way for a better understanding of human diseases such as Alzheimer's.


"We can actually begin to investigate what goes wrong" in Alzheimer's, said O'Keefe, a dual British-American citizen. He said the findings might also help scientists design tests that can pick up the very earliest signs of the mind-robbing disease, whose victims lose their spatial memory and get easily lost.


It was in London in 1971 where O'Keefe discovered the first component of the brain's positioning system.


He found that a certain type of nerve cell was always activated when a rat was at a certain place in a room. Other nerve cells were activated when the rat moved to another place. He demonstrated that these "place cells" were building up a map, not just registering visual input.


Decades later, in 2005, the Mosers identified another type of nerve cell — the "grid cell" — that generates a coordinate system for precise "positioning and path-finding," the Nobel Assembly said.


"I made the initial discovery over 40 years ago. It was met then with a lot of skepticism," the 74-year-old O'Keefe said. "And then slowly over years, the evidence accumulated. And I think it's a sign of recognition not only for myself and the work I did, but for the way in which the field has bloomed."


John Kubie of the SUNY Downstate Medical Center in New York said this GPS system in the brain is used in such everyday tasks as remembering where a car is parked or taking a new shortcut on the way home. Kubie also said learning about it may teach scientists more about how the brain learns and remembers, even apart from navigating.


Born in Harlem and raised in the South Bronx, O'Keefe received his doctoral degree in physiological psychology at McGill University in Canada before moving to England for postdoctoral work at the University College London.


"If you can survive the South Bronx, you can survive anything," he said.


Monday's award was the fourth time that a married couple has shared a Nobel Prize and the second time in the medicine category.


"This is crazy," an excited May-Britt Moser, 51, said by telephone from the Norwegian University of Science and Technology in Trondheim, where she and her husband work.


"This is such a great honor for all of us and all the people who have worked with us and supported us," she said. "We are going to continue and hopefully do even more groundbreaking work in the future."


Edvard Moser, 52, said: "It is really a joint work. Not only are we two people, but we are complementary as well."


The Nobel Assembly said the laureates' discoveries marked a shift in scientists' understanding of how specialized cells work together to perform complex cognitive tasks. They have also opened new avenues for understanding cognitive functions such as memory, thinking and planning.


"Thanks to our grid and place cells, we don't have to walk around with a map to find our way each time we visit a city, because we have that map in our head," said Juleen Zierath, chair of the medicine prize committee.


Half the Nobel prize money of 8 million Swedish kronor (about $1.1 million) goes to O'Keefe and the other half to the Mosers. Each winner also receives a gold medal.


The Nobel Prizes will be handed out on Dec. 10, the anniversary of prize founder Alfred Nobel's death in 1896.


This year's Nobel announcements continue with the physics award on Tuesday, followed by chemistry, literature and peace later this week. The economics prize will be announced next Monday.


For more science news from The Koyal Group Info Mag, visit our facebook page and follow us on twitter @koyalgroup.

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Koyal Info Group Mag: Researchers Urge to Fight Anti-Science

Honoured researchers urge colleagues to fight anti-science


Scientists need to fight against a growing anti-science sentiment worldwide by joining the debate, say two researchers acknowledged in today's Australia Day Honours.


Professors Bruce McKellar and Sam Berkovic, both associated with the University of Melbourne, received the nation's highest honour when they were appointed Companions in the General Division of the Order of Australia.


McKellar, a theoretical physicist, says the honour for his "eminent service to science, particularly the study of theoretical physics" came as a "surprise".


However it highlights a remarkable journey from a NSW bush school playground to the hallways of Switzerland's Large Hadron Collider.


"One of the things that is very nice about me getting this award is the fact I went to a bush school with 50 students and one teacher," he says.


That one teacher at Budgeregong Public School near Forbes in NSW also happened to be his father.


"In part it is to he that I owe my appreciation of mathematics and various forms of science," he says.


Although officially retired, the 72-year-old will later this year become the first Australian and first southern hemisphere president of the International Union of Pure and Applied Physics.


The prestigious position comes at a time when science - most notably climate and immunisation science - is under attack in western societies.


"The basic denial is the denial that science has done anything for us," says McKellar.


"I think part of the problem is not that we are denying science but that we've become so used to it and the idea that it really is the basis of all our lifestyle."


He cites the example of basic radio astronomy research to analyses radio signals from the universe that led to the development of mobile phones.


"We do need to talk more about [the benefits]. Unfortunately we have to convince people about the need for patience … and I think some of us [scientists] don't help with that by continually claiming to have made a breakthrough.


McKellar emphasizes the incremental and collaborative nature of science, of which he is pleased to be a part of.


"That is one of the nice things about getting this award because I consider my own contributions to science - although they have been significant ... have been of the small step variety."


Epilepsy genetics honored


Being honored is nothing new to Professor Berkovic, director of the epilepsy program at Austin Health.


In 2005 the neurologist was appointed as a Member of the Order of Australia for his service to medicine.


Yet Berkovic is the first to admit his promotion to AC for his "eminent service to biomedical research in the field of epilepsy genetics as a leading academic and clinician" left him "a bit gob smacked".


"I was very humbled by it," he says adding he is pleased to see recognition for medical research and efforts to bridge clinical medicine and basic science.


However like McKellar he has concerns about a growing anti-science trend.


"It is a puzzling paradox," Berkovic says.


"Despite the enormous advances and deepening understanding, the push to whacky alternative medicine is ever greater," he says.


However Berkovic believes scientists must shoulder some of the responsibility: "I grew up in the mound of just doing my science and not trumpeting my stuff. I think I was wrong.


"We do need to be better salesmen."


Berkovic, who discovered the first gene for epilepsy in 1995, says turning 60 saw him rethinking his priorities.


Receiving today's honor, he says, gave him "internal validation" to continue researching.


It remains a disappointment to him that genetic discoveries have yet to make a real impact on medical treatment for disease and disorders.


He points to the 1986 discovery of the gene associated with muscular dystrophy.


"You would think if we had that you could fix muscular dystrophy, but sadly so far that has proved elusive.


"In science we don't know how many layers of onion Mother Nature has put in the path of where we want to be.


"Using genetic information to modify brain disease is a really big challenge.


"I'd like to be part of cracking that in the next five to 10 years."