What’s new in science this week?

  • The secret to supercharging phones in seconds revealed? Scientists from the University of Florida have developed a new method for creating flexible supercapacitors, capable of storing more energy than before and can be recharged more than 30,000 times without degradation. After experimenting with the application of new nanomaterials to supercapacitors, the team believes they’ve solved the smartphone battery problem. To read more, click here.
  • Men lag behind females in life expectancy: In a time when people are living longer than ever before, analysis of the mortality patterns of humans, monkeys and apes has shown that males still lag behind females across the entire primate family tree. Despite the influence of modern medicine and public health improvements, the disadvantage males possess has deep evolutionary roots, according to research from Duke University. To read more, click here.
  • Method for removing specific fears discovered: Using a combination of artificial intelligence and brain scanning technology, researchers from the University of Cambridge have been able to remove specific fears from the human brain. By reading and identifying a fear memory, implanted in a volunteer using ‘Decoded Nuerofeedback’, the team could overwrite the fear using a reward system. Such a discovery could revolutionise the treatment of PTSD. To read more, click here.
  • Smell – is it a cultural phenomenon? Research from McGill University has shown that two people sharing the same language and similar traditions, can have extremely different reactions when smelling the same thing, depending on their cultural backgrounds. Participants were asked to smell six scents and rate them based on pleasantness, intensity, familiarity and edibility. Their nonverbal reactions, such as respiration and heart rate, were also monitored. To read more, click here.
  • Even physicists are ‘scared’ of maths: A New Journal of Physics study has shown that physicists, despite being trained in advanced mathematics, pay less attention to theories involving large amounts of mathematical detail. This finding suggests that there are greater barriers to communicating mathematical work than thought before. Try not to worry guys, it’s just a bit of algebra…most of the time. To read more, click here.


Sam McMaster

Science Editor


(Image courtesy of the University of Central Florida)

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