Earth

Physicists from the Georgia Institute of Technology have developed a theory that describes, in a unified manner, the coexistence of liquid and pinned solid phases of electrons in two dimensions under the influence of a magnetic field. The theory also describes the transition between these phases as the field is varied.

Scientists braved ticks and a tiger - what people in Panama call 'home' - to discover how human activities have perturbed the nitrogen cycle in tropical forests. By perturbed, pollution has helped, according to studies at two remote Smithsonian Institution Global Earth Observatory sites in Panama and Thailand.

A new study published in European Obstetrics & Gynaecology (European Obstetrics & Gynaecology, 2011;6(2):92-4) shows that the DuoFertility monitor and service used for six months gives the same chance of pregnancy as a cycle of in-vitro fertilisation (IVF) for many infertile couples. This study demonstrates that there is a viable non-invasive, drug-free alternative to IVF for thousands of couples, with the potential to save them (and the NHS) millions of pounds each year.

Alexandria, VA – Haboobs, giant dust storms, walloped Arizona last summer — some close to 2 kilometers high and 160 kilometers wide — knocking out electricity, creating traffic jams and grounding airplanes. Even old-timers say they can't remember anything quite like this year's aerial assaults. Meanwhile Texas is experiencing one of the most extreme droughts in recent history, with almost 90 percent of the state in the most extreme level of drought. Arizona, California, Colorado, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Utah and other states are also experiencing drought conditions.

The debate may largely be drawn along political lines, but the human role in climate change remains one of the most controversial questions in 21st century science. Writing in WIREs Climate Change Dr Kevin Trenberth, from the National Center for Atmospheric Research, argues that the evidence for anthropogenic climate change is now so clear that the burden of proof should lie with research which seeks to disprove the human role.

PUNTA ARENAS, CHILE – After discovering an emerging crack that cuts across the floating ice shelf of Pine Island Glacier in Antarctica, NASA's Operation IceBridge has flown a follow-up mission and made the first-ever detailed airborne measurements of a major iceberg calving in progress.

NASA's Operation Ice Bridge, the largest airborne survey of Earth's polar ice ever flown, is in the midst of its third field campaign from Punta Arenas, Chile. The six-year mission will yield an unprecedented three-dimensional view of Arctic and Antarctic ice sheets, ice shelves and sea ice.

LOUISVILLE, Ky. – Paleontologist Guillermo Rougier, Ph.D., professor of anatomical sciences and neurobiology at the University of Louisville, and his team have reported their discovery of two skulls from the first known mammal of the early Late Cretaceous period of South America. The fossils break a roughly 60 million-year gap in the currently known mammalian record of the continent and provide new clues on the early evolution of mammals.

CHESTNUT HILL, MA (11/2/11) – Research carried out at Boston College, in collaboration with scientists at MIT and the University of Oxford, has led to the development of an efficient and highly selective catalyst for ring-closing olefin metathesis, one of the most widely used reactions in chemical synthesis, the team reports in this week's issue of the journal Nature.

A recent increase in the intensity of tropical cyclones in the Arabian Sea may be a side effect of increasing air pollution over the Indian sub-continent, a new multi-institutional study has found.

Pollution is making Arabian Sea cyclones more intense, according to a study in this week's issue of the journal Nature.

Traditionally, prevailing wind shear patterns prohibit cyclones in the Arabian Sea from becoming major storms.

The Nature paper suggests that weakening winds have enabled the formation of stronger cyclones in recent years -- including storms in 2007 and 2010 that were the first recorded storms to enter the Gulf of Oman.

Philadelphia, PA, November 2, 2011 – Cardiovascular Magnetic Resonance (CMR) has undergone substantial development and offers important advantages compared with other well-established imaging modalities. In the November/December issue of Progress in Cardiovascular Diseases, published by Elsevier, a series of articles on key topics in CMR will foster greater understanding of the rapidly expanding role of CMR in clinical cardiology.

Graphene, which is composed of a one-atom-thick layer of carbon atoms in a honeycomb-like lattice (like atomic-scale chicken wire), is the world's thinnest material – and one of the hardest and strongest. Indeed, the past few years have seen an explosion of research into the properties and potential applications of graphene, which has been touted as a superior alternative to silicon.

El Cerrito, Calif. -- Details of an earthquake that rocked the largest city in the South Island of New Zealand in February 2011 may transform the way scientists assess the potential threat of fault lines that run through urban centers.

Hydrogen offers great promise as a renewable energy source. It's staggeringly plentiful (the most abundant element in the Universe) and environmentally friendly (used in a fuel cell, it gives off only water). Unfortunately, storing and transporting hydrogen for personal use is a significant engineering challenge.