Archive for April 14th, 2012
Scientists at TU Delft's Kavli Institute and the Foundation for Fundamental Research on Matter have succeeded for the first time in detecting a Majorana particle. In the 1930s, the brilliant Italian physicist Ettore Majorana deduced from quantum theory the possibility of the existence of a very special particle, a particle that is its own anti-particle: the Majorana fermion. That 'Majorana' would be right on the border between matter and anti-matter …
Majorana fermions are very interesting — not only because their discovery opens up a new and uncharted chapter of fundamental physics; they may also play a role in cosmology. A proposed theory assumes that the mysterious 'dark matter', which forms the greatest part of the universe, is composed of Majorana fermions.
Sodas, candy bars and sweet breakfast cereals are entwined in modern life — along with a lot of other questionable choices and bad habits. It's hard to know exactly what all of that sugar is doing to our bodies, but scientists are making headway. Some not-so-sweet findings:
In an unusual — and revealing — experiment from 2011, researchers at UC Davis fed 48 young adults a sugary but carefully controlled diet. In just two weeks, subjects who got 25% of their calories from either fructose or high-fructose corn syrup saw a jump in their cholesterol levels. A similar study from 2008 found that sugary drinks decreased insulin sensitivity and increased visceral fat in overweight subjects.
So-called specialty drugs for diseases like rheumatoid arthritis have a narrow use and high costs, leaving the most vulnerable patients with huge bills.