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Three British Scientists Win Nobel Physics Prize for work on Exotic States of Matter

Research conducted by David J. Thouless, F. Duncan Haldane and J. Michael Kosterlitz, brought forth a new and totally unexpected understanding of the way solid materials behave

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Thomas Hans Hansson (R), one of the members of the Royal Academy of Sciences, speaks during a news conference announcing the winners of the 2016 Nobel Prize for Physics in Stockholm, Sweden, Oct. 4, 2016. VOA

Three United States university professors have won the Nobel Prize for Physics for their work on exotic states of matter, the Nobel jury announced Tuesday.

Research conducted by the three British-born scientists, David J. Thouless, F. Duncan Haldane and J. Michael Kosterlitz, brought forth a new and totally unexpected understanding of the way solid materials behave.

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The scientists also developed their own mathematical equations to explain the new behavioural properties.

“This year’s laureates opened the door on an unknown world where matter can assume strange states. They have used advanced mathematical methods to study unusual phases, or states, of matter, such as superconductors, superfluids or thin magnetic films. Thanks to their pioneering work, the hunt is now on for new and exotic phases of matter,” The Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences, which hands out the award, said in a statement.

A screen showing pictures of the winners of the 2016 Nobel Prize for Physics during a news conference by the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences in Stockholm, Sweden, Oct. 4, 2016. VOA
A screen showing pictures of the winners of the 2016 Nobel Prize for Physics during a news conference by the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences in Stockholm, Sweden, Oct. 4, 2016. VOA

Thouless is an emeritus professor at the University of Washington, Haldane is a professor of physics at Princeton University and Kosterlitz is a professor of physics at Brown University.

The three scientists began working on the research that would eventually net them a Nobel Prize in the 1970’s and 1980’s, but judges often wait decades to honor scientific discoveries to ensure they stand up to further research.

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Haldane said during a press conference he was “as everyone else is, very surprised and very gratified” to win the award.

“A lot of tremendous new discoveries that are based on this original work are now happening,” he said.

Along with the prestige that comes with winning a Nobel Prize, the prize carries a cash award of $930,000, which the scientists will split. They will also receive diplomas and medals at an award ceremony set for December 10.

Yoshinori Ohsumi, a professor of Tokyo Institute of Technology smiles in front of a celebration message board after he won the Nobel medicine prize in Yokohama, Japan, October 3, 2016 in this photo released by Kyodo. VOA
Yoshinori Ohsumi, a professor of Tokyo Institute of Technology smiles in front of a celebration message board after he won the Nobel medicine prize in Yokohama, Japan, October 3, 2016 in this photo released by Kyodo. VOA

The 2016 Nobel Prize announcements began Monday with Japanese biologist Yoshinori Ohsumi winning the medicine award for discoveries on autophagy, the process by which a cell breaks down and recycles content.

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Later this week, the Nobel jury will announce the winners of the chemistry and peace prizes. Next week, the economics and literature awards will be announced. (VOA)

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Beware! Tobacco, Poor Diet, and Mental Disorders are Leading Causes of Poor Health and you may be at Risk too!

According to a new study, deaths from noncommunicable, or chronic, diseases such as cardiovascular disease and diabetes have caused 72 percent of all deaths worldwide

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poor health
A heavyset man rests on a bench in Jackson, Miss. (VOA)

London, September 15, 2017 : Heart disease and tobacco ranked with conflict and violence among the world’s leading cause of poor health and the biggest killers in 2016, while poor diets and mental disorders caused people the greatest poor health, a large international study has found.

The Global Burden of Disease (GBD) study, published in The Lancet medical journal, found that while life expectancy is increasing, so too are the years people live in poor health. The proportion of life spent being ill is higher in poor countries than in wealthy ones.

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“Death is a powerful motivator, both for individuals and for countries, to address diseases that have been killing us at high rates. But we’ve been much less motivated to address issues leading to illnesses,” said Christopher Murray, director of the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME) at the University of Washington, which led the study.

He said a “triad of troubles” — obesity, conflict and mental illness — is emerging as a “stubborn and persistent barrier to active and vigorous lifestyles.”

Diet critical

The IHME-led study, involving more than 2,500 researchers in about 130 countries, found that in 2016, poor diet was associated with nearly one in five deaths worldwide. Tobacco smoking killed 7.1 million people.

ALSO READ Ban on E-Cigarettes May Increase the Risk on the Public Health in India, Warn Experts

Diets low in whole grains, fruit, nuts and seeds, fish oils and high in salt were the most common risk factors, contributing to cases of obesity, high blood pressure, high blood sugar and high cholesterol.

The study found that deaths from firearms, conflict and terrorism have increased globally, and that noncommunicable, or chronic, diseases such as cardiovascular disease and diabetes caused 72 percent of all deaths worldwide.

Heart disease was the leading cause of premature death in most regions and killed 9.48 million people globally in 2016.

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Mental illness was found to take a heavy toll on individuals and societies, with 1.1 billion people living with psychological or psychiatric disorders and substance abuse problems in 2016.

Major depressive disorders ranked in the top 10 causes of ill health in all but four countries worldwide.

The GBD is funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation global health charity and gives data estimates on 330 diseases, causes of death and injuries in 195 countries and territories. (VOA)

 

 

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Indian women are at higher risk of death due to Domestic Violence than American women: Study

According to the research domestic violence was found to increase the risk of death in Indian women by nearly 40 times than among the US women

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Street Play on domestic violence
Street Play on domestic violence. Wikimedia
  • Researchers from the University of Washington found three major causes of injury -fall, road traffic accidents and domestic violence
  • US men were three times as likely to die after sustaining a fall than US women
  • One in four female victims of assault in India actively seeks care after experiencing intimate partner violence

New York, USA, September 3, 2017:  Women in India are nearly 40 times more likely to die after being assaulted than their peers in the US, finds a comparative analysis of trauma data from both countries.

In the study, researchers from the University of Washington found three major causes of injury -fall, road traffic accidents and domestic violence.

Indian men were more likely to die after sustaining any one of the three categories of injury than either Indian women or US men and women.

On the other hand, US men were three times as likely to die after sustaining a fall than US women.

However, the greatest disparity in risk of death emerged for Indian and US women who had been assaulted -a difference the researchers described as “unparalleled”.

Domestic violence was found to increase the risk of death in Indian women by nearly 40 times than among the US women.

Importantly, evidence showed that only one in four female victims of assault in India actively seeks care after experiencing intimate partner violence.

In addition, both men and women in the US had between five and seven times lower odds of dying after a fall or a road traffic accident than did their counterparts in India, the researchers said.

“The higher odds of death for Indian females compared with US females suggest that there are other injuries and systemic factors that contribute to this discrepancy in mortality odds,” said Mohini Dasari, a researcher at the University of Washington.

For the study, published in the online journal BMJ Global Health, the team drew on information submitted to Indian (11,670 cases) and the US (14,155 cases) trauma databases for 2013 to 2015.

The Indian database comprised patients from four hospitals in Kolkata, Mumbai, and Delhi, while the US database included patients treated at level 1 trauma centres in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. (IANS)

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Google Buys Indian-Origin Professor Shwetak Patel’s Health Monitoring Start-up

The start-up turns smartphones into medical devices and collects various health statistics

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Shwetak Patel, Google
Google has acquired Senosis Health, a Seattle-based health monitoring start-up founded by University of Washington Professor Shwetak Patel (Representative image). Pixabay
  • The start-up turns smartphones into medical devices and collects various health stats
  • Using functions on a smartphone including its accelerometer, microphone, flash and camera, the Senosis apps can monitor lung health and hemoglobin counts, among other things
  • It marks the latest acquisition for Patel, whose past start-up ventures have landed in the hands of companies such as Belkin International and Sears

San Francisco, August 17, 2017: Google has acquired Senosis Health, a Seattle-based health monitoring start-up founded by University of Washington Professor Shwetak Patel, the media reported. The start-up turns smartphones into medical devices and collects various health stats, The Verge reported on Tuesday.

Using functions on a smartphone including its accelerometer, microphone, flash and camera, the Senosis apps can monitor lung health and hemoglobin counts, among other things, the report said. For example, to measure the hemoglobin, Senosis’ app uses the phone’s flash to illuminate a user’s finger.

ALSO READ: There’s a place for you at Google: CEO Sundar Pichai to girl innovators

It marks the latest acquisition for Patel, whose past start-up ventures have landed in the hands of companies such as Belkin International and Sears, according to Geekwire.com which first reported the acquisition on Sunday. Patel, who founded the company with four others, is a professor at University of Washington’s computer science and engineering faculty.

According to a biography at University of Washington website, Patel was a founder of Zensi, Inc., a demand side energy monitoring solutions provider, which was acquired by Belkin, Inc in 2010. He is also a co-founder of a low-power wireless sensor platform company called SNUPI Technologies and a consumer home sensing product called WallyHome.

WallyHome was acquired by Sears in 2015. A recipient of many awards, his past work was also honored by the New York Times as a top technology of the year in 2005. (IANS)