Journal Club

Highlighting recently published papers selected by Academy members

Monthly Archives: April 2013

Meandering curves: A new understanding of channel sinuosity

Winding, curving channels are a universal landscape pattern, from the Amazonian floodplains to the Aeolis Planum–a ridged region of Mars. Wriggling groves are cut into the bedrock of Utah and the volcanic valleys of the lunar surface. Despite their ubiquity, … Continue reading

Categories: Earth, Atmospheric, and Planetary Sciences | 1 Comment

Mystery of pulsating corals solved

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Bp5ZTdmuScU] The way pulsating corals open and close their soft, feathery tentacles in a rhythmic grabbing motion is what earned them their name. First described nearly 200 years ago by Jean-Baptiste Lamarck—the naturalist most noted today for his ideas … Continue reading

Categories: Applied Biological Sciences | Leave a comment

Bats found to host hepatitis C family of viruses

Bats can be hosts to a host of dangerous viruses, such as Ebola, SARS, Marburg, Nipah and Hendra. Now researchers in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences report that bats are reservoirs of relatives of the hepatitis C … Continue reading

Categories: Ecology | Microbiology | Leave a comment

Toward “cyborg tissues” with self-assembling 3D circuits

Just as a ten-floor apartment building can offer more living space than a one-story house for the same amount of real estate, so too could microchips that stretch up into three dimensions instead of just the conventional two lead to … Continue reading

Categories: Applied Physical Sciences | Leave a comment

Making vaccines not need refrigeration

Millions of deaths happen each year from vaccine-preventable diseases because vaccines break down from heat and developing countries often lack ways to properly refrigerate them. Now researchers suggest eggshell-like coatings can make vaccines more thermally stable. Vaccines against polio, smallpox, … Continue reading

Categories: Applied Biological Sciences | Pharmacology | Leave a comment

Fog Bridge: Making San Francisco foggier–for art’s sake

San Francisco’s beloved hands-on science institution, the Exploratorium, founded by physicist Frank Oppenheimer in 1969, will be reopening this month at Pier 15 after closing doors at the Palace of Fine Arts. A host of artworks harnessing the marine and … Continue reading

Categories: Engineering | Science and Culture | Visual Science | Leave a comment

Planets’ magnetic fields come from more complex inner flows than thought

The magnetic fields of Earth and other planets result from their dynamos—vast oceans of electrically conductive fluids such as liquid metals in their innards that roil turbulently due to convection of heat left over from the birth of those worlds. … Continue reading

Categories: Applied Physical Sciences | Earth, Atmospheric, and Planetary Sciences | Leave a comment

Dams not cause of salmon decline, study suggests

In their first months at sea, salmon that have migrated through the eight dams of the Snake River are no more likely to perish than juveniles that traversed fewer dams, according to a new PNAS Early Edition paper. The finding … Continue reading

Categories: Ecology | Environmental Sciences | Leave a comment

Flatly opposed: Squeezing through a channel turns objects sideways

One might naturally assume that whatever is within a fluid lines up with that fluid as it pours through a channel. However, scientists now find disks, tubes, and many other particles don’t always go with the flow at all, sometimes … Continue reading

Categories: Applied Physical Sciences | Leave a comment

Primed for language–Babies able to separate sound from emotion

As any parent knows, a laughing baby is a happy one, a crying baby is sad. A baby’s coos, squeals, and growls, however, are the soundtrack of many occasions. They may be bubbly, upset, or feeling just about average. This … Continue reading

Categories: Developmental Biology | Psychological and Cognitive Sciences | Leave a comment