Discover the most talked about and latest scientific content & concepts.

Concept: Field


Microactuation of free standing objects in fluids is currently dominated by the rotary propeller, giving rise to a range of potential applications in the military, aeronautic and biomedical fields. Previously, surface acoustic waves (SAWs) have been shown to be of increasing interest in the field of microfluidics, where the refraction of a SAW into a drop of fluid creates a convective flow, a phenomenon generally known as SAW streaming. We now show how SAWs, generated at microelectronic devices, can be used as an efficient method of propulsion actuated by localised fluid streaming. The direction of the force arising from such streaming is optimal when the devices are maintained at the Rayleigh angle. The technique provides propulsion without any moving parts, and, due to the inherent design of the SAW transducer, enables simple control of the direction of travel.

Concepts: Fundamental physics concepts, Fluid dynamics, Fluid mechanics, Liquid, Wave, Fluid, Field, Surface acoustic wave


To determine whether trial publications of glucose lowering drugs are dominated by a small group of highly prolific authors (“supertrialists”) and to identify some of their characteristics.

Concepts: Insulin, Diabetes mellitus, Glucose, Blood sugar, Algebraic structure, Vector space, Field, Ring


Magnetic monopoles–particles that behave as isolated north or south magnetic poles–have been the subject of speculation since the first detailed observations of magnetism several hundred years ago. Numerous theoretical investigations and hitherto unsuccessful experimental searches have followed Dirac’s 1931 development of a theory of monopoles consistent with both quantum mechanics and the gauge invariance of the electromagnetic field. The existence of even a single Dirac magnetic monopole would have far-reaching physical consequences, most famously explaining the quantization of electric charge. Although analogues of magnetic monopoles have been found in exotic spin ices and other systems, there has been no direct experimental observation of Dirac monopoles within a medium described by a quantum field, such as superfluid helium-3 (refs 10-13). Here we demonstrate the controlled creation of Dirac monopoles in the synthetic magnetic field produced by a spinor Bose-Einstein condensate. Monopoles are identified, in both experiments and matching numerical simulations, at the termini of vortex lines within the condensate. By directly imaging such a vortex line, the presence of a monopole may be discerned from the experimental data alone. These real-space images provide conclusive and long-awaited experimental evidence of the existence of Dirac monopoles. Our result provides an unprecedented opportunity to observe and manipulate these quantum mechanical entities in a controlled environment.

Concepts: Electromagnetism, Electromagnetic field, Magnetic field, Photon, Quantum mechanics, Quantum field theory, Quantum electrodynamics, Field


The emergence of satellite sensors that can routinely observe millions of individual smallholder farms raises possibilities for monitoring and understanding agricultural productivity in many regions of the world. Here we demonstrate the potential to track smallholder maize yield variation in western Kenya, using a combination of 1-m Terra Bella imagery and intensive field sampling on thousands of fields over 2 y. We find that agreement between satellite-based and traditional field survey-based yield estimates depends significantly on the quality of the field-based measures, with agreement highest ([Formula: see text] up to 0.4) when using precise field measures of plot area and when using larger fields for which rounding errors are smaller. We further show that satellite-based measures are able to detect positive yield responses to fertilizer and hybrid seed inputs and that the inferred responses are statistically indistinguishable from estimates based on survey-based yields. These results suggest that high-resolution satellite imagery can be used to make predictions of smallholder agricultural productivity that are roughly as accurate as the survey-based measures traditionally used in research and policy applications, and they indicate a substantial near-term potential to quickly generate useful datasets on productivity in smallholder systems, even with minimal or no field training data. Such datasets could rapidly accelerate learning about which interventions in smallholder systems have the most positive impact, thus enabling more rapid transformation of rural livelihoods.

Concepts: Agriculture, Accuracy and precision, Field, Yield, Farm, Crop yield, Rounding


We present a new approach which aims to translate freeform biofabrication into the surgical field, while staying true to the practical constraints of the operating theatre. Herein we describe the development of a handheld biofabrication tool, dubbed the ‘biopen’, which enables the deposition of living cells and biomaterials in a manual, direct-write fashion. A gelatin-methacrylamide/hyaluronic acid-methacrylate (GelMa/HAMa) hydrogel was printed and UV crosslinked during the deposition process to generate surgically sculpted 3D structures. Custom titanium nozzles were fabricated to allow printing of multiple ink formulations in a collinear (side-by-side) geometry. Independently applied extrusion pressure for both chambers allows for geometric control of the printed structure and for the creation of compositional gradients. In vitro experiments demonstrated that human adipose stem cells maintain high viability (>97%) one week after biopen printing in GelMa/HAMa hydrogels. The biopen described in this study paves the way for the use of 3D bioprinting during the surgical process. The ability to directly control the deposition of regenerative scaffolds with or without the presence of live cells during the surgical process presents an exciting advance not only in the fields of cartilage and bone regeneration but also in other fields where tissue regeneration and replacement are critical.

Concepts: Human, Developmental biology, Stem cell, Surgery, Cellular differentiation, Field, Printing, Adult stem cell


During navigation, grid cells increase their spike rates in firing fields arranged on a markedly regular triangular lattice, whereas their spike timing is often modulated by theta oscillations. Oscillatory interference models of grid cells predict theta amplitude modulations of membrane potential during firing field traversals, whereas competing attractor network models predict slow depolarizing ramps. Here, using in vivo whole-cell recordings, we tested these models by directly measuring grid cell intracellular potentials in mice running along linear tracks in virtual reality. Grid cells had large and reproducible ramps of membrane potential depolarization that were the characteristic signature tightly correlated with firing fields. Grid cells also demonstrated intracellular theta oscillations that influenced their spike timing. However, the properties of theta amplitude modulations were not consistent with the view that they determine firing field locations. Our results support cellular and network mechanisms in which grid fields are produced by slow ramps, as in attractor models, whereas theta oscillations control spike timing.

Concepts: Cell membrane, Organelle, Neurology, Phase, Membrane potential, Field, Potential, Depolarization


A molecular procedure was developed to detect and quantify larvae of different strongylid parasite species recovered from pasture samples. Two lamb flocks (L and S) grazed separate paddocks with different natural larvae challenges (one low [Paddock L] and one high [Paddock S] challenge) on a commercial farm in Western Australia. Pasture samples were collected and analysed for larvae on 9 separate occasions from each paddock. Pregnant Merino ewes were sampled on 3 separate occasions (2 pre-partum and 1 post-partum). Following lambing, 203 female crossbred lambs were identified, from which faecal samples were collected across five separate samplings. Lamb production and faecal attributes were recorded. Genomic DNA was extracted directly from lamb faeces, in addition to the genomic DNA extracts from strongylid larval species recovered from pastures. Faecal worm egg counts (FWECs) were undertaken. Species-specific qPCRs and conventional PCRs (ITS-2 nuclear ribosomal DNA) were used to screen samples for strongylid species (Teladorsagia circumcincta, Trichostrongylus spp., Haemonchus contortus, Chabertia ovina and Oesophagostomum venulosum). Negative correlations (r(2)>0.91) were found between qPCR C(q) values and log-transformed pasture larval counts for Trichostrongylus spp. and T. circumcincta. Moderate levels of agreement between pasture larval counts and qPCR results were observed (67%). A clear difference in pasture larval challenge levels was observed between the two flocks using both qPCR and conventional pasture larval counts. It is difficult to draw conclusions on the production performances of lambs from the two experimental flocks, as no further replicates were able to be conducted following this experiment. Flock L had higher dressing percentages than Flock S (P=0.038), along with significantly higher faecal consistency and breech fleece faecal soiling scores at successive samplings. The molecular procedures utilised in this study have the potential to be beneficial for livestock grazing management strategies and parasite surveillance, however further investigation is necessary before they can become part of routine diagnostics.

Concepts: Pasture, Field, Farm, Livestock, Grazing, Domestic sheep, Haemonchus contortus, LaMB


Liposomes have been widely applied as carriers of molecules in the fields of nanodevices, drug delivery and gene delivery, as well as a mimic for cell membranes. In the biosensor field, liposomes find special application in signal amplification, due to their excellent carrier properties for encapsulation of signal marker compounds across a wide spectrum of sensing modalities. Additionally, the ability to modify the liposome surface structure to perform recognition functions with a wide range of types of analytes is an important aspect of their use in bioanalysis. This article provides an extensive review of the utility of liposomes in the fields of biosensor and bioanalysis with a focus on these two aspects. The aspects related to the translation of liposomes into commercially viable devices for biosensing are also discussed, and the hurdles to more widespread deployment in point of care systems are addressed.

Concepts: DNA, Cell, Cell membrane, Biotechnology, Membrane biology, Field, The Field, Lipofection


Mohammed Ben Alhocain, in an Arab manuscript of the 10th century, stated that the principal object of the theory of rational right triangles is to find a square that when increased or diminished by a certain number, m becomes a square [Dickson LE (1971) History of the Theory of Numbers (Chelsea, New York), Vol 2, Chap 16]. In modern language, this object is to find a rational point of infinite order on the elliptic curve $$m{y}^{2}={x}^{3}-x$$. Heegner constructed such rational points in the case that m are primes congruent to 5,7 modulo 8 or twice primes congruent to 3 modulo 8 [Monsky P (1990) Math Z 204:45-68]. We extend Heegner’s result to integers m with many prime divisors and give a sketch in this report. The full details of all the proofs will be given in ref. 1 [Tian Y (2012) Congruent Numbers and Heegner Points, arXiv:1210.8231].

Concepts: Mathematics, Rational number, Number, Field, Prime number, Algebraic number theory, Divisor, Algebraic geometry


In radiology, multireader, multicase (MRMC) receiver-operating characteristic studies are commonly used to evaluate the accuracy of diagnostic imaging systems. The special feature of an MRMC receiver-operating characteristic study requires that the same set of patients' images be examined by the same set of doctors. One main difficulty of analyzing MRMC data is a complicated correlation structure. Four commonly used methods are available for dealing with this complicated correlation structure. The authors conducted an extensive simulation study to assess the performance of these methods in finite sample sizes. They summarize the relative strengths and weaknesses of these methods and make recommendations on the use of these methods.

Concepts: Scientific method, Statistics, Sample size, Data, Psychometrics, Java, Field, Biostatistics