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

Concept: Physical quantities


There is currently no evidence that the intervertebral discs (IVDs) can respond positively to exercise in humans. Some authors have argued that IVD metabolism in humans is too slow to respond anabolically to exercise within the human lifespan. Here we show that chronic running exercise in men and women is associated with better IVD composition (hydration and proteoglycan content) and with IVD hypertrophy. Via quantitative assessment of physical activity we further find that accelerations at fast walking and slow running (2 m/s), but not high-impact tasks, lower intensity walking or static positions, correlated to positive IVD characteristics. These findings represent the first evidence in humans that exercise can be beneficial for the IVD and provide support for the notion that specific exercise protocols may improve IVD material properties in the spine. We anticipate that our findings will be a starting point to better define exercise protocols and physical activity profiles for IVD anabolism in humans.

Concepts: Stretching, Catabolism, Anabolism, Vertebral column, Metabolism, Physical quantities, Intervertebral disc, Exercise


Electronic carriers in graphene show a high carrier mobility at room temperature. Thus, this system is widely viewed as a potential future charge-based high-speed electronic material to complement-or replace-silicon. At the same time, the spin properties of graphene have suggested improved capability for spin-based electronics or spintronics and spin-based quantum computing. As a result, the detection, characterization and transport of spin have become topics of interest in graphene. Here we report a microwave photo-excited transport study of monolayer and trilayer graphene that reveals an unexpectedly strong microwave-induced electrical response and dual microwave-induced resonances in the dc resistance. The results suggest the resistive detection of spin resonance, and provide a measurement of the g-factor, the spin relaxation time and the sub-lattice degeneracy splitting at zero magnetic field.

Concepts: Materials science, Magnetic moment, Fundamental physics concepts, Electromagnetism, Physical quantities, Electron, Spin, Nuclear magnetic resonance


Electronic phase separation is one of the key features in correlated electron oxides. The coexistence and competition of multiple phases give rise to gigantic responses to tiny stimuli producing dramatic changes in magnetic, transport and other properties of these compounds. To probe the physical properties of each phase separately is crucial for a comprehensive understanding of phase separation phenomena and for designing their device functions. Here we unravel, using a unique p-n junction configuration, dynamic properties of multiple phases in manganite thin films. The multiple dielectric relaxations have been detected and their corresponding multiple phases have been identified, while the activation energies of dielectric responses from different phases were extracted separately. Their phase evolutions with changing both temperature and applied magnetic field have been demonstrated by dielectric response. These results provide a guideline for exploring the electronic phase separation phenomena in correlated electron oxides.

Concepts: Permittivity, Capacitor, Magnetic field, Dielectric spectroscopy, Dielectric, Maxwell's equations, Physical quantities, Fundamental physics concepts


In 2015, more than 200,000 saiga antelopes died in 3 weeks in central Kazakhstan. The proximate cause of death is confirmed as hemorrhagic septicemia caused by the bacterium Pasteurella multocida type B, based on multiple strands of evidence. Statistical modeling suggests that there was unusually high relative humidity and temperature in the days leading up to the mortality event; temperature and humidity anomalies were also observed in two previous similar events in the same region. The modeled influence of environmental covariates is consistent with known drivers of hemorrhagic septicemia. Given the saiga population’s vulnerability to mass mortality and the likely exacerbation of climate-related and environmental stressors in the future, management of risks to population viability such as poaching and viral livestock disease is urgently needed, as well as robust ongoing veterinary surveillance. A multidisciplinary approach is needed to research mass mortality events under rapid environmental change.

Concepts: Physical quantities, Psychrometrics, Future, Pasteurella multocida, Demography, Death, Humidity, Relative humidity


Until now, few sp carbon materials simultaneously exhibit superior performance for specific surface area (SSA) and electrical conductivity at bulk state. Thus, it is extremely important to make such materials at bulk scale with those two outstanding properties combined together. Here, we present a simple and green but very efficient approach using two standard and simple industry steps to make such three-dimensional graphene-based porous materials at the bulk scale, with ultrahigh SSA (3523 m/g) and excellent bulk conductivity. We conclude that these materials consist of mainly defected/wrinkled single layer graphene sheets in the dimensional size of a few nanometers, with at least some covalent bond between each other. The outstanding properties of these materials are demonstrated by their superior supercapacitor performance in ionic liquid with specific capacitance and energy density of 231 F/g and 98 Wh/kg, respectively, so far the best reported capacitance performance for all bulk carbon materials.

Concepts: Specific surface area, Fundamental physics concepts, Porous media, Ionic bond, Chemical bond, Physical quantities, Water, Density


The dielectric properties of Z-type hexaferrite Sr3Co2Fe24O41 (SCFO) have been investigated as a function of temperature from 153 to 503 K between 1 and 2 GHz. The dielectric responses of SCFO are found to be frequency dependent and thermally activated. The relaxation-type dielectric behavior is observed to be dominating in the low frequency region and resonance-type dielectric behavior is found to be dominating above 10(8) Hz. This frequency dependence of dielectric behavior is explained by the damped harmonic oscillator model with temperature dependent coefficients. The imaginary part of impedance (Z″) and modulus (M″) spectra show that there is a distribution of relaxation times. The scaling behaviors of Z″ and M″ spectra further suggest that the distribution of relaxation times is temperature independent at low frequencies. The dielectric loss spectra at different temperatures have not shown a scaling behavior above 10(8) Hz. A comparison between the Z″ and the M″ spectra indicates that the short-range charges motion dominates at low temperatures and the long-range charges motion dominates at high temperatures. The above results indicate that the dielectric dispersion mechanism in SCFO is temperature independent at low frequencies and temperature dependent at high frequencies due to the domination of resonance behavior.

Concepts: Resonance, Harmonic oscillator, Wave, Optics, Hertz, Dielectric, Physical quantities, Fundamental physics concepts


For many patients clinical prescription of walking will be beneficial to health and accelerometers can be used to monitor their walking intensity, frequency and duration over many days. Walking intensity should include establishment of individual specific accelerometer count, walking speed and energy expenditure (VO2) relationships and this can be achieved using a walking protocol on a treadmill or overground. However, differences in gait mechanics during treadmill compared to overground walking may result in inaccurate estimations of free-living walking speed and VO2. The aims of this study were to compare the validity of track- and treadmill-based calibration methods for estimating free-living level walking speed and VO2 and to explain between-method differences in accuracy of estimation.

Concepts: Estimator, Accelerometer, Psychometrics, G-force, Pedometer, Physical quantities, Estimation, Walking


Since the high transition temperature (High-Tc) superconductivity was discovered in the series of materials containing iron (Fe), their potential for the applications has been extensively scrutinized. In particular, a lot of effort has been made in achieving the high current-carrying ability by revealing the vortex pinning behavior. Here, we report on the critical current density (Jc) for the pristine Ba1-xKxFe2As2 single crystals with various K concentrations (0.25 ≤ x ≤ 0.52) determined by the magnetization hysteresis loop measurements. The x-dependence of Jc is characterized by a spike-like peak at x ~ 0.30, which corresponds to the under-doped region. This behavior is distinct from a moderate Tc dome with a broad maximum spanning from x ~ 0.3 to 0.5. For the under-doped samples, with increasing magnetic field (H), a second magnetization peak in Jc is observed, whereas for the optimally- and over-doped samples, Jc monotonically decreases with H. This result emphasizes that fine tuning of doping composition is important to obtain strong flux pinning. The origin of the characteristic doping dependence of Jc is discussed in connection with the orthorhombic phase domain boundary, as well as the chemical inhomogeneity introduced by the dopant substitutions.

Concepts: Physical quantities, Electric current, Ferromagnetism, Permeability, Condensed matter physics, Magnetism, Fundamental physics concepts, Magnetic field


To investigate the relationships of objectively measured physical activity (PA) and sedentary time (ST) to arterial stiffness in pre-pubertal children.

Concepts: Physical quantities, Obesity


Materials science has made progress in maximizing or minimizing the thermal conductivity of materials; however, the thermal effusivity-related to the product of conductivity and capacity-has received limited attention, despite its importance in the coupling of thermal energy to the environment. Herein, we design materials that maximize the thermal effusivity by impregnating copper and nickel foams with conformal, chemical-vapor-deposited graphene and octadecane as a phase change material. These materials are ideal for ambient energy harvesting in the form of what we call thermal resonators to generate persistent electrical power from thermal fluctuations over large ranges of frequencies. Theory and experiment demonstrate that the harvestable power for these devices is proportional to the thermal effusivity of the dominant thermal mass. To illustrate, we measure persistent energy harvesting from diurnal frequencies, extracting as high as 350 mV and 1.3 mW from approximately 10 °C diurnal temperature differences.

Concepts: Materials science, Physical quantities, Mass, Energy, Fundamental physics concepts, Temperature, Heat, Thermodynamics