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Artificial Joints, Parasitic Butterflies, the Top Quark at 20, an End to Research Austerity and the Crippling Effect of Fukushima on Japanese Particle Physics

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WASHINGTON D.C., April 1, 2015 -- The following articles are freely available online from Physics Today (www.physicstoday.org), the world's most influential and closely followed magazine devoted to physics and the physical science community.

You are invited to read, share, blog about, link to or otherwise enjoy:

1) THE FUKUSHIMA EFFECT: JAPANESE PARTICLE PHYSICS CONTINUES TO STRUGGLE

Physics Today's Toni Feder reports that four years after Fukushima, tight budgets, bloated electricity prices and a sprinkling of mishaps are threatening to cripple science at Japan’s world-class facilities.

"Officials at KEK, Japan’s accelerator research institute, and at RIKEN and other science facilities report that the price of electricity has gone up by 30% or more. Electricity is a big chunk of their total operating costs, so they have been forced to reduce running times."

MORE: https://physicstoday.scitation.org/doi/10.1063/PT.3.2743

 

2) OBAMA'S BID TO INCREASE SCIENCE SPENDING CAPS

In this special report, David Kramer discusses the fine details of the president's proposed research budget increases for the 2016 fiscal year, which favors the Department of Energy and National Science Foundation but reduces basic research budgets at the Department of Defense and NASA.

"For his penultimate year in office, President Obama proposes to shrug off the austerity that has dominated all spending politics for the past few years and instead attend to what he believes to be urgent needs in national infrastructure, R&D, advanced manufacturing, and other areas.

MORE: https://physicstoday.scitation.org/doi/10.1063/PT.3.2746

 

3) BUTTERFLIES USE ACOUSTICS TO FOIST THEIR YOUNG UPON ANTS

In this quick study, University of Turin researchers Francesca Barbero and Luca Pietro Casacci discuss the acoustic mimicry that parasitic Maculinea butterfly larvae employ to induce host ants to adopt and care for them.

"Our findings revealed that different members of an ant society produce distinctive caste-specific stridulations and induce patterns of benevolent behavior either in fellow caste members or in other castes. Moreover, the ants' complex system of intracolony acoustic recognition can be exploited by a butterfly social parasite as a means to become well integrated into the colony."

MORE: https://physicstoday.scitation.org/doi/10.1063/PT.3.2757

 

4) BUILDING BETTER ARTIFICIAL JOINTS WITH THE HELP OF 3-D IMAGING

Each year in the United States alone, more than a million dental implants and half a million artificial hips and knees are surgically implanted, and each year some 5–10 percent fail. In this feature, Kathryn Grandfield, of McMaster University, discusses recent imaging advances that are allowing researchers to discern why certain synthetic materials adhere to bones better than others.

"Since the discovery in the 1960s that bone can adhere to non-biological materials—a phenomenon known as osseointegration—our understanding of the behavior has improved considerably, and so has the design of implant materials and devices. Yet an important question remains unanswered: At what structural length scale does bone–implant bonding actually occur?"

MORE: https://physicstoday.scitation.org/doi/10.1063/PT.3.2748

 

5) THE BEST OF TOP QUARK: 20 YEARS OF HEAVY-PARTICLE BLISS

In this feature, Fermilab researchers Dmitri Denisov and Costas Vellidis discuss the properties and history of the top quark, a massive subatomic particle that eluded experimental detection for nearly two decades by sheer dint of its size.

"In 1995, the discovery at Fermilab of the top quark—the sixth and possibly last of the quarks—might have been thought to signal the end of one of science’s longest searches. But the properties of the top quark are bizarre and raise new questions….”

MORE: https://physicstoday.scitation.org/doi/10.1063/PT.3.2749

 

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