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Quantum computers 'one step closer'

Quantum computers 'one step closer'

Science
Quantum computing has taken a step forward with the development of a programmable quantum processor made with silicon.The team used microwave energy to align two electron particles suspended in silicon, then used them to perform a set of test calculations.By using silicon, the scientists hope that quantum computers will be more easy to control and manufacture. The research was published in the journal Nature.The old adage of Schrödinger's Cat is often used to frame a basic concept of quantum theory. We use it to explain the peculiar, but important, concept of superposition; where something can exist in multiple states at once.For Schrodinger's feline friend - the simultaneous states were dead and alive.Superposition is what makes quantum computing so potentially powerful.Standard computer
Amazon fish challenges mutation idea

Amazon fish challenges mutation idea

Science
Evolutionary theory suggests that species favouring asexual reproduction will rapidly become extinct, as their genomes accumulate deadly mutations over time.But a study on an Amazon fish has cast doubt on the rapidity of this decline. Despite thousands of years of asexual reproduction, the genomes of the Amazon molly fish are remarkably stable and the species has survived. Details of the work have been published in Nature Ecology and Evolution.There are two fundamental ways in which new generations of life come to being - sexual and asexual reproduction.Sexual reproduction relies on special reproductive male and female sex cells, the eggs and sperm, joining together during the process of fertilisation.Each sex cell contains half the number of chromosomes of normal parent cells, then follow...
Genes remain active after death

Genes remain active after death

Science
Cells continue to function even after an individual dies.That's according to a scientific study published in Nature Communications.Analysing post-mortem samples, an international team of scientists showed that some genes became more active after death.As well as providing an important dataset for other scientists, they also hope that this can be developed into a forensic tool.Inside the cells of our bodies, life plays out under the powerful influence of our genes; their outputs controlled by a range of internal and external triggers.Understanding gene activity provides a perfect insight into what an individual cell, tissue or organ is doing, in health and in disease.Genes are locked away in the DNA present in our cells and when these are switched on, a tell-tale molecule called an RNA tran...
UK team set for giant Antarctic iceberg expedition

UK team set for giant Antarctic iceberg expedition

Science
Media playback is unsupported on your deviceScientists will set out in the next week to study an Antarctic realm that has been hidden for thousands of years.A British Antarctic Survey-led team will explore the seabed ecosystem exposed when a giant iceberg broke away from the Antarctic Peninsula in 2017. The organisation has also released the first video of the berg, which covers almost 6,000 sq km.Its true scale begins to emerge in a shot filmed from an aircraft flown along its edge. Urgent missionAn international team will spend three weeks, from February to March, on board the research ship RRS James Clark Ross, navigating ice-infested waters to reach the remote Larsen C ice shelf from which the berg calved.British Antarctic Survey marine biologist Dr Katrin Linse, who is leading the mi...
3D survey details dangerous megathrust fault off Costa Rican coast

3D survey details dangerous megathrust fault off Costa Rican coast

Science
Feb. 12 (UPI) -- Scientists have a better understanding of the dynamics of a dangerous megafault off the coast of Costa Rica, thanks to a new survey by researchers at the University of California, Santa Cruz.The survey yielded detailed 3D images of the Costa Rican subduction zone, where the Cocos plate sinks and slides under the Caribbean plate.Unlike similar megathrust faults, the Costa Rican fault features unusual earthquakes, patchy in their distribution. The ruptures rarely spread to shallow depths. Scientists believe the fault's odd behavior is explained by its varied textures -- corrugated patterns created by subduction activity."Our new imagery shows large variability in the conditions along the megathrust, which may be linked to a number of earthquake phenomena we observe in the re...