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Diamond powers first continuous room-temperature solid-state maser

Diamond powers first continuous room-temperature solid-state maser

Science
March 21 (UPI) -- Scientists have built the world's first continuous room-temperature solid-state maser.Maser stands for "microwave amplification by stimulated emission of radiation." The device is the older sibling of the laser and operates at microwave frequencies. But while masers came first, the technology never caught on like the laser. That's mostly because masers require temperatures approaching absolute zero to function.Now, scientists have designed a maser that works at room temperature.In 2012, researchers shot laser pulses at room temperature using the organic molecule pentacene. The maser was unable to work continuously, however, as the radiation would have melted the crystal molecules.The new and improved maser uses a different material, a synthetic diamond grown in a nitrogen...
Ocean plastic could treble in decade

Ocean plastic could treble in decade

Science
The amount of plastic in the ocean is set to treble in a decade unless litter is curbed, a major report has warned.Plastics is just one issue facing the world's seas, along with rising sea levels, warming oceans, and pollution, it says.But the Foresight Future of the Sea Report for the UK government said there are also opportunities to cash in on the "ocean economy".They say this is predicted to double to $ 3 trillion (£2 trillion) by 2030.The report says much more knowledge is needed about the ocean. The authors say the world needs a Mission to "Planet Ocean" to mirror the excitement of voyaging to the moon and Mars.The Foresight reports are written by experts to brief ministers on medium and long-term issues of significance. This one has been signed off by ministers from four different d
UK will lead European exoplanet mission

UK will lead European exoplanet mission

Science
Media playback is unsupported on your deviceA telescope to study the atmospheres of planets beyond our Solar System will be launched by the European Space Agency in the late 2020s. The mission, to be known as Ariel, was selected by the organisation's Science Programme Committee on Tuesday. The venture will be led scientifically from the UK by University College London astrophysicist Giovanna Tinetti. "In the next decade we will see many, many planets being discovered - thousands, actually," she said."All this is amazing, but we want to go beyond that and start to understand the nature of those planets, how they formed, how they evolved, and ultimately to put our Solar System in the bigger picture," the principal investigator told BBC News. Ariel will use a metre-sized mirror and instrument...
Sudan, last male northern white rhino, dies in Kenya

Sudan, last male northern white rhino, dies in Kenya

Science
The world's last surviving male northern white rhino has died after months of ill health, his carers said.Sudan, 45, lived at the Ol Pejeta Conservancy in Kenya. He was put to sleep on Monday after age-related complications worsened significantly.His death leaves only two females - his daughter and granddaughter - of the subspecies alive in the world.Hope for preserving the northern white rhino now lies in developing in vitro fertilisation (IVF) techniques.Media playback is unsupported on your deviceWhy is this kind of rhino so rare?Rhinoceroses - of which there are five species - are the second-largest land mammal after elephants. The white rhinoceros consists of two sub-species: the southern white rhino, with an estimated 20,000 living in the wild, and the much rarer and critically endan...
Breaking mould in male-dominated industry

Breaking mould in male-dominated industry

Science
Women make up less than a quarter of the UK workforce in industries involving science, technology, engineering and medicine. BBC News spoke to three people with bright ideas for breaking stereotypes.The industry leaderAs a young girl Avideh Nazeri wanted to be an air hostess to fulfil her dream of seeing the world. However, an inspirational teacher encouraged her to use her love of science to study for a career in medicine.She says she remembers the words of her mother, who used to say: "As an Iranian girl, you have to work four times more; two times because you're a girl and two times more because you're a foreigner in a new country."Dr Nazeri is now a director at the global pharmaceutical company NovoNordisk. Born in Iran, she trained to be a hospital doctor at King's College London. She...