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Heerlen, Netherlands

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Heerlen, Netherlands

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News Article | May 10, 2017
Site: www.eurekalert.org

Anomalies always catch the eye. They stand out from an otherwise well-understood order. Anomalies also occur at sub-atomic scale, as nuclei collide and scatter off into each other--an approach used to explore the properties of atomic nuclei. The most basic kind of scattering is called 'elastic scattering,' in which interacting particles emerge in the same state after they collide. Although we have the most precise experimental data about this type of scattering, Raymond Mackintosh from the Open University, UK, contends in a paper published in EPJ A that a new approach to analysing such data harbours potential new interpretations of fundamental information about atomic nuclei. Usually, physicists assume that the potential energy that represents the interaction between two nuclei varies smoothly with the distance between the nuclei. Further, there are various theoretical calculations of this interaction potential. However, most - but not all - of them are based on assumptions that lead to potentials that are smooth in form when plotted as graphs. The trouble is that, until now, such potentials have very often fitted data quite approximately. When wavy potentials have occasionally occurred, they have been considered as anomalous, which precluded the use of certain methods. Now, the author believes that such previously discounted modelling methods could actually be used to achieve a more precise fit between the model and the anomalous data related to wavy energy potential. Mackintosh interprets this waviness in two ways. First, the waviness also emerges when the effect of various reactions on scattering are calculated. Second, the wavy energy potential reflects the fact that elastic scattering depends upon a physical characteristic of the colliding system of two nuclei, which is referred to as the 'angular momentum' of the scattered particles.


Flash Physics is our daily pick of the latest need-to-know developments from the global physics community selected by Physics World's team of editors and reporters The quantum properties of molecular ions have been controlled by physicists in the US and Germany. Led by Chin-wen Chou of the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) in the US, the researchers determined a molecular-ion's quantum state by transferring the information to an atomic ion. A calcium ion and calcium-hydride ion are first confined in an electromagnetic trap. The atomic ion is then laser cooled, which also slows the motion of the partner molecular ion. Although the molecular ion is now in its lowest-energy electronic and vibrational states, it still rotates randomly. A pulse of laser light is applied to the molecule at a frequency that targets only one, unique transition in its rotational spectrum. If the molecule does jump into the target state, the system remains motionless. But if it makes the transition, both ions start moving again because energy is returned to their shared motion. This movement can be detected by applying a laser pulse to the atomic ion that changes its internal state, causing it to scatter light that can be detected. Described in Nature, the method is an alternative to laser cooling and controlling molecules, which has proven very difficult to do. "Whatever trick you can play with atomic ions is now within reach with molecular ions," says Chou. "This is comparable to when scientists could first laser cool and trap atoms, opening the floodgates to applications in precision metrology and information processing. It's our dream to achieve all these things with molecules." The biophysicist Julia Goodfellow will be the next president of the UK's Royal Society of Biology (RSB). Currently vice chancellor of the University of Kent and president of Universities UK, Goodfellow did a PhD in biophysics at the Open University Research Unit before embarking on a career in biomolecular science at Birkbeck College, where she served as vice-master and head of the School of Crystallography. She has also served as chief executive of the UK's Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council and chair of the British Science Association. Goodfellow will succeed the current RSB president Jean Thomas in May 2018 and will become the third president of the society since it was founded in 2009. "I look forward to working with the RSB to help strengthen the bioscience community they have successfully fostered, and ensure we are able to represent their views and priorities in the coming months and years," says Goodfellow. A hologram that switches between multiple images as the material used to generate it is stretched has been unveiled by Ritesh Agarwal and colleagues that the University of Pennsylvania in the US. The system is based on a metasurface, which is a flat, ultrathin material with nanometre-scale features. The team had previously shown that coherent light passing through such metasurfaces can produce colour holograms – 3D images created by the interference of light. Now, Agarwal and colleagues have created a metasurface by embedding gold nanorods in a stretchable film of polydimethylsiloxane (PDMS). Using a computer simulation, the team worked-out the distribution of nanorods that would result in a sequence of different holograms as the film is stretched. In its relaxed state, a pentagon-shaped hologram forms 340 μm away from the film. As the material is stretched the hologram changes shape – changes first becoming a square and then a triangle. The team was also able to switch between a happy-face hologram and a sad face. The new technique could have applications in virtual reality, flat displays and optical communications and is described in ACS Nano.


Anomalies always catch the eye. They stand out from an otherwise well-understood order. Anomalies also occur at sub-atomic scale, as nuclei collide and scatter off into each other—an approach used to explore the properties of atomic nuclei. The most basic kind of scattering is called 'elastic scattering,' in which interacting particles emerge in the same state after they collide. Although we have the most precise experimental data about this type of scattering, Raymond Mackintosh from the Open University, UK, contends in a paper published in EPJ A that a new approach to analysing such data harbours potential new interpretations of fundamental information about atomic nuclei. Usually, physicists assume that the potential energy that represents the interaction between two nuclei varies smoothly with the distance between the nuclei. Further, there are various theoretical calculations of this interaction potential. However, most - but not all - of them are based on assumptions that lead to potentials that are smooth in form when plotted as graphs. The trouble is that, until now, such potentials have very often fitted data quite approximately. When wavy potentials have occasionally occurred, they have been considered as anomalous, which precluded the use of certain methods. Now, the author believes that such previously discounted modelling methods could actually be used to achieve a more precise fit between the model and the anomalous data related to wavy energy potential. Mackintosh interprets this waviness in two ways. First, the waviness also emerges when the effect of various reactions on scattering are calculated. Second, the wavy energy potential reflects the fact that elastic scattering depends upon a physical characteristic of the colliding system of two nuclei, which is referred to as the 'angular momentum' of the scattered particles. Explore further: New method to better understand atomic nuclei


News Article | May 9, 2017
Site: www.bbc.co.uk

An exotic grass planted on farmland could have unexpected benefits for wildlife, scientists say. Elephant grass (Miscanthus) planted as a biomass crop is a valuable habitat for the brown hare, according to research. A study suggests the grass can support hare populations when planted at the right scale. Numbers of brown hares have declined in the UK over past decades, though they are still common in some areas. Dr Silviu Petrovan of the conservation science group at the University of Cambridge carried out the research. "What we strongly suspect is that these areas of Miscanthus are very good at replacing lost diversity in the farmland," he told BBC News. "If you have a single block of Miscanthus with arable land and grassland fields in the vicinity (mixed farmland) it offers really high quality habitat for brown hares." In the study, scientists from the University of Cambridge, University of Hull and The Open University radio-tracked brown hares in North Yorkshire across the seasons. They discovered hares never fed on the grass, but they liked to sleep in it during the day, as they are nocturnal. Even small areas of elephant grass of only 10 hectares could harbour animals. But large swathes of Miscanthus were inhospitable, the scientists found. Miscanthus is grown in many parts of the UK, particularly near power plants, where it is harvested and burned for fuel. The grass requires little management and is not sprayed with herbicides. Dr Phil Wheeler from the Open University, who led the research, said: "In some respects, although these biomass crops are alien to the UK, they mimic unfarmed or unintensively cultivated bits of farmland, many of which have been lost as farming has intensified. "Our research suggests that for hares, diversifying farmland by planting biomass crops in small chunks might replace something of what has been lost." But he said if biomass crops are only viable when planted over wide areas, they may end up as another challenge to farmland wildlife. The research is funded by the wildlife charity, People's Trust for Endangered Species (PTES), and published in the European Journal of Wildlife Research.


News Article | May 9, 2017
Site: www.theguardian.com

The government attributes 40-50,000 premature deaths each year to the effects of airborne pollution; there are some 1 million cases of foodborne illness, which result in 20,000 hospital admissions and 500 deaths a year; and up to 50,000 people die each year as a result of injuries or health problems originating in the workplace (Enemies of the state: the 40-year Tory project to shrink public services, G2, 9 May). Yet the rate of inspection and enforcement actions for environmental health, food safety and hygiene, and health and safety have all been falling. The statistically average workplace now expects to see a health and safety inspector once every 50 years. In the name of cutting red tape, governments of all political persuasions have attacked independent regulation and enforcement. Budget cuts in the name of austerity have compounded the problem – especially at the level of local authorities. There is now a plethora of schemes to outsource and privatise wholesale some regulatory and enforcement activities. Private companies are increasingly involved in “regulating” either other private companies, or themselves, or both. Such changes mark the beginning of the end of the state’s commitment to forms of social protection put into place since the 1830s. Steve Tombs Professor of criminology, Open University • Recent reports say parts of the British Isles are in the early stages of drought, with less than normal amounts of rain in the past few months. South-east England is particularly affected. But hasn’t our climate often broken the norms in the last 40 years? Past performance is no guide to what will happen in the future. It would be a good time now, in this pre-election period, to ask our politicians what contingency plans they have for a prolonged drought lasting two or more years. Our survival may depend upon them. Geoff Naylor Winchester • Read more Guardian letters – click here to visit gu.com/letters


News Article | May 19, 2017
Site: www.24-7pressrelease.com

KASSEL, GERMANY, May 19, 2017-- Ulrich Christian Teichler has been included in Marquis Who's Who. As in all Marquis Who's Who biographical volumes, individuals profiled are selected on the basis of current reference value. Factors such as position, noteworthy accomplishments, visibility, and prominence in a field are all taken into account during the selection process.With more than four and a half decades of professional experience, Dr. Teichler has parlayed his knowledge into numerous roles throughout his career. Before starting in the field in the late '60s, he earned a Diplom-Soziologe from Free University Berlin. After graduating, he became a research fellow at Max-Planck Institute of Educational Research for 10 years, during which he also worked as a guest researcher for the National Institute of Educational Research. To further his career, Dr. Teichler went back to school and obtained a Ph.D. from University Bremen, which propelled him to roles such as vice president, director of the international center for higher education research, and professor for research on higher education and work at the University of Kassel.A member of the Society for Research into Higher Education, the European Association for Institutional Research, and the International Academy of Education, Dr. Teichler has also served institutions like the School of Education and Social Policy at Northwestern University, Nagoya University, Hiroshima University, and Open University throughout his career. With such an immersive background, he found it only natural to contribute to creative works such as "Bibliography on Japanese Education," which was published in 1974, "Changing Patterns of the Higher Education System," which was released in 1988, and "Higher Education and the World of Work," which was released in 2009. He has also served as an editor for "The Compleat University: Break from Tradition in Germany, Sweden and the U.S.A.," "Academic Mobility in a Changing World," and "The Academic Profession in Europe: New Tasks and New Challenges."In light of his achievements, Dr. Teichler has been recognized many times. In 1998, he won the Comenicus Prize from United Nations Educational and 10 years later, he earned the DAAD Erasmus Special Prize. He has also been included in Who's Who in America and Who's Who in the World, and earned an honorary doctorate from the University of Turku in 2006. Looking ahead, Dr. Teichler intends to experience the continued growth and success of his career.About Marquis Who's Who :Since 1899, when A. N. Marquis printed the First Edition of Who's Who in America , Marquis Who's Who has chronicled the lives of the most accomplished individuals and innovators from every significant field of endeavor, including politics, business, medicine, law, education, art, religion and entertainment. Today, Who's Who in America remains an essential biographical source for thousands of researchers, journalists, librarians and executive search firms around the world. Marquis now publishes many Who's Who titles, including Who's Who in America , Who's Who in the World , Who's Who in American Law , Who's Who in Medicine and Healthcare , Who's Who in Science and Engineering , and Who's Who in Asia . Marquis publications may be visited at the official Marquis Who's Who website at www.marquiswhoswho.com Contact:Fred Marks844-394-6946


NEW YORK--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Starr Companies gab heute bekannt, dass Danielle Wilson als Head of Management Liability und Robert McTaggart als Head of Professional Indemnity in das Unternehmen eingetreten sind. Wilson und McTaggart werden den europäischen Markt vom England-Büro des Unternehmens in London aus betreuen. Wilson verfügt über zehn Jahre Erfahrung im Versicherungsbereich und hat sich auf reine Vermögensschäden (Financial Lines) bei Privatunternehmen und Handelsgesellschaften spezialisiert. Sie erwarb ihren Bachelor-Abschluss in International Studies an der Open University und wird Ihren Masters in Corporate Finance an der University of Liverpool erwerben. McTaggart verfügt über neun Jahre Erfahrung als Line-of-Business-Manager im Bereich Berufshaftpflichtversicherung. Er erwarb seinen Bachelor of Arts in Geographie an der University of Southampton. Starr Companies (oder Starr) sind weltweit gültige Marken für die Dienste, die von den im Bereich Versicherungen und Reiseservice tätigen Betriebsgesellschaften sowie Tochtergesellschaften der Starr International Company, Inc. und für das Anlagegeschäft der C.V. Starr & Co., Inc. und ihrer Tochtergesellschaften angeboten werden. Starr ist eine auf fünf Kontinenten vertretene, führende Versicherungs- und Investmentgesellschaft. Über seine Versicherungs-Betriebsgesellschaften bietet Starr Sach- und Haftpflichtversicherungs- sowie Unfall- und Krankenversicherungsprodukte an. Hinzu kommt eine Palette von Produkten für spezielle Versicherungsschutzbereiche, darunter die Luft- und Seefahrt sowie der Energiebereich und die Excess-Haftpflicht-Versicherung. Die in den USA, in Bermuda, Hongkong und Singapur angesiedelten Tochtergesellschaften von Starr im Versicherungsschutzbereich wurden von A.M. Best mit dem Rating A (ausgezeichnet) eingestuft. Das Starr-Lloyd-Syndikat verfügt über ein Rating A+ (Stark) von Standard & Poor’s. Die Tochtergesellschaft von Starr im Versicherungsschutzbereich mit Sitz in China erhielt von A.M. Best das Rating A- (ausgezeichnet).


NEW YORK--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Starr Companies today announced that Danielle Wilson as head of management liability and Robert McTaggart as head of professional indemnity have joined the company. Danielle and Rob will be located in our London, England office, serving the European marketplace. “These individuals bring a wealth of knowledge and experience and will report to Liz Ilott, chief underwriting officer financial lines, who joined in August last year to spearhead our expansion plans,” stated Colin Buchanan, head of casualty. Danielle has ten years of insurance experience specializing in financial lines for private and commercial companies. She earned her Bachelor’s Degree in International Studies from Open University and will be earning her Master’s Degree in Corporate Finance from the University of Liverpool. Rob has nine years of experience as a line of business manager in professional indemnity. He earned his Bachelor of Arts in Geography from the University of Southampton. Starr Companies (Starr) is the worldwide marketing name for the operating insurance and travel assistance companies and subsidiaries of Starr International Company, Inc. and for the investment business of C.V. Starr & Co., Inc. and its subsidiaries. Starr is a leading insurance and investment organization with a presence on five continents; through its operating insurance companies, Starr provides property, casualty, and accident & health insurance products as well as a range of specialty coverages including aviation, marine, energy and excess casualty insurance. Starr’s insurance company subsidiaries domiciled in the U.S., Bermuda, Hong Kong and Singapore each have an A.M. Best rating of “A” (Excellent). Starr’s Lloyd’s syndicate has a Standard & Poor’s rating of “A+” (Strong). Starr’s insurance company subsidiary domiciled in China has an A.M. Best rating of “A-” (Excellent). For more information visit us at www.starrcompanies.com


News Article | April 25, 2017
Site: www.sciencedaily.com

Marine circulation and weather conditions greatly affect microplastic aggregation and movement. Microplastics, which are particles measuring less than 5 mm, are of increasing concern. They not only become more relevant as other plastic marine litter breaks down into tiny particles, they also interact with species in a range of marine habitats. A study by Natalie Welden and Amy Lusher published in Integrated Environmental Assessment and Management, takes a look at how global climate change and the impact of changing ocean circulation affects the distribution of marine microplastic litter. It is part of a special invited section on microplastics. Natalie Welden of Open University and lead author of the paper notes, "The ability to predict areas of plastic input and deposition would enable the identification of at risk species, and it would allow for efforts to reduce and remove plastic debris at targeted locations. The current uncertainty as to the effects of global warming on our oceans is the greatest challenge in predicting the future patterns of plastic aggregation in relation to global circulation." Littering, landfill runoff and loss at sea are the main pathways through which plastics enter the ocean. It is estimated that plastic waste from coastal countries will increase nearly 20-fold by 2025. The density of the plastic determines if it remains in surface waters, becomes beached in coastal areas and estuaries, or sinks to deep-sea sediments. Further, weather conditions and marine circulation play a significant role in the distribution. For example, the circular systems of ocean currents, such as the Gulf Stream in the North Atlantic or the California Current in the Pacific, play a significant role in the movement of plastics from their point of release to remote areas where they can accumulate in central ocean regions called gyres. Unusual large amounts of marine debris have been found in these zones, such as the North Atlantic or Great Pacific garbage patches. However, our oceans are currently undergoing a marked period of uncertainty brought about by global climate change. For example, ice melts in polar regions is predicted to have a range of effects on the distribution on marine plastics. As many swimmers know, it is easier to float in saltwater than a swimming pool. Reduction in the density of seawater at sites of freshwater input is expected to reduce the relative buoyancy of marine debris, increasing the rate at which plastics sink. Correspondingly, areas of high evaporation, due to the increase in temperature, will experience increased water densities, resulting in plastics persisting in the water column and surface waters. Adding another layer of complexity, changes in sea surface temperature may also affect the scale and patterns of precipitation, in particular tropical storms, cyclones and tornadoes. Global warming intensifies along-shore wind stress on the ocean surface. Flooding events, intense storms and increasing sea levels also means that more debris littering shorelines will become available for transport in the seas. "The hope is that future models of climate-ocean feedback are producing more accurate predictions of circulation patterns," said Welden. "This is vital in forecasting and mitigating potential microplastic hotspots and 'garbage patches'."


News Article | April 25, 2017
Site: www.eurekalert.org

Marine circulation and weather conditions greatly affect microplastic aggregation and movement. Microplastics, which are particles measuring less than 5 mm, are of increasing concern. They not only become more relevant as other plastic marine litter breaks down into tiny particles, they also interact with species in a range of marine habitats. A study by Natalie Welden and Amy Lusher published in Integrated Environmental Assessment and Management, takes a look at how global climate change and the impact of changing ocean circulation affects the distribution of marine microplastic litter. It is part of a special invited section on microplastics. Natalie Welden of Open University and lead author of the paper notes, "The ability to predict areas of plastic input and deposition would enable the identification of at risk species, and it would allow for efforts to reduce and remove plastic debris at targeted locations. The current uncertainty as to the effects of global warming on our oceans is the greatest challenge in predicting the future patterns of plastic aggregation in relation to global circulation." Littering, landfill runoff and loss at sea are the main pathways through which plastics enter the ocean. It is estimated that plastic waste from coastal countries will increase nearly 20-fold by 2025. The density of the plastic determines if it remains in surface waters, becomes beached in coastal areas and estuaries, or sinks to deep-sea sediments. Further, weather conditions and marine circulation play a significant role in the distribution. For example, the circular systems of ocean currents, such as the Gulf Stream in the North Atlantic or the California Current in the Pacific, play a significant role in the movement of plastics from their point of release to remote areas where they can accumulate in central ocean regions called gyres. Unusual large amounts of marine debris have been found in these zones, such as the North Atlantic or Great Pacific garbage patches. However, our oceans are currently undergoing a marked period of uncertainty brought about by global climate change. For example, ice melts in polar regions is predicted to have a range of effects on the distribution on marine plastics. As many swimmers know, it is easier to float in saltwater than a swimming pool. Reduction in the density of seawater at sites of freshwater input is expected to reduce the relative buoyancy of marine debris, increasing the rate at which plastics sink. Correspondingly, areas of high evaporation, due to the increase in temperature, will experience increased water densities, resulting in plastics persisting in the water column and surface waters. Adding another layer of complexity, changes in sea surface temperature may also affect the scale and patterns of precipitation, in particular tropical storms, cyclones and tornadoes. Global warming intensifies along-shore wind stress on the ocean surface. Flooding events, intense storms and increasing sea levels also means that more debris littering shorelines will become available for transport in the seas. "The hope is that future models of climate-ocean feedback are producing more accurate predictions of circulation patterns," said Welden. "This is vital in forecasting and mitigating potential microplastic hotspots and 'garbage patches'."

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