Scientists reproduce matter as it first appeared after Big Bang

Recent results of a joint experiment conducted by 460 physicists from 57 research institutions in 12 countries strongly indicate that the scientists have succeeded in reproducing matter as it first appeared in the universe; this matter is called the quark-gluon plasma. The experiment, called PHENIX and conducted at the Brookhaven National Laboratory on Long Island, New York, has brought together physicists from Brazil, China, France, Germany, Hungary, India, Israel, Japan, South Korea, Russia, Sweden and the United States. The Israeli team is led by Prof. Itzhak Tserruya, head of the Weizmann Institute’s Particle Physics Department. Tserruya and his colleagues have designed and built unique particle detectors that are a central part of PHENIX’s detecting system.

Scientists Image Soft Tissues With New X-Ray Technique

Scientists at the U.S. Department of Energy’s Brookhaven National Laboratory, in collaboration with researchers at Rush Medical College, have demonstrated the effectiveness of a novel x-ray imaging technology to visualize soft tissues of the human foot that are not visible with conventional x-rays. The technique, called Diffraction Enhanced Imaging (DEI), provides all of the information imparted by conventional x-rays as well as detailed information on soft tissues previously accessible only with additional scanning methods such as ultrasound or magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). This study appears in the May 2003 issue of the Journal of Anatomy.

New biological sensors for detecting blood glucose

Research conducted by scientists at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem and the U.S. Department of Energy’s Brookhaven National Laboratory has paved the way for development of highly efficient sensors for measuring blood glucose in diabetic patients. Particles the size of a nanometer (that is, one billionth of a meter), which are the building blocks of the science of nanotechnology, have comparable dimensions to animal or plant proteins, thus enabling the integration of these components into hybrid systems exhibiting novel properties.

Gold 'Nanoplugs' Wire Up Enzymes

Researchers have devised a way to use gold nanoparticles as tiny electrical wires to plug enzymes into electrodes. The gold “nanoplugs” help align the molecules for optimal binding and provide a conductive pathway for the flow of electrons. The research, described in the March 21, 2003, issue of Science, may yield more sensitive, inexpensive, noninvasive detectors for measuring biological molecules, including, potentially, agents of bioterrorism.

Scientists Use Light to Determine Structure of Heterogeneous Surfaces

Scientists have refined a technique that uses very intense light to determine the structure of chemically heterogeneous surfaces with a submillimeter resolution. The description of the technique and its application to the study of varying densities of surface-bound molecules – each about one thousand times smaller than the diameter of a human hair – appears as the cover story of the January 13, 2003, issue of Applied Physics Letters. “Surfaces with gradually varying structures are being investigated by academia and industry for their potential uses in creating cleaner energy sources, designing chemical and biological sensors, and creating molecular patterns,” said Jan Genzer, a chemical engineer at North Carolina State University in Raleigh and the lead author of the study. “By determining the chemical structure of surfaces covered with films as thin as a few billionths of a meter, scientists and engineers can improve their properties and performance.”

Addicts’ Brains Work Harder to Control Behavior

A brain-imaging study conducted at the U.S. Department of Energy’s Brookhaven National Laboratory reveals that recently abstinent methamphetamine abusers who reported they avoided harmful situations had higher resting metabolic rates in a part of the brain responsible for making decisions and modifying behaviors than those with low harm-avoidance scores. In non-addicted, comparison subjects, there was no significant association between harm avoidance and metabolism in this brain region. The findings, reported in the December 3, 2002, issue of NeuroReport, suggest that this higher-level brain center — the orbitofrontal cortex — is involved in drug addiction, and might be working extra hard in addicts trying to stay off drugs.