This week in science – Sept. 30

Mark Hendricks, Science & Tech Editor Ω

Turning light into matter

Scientists at Harvard and MIT have found a way to bind light particles together in such a way that they interact as if they were matter.

Photonic molecules, as they are called, are something previously regarded as only theoretically possible. However, according to a paper published in the Sept. 25 issue of Nature, this is no longer the case.

Photons, the particles that make up light, are traditionally massless and therefore don’t interact with other matter. This new procedure causes photons to bind together in such a way that they act as if they do have mass and will interact with other matter.

Find out more: www.sciencedaily.com

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The sound of epilepsy

Researchers at Stanford developed a tool to turn brain activity into music, but soon found out that the tool helped determine brain patterns during a seizure.

The device does not currently work with real-time brain activity, but that is the hope and where researchers would like the device to go.

The intention behind the project is that it will perform as an early-warning tool to those suffering from epilepsy. It will serve as a way to audibly tell if a person is about to have a seizure for those who aren’t trained in reading EEGs.

Find out more: news.stanford.edu

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International panel declares global warming almost certainly caused by man

Scientists have decided that global warming is now almost certainly being caused by the actions of humans. Eric Schmuttenmaer/Creative Commons

Scientists have decided that global warming is now almost certainly being caused by the actions of humans. Eric Schmuttenmaer/Creative Commons

An international panel in Stockholm has released a 2,000-page report in which they upgraded the likelihood of global warming being man-made from “very likely” to “extremely likely.”

This change means that scientists are now 95 per cent certain (up from 90 per cent) that global warming has, in the vast majority, been caused by humans and their actions. This represents a doubling in confidence on the part of remaining scientists, changing from 10 per cent uncertain, to five per cent uncertain.

According to the report, the main source of greenhouse gas emission, one of the contributing factors of climate change, is China and other emerging countries.

Find out more: www.cbc.ca