Researchers produce long-lived radioisotope that generates a needed isotope on demand

Using high-intensity proton beams, researchers made significant quantities of titanium-44 (44Ti), which is particularly useful to the astrophysics research community in their studies of supernovae. In pursuit of alternative uses for this isotope, the researchers also designed a system that fixes this isotope on a surface. There, it decays into the much shorter-lived scandium-44g (44gSc). The scandium is vital to positron emission tomography (PET) scans of activities in the brain, heart and elsewhere. Read more.

A New Quantum Understanding is About to Turn Chemistry on Its Head

In a world of quantum oddities, the phenomenon of indistinguishability, the impossibility of distinguishing between two quantum particles, remains notable. Superposition is one of the underlying causes of indistinguishability because there is no sure way to lock down an exact position of a quantum particle. This, in turn, makes it impossible to know which particle is which when two quantum particles interact in the same place. This leads to exotic particle behaviors, especially at low temperatures. Under those conditions, behavioral qualities of particles can resemble each other closely, causing phenomena such as Bose-Einstein condensates and superfluidity. Read more.

Isotope fingerprints in feathers reveal songbirds' secret breeding grounds

Myrtle warblers breed across much of Canada and the eastern United States, but winter in two distinct groups -- one along the Atlantic and Gulf coasts, another along the US Pacific Coast. They are also one of the few breeds of eastern warbler that have been able to extend their range into the far northwest of the continent.

"The Pacific Coast warblers migrate through the Vancouver area, but it's been a bit of a mystery exactly where they breed over the summer," says David Toews, who began the research while a graduate student at the University of British Columbia (UBC). Read more.

New work offers fresh evidence supporting the supernova shock wave theory of our Solar System's origin

According to one longstanding theory, our Solar System's formation was triggered by a shock wave from an exploding supernova. The shock wave injected material from the exploding star into a neighboring cloud of dust and gas, causing it to collapse in on itself and form the Sun and its surrounding planets.

 One very important constraint for testing theories of Solar System formation is meteorite chemistry. Meteorites retain a record of the elements, isotopes, and compounds that existed in the system's earliest days. One type, called carbonaceous chondrites, includes some of the most-primitive known samples. Read more.

National Ignition Facility recreates the interior of heavy stars

On a simple level, most stars fuse hydrogen to form helium. But things are obviously more complex than that. Most of the hydrogen in our Sun is the lightest form, with just a single proton as its nucleus. The helium produced in stars has two protons and two neutrons. Obviously, making helium from only protons requires a series of nuclear reactions, each with distinct probabilities of occurring that depend in part on the conditions inside the star. Complicating matters further, there are some other possible reactions that don't lead directly to helium but can still occur inside a star, producing things like heavier isotopes of hydrogen. Read more.