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Friday, Oct 24th

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New shape-shifting metals discovered

memory metalA new shape-changing metal crystal is reported in the journal Nature, by scientists at University of Minnesota. It is the prototype of a new family of smart materials that could be used in applications ranging from space vehicles to electronics to jet engines.

Called a "martensite", the crystal has two different arrangements of atoms, switching seamlessly between them. It can change shape tens of thousands of times when heated and cooled without degrading, unlike existing technology.

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US scientists boycott Nasa conference over China ban

NASA bars Chinese scientistsNasa is facing an extraordinary backlash from US researchers after it emerged that the space agency has banned Chinese scientists, including those working at US institutions, from a conference on grounds of national security.

Nasa officials rejected applications from Chinese nationals who hoped to attend the meeting at the agency's Ames research centre in California next month citing a law, passed in March, which prohibits anyone from China setting foot in a Nasa building.

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Voyager enters realm between the stars, report says

Voyager IWe've made it to the stars, at last.

For the first time, a human-made object has left the sun's realm behind and ventured into the vast space between the stars, scientists announced Thursday. The record-setting spacecraft is NASA's scrappy Voyager 1, which launched in 1977 and edged into interstellar space on Aug. 25, 2012, according to recent data.

"We are in a new region of space where nothing has been before," says Voyager project scientist Ed Stone of Caltech.

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Scenario sees Alaska quake causing $10 billion in damage in California

tsunamiAn earthquake in Alaska, if large enough, could spawn a tsunami that could cause at least $10 billion in damage along California's coastline, scientists say.

Experts at the U.S. Geological Survey, in a paper released Wednesday, say a "hypothetical but plausible" magnitude 9.1 quake could create waves as high as 24 feet that could smash into California's coastal regions with little warning, just hours for most locations.

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Scientists: U.S. no longer the global leader in research

Scientific researchAn overwhelming majority of U.S. scientists in all fields say the country is no longer the global leader in scientific research, a non-profit group says.

The American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology's report on government-funded scientific research, titled "Unlimited Potential, Vanishing Opportunity," detailed the findings of a survey of more than 3,700 frontline scientists from all 50 states, Puerto Rico and the District of Columbia.

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Astronomy student stumbles on space object called Trojan in orbit with planet Uranus

UranusIt turns out Uranus has a cosmic companion as it circles the sun from nearly 1.8 billion miles away. Scientists have detected a Trojan - an asteroid-like object that shares a planet's orbit - moving ahead of the ice giant.

The discovery of 2011 QF99 was reported this week in the journal Science. And it was found almost by accident.

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Scientists' mistake uncovers 'impossible material'

impossible materialSometimes screwing up a science experiment isn't such a bad thing. Case in point: Researchers in Sweden accidentally left their equipment running on an experiment over a weekend, and ended up creating something awesome — Upsalite, the world's most efficient water absorber, reports The Independent.

This substance, prohibitively expensive and difficult to produce until now, can potentially do everything from controlling moisture on a hockey rink to cleaning up toxic waste and oil spills, reports Science Blog.

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