Using NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope, US researchers have discovered that dark energy, a mysterious repulsive force that makes the universe expand at an ever-faster rate, is not new but was already accelerating the expansion of the universe at least as long as nine billion years ago. This picture of dark energy would be consistent with Albert Einstein’s prediction nearly a century ago, that a repulsive form of gravity emanates from empty space. The findings will be published in the February 2007 issue of Astrophysical Journal.
Archaeologists at University College London and Cardiff University have solved a 500-year old mystery surrounding the alchemists’ mixing vessels or crucibles. Since the Middle Ages, the crucibles manufactured in Germany’s Hesse region have been renowned because of their ability to withstand strong reagents and high temperatures. Writing in the journal Nature, the researchers reveal that the Hessian crucible makers made use of a type of aluminium silicate known as mullite, which was only properly identified in the 20th century.
Cetaceans, the group of marine mammals that includes whales and dolphins, have demonstrated remarkable auditory and communicative abilities, as well as complex social behaviours. A new study published in The Anatomical Record compared a humpback whale brain with brains from several other cetacean species and found the presence of spindle cells, a certain type of neuron cell that is also found in humans. This suggests that certain cetaceans and hominids may have evolved side by side.