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Scientists have for the first time created a new quantum particle with properties of ball lightning, which lives for a surprisingly long time in comparison to a lightning strike.

  • Published 12.03.18
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New quantum particle found

• Scientists have for the first time created a new quantum particle with properties of ball lightning, which lives for a surprisingly long time in comparison to a lightning strike. Called skyrmion, the particle was predicted, theoretically, over 40 years ago. The insights it provides could lead to more stable fusion reactors.

Worms, ahoy

• Seventeen volunteers in the Netherlands have agreed to host parasitic worms in their bodies to help advance research toward a vaccine for schistosomiasis, a chronic disease that afflicts more than 200 million people a year, killing thousands, primarily in sub-Saharan Africa and South America. The disease is sometimes called snail fever because the larvae spend their nights in the shells of snails in freshwater lakes, penetrating the skins of bathers come dawn.

Too warm to stay

• Rising temperatures may lead king penguins, who forage for food in the cold waters of the Antarctic polar front, to travel farther and farther from their nests on islands near Antarctica, endangering their hungry chicks. A new study published in Nature Climate Change warns that 70 per cent of the estimated 1.6 million breeding pairs of king penguins could be affected by the end of the century. Scientists hope the birds will form fresh colonies on new islands.

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