capillary state \KA-pih-LEHR-ee stayt\
n. In a mixture of solid particles and two
unblendable liquids, a state in which the
particles huddle in clumps surrounding
droplets of the liquid that wets the solid
particles less. These clumps allow what
was runny goo to become a gel after some
stirring, Erin Koos and Norbert Willenbacher of the Karlsruhe Institute of
Technology in Germany reported in February in Science. Previous work has
shown similar goo-to-gel transitions, but in those cases particles formed
networks instead of clumps and were connected by the liquid that wetted
them more. Gel-able suspensions, like the oil–water–glass bead mixture
shown (yellow dye marks the water), will allow scientists to tune fluids’ flow
properties and build lightweight porous ceramics.
SCIENCE & THE PUBLIC BLOG
Sound science is lacking for
many alternative remedies.
See “Traditional Chinese
medicine: Big questions.”
Microbes flourish, maybe
at the expense of fish, during jellyfish blooms. See
“Marine microbes fritter
away jelly bonus.”
Larger broods bring more
stress for a tree swallow
mom (below, with mate),
but also more fledglings.
See “Stressed bird moms.”
Science Past | FROM THE ISSUE OF JULY 1, 1961
WINTERGREEN VS. ALMOND IN ODOR PENETRATION
TES T — Different chemicals produce different odors
because vibrations within the molecules are different.
This is the theory of Dr. R.H. Wright of
the British Columbia Research Council
in Vancouver, Canada. He compared
nitrobenzene, which has an almond
smell, and methyl salicylate, which smells
like wintergreen. Both these substances
are much alike so far as vibrations are
concerned, except that wintergreen has two additional
frequencies that are missing in nitrobenzene.… In experi-
ments with 12 volunteer sniffers, Dr. Wright showed that
the wintergreen odor masked the almond smell about ten
times more easily than almond masked wintergreen. The
effect is not large … but it is distinct and in the direction
predicted by the vibrational theory of odor.
Excavations in northern Chile have uncovered the
oldest known mine in the Americas. New World settlers
intentionally dug a pit and removed chunks of iron oxide
at the coastal site between 12,000 and 10,500 years ago,
Chilean and French researchers reported in the June
Current Anthropology. Past work has documented the
use of iron oxide as a pigment in the Americas around
that time, but the new mine is at least 6,000 years older
than previous dated evidence for mining in the Americas.
Because the mining was intensive and technically skilled,
the coastal area’s early settlers probably carried the tradition with them from elsewhere, the authors propose.
Be mesmerized by the color red
and how it is made for pigments
and paints, at San Francisco’s
Exploratorium. Ages 18 and up.
In Washington, D.C., a Smithsonian science historian
describes ancient apothecaries
and their brews. See
MAT TER & ENERGY
Researchers turn virtual
particles into real photons.
Read “Light created from
Science Stats | SWIM WI TH THE FISHES
Indo-Paci;c lion;shes have invaded the Caribbean and the western
Atlantic (below) in the last decade, data from the U.S. Geological Survey
show. More than 30 nonnative marine ;sh species have appeared off
Florida’s coast, but lion;shes are the ;rst to establish themselves.
Confirmed lionfish sightings, 1999 and 2010
CLOCKWISE FROM TOP LEF T: SCIENCE/AAAS; P.-G. BENTZ
SOURCE: P.J. SCHOFIELD/AQUATIC INVASIONS 2010