The physics community’s collective world was recently rocked by the latest results from CERN, with some now claiming that they have measured neutrinos traveling faster than the speed of light. While the discrepancy is small (only 60 nanoseconds), it could force physicists to reconsider Einstein’s theory of relativity. Columbia’s go-to physics rock star, Brain Greene, remains skeptical: “I would bet just about everything I hold dear that this won’t hold up to scrutiny.” Ouch.
One million Americans suffer from Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, but researchers have yet to understand its causes. Earlier studies suggested that the condition might stem from the XMRV virus or one of the related mouse leukemia viruses. However, recent data from patient blood work finds no correlation between XMRV and chronic fatigue syndrome. Mailman School of Public Health Professor W. Ian Lipkin is conducting his own study, though other faculty members such as Vincent Racaniello agree that “it’s clearly time to move on.”
The blood-brain barrier makes it impossible for doctors to intravenously deliver drugs to the brain. Or at least it was impossible until Columbia professor Elisa Konofagou developed a method using short ultra sound pulses to safely open the blood-brain barrier. Konfagou believes this method will lead to treatments for diseases such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s. Cue an updated Frontiers curriculum.
Graphene has already established a reputation as an incredibly versatile material, but things might just get even better—a new paper published by a large collaboration of Columbia professors and graduate students hints at an unplumbed frontier in the nitrogen doping of graphene. The embedded nitrogen atoms profoundly change the electrical properties of the graphene, albeit only in a two-atom radius, making it highly tunable and useful for electronics. That’s all well and good, but could it possibly be worth all those Girl Scout cookies?
IcyHawt image via Wikimedia Commons.