Published by the Students of Johns Hopkins since 1896
June 22, 2024

Science & Technology

Organic molecule detected in space

For many years, scientists have speculated when and where life originated on Earth. Diverse theories range from cosmic deliveries of organic compounds to local synthesis of amino acids in the Primordial Soup of a young Earth. Some theories settle with a compromise between the two. The most popular idea suggests an Earth bombarded by comets and asteroids which brought building blocks of life onto the planet. This notion hinges on one important premise: that there are organic compounds in outer space.

Finding new ways to detect space threats

Seven thousand tons of dense rock hurtles towards the Earth in a fiery cloud, exploding into smaller fragments about 20 to 30 miles above the Earth’s surface. The sheer force of the meteor’s impact with the atmosphere results in a blinding flash and releases the destructive blast of a sonic boom, shattering glass and triggering alarms for miles and miles around.

SciTech Talk: Smallpox, self-control & ancient coins

Precautionary measures against smallpox: The last natural case of smallpox was recorded on Oct. 26, 1977 in Somalia. Since the WHO and the CDC put forth vast efforts for international vaccination programs, this day is celebrated as an anniversary of the virus’ eradication.

Vital proteins in HIV infection found

HIV poses a great challenge to researchers because of the way it uses the human immune system to grow and multiply:  the more the body tries to combat the virus, the more HIV can replicate. Hopkins researchers, however, recently made a major leap in understanding the virus’ mechanisms. They discovered 25 proteins, which they believe are critical in the process of infection with HIV-1, the most common form of the virus.

Research narrows down search for possible fifth fundamental force

The Standard Model of physics is currently associated with four fundamental forces: gravity, electromagnetism and the strong and weak nuclear forces. But some particle physicists have proposed a fifth force that would extend the Standard Model, which describes matter and the way it interacts by breaking down matter into a number of particles. In a study published in the Feb. 22 issue of the journal Science, Larry Hunter of Amherst College and his colleagues at Amherst and the University of Texas at Austin have narrowed down the search for what scientists call “long-range spin-spin interactions” that would be tied to such a fifth force. This force would involve electrons, protons and neutrons interacting over long distances.

Infant cured of HIV after rapid ARV treatment

Researchers have named a now two-and-a-half year old child the first infant “functionally cured” of HIV following rapid antiretroviral treatment after birth. Deborah Persaud, lead author of the report and a virologist at the Hopkins Children’s Center, made the announcement along with her two co-investigators in Atlanta on Sunday at the 20th Conference of Retroviruses and Opportunistic Infections.

Fruit flies consume alcohol to combat wasps

While humans continue to bicker about the legal drinking age, fruit flies have developed their own unique policy: alcohol before birth. A new study out of Emory University has shown that fruit flies lay their eggs in an alcoholic environment, essentially feeding their unhatched young booze, to protect them from parasitic wasps. This new spin on parenting is a creative defense tactic that can actually save the lives of fruit fly larvae.

Genetics affect some responses to stress

Walking through Brody or MSE on any given day, almost anyone could overhear the typical student bemoaning how much work they have or how stressed they feel. Even though stress is practically programmed into the college experience, different students handle pressure differently and responses can vary.

HGF improves damaged alveoli by binding to MET

Revenge against emphysema, a deadly and overbearing disease, has been strategically plotted in order to defend and protect the lives of the more than 20 million Americans engaged in a battle with the disease. Thankfully, researchers have discovered ways to ameliorate symptoms that are presented in emphysema patients.

Nutrition explained: digesting fad diets

For New Year’s resolution-ists, new eating and exercise plans have either proven their worth or fizzled out by now. The desperate search for the perfect path to health continues for many, be they a competitive athlete reaching for a personal record, or just someone looking to cut back on their daily frappuccinos from Starbucks.

Myopia studied as a health concern

It’s easy for many of us to correct nearsightedness — we go to the eye doctor, pick out a pair of glasses or fill a prescription for contact lenses, and voilà, we greatly improved vision. Thus, nearsightedness, also known as myopia, is something that we may not consider much as a public health concern. However, researchers at Hopkins and across the world believe there to be a better treatment for this prevalent condition that can be derived through genomic studying.

Youth alcohol brands on demand identified

Though widely publicized as the quintessential college experience, underage drinking takes a toll on American youth. Every year alcohol causes an average 4,700 deaths in the U.S. among youth under the legal drinking age of 21, according to the Center on Alcohol Marketing and Youth (CAMY) at the Bloomberg School of Public Health.

Skype’s privacy issues remedied

The person Skyping in the library may not be worried about anyone snooping on his conversation, since everyone else is busy studying. Besides, conversations on Skype are encrypted, so no one should be able to listen in on them.

Dinosaur’s extinction date reexamined

Those who nostalgically look back on our early school-years of science fairs and baking-soda volcanoes might remember learning a little bit about the abundant and ambiguous theories provided to explain the extinction of the dinosaurs.  Among these theories you may racall the giant, killer asteroid that impacted the Earth.

Brain roadmaps, Chinese hackers and viruses galore

The Next Big Thing?: Scientists are constantly seeking love from the government — a love that comes in the form of generous funding. Before the Human Genome Project, physicists were mostly happy with the big bucks they got to spend for splitting atoms open and traveling the depths of space. Envy in the field of biology soon dwindled away as the government shifted their attention towards genome studies. However, as the Human Genome Project came to a close almost ten years ago, the next big field of science has long been a mystery. Lately, it seems that the Brain Activity Map is lassoing the love of the government. Scientists are attempting to trace every highway of electrical impulse and intersection in synaptic clefts in the human brain within ten years. The endeavor is predicted to have an annual cost of 300 million dollars, and companies like Google, Microsoft and Qualcomm already plan to partake in the project.

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