Published: Wednesday 28 February 2007

Fish antics Two US-based Johns Hopkins University researchers have found answers to how the brain guides the complex movement of limbs in a tropical fish. Their research may contribute to important medical advances in humans, including better prosthetic limbs and improved rehabilitative techniques for people suffering from strokes, cerebral palsy and other such conditions. The fish, called 'glass knifefish' emits weak electrical signals, which it uses to see in the dark. Several characteristics, including this electric sense, make them a superb subject for the study of how the brain uses sensory information to control locomotion, say the researchers.

Microwave photons Using artificial atoms on a chip, US-based Yale physicists have shown that the particle nature of microwave photons can now be detected. Microwaves are made of individual photons, the researchers note.A single microwave photon is quite large, extending over one centimetre in length, and yet has one hundred thousand times lesser energy than a visible photon. They can also act as a bridge between naturally occurring quantum systems and fabricated electrical circuits, resulting in a hybrid processor of quantum information.

Cloning seaside smell Scientists from UK's University of East Anglia have discovered what makes the seaside smell the way it does. Researchers isolated a microbe from the mud at Stiffkey saltmarsh to identify and extract the single gene responsible for the emission of the strong-smelling gas, dimethyl sulphide (DMS). DMS is an effective food marker for ocean-going birds such as shearwaters and petrels.

Subscribe to Weekly Newsletter :

Comments are moderated and will be published only after the site moderator’s approval. Please use a genuine email ID and provide your name. Selected comments may also be used in the ‘Letters’ section of the Down To Earth print edition.