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Wednesday, Oct 22nd

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'Invisibility cloak' pioneer John Pendry scoops Newton Medal

Jjohn PendryThe physicist who proposed the idea of an "invisibility cloak" has received the Newton Medal, the highest honour of the UK's Institute of Physics (IoP). Imperial College London's Prof Sir John Pendry was cited "for his seminal contributions to surface science, disordered systems and photonics".

But his work on cloaking and "metamaterials" is arguably his most famous and potentially transformative. IoP president Peter Knight called the award "our most important medal".

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NIH to retire most chimps from medical research

Medical chimpsThe government is about to retire most of the chimpanzees who've spent their lives in U.S. research labs.

The National Institutes of Health said Wednesday that it will retire about 310 chimps from medical research over the next few years, saying humans' closest relatives "deserve special respect."

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NASA finds “unprecedented” black hole cluster near Andromeda’s central bulg

black hole clusterNASA has discovered an unprecedentedly large cluster of black holes in our nearest galactic neighbor, Andromeda.

The 26 black hole candidates were spotted with the Chandra X-ray Observatory, which made more than 150 observations spread over 13 years.

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Arc protein 'could be key to memory loss', says study

Memory proteinScientists have discovered more about the role of an important brain protein which is instrumental in translating learning into long-term memories.

Writing in Nature Neuroscience, they said further research into the Arc protein's role could help in finding new ways to fight neurological diseases.

The same protein may also be a factor in autism, the study said. Recent research found Arc lacking in the brains of Alzheimer's patients.

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US management of wild horses flawed, scientific report finds

Wild horse roundupA federal agency working to rein in the population of wild horses in the West should rely more on fertility control than roundups because it would be more effective, a National Academy of Sciences review said on Wednesday.

The critique of the U.S. Bureau of Land Management's (BLM) handling of 37,300 free-ranging horses and burros also faulted the agency for a lack of transparency and public involvement in key decisions about the federally protected animals.

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Moon being pushed away from Earth faster than ever

Moon pushed away from earthEarth is pushing the moon away faster now than it has for most of the past 50 million years, mostly a result of tides, a U.S. researcher says.

Matthew Huber of Purdue University says his models of the influence of tides on the moon's orbit help solve a longstanding mystery concerning the moon's age, NewScientists.com reported Wednesday.

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Climate research nearly unanimous on human causes, survey finds

Climate changeA survey of thousands of peer-reviewed papers in scientific journals has found 97.1% agreed that climate change is caused by human activity.

Authors of the survey, published on Thursday in the journal Environmental Research Letters, said the finding of near unanimity provided a powerful rebuttal to climate contrarians who insist the science of climate change remains unsettled.

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