Flash Physics: Shrinking gels, masculine culture discourages female physicists, Carlos Frenk bags Born medal

physicsworld.com | 11/21/2016 | Staff
cv2angels (Posted by) Level 3
When a conventional soft material is placed between two surfaces that then move across each other in opposite directions, the material tends to bulge out at right angles to the motion of the surfaces. However, there are some gel-like materials such as blood clots that do the opposite when under stress – and understanding why has puzzled physicists for some time. Now, Daniel Bonn at the University of Amsterdam and colleagues have performed calculations and experiments that they say can explain the phenomenon. Materials that shrink under stress tend to comprise networks of filaments that also contain water. When the team modelled such materials they found that when the gaps between the filaments were small, the water could not easily move within the gel – and the materials bulged when stressed. When the pores are larger, however, the water can flow more easily when stressed. This allows the network to shrink in the directions perpendicular to the stress as the water flows away from the stressed regions. The team was also able to observe this behaviour in the lab and the results – which are reported in Physical Review Letters – could prove useful to scientists developing artificial tissues.

An analysis of more than 1000 papers on gender disparity in science, technology, engineering and mathematics subjects has revealed three main reasons why women are underrepresented in those subjects at undergraduate level in the US. The research, led by Sapna Cheryan, a psychologist at the University of Washington in Seattle, found that the key factors are a lack of sufficient early experience in these subjects, the existence of masculine cultures and gender gaps in self-belief. The research focused on the six science and engineering fields with the highest numbers of undergraduate degrees: biology, chemistry, mathematics, physics, engineering and computer science. In the...
(Excerpt) Read more at: physicsworld.com
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