Biology

Dolph Schluter stands atop the craggy outpost of a twenty-metre high clifftop, his gaze intently focused on the waves below him. From his vantage point, he can see the fishing boat that has come to take him off Los Hermanos, a remote island in the Galapagos archipelago. But it's not much use. The seas are too rough and the steep shoreline of the jagged volcanic rock would smash to pieces any boat...

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featured question

Q: Why does a balloon travelling inside a car seem to violate Newton's laws? Imagine a toy helium balloon centrally tethered inside a window of a van moving down the highway at a moderate constant speed. If the driver slows moderately, the balloon seems to violate Newton's laws by tilting toward the rear of the car.If the driver accelerates moderately, the balloon again seems to violate Newton's laws by tilting toward the windshield. What's happening and why?

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In the news

Pushing the limits of chemistry with iridium

October 22, 2014

Canadian scientists working with the element iridium in Gary Schrobilgen's lab at McMaster university set a new record for the highest formal oxidation state in the periodic table of the elements. Oxidation state describes the number of electrons an atom loses or gains when it joins with other atoms in chemical compounds; the higher the oxidation state, the more electrons, critical in many applications, especially batteries. Previously the highest number was 8. Working with Chinese and German colleagues, the scientists created a gaseous form of iridium tetroxide reaching an oxidation state of 9. More at the Science Media Centre...

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