Physicists finally observe strange isotope Oxygen 28 – raising fundamental questions

In this episode:

00:47 First observation of oxygen 28

Oxygen 28 is an isotope of oxygen with 20 neutrons and eight protons. This strange isotope has long been sought after by physicists, as its proposed unusual properties would allow them to put their theories of how atomic nuclei work to the test. Now, after decades of experiments physicists believe they have observed oxygen 28. The observations are at odds with theory predictions, so they imply that there’s a lot more physicists don’t know about the forces that hold atomic nuclei together.

Research article: Kondo et al.

News and Views: Heaviest oxygen isotope is found to be unbound

10:06 Research Highlights

How venus fly traps can protect themselves from wildfires, and a ball-point pen that can ‘write’ LEDs.

Research Highlight: Venus flytraps shut their traps when flames approach

Research Highlight: A rainbow of LEDs adorns objects at the stroke of a pen

12:39 An AI for Drone Racing

AIs have been beating humans at games for years, but in these cases the AI has always trained in exactly the same conditions in which it competes. In chess for example, the board can be simulated exactly. Now though, researchers have demonstrated an AI that can beat humans in a place where simulation can only take you so far, the real world. The Swift AI system is able to race drones against champion-level humans, and beat them most of the time. The researchers hope this research can help improve the efficiency of drones in general.

Research article: Kaufmann et al.

News and Views: Drone-racing champions outpaced by AI

Video: AI finally beats humans at a real-life sport - drone racing

19:51 Briefing Chat

This time, the Indian Space Research Organization’s successful moon landing, and the low level of support offered to researchers whose first language isn’t English by journals.

Nature News: India lands on the Moon! Scientists celebrate as Chandrayaan-3 touches down

Nature News: Scientists who don’t speak fluent English get little help from journals, study finds

Subscribe to Nature Briefing, an unmissable daily round-up of science news, opinion and analysis free in your inbox every weekday.

Hosted on Acast. See for more information.