Open Doors to Collaboration in Research works

Updated 09:17 PM May 02, 2012

LONDON – The UK government has drafted in the Wikipedia founder Jimmy Wales to help make all taxpayer-funded academic research in Britain available online to anyone who wants to read or use it.
The initiative, which has the backing of Downing Street and should be up and running in two years, will be announced by the universities and science minister, David Willetts, in a speech to the Publishers Association later today.
The move will embolden what has been dubbed the “academic spring” – a growing campaign among academics and research funders for open access in academic publishing. They want to unlock the results of research from behind the lucrative paywalls of journals controlled by publishing companies.
Almost 11,000 researchers have signed up to a boycott of journals owned by the huge academic publisher Elsevier. Subscriptions to the thousands of research journals can cost a big university library millions of pounds each year – costs that have started to bite as budgets are squeezed. Harvard University, frustrated by the rising costs of journal subscriptions, recently encouraged its faculty members to make their research freely available through open access journals and to resign from publications that keep articles behind paywalls.
“Giving people the right to roam freely over publicly funded research will usher in a new era of academic discovery and collaboration, and will put the UK at the very forefront of open research,” Mr Willetts writes in the Guardian.
Mr Willetts said he recognised the value that academic publishers brought to the research process. “But, as the world changes, both cultural and technological change, their business model is going to change. I want to work with the Publishers Association as we move to the new model.”
Mr Wales is a vocal supporter of free and open access to information on the web and he was brought in by No 10 earlier this year as an unpaid adviser to government on crowdsourcing and opening up policymaking. On open access, he will assist the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills and the UK Research Councils to develop new ways to store and distribute research data and articles.
He will initially advise the research councils on its £2m (S$4m) Gateway to Research project, a website that will act as a portal, linking to publicly funded UK research all over the web. “Jimmy Mr Wales can make sure that we maximise the collaborative potential, the added value from that portal,” Mr Willetts added. “Wikipedia has become a crucial part of our cultural landscape and having the advice from the person who created Wikipedia as we embark on this big project will be incredibly helpful.”
Mr Wales will also feed ideas into the work of Dame Janet Finch, a former vice-chancellor of Keele University, who was asked by Willetts to convene academics, librarians and publishers to work out how an open-access scheme for publicly funded research might work in the UK. Her recommendations to government are expected in June this year.
A government source said that, in the longer term, Mr Wales would help to set up the next generation of open-access platforms for British researchers. “He’s also going to be advising us on the format in which academic papers should be published and data standards. One of the big opportunities is, right now, a journal article might be published but the underlying data isn’t and we want to move into a world where the data is published alongside an article in an open format, available free of charge.”
This initiative is most likely to result in a central repository that will host all research articles that result from public funding. The aim is that, even if an academic publishes their work in a traditional subscription journal, a version of their article would simultaneously appear on the freely available repository. The repository would also have built-in tools to share, comment and discuss articles.
One of the biggest challenges in achieving full open access for research will be the resistance of journal publishers to changing their lucrative business models. The majority of the world’s scientific research, estimated at about 1.5m new articles a year, is published in journals owned by a small number of large publishing companies including Elsevier, Springer and Wiley.
Scientists submit manuscripts to the journals, which are sent out for peer review before publication. The work is then available to other researchers by subscription, usually through their libraries. Publishers of the academic journals, which can cost universities up to £16,500 a year each to access, argue the price is necessary to sustain a high-quality peer review process.
David Prosser, executive director of Research Libraries UK, which represents academic libraries, welcomed the plans in principle and said the details of their implementation would be crucial.
A parallel system that runs alongside the journals might be difficult to operate, he said. “What would an author put into this parallel system, are they putting in a different type of research output other than the paper?”
Making research data standardised and more available would be valuable, he added. “The worry is that there’s all this data out there and it’s in lots of different formats and it’s not interoperable and it’s not being archived properly and it’s going to disappear and there’s a danger of a data black hole. The fact that the government is talking about doing something for that is absolutely fabulous.” GUARDIAN

Towards a Prosperous and Great Democracy Nation

According to a high-level source in Beijing, key leaders in the Chinese Communist Party’s (CCP) Politburo have reached four points of consensus that will be announced on or around the 18th Party Congress. The tenor of the decision is that China will take the path of democracy. The news has been circulated hurriedly in Beijing.
According to the source, the four points of consensus are:
1. People from all walks of life, political parties, and social organizations should send representatives to form a preparatory committee for a new constitution. They will draft a new constitution that protects the rights of citizens to freely form associations and political parties.
2. It will be announced that the Chinese Communist Party has finished its historical mission as the ruling party. Party membership will need to be re-registered, with the free choice to re-enter the Party or leave it.
3. “June 4,” Falun Gong, and all groups who have been wrongly persecuted in the process of devoting themselves to China’s realization of democracy will be redressed and receive compensation.
4. The military will be nationalized.

The claim from the source cannot be verified, but it is said to be a matter of discussion among high-level leaders. The source also said that a democratic party has already been formed in the Beijing Academy of Sciences, and that over 30 scholars in the Academy have gotten involved in the movement, forming a “Chinese Scientists’ Liberal Democratic Party.”
The four points of consensus are supposed to be announced on or around the 18th Party Congress, according to the source. The congress is supposed to be held this fall, in October or November, though there have been rumors that it will be postponed amidst the current political uncertainty associated with Bo Xilai’s downfall.
Shi Cangshan, an independent China analyst in Washington responded to the news: “The domino effect set off by the Wang Lijun incident is still going on, and the Party’s behind-the-scenes operations are being exposed.”
Shi said that the reason Party leaders would want to announce four consensuses such as the above is to take the initiative on its inevitable decline. “The group that has engaged in these massive persecutions of the Chinese people, including the persecution of Falun Gong, is being exposed, and this is deeply implicated with the demise of the CCP. Better that they take the initiative, which will benefit themselves and the world.”
Read original Chinese article.
chinareports@epochtimes.com

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And God will fulfill all his promises to solve Poverty and Hunger and pass his Knowlege and Technologies freely to everyone for the eternal benefit of mankind, towards a perfect economy, that He has decreed, for peace, prosperity and freedom forever. To solve Death and Diseases. Never doubt the power of God.
– Contributed by Oogle. 

Spinal muscular atrophy (SMA) and Lymph Nodes

A lymph node is a small ball or an oval-shaped organ of the immune system, distributed widely throughout the body including the armpit and stomach/gut and linked by lymphatic vessels. Lymph nodes are garrisons of B, T and other immune cells. Lymph nodes act as filters or traps for foreign particles and are important in the proper functioning of the immune system. They are packed tightly with the white blood cells called lymphocytes and macrophages.
Lymph nodes also have clinical significance. They become inflamed or enlarged in various conditions, which may range from trivial, such as a throat infection, to life-threatening such as cancers. In the latter, the condition of lymph nodes is so significant that it is used for cancer staging, which decides the treatment to be employed, and for determining the prognosis.
Lymph nodes can also be diagnosed by biopsy whenever they are inflamed. Certain diseases affect lymph nodes with characteristic consistency and location.
The lymph fluid inside of the lymph nodes contains lymphocytes, a type of white blood cell, which are continuously recirculated through the lymph nodes and the bloodstream. Molecules found on bacteria cell walls or chemical substances secreted from bacteria, called antigens, may be taken up by dedicated antigen presenting cells such as dendritic cells into the lymph system and then into lymph nodes. In response to the antigens, the lymphocytes in the lymph node make an antibody which will go out of the lymph node into circulation, seek, and target the pathogen producing the antigen by targeting it for destruction by other cells and complement. Other immune system cells will be made to fight the infection and “sent” to the lymph nodes. The increased numbers of immune system cells fighting the infection will make the node expand and become “swollen.”

The anterior horn of the spinal cord (also called the anterior cornu, anterior column or ventral horn) is the ventral (front) grey matter section of the spinal cord. The anterior horn contains motor neurons that affect the axial muscles while the posterior horn receives information regarding touch and sensation. The anterior horn is where the cell bodies of alpha motor neurons are located.

Spinal muscular atrophy (SMA) is an incurable autosomal recessive disease caused by a genetic defect in the SMN1 gene which codes SMN, a protein necessary for survival of motor neurons, and resulting in death of neuronal cells in the anterior horn of spinal cord and subsequent system-wide muscle wasting (atrophy).
Spinal muscular atrophy manifests in various degrees of severity which all have in common general muscle wasting and mobility impairment. Other body systems may be affected as well, particularly in early-onset forms. Spinal muscular atrophy is the most common genetic cause of infant death.
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Monday, Apr 30, 2012
YourHealth, AsiaOne

What do you do when your 6-month-year-old daughter is diagnosed within incurable genetic disease, and will very likely not live long beyond her second birthday?
For Mike and Laura Canahuati, they chose to write a blog in her name – detailing their daily joys and trials with her, accompanied with a ‘bucket list’ of things to accomplish before her death.
Baby Avery was diagnosed with Spinal Muscular Atrophy (SMA) Type 1 on a Good Friday, June 4, 2012.

This means that little Avery, who has already lost her ability to move her legs, will eventually lose the ability to move her arms and her head.
When this happens, it will become increasingly difficult, and in the end impossible, for her body to pump air through her lungs.
This is why most babies diagnosed with SMA Type 1 have a life expectancy of less than two years of age.
There is even the possibility of dying a few months or even weeks after birth. Even with the help of a respirator, life expectancy can only be stretched till ten years of age.
One in 6,000 babies is born with one of the four types of SMA, with Type Zero the worst. However, that usually occurs with fetuses, the couple said.
Much of the blog, written in the first person in Avery’s voice, is the work of the father, Mike.
He writes: “My mommy, daddy, and grandparents have chosen to help me fight this disease, while embracing this news and helping me chronicle my “bucket list” experiences through this blog.
“So at this point, my family & friends can either sit back and watch me die and let my life be about doctors visits and tear filled days, or everyone can embrace what my future holds and we can make each day I’m here a memorable one…starting now.”
Light-hearted and humorous, the blog and the bucket list is written as though Avery will live far beyond her estimated life e
xpectancy and experience life’s milestones.

In her wish-list, ‘Avery’ writes her hopes of ‘attending a sleep over’, ‘going hiking’, to ‘play dress up in my mommy’s closet and have a photo shoot’ and ‘celebrate my real 1st birthday’.
Others include:

  • Lose my first tooth and get a present from the tooth fairy
  • Meet Santa Claus
  • Dress up for Halloween and go trick or treating
  • Get a tattoo
  • Have a father daughter dance while watching Father of The Bride

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You need to study the molecular structure level to understand how to engineer new cells that can replace those that has been affected by the disease. – Contributed by Oogle.

    China Government takes care of the poor

    April 28th, 2012
    Travelling on my own in China for two months was a revelation as I instinctively made comparisons with Singapore. To be sure, China is repressive as Singapore, if not more so. However, some  observations may be of interest to Singaporeans.
    As a driver, naturally a few things about parking struck me. Roadside parking was generally free and parking lots even on main roads in mega cities like Shanghai, Chengdu, Xian were generally absent unlike in Singapore where paid parking lots  are seen even in residential areas. Parking wardens were rarely seen. Despite free parking, drivers I noticed did not cause obstruction to others.
    The Chinese government could easily make billions from car park operations if LTA were their model.
    I asked the locals if they had to pay any annual road tax for their motorbikes or electric bikes, of which there are miliions. They shook their heads and said, “Nothing.”
    Chinese public parks are good places to observe how the locals spend their leisure hours. What struck me was how the elderly enjoyed themselves dancing, singing or playing musical instruments. No permits were needed for these activities unlike in Singapore.  I couldn’t help bemoaning how our elderly are slaving away as cleaners.
    At shopping malls, restaurants, fast food eateries, public buildings and so on the cleaners were mostly the young or middle-aged. China employs an army of cleaners to sweep away the litter, and elderly ones are a rarity.
    And for those who drink, they might be amazed by the fact that a big bottle of Tsingtao at a supermarket costs about 70 cents! And cigarettes are dirt cheap.
    I’m perturbed by the fact that in Singapore our seniors, some in their 70s, still need to slave away at menial jobs. Another thing that irks many people is that the government here finds every excuse to squeeze every cent  from the public in the form of all sorts of fees and taxes. One of the most ridiculous is the exit toll for motorists leaving Singapore at Tuas or Woodlands.
    Relating my experience to an Indian friend about the free parking everywhere in China triggered an angry response: “F*** bloody government. You know, now they’ve introduced paid parking even at night in Little India”.
    Travel, as they say, broadens the mind but it also invites the inevitable comparison with your own country. And it may make you wonder whether your government has conned you all along.
    .
    LIU PEI
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    amused bystander: 
    April 28, 2012 at 11:22 pm  (Quote)

    Its always hurting to see old people, some of them not able to even walk properly, working in the public toilets. And these people are Singaporeans. Not only Singaporeans, but people who have worked and contributed to the country’s economy for many years, in their own small ways.
    Now they are discarded by the govt as their productivity go down with age, and the primary responsibility, the govt says, lies on their children to support them financially. But the govt does not realise that the children THEMSELVES, are having a difficult time paying for their own upkeep, let alone their parents. And the govt does not realise that some of these old people have no children, or children that are alienated from them, for whatever reasons.
    Some of these old people still have some human dignity in them, and they refuse public handouts. They rather live rough and work until their bones give in totally. Currently, none of the old-folks homes are govt operated, all are organised by private charities, albeit with govt subsidies. As a recent article by a learned professor pointed out, no provisions are made by the govt for intermediate and long term care for the aged in Singapore; only hospital bills. This is going to be a critical problem for ALL OF US, SINGAPOREANS! Its not just a problem for the old people now. It will be our problem when we grow old as well, and we will certainly grow old!
    When I see these old people slogging away like this, I somehow think, will I be like them later?

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    Oogle:

    April 29, 2012 at 3:12 am  (Quote)

    That is why I rather migrate to China under communism rule where they take care of the poor, rather than Singapore with all talk and no action, it is a wayang to con those who never know what is happening in the other side of the world, they persecute me by denying me all access to money, wait til I get to China I will get my revenge on Singapore, and bankrupt the entire PAP. If I still don’t get where I want to go, very soon the DBS deal will go down the drain, you will never get your approval from Indonesia parliament.

    Fully automated navigation with robotics loading/unloading Port design

    Anyone who is interested in coming up with a proposal for a new generation of container ports can now do so in a competition that has a top prize of US$1 million (S$1.4 million).
    The aim of the Next Generation Container Port (NGCP) Challenge is to achieve three targets – port performance, productivity and sustainability – for a new generation of container port that is set 10 years in the future.
    Jointly organised by the Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore (MPA) and the Singapore Maritime Institute (SMI), the NGCP Challenge was officially launched today by Captain M Segar, MPA’s Assistant Chief Executive (Operations), at Mandarin Oriental Singapore.
    Participants will be required to consider several operating specifications such as a handling capacity of at least 20 million twenty-foot equivalent units, 24/7 operations and a 90 per cent berth on arrival for ships.
    Their design should also be operational within the given land profile and also be environmentally sustainable.
    These specifications are challenges currently faced by many established container ports around the world.
    The winning proposal will be announced at the next Singapore Maritime Week (SMW), which will take place from April 7 to 12, 2013.
    In addition to the top prize, MPA and SMI will also set aside $5 million in R&D grant to develop promising proposals and concepts.
    Before the winner and commendation awards are announced, shortlisted proposals will also be displayed in a public exhibition that will be held in conjunction with SMW 2013.
    “As a leading container hub port, it is important for Singapore to continually innovate and leverage on cutting-edge technologies to operate the container ports of the future.
    “The NGCP Challenge serves to support SMI’s R&D strategy on R&D for breakthrough applications as well as to develop our thought leadership in port design,” said Mr Heng Chiang Gnee, Executive Director of SMI.
    Registration for the international competition is open till July 31, 2012.
    Participants will have to submit their proposals by Dec 31, 2012.
    Submissions will be evaluated by an international panel, comprising representatives from the Singapore government and the maritime industry.
    For more details on the challenge statement, visit http://www.maritimeinstitute.sg/portchallenge.
    spanaech@sph.com.sg
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    Solved it in 5 minutes, you want more details, show me a video of the exact port operation and I will customised the solution.
    My design contains a radar system that will be triggered when the ship approaches port which will also trigger a range of cctv cameras that will guide the ship to dock. Upon docking, cctv cameras will activate robotics which will automatically unload the containers and transport them to a storage facility that is like an open warehouse which is automated and can store up to 30 stories high of containers compared to the present. Everything is controlled by computers, you need to key in the details and robots will fetch the containers for you, even load it up to ships as it is intelligent and every process is automated, requiring less than 10 staff for every shift, running 24/7, 365 days a year. Sorry but I will not be participating in the contest, it is well below my standards and I am not a design architect.
    – Contributed by Oogle.

    What happens when oil rises to US$300 a barrel? Are you prepared for it?

    “This scenerio is real and will definitely occur within the next decade if something is not done about it  now – Contributed by Oogle”

     

    By Grant Smith – Apr 27, 2012 8:45 PM GMT+0800
    Oil fell from the highest level in almost four weeks in New York, trimming a second weekly gain, after a cut in Spain’s credit rating renewed concern that Europe’s faltering economy may curb fuel demand.
    Futures slipped as much as 0.8 percent after New York-based Standard & Poor’s reduced Spain’s rating to BBB+ from A and said the nation may have to provide fiscal support to the banking sector as the economy contracts. Prices also dropped after reaching technical resistance. West Texas Intermediate crude may decline next week after economic confidence in the euro-region fell and the U.S. economy grew less than forecast, a Bloomberg News survey showed.
    “The economic outlook is a little bit worse than some months ago because of the big risk in the euro zone,” said Sintje Boie, an analyst at HSH Nordbank in Hamburg who predicts prices will remain near their current levels until the middle of the year. “It’s more the geopolitical risk that’s holding prices up.”
    Crude for June delivery slid as much as 81 cents to $103.74 a barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. It was at $104.30 at 1:36 p.m. London time. The contract rose 43 cents yesterday to $104.55, the highest close since April 2. Prices are up 1.2 percent this week and have posted a similar gain this month.
    Brent oil for June settlement on the London-based ICE Futures Europe exchange declined 34 cents, or 0.3 percent, to $119.58 a barrel. The European benchmark contract’s premium to U.S. futures was at $15.28 a barrel.

    Chart Resistance

    Oil in New York has technical resistance along its 50-day moving average, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. Futures halted yesterday’s advance near this indicator, which is at $105.10 a barrel today. Sell orders tend to be clustered near chart-resistance levels.
    Prices may decrease next week on lower euro-region confidence and signs the U.S. is struggling to address unemployment levels, a Bloomberg survey showed. Sixteen of 37 analysts and traders surveyed forecast oil will drop through May 4. Twelve respondents predicted futures will rise and nine estimated there will be little change.

    Economic Outlook

    Gross domestic product, the value of all goods and services produced in the U.S., rose at a 2.2 percent annual rate in the first quarter, Commerce Department figures showed today in Washington. That followed a 3 percent pace in the prior quarter and compared with the 2.5 percent median forecast of economists surveyed by Bloomberg News.
    U.S. jobless claims fell to 388,000 last week from a revised 389,000 the prior week, the highest since early January, according to Labor Department data yesterday. An index of executive and consumer sentiment in the 17-nation euro area slid to 92.8 from a revised 94.5 in March, a report by the European Commission in Brussels showed.
    “It’s quite clear in West Texas terms that we’ve moved back into the trading range between $103.50 and $108.50, and at this stage we’re not looking at any factors over the next few weeks that are likely to drive us out of there,” said Michael McCarthy, a chief market strategist at CMC Markets Asia Pacific Pty in Sydney. “Europe is an important economy to the globe but we don’t see it as a major engine of growth.”
    The countries using the euro accounted for about 12 percent of global oil demand in 2010, according to BP Plc (BP/)’s Statistical Review of World Energy. The U.S. was the biggest crude user, responsible for 21 percent of world consumption.
    Libya plans to surpass its pre-rebellion crude output by about June and will soon start its largest refinery that was damaged during fighting last year, Nuri Berruien, chairman of state-run National Oil Corp. said yesterday. Production is expected to climb above 1.6 million barrels a day, he said.
    To contact the reporter on this story: Ben Sharples in Melbourne at bsharples@bloomberg.netTo Grant Smith in London at gsmith52@bloomberg.net
    To contact the editor responsible for this story: Stephen Voss on sev@bloomberg.net
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    Do not think oil prices will gradually increase in price, it will spike tremendously when they cannot find enough oil from their exploration to fuel the world’s demand, the cost of exploration will increase tremendously as oil becomes scarce, and the producers will pass the costs back to the comsumers. Therefore are you prepared to pay US$300 a barrel in 10 years time? What will be the impact? What will happen to your petrol driven car? Are there any alternatives? Who can afford to pay oil at that price? There is no replacement of oil consumption for aircrafts, but there are alternatives for others if you act now. What is Superinflation? What will be the prices of homes then? Car prices? Will drop because no ordinary person can buy a petrol driven car, they need to look for battery powered, CNG etc. Then Food? Jobs? The list goes on. Only the rich can afford to buy energy from a centralised utility grid provider, most will install solar panels to cut their utility usage, utilising decentralised energy grids. Are yo prepared for the future? Singapore is walking down the path of Ireland when that happens, no reforms, mass emigration, collapse of banking and property markets, what resources do we have to combat global competition, the Celtic Tigers of the EU will be a reminder of the once Tigers of the Asean economy.

    – Contributed by Oogle.

    Tiny crystal advances computing

    The University of Sydney
    Friday, 27 April 2012

    A tiny crystal that enables a computer to perform calculations that currently stump the world’s most powerful supercomputers has been developed by an international team including the University of Sydney’s Dr Michael Biercuk.
    The ion-crystal used is poised to create one of the most powerful computers ever developed, with the results published in the journal Nature on 26 April 2012.
    “Computing technology has taken a huge leap forward using a crystal with just 300 atoms suspended in space,” said Dr Biercuk, from the University’s School of Physics and ARC Centre of Excellence for Engineered Quantum Systems.
    “The system we have developed has the potential to perform calculations that would require a supercomputer larger than the size of the known universe – and it does it all in a diameter of less than a millimetre,” said Dr Biercuk.
    “The projected performance of this new experimental quantum simulator eclipses the current maximum capacity of any known computer by an astonishing 10 to the power of 80. That is 1 followed by 80 zeros, in other words 80 orders of magnitude, a truly mind-boggling scale.”
    The work smashes previous records in terms of the number of elements working together in a quantum simulator, and therefore the complexity of the problems that can be addressed.
    The team Dr Biercuk worked with, including scientists from the US National Institute of Standards and Technology, Georgetown University in Washington, North Carolina State University and the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research in South Africa, has produced a specialised kind of quantum computer known as a ‘quantum simulator’.
    Ever since Nobel Prize winner Richard Feynman highlighted the potential of quantum computing in the 1980s, scientists have been attempting to build quantum computers capable of solving some of the largest and most complex problems. Special-purpose quantum simulators have tremendous potential to solve a variety of challenging problems in materials science, chemistry, and biology, with much greater efficiency than conventional computers.
    The research team’s revolutionary crystal exceeds all previous experimental attempts in providing ‘programmability’ and the critical threshold of qubits (a unit measuring quantum information) needed for the simulator to exceed the capability of most supercomputers.
    “Many properties of natural materials governed by the laws of quantum mechanics are very difficult to model using conventional computers. The key concept in quantum simulation is building a quantum system to provide insights into the behaviour of other naturally occurring physical systems.”
    Much like studying a scale model of an airplane wing in a wind tunnel to simulate the behaviour of a full-scale aircraft, tremendous insights about difficult and complex quantum systems can be gleaned using a quantum ‘scale model’.
    “By engineering precisely controlled interactions and then studying the output of the system, we are effectively running a ‘program’ for the simulation,” said Dr Biercuk.
    “In our case, we are studying the interactions of spins in the field of quantum magnetism – a key problem that underlies new discoveries in materials science for energy, biology, and medicine,” said Dr Biercuk.
    “For instance, we hope to study the spin interactions predicted by models for high-temperature superconductivity – a physical phenomenon that has yet to be explained, but has the potential to revolutionise power distribution and high-speed transport.”
    The experimental device provides exceptional new capabilities which allow the researchers to engineer interactions which mimic those found in natural materials.
    Remarkably they can even realise interactions that are not known to be found in nature, engineering totally new forms of quantum matter.

    Editor’s Note: Original news release can be found here.