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SVConnections May 2016
May 2019

A Robot Wrote (Part of) This Article

By Yuen Yiu , Inside Science

Researchers develop a new technique that uses artificial intelligence to summarize long scientific papers.   If your eyes have ever glazed over while reading scientific literature, a new system powered by artificial intelligence may be able to help. Researchers from MIT have used neural network-based techniques to summarize research papers filled with technical jargon. They  published the results  in the journal Transactions of the Association for Computational Linguistics.  READ FULL ARTICLE.

Image credits: Mirko Tobias Schäfer
Rights information: CC BY 2.0

Scientists Release First Photo of a Black Hole

 By Catherine Meyers , Inside Science

We have now seen what we thought was unseeable, team says. The first-ever photograph of a black hole looks something like a cosmic wedding ring. Bright light encircles the void of a supermassive black hole billions of times the mass of our sun, which lurks at the center of an elliptical galaxy located 55 million light-years from Earth, known as Messier 87.  READ FULL ARTICLE.

Rights information: Copyright American Institute of Physics ( reprinting information)  

Race Car Drivers Are Definitely Athletes

By Chris Gorski, Inside Science

Drivers’ bodies overheat, their hearts race, and they face extreme G-forces. David Ferguson, an assistant professor of kinesiology at Michigan State University, talks about what it’s like to drive a race car: "It's not like driving a normal car. You're having very high speeds, drivers exposed to G loads that are higher than what NASA astronauts are exposed, in hot humid environments, and they do it every weekend."  READ FULL ARTICLE.

Liquid Crystals Could Protect Pilots Against Laser Pointer Attacks

 By Chris Gorski, Inside Science

New proof of concept could guard against the disorienting effects of laser pointers invading the cockpit. The FAA received more than 6,700 reports of lasers striking aircraft in 2017, a dramatic increase from just a decade earlier. Commercially available lasers can  disrupt a pilot's vision and endanger those aboard the aircraft, especially during the critical phases of takeoff and landing. Now, researchers have developed a glass embedded with liquid crystals that could shield a plane's cockpit from these disruptive attacks.   READ FULL ARTICLE.

Image credits: r iopatuca/Shutterstock
Parasitic Wasps Play the Victim to Ambush Spiders

By Joshua Learn, Inside Science

Their larvae slowly suck the arachnids' guts out after wasps infiltrate the spiders' webs. Sometimes, the best way to beat a complicated ambush is to lay a counterambush. A species of parasitic wasps uses sophisticated strategies to lure spiders into playing the unwilling provider for the wasps' gut-sucking offspring. READ FULL ARTICLE.

Image credits: Courtesy of Keizo Takasuka
Scientists Confirm Cats Recognize Their Own Names

 By Nala Rogers, Inside Science

Whether they respond when called is another matter. Science has finally confirmed what cat owners knew all along: Cats know their own names. That doesn’t necessarily mean they respond when called (another thing cat owners could have told you). Cats in the new study turned their heads and ears toward the sound of their names, but generally didn't bother to vocalize back or communicate using their tails. READ FULL ARTICLE.

Image credits : Florence Ivy via  Flickr

How the First Empire of the Andes Ensured a Steady Beer Supply

By Charles Q. Choi , Inside Science

Drought-tolerant ingredients and local sourcing of brewing containers meant the beer could flow even in tough times.  A reliable supply of beer made from pepper berries may have helped keep the first empire of the Andes together for centuries, a new study finds. Roughly a thousand years ago, before the rise of the Inca,  the Wari empire  stretched across Peru. At its height, it extended about 1,380 kilometers along the coast of Peru, about the same as the distance between Washington, D.C. and Miami as the crow flies. READ FULL ARTICLE.

Image credits : The Field Museum

Researchers Find a New Ancient Human Species in the Philippines

By Charles Q. Choi , Inside Science

Fossils from 50,000-67,000 years ago represent Homo luzonensis, discovered in a cave on the island of Luzon. In a jungle cave in the Philippines, scientists have discovered fossils of what may be a new human species they call Homo luzonensis. The newfound teeth and bones combine primitive and modern traits in a way never previously seen together in one species, and suggest much remains to be discovered about human evolution outside Africa.   READ FULL ARTICLE.

Image credits: Callao Cave Archaeology Project

The Fiery Physics of Volcano Flows

By Charles Q. Choi , Inside Science

Researchers find that hot ash, lava, boulders and gas can rush from a volcano at high speeds on a cushion of air.  Volcanos can sometimes spew a deadly onslaught of hot ash, lava, boulders and gas that gushes forth at up to 160 kilometers per hour. Now scientists have discovered these searing deluges -- known as pyroclastic flows -- reach such speeds by riding on a cushion of air that reduces friction, much like a puck does in a game of air hockey. READ FULL ARTICLE.

Image credits: Shutterstock
Human Activity is Disrupting the Heart of Africa's Serengeti Ecosystem

 By Nala Rogers , Inside Science

Repercussions of human pressure ripple from the edges to the center of an enormous protected area. The Serengeti-Mara ecosystem in Tanzania and Kenya is one of the largest and most beloved stretches of protected wilderness on Earth. But human pressures around the edges of the protected area may be harming the entire ecosystem, squeezing wildlife into a smaller area and depleting the richness of grass and soil. The new findings suggest that rather than focusing only on the core of an ecosystem, conservationists must find ways for humans and wildlife to coexist across much larger landscapes. READ FULL ARTICLE.

Image credits : DEMOSH via  Flickr  
These Instruments Can Create Pressure Thousands of Times Higher Than the Bottom of the Ocean

By Yuen Yiu, Inside Science

Super high-pressure experiments take science to extremes.    If the filmmaker and explorer James Cameron had opened the hatch of his submarine at Challenger Deep -- the deepest point in all of Earth’s oceans -- the immense pressure outside would’ve crushed his skull with the weight of 500 elephants. READ FULL ARTICLE.

Image credits : RAF-YYC  via Wikimedia Commons
Rights information : CC BY-SA 2.0
Astronomers Spy Lunar Water Droplets Scattered by Meteoroid Impacts

By Ramin Skibba , Inside Science

Their observations confirm water lurks in the moon's subsoil, not just at the poles. Soil samples collected by astronauts on the Apollo missions suggested that the moon lacks water, except at the icy poles. But a new study indicates our gray, pockmarked lunar neighbor isn't completely bone-dry after all. It turns out that impacts by small meteoroids frequently propel dust as well as water droplets into the atmosphere, where a NASA spacecraft spotted them. READ FULL ARTICLE.

Image credits: NASA/Ames
Striving to MAKE A DIFFERENCE in the lives of our students.

One of the SVC’s long-term goals has always been to support charitable, educational, and scientific activities. As its first initiative, the Foundation created a scholarship program aimed at supporting enterprising students and practitioners who have an interest in furthering their education in the field of vacuum coating technology. 
The Foundation also grants travel awards to students to attend and present technical papers at the annual SVC Technical Symposium. Since its inception, both programs have awarded over $250,000 in scholarships to students from the United States, Canada, China, Lithuania and Spain.
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