3 Scientific Discoveries

  1. Study suggests that silicon could be a photonics game-changer
    New research from the University of Surrey has shown that silicon could be one of the most powerful materials for photonic informational manipulation—opening up new possibilities for the production of lasers and displays.
    In a paper published by Light: Science and Applications journal, a Surrey-led international team of scientists has shown that silicon is an outstanding candidate for creating a device that can control multiple light beams.
    The discovery means that it is now possible to produce silicon processors with built-in abilities for light beams to control other beams—boosting the speed and efficiency of electronic communications.

2) Researchers unveil oldest evidence of human activity in African desert cave
Few sites in the world preserve a continuous archaeological record spanning millions of years. Wonderwerk Cave, located in South Africa’s Kalahari Desert, is one of those rare sites. Meaning “miracle” in Afrikaans, Wonderwerk Cave has been identified as potentially the earliest cave occupation in the world and the site of some of the earliest indications of fire use and tool making among prehistoric humans.
New research published in Quaternary Science Reviews, led by a team of geologists and archaeologists from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem (HU) and the University of Toronto, confirms the record-breaking date of this spectacular site. “We can now say with confidence that our human ancestors were making simple Oldowan stone tools inside the Wonderwerk Cave 1.8 million years ago. Wonderwerk is unique among ancient Oldowan sites, a tool-type first found 2.6 million years ago in East Africa, precisely because it is a cave and not an open-air occurrence”.

3) Researchers determine which dogs more often establish eye contact with humans
Eye contact plays a fundamental role in human communication and relationships. However, humans also make eye contact with dog companions. According to new research by Hungarian ethologists, at least four independent traits affect dogs’ ability to establish eye contact with humans. Short-headed, cooperative, young and playful dogs are the most likely to look into the human eye. Forming eye contact with the owner raises oxytocin levels in both parties, which plays a role in developing social bonding.