Astronomers have discovered massive new objects in the centre of our galaxy – huge gamma-ray bubbles. They extend thousands of light years in height, above and below the plane of the stars, sort of like a super massive hourglass. The shapes are well defined, and they contain mind-boggling amounts of energy. The discovery was made using NASA's orbiting Fermi Gamma-ray Space Telescope. We asked Professor Julie McEnery, Fermi Project Scientist and Astrophysicist at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center to tell us what they have seen.
Researchers are working on a type of smart tattoo that people with diabetes could use to monitor their blood sugar, or glucose, levels without the finger-prick blood tests needed at the moment. According to the World Health Organisation, more than 220 million people worldwide have diabetes, and it is a significant cause of blindness as well as other serious medical problems. The tattoo is actually made up from specially selected chemicals and polymers that can be injected under the skin. These emit tiny bursts of light – invisible to the naked eye – when they come into contact with glucose and this can be picked up by a sensor on the skin. Professor John Pickup, from Guys Hospital in London, who is behind the project, came into our studios.
Human Protein Atlas
Ten years after scientists uncovered the human genetic code they are still trying to work out what it means. Around the world scientists are racing to find out. In Sweden one group is making a list of all the proteins produced by all 20,000 human genes and saying where in the body they all operate. They are calling this huge online database a Human Protein Atlas which could show researchers where to find buried medical treasures: new protein targets for drugs for all human diseases. Science in Action's Tracey Logan went to Sweden to meet the scientists behind the work.
Could Harry Potter's invisibility cloak become a reality? Researchers in the UK have shown it is possible to make a flexible film that could one day be used to make an invisibility cloak. Known as a metamaterial, it can manipulate the path of light – and excitingly these new material can actually do it for visible light. Dr. Andrea di Falco from the microphysics group at St. Andrews University spoke to Jon Stewart about his work.