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How Animals Color Themselves With Nanoscale Structures
Animals sculpt the optical properties of their tissues at the nanoscale to give themselves “structural colors.” New work is piecing together how they do it.
Why Are Plants Green? To Reduce the Noise in Photosynthesis.
Plants ignore the most energy-rich part of sunlight because stability matters more than efficiency, according to a new model of photosynthesis.
Do Brains Operate at a Tipping Point? New Clues and Complications
New experimental results simultaneously advance and challenge the theory that the brain’s network of neurons balances on the knife-edge between two phases.
The Math That Tells Cells What They Are
During development, cells seem to decode their fate through optimal information processing, which could hint at a more general principle of life.
‘Lava-Lamp’ Proteins May Help Cells Cheat Death
With proteins that reversibly self-assemble into droplets, cells may control their metabolism — and harden themselves against harsh conditions.
‘Traffic Jams’ of Cells Help to Sculpt Embryos
By measuring mechanical forces inside an embryo for the first time, researchers have shown how a physical “jamming” mechanism assists development.
A Math Theory for Why People Hallucinate
Psychedelic drugs can trigger characteristic hallucinations, which have long been thought to hold clues about the brain’s circuitry. After nearly a century of study, a possible explanation is crystallizing.
Swarming Bacteria Create an ‘Impossible’ Superfluid
Researchers explore a loophole that extracts useful energy from a fluid’s seemingly random motion. The secret? Sugar and asymmetry.
Brains May Teeter Near Their Tipping Point
In a renewed attempt at a grand unified theory of brain function, physicists now argue that brains optimize performance by staying near — though not exactly at — the critical point between two phases.