This Week In STEM Sept. 14

The world runs on science, and The Lumberjack brings you top stories every week.


Researchers at the International Monetary Fund and Georgetown University announced that more than 90 percent of all passenger vehicles in developed nations could be electric by 2040. Only two million out of more than one billion registered vehicles are electric today, with one million of those being in China. If this prediction proves true, it could reduce oil use by 21 million barrels a day and cut carbon dioxide emissions by 3.2 billion tons a year. That’s equivalent to 60 percent of total U.S. emissions today.

Source: National Geographic

Embed from Getty Images As many as one in three parasite species may face extinction in the next century. Researchers from University of California, Berkeley found that global warming will raise the planet’s temperature causing many species to lose territory in which they can survive. Parasites make up the majority of biomass in many ecosystems, and can outweigh predators sharing the environment by 20 to 1. The extinction of parasites may affect entire food webs, which would drastically affect human health in turn. Colin J. Carlson, the lead author of the study, said that parasites control the amount of diseases in wildlife, which indirectly helps humans as well. The estimated extinction of as many as one third of all parasite species would have dire effects.

Source: New York Times

Embed from Getty Images An oil tanker sank off the shore of Athens, Greece on Sunday, coating the entire bay in crude oil. Greek officials are calling it an environmental disaster as it’s turning the bay black and affecting the local wildlife. The spill is polluting the waters in a 1.5 km stretch around the island Salamis and will likely take four months to clean. Residents are outraged, coastal businesses have closed and fishermen have been advised to avoid the area. The captain and chief engineer of the oil tanker have been charged with negligence and released on bail. It’s still not clear exactly why the tanker sank.

Source: BBC

Beryllium hydride is now the largest molecule a quantum computer has simulated, generating new hope for future drug discoveries. According to Ryan Babbush, the researcher who led the hydrogen molecule simulation for Google, the accomplishment “represents solid progress towards an incredibly important goal.” For practical purposes, however, beryllium hydride is still a tiny molecule, so there is still much research to be done. Many scientists believe that revealing new drugs and materials will be the first significant application of future quantum computers, which are being developed at universities and companies around the world.

Source: Science Magazine



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