Biochemistry: The function of folding + Wormhole detection + Exotic fields

Bichemistry: The function of folding

INTRO: Molecules that fold are fundamental to life. ‘If you look at biology as a chemist, you can’t escape the conclusion that almost every complicated thing that biology does at the molecular level is carried out by a sequence-specific folded heteropolymer,’ says Sam Gellman from the University of Wisconsin-Madison in the US. Chemists have been trying to learn a few of these folding tricks from biology, but according to Jonathan Clayden from the University of Bristol in the UK, rather than just replicating these polymers, the aim now is ‘[to] do better than nature … with a bit of chemical ingenuity’. Using a wider spectrum of starting blocks he and others are creating molecules called foldamers that might one day beat biology at its own folding game... (MORE)

A black hole circling a wormhole would emit weird gravitational waves

INTRO: Gravitational wave detectors have already spotted mysterious black holes. But something even stranger might be next: wormholes. A black hole spiraling into a wormhole would create an odd pattern of ripples in spacetime that the LIGO and Virgo gravitational wave observatories might be able to pick up, physicists report July 17 at The waves would blink off and on as the black hole passed through the wormhole and then came back.

Wormholes are hypothetical objects in which spacetime is curved into a tunnel that connects distant cosmic locales or potentially different universes. From the outside, wormholes can appear similar to black holes. But while an object that falls into a black hole is trapped there, something that falls into a wormhole could traverse through it to the other side.

No evidence has been found that wormholes exist. “These are speculative for sure, with a capital S,” says physicist William Gabella of Vanderbilt University in Nashville. But if they do exist, researchers have a chance of detecting the wormholes via gravitational waves... (MORE)

The search for exotic fields beyond the Standard Model

EXCERPTS: Since the inception of the Standard Model (SM) of particle physics half a century ago, experiments of all shapes and sizes have put it to increasingly stringent tests. [...] The relentless improvement in the precision of tools and techniques of atomic physics, both experimental and theoretical, has led to the verification of the SM’s predictions with ever greater accuracy. ... Precision atomic physics experiments also include a vast array of searches for effects predicted by theories beyond-the-SM (BSM) ... These tests probe potentially subtle yet constant (or controllable) changes of atomic properties that can be revealed by averaging away noise and controlling systematic errors.

But what if the glimpses of BSM physics that atomic spectroscopists have so painstakingly searched for over the past decades are not effects that persist over the many weeks or months of a typical measurement campaign, but rather transient events that occur only sporadically? [...] Such transient phenomena could easily be missed by experimenters when data are averaged over long times to increase the signal-to-noise ratio. Detecting such unconventional events represents several challenges.

[...] However, if transient interactions occur over a global scale, a network of such detectors geographically distributed over Earth could search for specific patterns in the timing and amplitude of such signals that would be unlikely to occur randomly. By correlating the readouts of many detectors, local effects can be filtered away and exotic physics could be distinguished from mundane physics. ... many BSM theories predict the existence of exotic fields that couple to atomic spins and would penetrate through magnetic shields largely unaffected... (MORE - details)

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