The smell of dark chocolate, demystified

Chocolate is one of the most-consumed treats around the world, and the smell alone is usually enough to evoke strong cravings from even the most disciplined eaters. Much like a fine wine, high-quality dark chocolate has a multi-layered scent and flavor, with notes of vanilla, banana or vinegar. Now, researchers report which substances — and how much of them — make up this heavenly aroma. Read more.

Magic numbers make nickel nucleus stronger

Researchers made magic with nickel, but this was no coin trick

Researchers provide the first direct evidence for a rare kind of atomic nucleus. The special nickel nucleus (78Ni) is an isotope of typical nickel (58Ni), meaning they share the same number of protons but a different number of neutrons. Usually more neutrons make isotopes less stable, but this isotope is special. 78Ni is more tough or rigid than other nickel isotopes with similar numbers of neutrons − it takes more energy to excite 78Ni into a different state. Read more.

Analysis of the Palaeolithic diet shows no social divisions in food consumption

Biochemical analysis of human remains has become a key feature in our understanding of past peoples. Ancient DNA and stable isotope analysis are now considered primary sources of information in the study of the geographic mobility of populations, their genetic affinities, and their diets.

The study of the human diet in Palaeolithic times is currently among the research areas generating the greatest advances in knowledge. Analysis of the Palaeolithic diet is conducted mainly on the basis of stable isotopes of carbon and nitrogen, which are present in the collagen of human bones. These isotopes indicate the types of food consumed by the individual in the years leading up to their death. Read more.

Shrimp from the Deepest Point of the Ocean Show Radiation from Nuclear Bombs

Researchers have found that shrimp collected from the deepest points of the ocean contain radioactive carbon that they have absorbed from the detonation of nuclear bombs.  The scientists collected the crustaceans from three deep trenches in the West Pacific, including the world's deepest ocean trench, the Mariana.  During examination, the crustaceans were dissected and their tissue tested positive for signs of Carbon-14, a radioactive isotope that was released during the detonation of nuclear bombs in the 1940s. Read more.

Locked in a Meteorite, Memories of How Our Sun Behaved in Its Youth

Meteorites are spacefaring museums preserving physical and chemical information from a long-gone era.

The formation and evolution of our Solar System is one of the cornerstone problems of modern astronomy.

One widely accepted yet incomplete model suggests that a portion of large and dense molecular cloud collapsed at a point, to form a protostar and a protoplanetary disk surrounding it. As this proto-Sun evolved to a more stable form, the gas and dust surrounding it cooled and coagulated to form small and large bodies that we see today as asteroids, comets, rocky planets and gas giants. Read more.