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The discovery of the first electromagnetic counterpart to a gravitational wave signal has generated follow-up observations by over 50 facilities world-wide, ushering in the new era of multi-messenger astronomy. In this paper, we present follow-up observations of the gravitational wave event GW170817 and its electromagnetic counterpart SSS17a/DLT17ck (IAU label AT2017gfo) by 14 Australian telescopes and partner observatories as part of Australian-based and Australian-led research programs. We report early- to late-time multi-wavelength observations, including optical imaging and spectroscopy, mid-infrared imaging, radio imaging, and searches for fast radio bursts. Our optical spectra reveal that the transient source emission cooled from approximately 6 400 K to 2 100 K over a 7-d period and produced no significant optical emission lines. The spectral profiles, cooling rate, and photometric light curves are consistent with the expected outburst and subsequent processes of a binary neutron star merger. Star formation in the host galaxy probably ceased at least a Gyr ago, although there is evidence for a galaxy merger. Binary pulsars with short (100 Myr) decay times are therefore unlikely progenitors, but pulsars like PSR B1534+12 with its 2.7 Gyr coalescence time could produce such a merger. The displacement (~2.2 kpc) of the binary star system from the centre of the main galaxy is not unusual for stars in the host galaxy or stars originating in the merging galaxy, and therefore any constraints on the kick velocity imparted to the progenitor are poor.
This contribution gave three examples of X-ray transients in the Magellanic Clouds and the Milky Way that have been observed as part of the SALT Transients Large Programme. The transients (SMC X-3, MAXI J1957+032 and ASASSN-16oh) have been triggered from both space-based wide-field monitoring facilities (Swift/XRT, MAXI) and ground-based ones (ASASSN, the All Sky Automated Survey for SN), providing insights into the physics of super-Eddington accretion onto neutron stars and white dwarfs, and also into the long-term properties of accreting millisecond X-ray pulsars.
The Dark Energy Survey is undertaking an observational programme imaging 1/4 of the southern hemisphere sky with unprecedented photometric accuracy. In the process of observing millions of faint stars and galaxies to constrain the parameters of the dark energy equation of state, the Dark Energy Survey will obtain pre-discovery images of the regions surrounding an estimated 100 gamma-ray bursts over 5 yr. Once gamma-ray bursts are detected by, e.g., the Swift satellite, the DES data will be extremely useful for follow-up observations by the transient astronomy community. We describe a recently-commissioned suite of software that listens continuously for automated notices of gamma-ray burst activity, collates information from archival DES data, and disseminates relevant data products back to the community in near-real-time. Of particular importance are the opportunities that non-public DES data provide for relative photometry of the optical counterparts of gamma-ray bursts, as well as for identifying key characteristics (e.g., photometric redshifts) of potential gamma-ray burst host galaxies. We provide the functional details of the DESAlert software, and its data products, and we show sample results from the application of DESAlert to numerous previously detected gamma-ray bursts, including the possible identification of several heretofore unknown gamma-ray burst hosts.
Information on the genetic diversity and population structure of cattle breeds is useful when deciding the most optimal, for example, crossbreeding strategies to improve phenotypic performance by exploiting heterosis. The present study investigated the genetic diversity and population structure of the most prominent dairy and beef breeds used in Ireland. Illumina high-density genotypes (777 962 single nucleotide polymorphisms; SNPs) were available on 4623 purebred bulls from nine breeds; Angus (n=430), Belgian Blue (n=298), Charolais (n=893), Hereford (n=327), Holstein-Friesian (n=1261), Jersey (n=75), Limousin (n=943), Montbéliarde (n=33) and Simmental (n=363). Principal component analysis revealed that Angus, Hereford, and Jersey formed non-overlapping clusters, representing distinct populations. In contrast, overlapping clusters suggested geographical proximity of origin and genetic similarity between Limousin, Simmental and Montbéliarde and to a lesser extent between Holstein, Friesian and Belgian Blue. The observed SNP heterozygosity averaged across all loci was 0.379. The Belgian Blue had the greatest mean observed heterozygosity (HO=0.389) among individuals within breed while the Holstein-Friesian and Jersey populations had the lowest mean heterozygosity (HO=0.370 and 0.376, respectively). The correlation between the genomic-based and pedigree-based inbreeding coefficients was weak (r=0.171; P<0.001). Mean genomic inbreeding estimates were greatest for Jersey (0.173) and least for Hereford (0.051). The pair-wise breed fixation index (Fst) ranged from 0.049 (Limousin and Charolais) to 0.165 (Hereford and Jersey). In conclusion, substantial genetic variation exists among breeds commercially used in Ireland. Thus custom-mating strategies would be successful in maximising the exploitation of heterosis in crossbreeding strategies.
We present results of EUVE spectrophotometry of the EUV luminous polar, QS Tel (RE1938-461), together with contemporaneous optical photometry and spectroscopy. In marked contrast to the ROSAT survey observations, the EUVE light curve shows two flux maxima per orbital cycle, implying that both magnetic poles were active. A deep, narrow dip is observed during one of the two flux maxima, exhibiting a complex morphology which includes pronounced flickering behaviour. Although this feature is probably caused by stream occultation of the emission region, the apparent lack of spectral hardening at this time disfavours photoelectric absorption by cold gas as the dominant source of opacity. Whilst the overall EUVE spectrum can be characterized by a low temperature (~15eV) blackbody, implying a large soft/hard component flux ratio (~50), tentative evidence of an absorption edge from NeVI at 85A and lines due to NeVIII and NeVII at 98Å and 116Å respectively indicate that more sophisticated models must be employed. Quasi-simultaneous optical photometry shows a substantial change in the light curve over an interval of just 3 days and little evidence of correlated behaviour with the EUV flux. We consider the implications of these results on the accretion geometry and the structure of the accretion flow.
The variability of CD-24 7599 (V=11.48 mag) was discovered by JCC during observing run XCOV7 of the Whole Earth Telescope (WET, Nather et al. 1990) network in February, 1992. The star was observed as an additional target and 117 hours of high-quality temporal spectroscopic observations were obtained.
Our analysis of these data revealed the presence of 7 independent pulsation modes between 27.0 and 38.1 cycles per day (313 – 441 μHz) with semiamplitudes of 2.1 – 10.2 milli-modulation amplitudes (mma). We showed that peaks at linear combination frequencies detected in the power spectra were not due to eigenmodes excited to visible amplitude by resonant mode coupling.
In October 2012, an outbreak of gentamicin-resistant, ciprofloxacin non-susceptible extended-spectrum β-lactamase (ESBL)-producing Klebsiella pneumoniae occurred in a neonatal intensive care unit in Ireland. In order to determine whether the outbreak strain was more widely dispersed in the country, 137 isolates of K. pneumoniae with this resistance phenotype collected from 17 hospitals throughout Ireland between January 2011 and July 2013 were examined. ESBL production was confirmed phenotypically and all isolates were screened for susceptibility to 19 antimicrobial agents and for the presence of genes encoding blaTEM, blaSHV, blaOXA, and blaCTX-M; 22 isolates were also screened for blaKPC, blaNDM, blaVIM, blaIMP and blaOXA-48 genes. All isolates harboured blaSHV and blaCTX-M and were resistant to ciprofloxacin, gentamicin, nalidixic acid, amoxicillin-clavulanate, and cefpodoxime; 15 were resistant to ertapenem, seven to meropenem and five isolates were confirmed as carbapenemase producers. Pulsed-field gel electrophoresis of all isolates identified 16 major clusters, with two clusters comprising 61% of the entire collection. Multilocus sequence typing of a subset of these isolates identified a novel type, ST1236, a single locus variant of ST48. Data suggest that two major clonal groups, ST1236/ST48 (CG43) and ST15/ST14 (CG15) have been circulating in Ireland since at least January 2011.
Two new integral field units (IFUs) were installed recently on the WIYN Observatory's 3.5-meter telescope at Kitt Peak. These unique IFUs contain fibers of different sizes in the same head. This design allows smaller fibers to sample regions of higher surface brightness, providing higher spatial resolution while maintaining adequate signal-to-noise (S/N). Conversely, larger fibers maintain S/N at the expense of spatial resolution in the lower surface brightness regions of galaxies. The new IFUs were built with funds from NSF award ATI-0804576.
Autobiographical memory (ABM), personal semantic memory (PSM), and autonoetic consciousness are affected in individuals with mild cognitive impairment (MCI) but their relationship with Alzheimer's disease (AD) biomarkers are unclear.
Forty-five participants (healthy controls (HC) = 31, MCI = 14) completed the Episodic ABM Interview and a battery of memory tests. Thirty-one (HC = 22, MCI = 9) underwent β-amyloid positron emission tomography (PET) and magnetic resonance (MR) imaging. Fourteen participants (HC = 9, MCI = 5) underwent one imaging modality.
Unlike PSM, ABM differentiated between diagnostic categories but did not relate to AD biomarkers. Personal semantic memory was related to neocortical β-amyloid burden after adjusting for age and apolipoprotein E (APOE) ɛ4. Autonoetic consciousness was not associated with AD biomarkers, and was not impaired in MCI.
Autobiographical memory was impaired in MCI participants but was not related to neocortical amyloid burden, suggesting that personal memory systems are impacted by differing disease mechanisms, rather than being uniformly underpinned by β-amyloid. Episodic and semantic ABM impairment represent an important AD prodrome.
Nuts are rich in many nutrients that can benefit multiple cardiometabolic functions, including arterial compliance, blood pressure, inflammation, glucoregulation and endothelial vasodilatation. Impaired vasodilatation may contribute to impaired cognitive performance due to poor cerebral perfusion. The present narrative review examines associations between nut consumption, vascular health and cognitive function. It includes a systematic search which identified seventy-one epidemiological or intervention studies in which effects of chronic nut consumption on blood pressure, glucoregulation, endothelial vasodilator function, arterial compliance, inflammatory biomarkers and cognitive performance were evaluated. Weighted mean changes were estimated where data were available; they indicate that nut consumption reduces blood pressure and improves glucoregulation, endothelial vasodilator function and inflammation, whilst a limited number of studies suggest that nut consumption may also improve cognitive performance. Further clinical trials are warranted to explore relationships between nut consumption, endothelial function and cognitive function.
Aerial survey in Essex has revealed a number of elongated enclosures interpreted as either long barrows or mortuary enclosures of Neolithic date. Excavation of one of these sites at Rivenhall in 1986 produced finds of flintwork and pottery which help to substantiate this hypothesis. A surface collection survey of the field containing the enclosure produced Mesolithic and Neolithic flintwork. A short discussion considers the Essex sites in their wider context.
The United Kingdom aims to decarbonize its national electricity generation in order to transition to a low carbon economy. Solar, wind, hydro and thermal energy conversion are renewable alternatives to fossil fuels and are currently being explored that may form part of the future generation mix of the country.
How does materials scientist's work addressing energy research challenges for solar and storage (for example) translate into the adoption of new technology? How appropriate are the technology usage visions of the scientists? How can technology users better inform the materials science motivations? This report will focus on how a multidisciplinary team of researchers from the Universities of Sheffield and University of Durham, community members and industry representatives are jointly developing renewable energy projects to try to answer these and other questions. The history of the project will be presented as well as the methodology used to collaboratively engage the community participants.
This work is supported by a grant provided by the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) of the United Kingdom.
The prognostic value of subjective memory complaints (SMCs) in the diagnosis of dementia of the Alzheimer's type is unclear. While some studies have found an association between SMCs and cognitive decline, many have found a stronger association with depression, which raises questions about their diagnostic utility.
We examined the cross-sectional association between SMC severity (as measured using the MAC-Q, a brief SMC questionnaire) and affect, memory, and Alzheimer's disease (AD) biomarkers (β-amyloid deposition and the apolipoprotein E ε4 (APOEε4) allele) in healthy elderly controls (HC; M = 78.74 years, SD = 6.7) and individuals with mild cognitive impairment (MCI; M = 72.74 years, SD = 8.8). We analyzed a subset of individuals drawn from the Australian Imaging Biomarkers and Lifestyle (AIBL) Study of Aging.
SMCs were more severe in MCI patients than in HCs. SMC severity was related to affective variables and the interaction between age and group membership (HC/MCI). Within the HC group, SMC severity was related to affective variables only, while severity correlated only with age in the MCI group. SMCs were not related to cognitive variables or AD biomarkers.
SMCs were related to solely by poorer mood (greater depressive and anxious symptomatology) in the cognitively healthy elderly however mean levels were subclinical. This finding argues for the assessment of affective symptomatology in conjunction with cognitive assessment in elderly memory complainers. Future AIBL research will focus on assessing other AD biomarkers, such as brain atrophy and Aβ plasma markers, in relation to complaint severity. Once our 36-month follow-up data are collected, we propose to assess whether SMCs can predict future cognitive decline.
We sought to determine whether the introduction of a health screening and promotion clinic might serve as a useful addition to existing services for patients prescribed antipsychotic medication. In particular, we wished to assess whether such a clinic might improve adherence to best practice guidelines. We also wished to determine the level of patient interest in such a clinic and how readily this service might be provided within the constraints of existing clinical resources.
We conducted an audit of outpatient records before and following the introduction of a health screening and promotion clinic.
Of the eligible patients, 73% attended the clinic. The proportion of patients who had fasting blood tests within the previous 12 months increased from 45% at baseline to 85% at follow-up (χ2 = 14.1, p < 0.001). The proportion of patients with appropriate physical observations completed increased from 5% at baseline to 80% at follow-up (χ2 = 46.0, p < 0.001).
We found that the introduction of a health screening and promotion clinic improved adherence to best practice guidelines. This service was well received and readily provided within the constraints of existing resources. Ultimately, the structure of services to screen and advise patients prescribed antipsychotic medication will be determined by local resource considerations and configuration of services.
The nitrogen-vacancy (NV) center in diamond offers the opportunity to develop quantum technologies that leverage the defect’s atom-like properties using established engineering techniques from the semiconductor industry. While many NV center applications are motivated by the remarkable properties of isolated NV centers in bulk diamond, realizing these technologies requires addressing a number of device and materials engineering challenges unique to creating and controlling individual semiconductor spins. We review recent advances in interfacing NV centers with on-chip electronics that enable control over the defect’s spin and orbital degrees of freedom and review fabrication techniques for creating single NV centers with nanometer-scale placement accuracies. We also discuss efforts, motivated by the success of diamond NV center applications, to identify defect spins with similar properties to the NV center in more technologically mature semiconductors such as SiC.