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The COllaborative project of Development of Anthropometrical measures in Twins (CODATwins) project is a large international collaborative effort to analyze individual-level phenotype data from twins in multiple cohorts from different environments. The main objective is to study factors that modify genetic and environmental variation of height, body mass index (BMI, kg/m2) and size at birth, and additionally to address other research questions such as long-term consequences of birth size. The project started in 2013 and is open to all twin projects in the world having height and weight measures on twins with information on zygosity. Thus far, 54 twin projects from 24 countries have provided individual-level data. The CODATwins database includes 489,981 twin individuals (228,635 complete twin pairs). Since many twin cohorts have collected longitudinal data, there is a total of 1,049,785 height and weight observations. For many cohorts, we also have information on birth weight and length, own smoking behavior and own or parental education. We found that the heritability estimates of height and BMI systematically changed from infancy to old age. Remarkably, only minor differences in the heritability estimates were found across cultural–geographic regions, measurement time and birth cohort for height and BMI. In addition to genetic epidemiological studies, we looked at associations of height and BMI with education, birth weight and smoking status. Within-family analyses examined differences within same-sex and opposite-sex dizygotic twins in birth size and later development. The CODATwins project demonstrates the feasibility and value of international collaboration to address gene-by-exposure interactions that require large sample sizes and address the effects of different exposures across time, geographical regions and socioeconomic status.
The commissioning and operation of apparatus for neutron diffraction at simultaneous high temperatures and pressures is reported. The basic design is based on the Paris-Edinburgh cell using opposed anvils, with internal heating. Temperature is measured using neutron radiography. The apparatus has been shown in both on-line and off-line tests to operate to a pressure of 7 GPa and temperature of 1700°C. The apparatus has been used in a neutron diffraction study of the crystal structure of deuterated brucite, and results for 520°C and 5.15 GPa are presented. The diffraction data that can be obtained from the apparatus are of comparable quality to previous high-pressure studies at ambient temperatures, and are clearly good enough for Rietveld refinement analysis to give structural data of reasonable quality.
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.
The SkyMapper Transient survey (SMT) is exploring variability in the southern sky by performing (a) a rolling search to discover and study supernovæ, and (b) a Target of Opportunity programme that uses the robotic SkyMapper Telescope at Siding Spring Observatory. The supernova survey is obtaining a non-targeted sample of Type Ia supernovæ (SNe Ia) at low redshifts, z < 0.1, and studying other interesting transients found with the search strategy. We have a Target of Opportunity programme with an automatic response mechanism to search for optical counterparts to gravitational-wave and fast radio-burst events; it benefits from SkyMapper’s large field of view of 5.7 sq. deg. and a rapid data reduction pipeline.
We present first results of the SMT survey. The SMT pipeline can process and obtain potential candidates within 12 hours of observation. It disentangles real transients from processing artefacts using a machine-learning algorithm. To date, SMT has discovered over 60 spectroscopically confirmed supernovæ, several peculiar objects, and over 40 SNe Ia including one (SNIa 2016hhd) which was found within the first few days of explosion. We have also participated in searches for optical counterparts of gravitational waves, fast radio bursts and other transients, and have published observations of the optical counterpart of the gravitational-wave event GW170817. We also participate in coordinated observations with the Deeper Wider Faster programme, and the Kepler K2 cosmology project.
The toxicity of 1,1'-dimethyl-4,4'-bipyridinium ion (paraquat) in soil can be related to the degree of bonding strength to the soil aggregates. Tightly bound material is unavailable to plants, while loosely bound material can be potentially available to plants. On the basis of growth of corn (Zea mays L., var. Golden Cross Bantam) and beans (Phaseolus vulgaris L., var. Idaho 1-11) in sand, loamy sand, loam, and muck treated with paraquat, it is concluded that planned and careful application would not lead to accumulation of lethal dosages in medium to heavy soils.
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.
It is with deep regret that we mention the death, on 15 July 1969, of Prof. Dr G. Demetrescu who has done so much for the development of Astronomy in Roumania.
This report is based on letters received from members of the Commission, whom I wish to thank most cordially.
The most important events in the development of positional astronomy during the three past years were:
(1) The construction and use of new types of astronomical instruments based on new techniques, and
(2) The collective observations of large numbers of stars, especially in the Southern hemisphere on the basis of international cooperation.
At the USNO a design study for a ten-inch automatic meridian circle (ATC)was completed in 1968. Construction and installation should be completed by the end of 1970. A modified Cassegrainian optical system with a Cer-Vit primary mirror is being used. For some other important parts of the instrument new materials will also be used. At each end of the horizontal axis of the instrument Inductosyns will be mounted.
An Inductosyn system for digital readout of the pointing angle of the telescope was installed on the six-inch transit circle of the USNO in 1967 for testing and calibration. An IBM-1800 data acquisition and control system was on line with the same instrument.