May 2017

Graphene-quantum dots-CMOS-based sensor (Image courtesy ICFO/ D. Bartolome)

An article published in the journal “Nature Photonics” describes the development of the first graphene-based camera. A team of researchers from the Institute of Photonic Sciences (ICFO) integrated a CMOS-type circuit with graphene creating a high resolution image sensor consisting of hundreds of thousands of graphens-based photodetectors and quantum dots. The camera is sensitive to ultraviolet, visible and infrared light at the same time.

The Stone Rose by Jacqueline Rayner

The novel “The Stone Rose” by Jacqueline Rayner was published for the first time in 2006.

Mickey brings the Tenth Doctor, Rose and Jackie to the British Museum after discovering that there’s a Roman statue of the goddess Fortuna dating back to 120 A.D. whose face is absolutely identical to Rose’s. Feeling that it’s not a coincidence, the Doctor brings Rose to the Rome of that time.

When they arrive in Rome, Doctor and Rose quickly become involved in the problems of the family of Gracilis, whose son mysteriously disappeared. That leads them to meet the sculptor Ursus and a strange girl who seems to be able to predict the future for real.

Artistic reconstruction of Luskhan itilensis (Image courtesy Andrey Atuchin)

An article published in the journal “Current Biology” describes the study of a new species belonging to the pliosaurid group called Luskhan itilensis discovered in present-day Russia about 130 million years ago. A team of scientists including Gleb N. Uspensky of Ulyanovsk State University, who discovered this marine reptile, examined the fossils concluding that there were evolutionary convergences between different species after an extinction that happened at the end of the Jurassic period.

Robert Ludlum was born on May 25, 1927 in New York. Only in 1971 Robert Ludlum made his debut as a writer with the novel “The Scarlatti Inheritance”. It contains some elements that became typical of this author’s spy novels with the presence of a wealthy and powerful group of people trying to manipulate a series of events without hesitating to commit murders to prevent secrets dangerous to them from being disclosed.

After several other successes, in 1980 Robert Ludlum published the novel “A Bourne Identity”, the first about the character of Jason Bourne, a secret agent who loses his memory after being severely wounded. This novel in which the psychological thriller element is very important was adapted into the 1988 TV movie with the same name and in the 2002 movie with the same name. However, apart from the original concept the movie has a plot very different from the novel’s.

Robert Ludlum died on March 12, 2001 for the consequences of wounds suffered in a fire burst in his villa on February 10. The circumstances of that event are worthy of one of his stories, so much that years later Kenneth Kearns, the author’s nephew, openly accused Ludlum’s wife of killing him.

Some novels were posthumously published as written by Robert Ludlum only or in collaboration with other writers. In the following years Eric Van Lustbader resumed the Jason Bourne series and has so far published 10 more novels about the famous secret agent’s adventures.

Robert Ludlum’s novels have been published in 40 countries in 33 languages. Their success is due to the author’s ability to tell international conspiracies with diabolical masterminds and sometimes unexpected heroes because in some cases they’re common people rather than secret agents who have to fight against apparently overwhelming forces. These heroes have to travel, sometimes run, all over the world, sometimes coming to little-known places underlined by local people who speak in even less known languages.

The plots that are developed in Robert Ludlum’s novels have elements over the top for the big conspiracies but sometimes seem even too realistic for the motivations of members of governments, armed forces, and various government agencies interested in controlling their citizens rather than serving them. On these occasions terrorists are also used for shadowy purposes that have nothing to do with the ideologies they are acting on. It’s a mixture of elements that for decades have captured the interest of millions of readers around the world.

Parvancorina minchami fossil (Photo Masahiro miyasaka)

An article published in the journal “Biology Letters” describes a research on an organisms that belongs to the Parvancorina genus that lived over 540 million years ago, concluding that it had a higher mobility than previously thought. A team of researchers created simulations to understand how the water flowed around the body of a Parvcorina to understand its mobility. This research contradicts the common idea that organisms belonging to the so-called Ediacara fauna had a static life.