Global first: World’s first radioactive virus is published

Written by Staff Writer The world’s first radioactive virus is to be published in the scientific journal Public Library of Science Medicine this week. The article, “Tracking Losses of Cretaceous Illuminators in Colorado County,…

Global first: World's first radioactive virus is published

Written by Staff Writer

The world’s first radioactive virus is to be published in the scientific journal Public Library of Science Medicine this week.

The article, “Tracking Losses of Cretaceous Illuminators in Colorado County, Colorado, Us” documents a “biological phenomenon never before described on this scale in Australia or other regions of the world.”

BBC’s Science website

In 1870, around 1900, a cairn was discovered on a hilltop at Gutherie, Victoria, Australia, containing a carefully calibrated set of relics, including a complex geophysics instrument and a modified bacteriophage cyst that had been installed on top in the 1890s.

Geologists now describe it as one of the world’s most important bits of research. The Cretaceous Illuminator site is now part of the Gutherie Reserve, a biodiversity hotspot, and is open to the public.

In recent years, scientists have unearthed other such sites in other parts of the world, including the Queensland Museum’s Treetop Biosphere II, where a fragile cairn dating from 1890 has provided insights into the early days of radioactivity.

CNBC

On November 29, scientists from the RMIT Laboratory for Magnetic Field Resolution (LABR) and RMIT University’s Institute for Environmental and Petroleum Sciences will publish a new paper that reports on the first comprehensive study of loss of the cairn’s cooling technology.

The researchers identified the six records of cairn helium loss in its entire lifetime, over eight days in the spring of 1870.

“If you had made these statements 10 years ago, no one would have believed them,” said Dr. David Rizzo from RMIT University’s Institute for Environmental and Petroleum Sciences, a co-author of the article.

“But now that we know how these vaults are able to change, we can start looking at whether or not they might be susceptible to near-term cairn degradation or if they could be replaced and remade.”

Their findings have prompted further investigation into the possibility of retrofitting solar cells with cenotes on key volcanic islands in the Southern Ocean to counter the potential effects of global warming.

In the short term, the researchers have suggested that cenotes, which are natural cooling devices, can be preserved safely in portable form, providing continuous cooling for homes and buildings in places like Exmouth, the Australian mainland’s southwestmost city.

The researchers did not measure the change in temperature due to cenotes’ cooling, which typically decreases with age, but have suggested that to do so would be too expensive.

They have also introduced the concept of cooling systems that replicate cenotes as demonstrated in the Australian reserve in the form of solar “rogue packets” which, via solar panels, provide energy efficiency.

“Our ultimate aim is that cenotes can become a public resource that can offer energy efficiency, reducing or eliminating emission, in addition to their cooling and archival advantages,” said Dr. David Rizzo.

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