Zack Fishman

Zack Fishman

Reporter, Life Sciences and Physical Sciences

@ZBFishman

Zack Fishman, based in Chicago, covers Life Sciences and Physical Sciences for The Academic Times. Previously, Zack received his M.S. in journalism at Northwestern University, specializing in health, environment and science reporting, and his B.S. in engineering physics at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

A hydrodynamic simulation of the hydrogen and helium shells in an early-universe star, which was used to investigate whether this kind of star could create large amounts of calcium without exploding in a faint supernova. (P. Woodward and F. Herwig; NSF; Texas Advanced Computing Center)
A hydrodynamic simulation of the hydrogen and helium shells in an early-universe star, which was used to investigate whether this kind of star could create large amounts of calcium without exploding in a faint supernova. (P. Woodward and F. Herwig; NSF; Texas Advanced Computing Center) Some astrophysicists theorize that, by fusing their contents in a certain way and ending their lives in "faint supernovas," the earliest stars created a large abundance of calcium seen in today's stars — and likely in our bones. But a new study found that the foundation of this explanation is shakier than previously believed.

Above, renal cell carcinoma under microscope. Single-cell sequencing can now differentiate subtypes of cells, improving treatment options for kidney cancer. (Shutterstock)
Above, renal cell carcinoma under microscope. Single-cell sequencing can now differentiate subtypes of cells, improving treatment options for kidney cancer. (Shutterstock) Renal cell carcinoma, the most common form of kidney cancer, manifests and reacts to treatment differently based on the subtype of kidney cell that is cancerous. According to an unprecedented analysis published Monday, these subtypes, their behavior and their differences could facilitate a more informed and precise development of treatments.

Cattle are held in pens at a feedlot near Springfield, Nebraska. The ammonia concentration in the air has increased due largely in part to livestock waste and fertilizer use. (AP Photo/Nati Harnik)
Cattle are held in pens at a feedlot near Springfield, Nebraska. The ammonia concentration in the air has increased due largely in part to livestock waste and fertilizer use. (AP Photo/Nati Harnik) Agricultural activity and rising temperatures fueled a rise in atmospheric ammonia in the U.S. between 2002 and 2016, a pollution trend driven by the Midwest, South and West regions, according to a new analysis of satellite data.

A single bond between a gold-tipped atomic force microscope and a layer of graphene was controlled by changing the direction of electric voltage: a positive voltage from carbon to gold strengthened the bond, while a negative voltage weakened it. Above, a rendering of a graphene surface. (Shutterstock)
A single bond between a gold-tipped atomic force microscope and a layer of graphene was controlled by changing the direction of electric voltage: a positive voltage from carbon to gold strengthened the bond, while a negative voltage weakened it. Above, a rendering of a graphene surface. (Shutterstock) German and Danish physicists used an electric field to control the single atomic bond between a specialized microscope and a one-atom-thick layer of graphene. The newly realized approach, accomplished by changing the voltage across the bond, allowed the researchers to pick up and drop the graphene with the microscope like a crane.

Artist impression of a relativistic jet of a gamma-ray burst, breaking out of a collapsing star and emitting very-high-energy photons. (DESY, Science Communication Lab)
Artist impression of a relativistic jet of a gamma-ray burst, breaking out of a collapsing star and emitting very-high-energy photons. (DESY, Science Communication Lab) In 2019, astronomers detected one of the most energetically extreme cosmological events ever observed: a faraway exploding star that produced jets of radiation in a gamma-ray burst. A new analysis of the event has raised questions about prevailing theories on gamma-ray bursts and other violent occurrences in the universe.

Carsen Bönnemann of the U.S. National Institutes of Health, right, examines Claudia Digregorio, left, who developed a newly identified form of early-onset ALS as a child. (NIH/NINDS)
Carsen Bönnemann of the U.S. National Institutes of Health, right, examines Claudia Digregorio, left, who developed a newly identified form of early-onset ALS as a child. (NIH/NINDS) A DNA analysis of several patients with four particular variants of a metabolic gene found that the patients have a newly identified form of early-onset amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, or ALS, a rare neurodegenerative disease usually diagnosed in older adults.

Climate change, and the rising temperatures that accompany it, are expected to significantly increase heat stress throughout the world, with more frequent and extreme heat waves. Here, a woman cools herself on a hot day in Melbourne, Australia. (AP Photo/Andy Brownbill)
Climate change, and the rising temperatures that accompany it, are expected to significantly increase heat stress throughout the world, with more frequent and extreme heat waves. Here, a woman cools herself on a hot day in Melbourne, Australia. (AP Photo/Andy Brownbill) More than one-third of summer deaths caused by heat can be attributed to human-caused climate change, according to a new study of 43 countries over nearly three decades. Its authors said their findings highlight the "urgent need" for climate action that limits harm to the health of the public.

Miriam Weber of HYDRA Marine Sciences inspects an experiment that tested the underwater deterioration of biodegradable plastics. (HYDRA/Christian Lott)
Miriam Weber of HYDRA Marine Sciences inspects an experiment that tested the underwater deterioration of biodegradable plastics. (HYDRA/Christian Lott) The most comprehensive analysis of biodegradable plastics yet found that they fully break down in a wide range of marine environments at anywhere between roughly six months and 20 years, confirming that the plastics perform as intended but also demonstrating a wide difference in decomposition speeds.

A new hydrogen technology could reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Above, methane bubbles trapped in ice. (Unsplash/John Bakator)
A new hydrogen technology could reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Above, methane bubbles trapped in ice. (Unsplash/John Bakator) So-called "turquoise hydrogen" fuel is produced by breaking down methane, the main component of natural gas, but the low-carbon process faces barriers to wide usage. Now, an updated method is more portable and flexible, providing the potential to assist the transition toward a clean energy system.

The Nowon EZ House in Seoul, South Korea, is a 2017 residential complex that has been a testing ground for energy-efficient technologies. Some of its units and residents were the subject of a recent study on how the building's ventilation affects indoor air quality. (IT & Zero Energy Architecture Center)
The Nowon EZ House in Seoul, South Korea, is a 2017 residential complex that has been a testing ground for energy-efficient technologies. Some of its units and residents were the subject of a recent study on how the building's ventilation affects indoor air quality. (IT & Zero Energy Architecture Center) A yearlong study of South Korea's first net-zero energy housing complex found that its mechanical ventilation system led to lower levels of air pollutants than in conventional apartments, which in turn was associated with a decreased risk of symptoms of minor health conditions for inhabitants.

Carbon dots could eventually be used  to clean up after oil spills in the ocean. (AP Photo/Dave Martin)
Carbon dots could eventually be used  to clean up after oil spills in the ocean. (AP Photo/Dave Martin) When exposed to the sun, versatile particles called carbon dots can degrade water contaminants and appear to be nontoxic to sea creatures, according to a new study, which presents a budding "green chemistry" solution that significantly outperforms previous attempts.

The Cat's Paw Nebula contains large clouds of gas and dust that are actively giving rise to new stars. A recent study on one of the earliest stages of star formation analyzed NGC 6334S, a molecular cloud that appears black in the center-right of this false-color image. (NASA/JPL-Caltech)
The Cat's Paw Nebula contains large clouds of gas and dust that are actively giving rise to new stars. A recent study on one of the earliest stages of star formation analyzed NGC 6334S, a molecular cloud that appears black in the center-right of this false-color image. (NASA/JPL-Caltech) Using a newly applied observational technique, astronomers found the first collection of several low-mass clumps of dust and gas that will likely birth stars in an emerging star cluster, which may provide new information to astronomers about how stars form.