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.

Pollution in Venice's famous canals dropped sharply during the pandemic. (AP Photo/Antonio Calanni)
Pollution in Venice's famous canals dropped sharply during the pandemic. (AP Photo/Antonio Calanni) Less than two months after tourist crowds dispersed during COVID-19 restrictions, the world-famous lagoon of Venice, Italy experienced a 40% decrease in the number of identifiable pollutants known as volatile organic compounds, which are primarily derived from plastics, water traffic and tourism activity.

Cold ocean waters do most of the job of heat absorption in the Earth's ocean system. (Devin Powell/NOAA via AP)
Cold ocean waters do most of the job of heat absorption in the Earth's ocean system. (Devin Powell/NOAA via AP) As the world's oceans bear most of the warming burden created by climate change, a study found that half of all added heat from the last 44 years entered through the coldest one-quarter of surfaces, according to a newly debuted framework that sorts oceanic regions by temperature.

A colorized lattice of tornado-like vortices within a spinning Bose-Einstein condensate of rubidium atoms, imaged by the National Institute of Standards and Technology in 2007. (NIST)
A colorized lattice of tornado-like vortices within a spinning Bose-Einstein condensate of rubidium atoms, imaged by the National Institute of Standards and Technology in 2007. (NIST) For the first time, molecules have been put in an extreme quantum state of matter known as a Bose-Einstein condensate, an experimental result that sets the stage for applications such as new kinds of chemistry and quantum computing.

An experimental hall in the Thomas Jefferson National Accelerator Facility, where a recent experiment revealed new information about the properties of neutrons. (DOE's Jefferson Lab)
An experimental hall in the Thomas Jefferson National Accelerator Facility, where a recent experiment revealed new information about the properties of neutrons. (DOE's Jefferson Lab) After 20 years of research plans and experiments, an expansive collaboration of physicists has directly measured the thickness of the layer of neutrons in a lead atom's nucleus, an unprecedented direct observation that informs how atomic nuclei and neutron stars alike remain stable.

New modeling of the way aerosols behave in the atmosphere could help climate prediction. (AP Photo/Chris Pizzello)
New modeling of the way aerosols behave in the atmosphere could help climate prediction. (AP Photo/Chris Pizzello) Three major types of aerosols form up to three different liquid phases simultaneously when they mix in the atmosphere, a once-poorly understood interaction that can better inform future modeling of air pollution and the climate, according to recent research.

Northern Arizona University professor Ted Schuur stands near an eddy covariance tower in a tundra landscape near Denali National Park, Alaska, where his research team studied the carbon flow of permafrost. (Thomas Nash)
Northern Arizona University professor Ted Schuur stands near an eddy covariance tower in a tundra landscape near Denali National Park, Alaska, where his research team studied the carbon flow of permafrost. (Thomas Nash) A 15-year study of Alaskan tundra has demonstrated that thawing permafrost is persistently releasing more carbon-based compounds than it absorbs, a historic reversal that is adding greenhouse gases to the atmosphere and exacerbating the planet's rising temperatures.

A coronal mass ejection blowing out from the sun in June 2015. (NASA/Goddard/SDO)
A coronal mass ejection blowing out from the sun in June 2015. (NASA/Goddard/SDO) By looking for stars that temporarily dim, researchers have spotted 21 instances of plasma being thrown from the stars' outer layers, more than all previous observations of stars besides the sun.

A 2019 image of the Large Magellanic Cloud, the Milky Way Galaxy's largest satellite galaxy, by the European Southern Observatory's VISTA telescope. (ESO/VMC Survey)
A 2019 image of the Large Magellanic Cloud, the Milky Way Galaxy's largest satellite galaxy, by the European Southern Observatory's VISTA telescope. (ESO/VMC Survey) New observations have revealed that as it orbits, the Large Magellanic Cloud is disturbing stars on the outskirts of the Milky Way galaxy, an interaction that can be used to improve galactic models and test theories of gravity and dark matter.

A "net" of seismometers on the moon could detect galactic gravitational waves. (NASA via AP)
A "net" of seismometers on the moon could detect galactic gravitational waves. (NASA via AP) An international collaboration of scientists has developed a blueprint for moon-based seismometers that detect gravitational waves reverberating throughout the celestial body, a design that would pick up frequencies that are out of reach for detectors on Earth.

Illustrations of Gray's beaked whales; a female is depicted on top and a male on bottom. (Mark Camm)
Illustrations of Gray's beaked whales; a female is depicted on top and a male on bottom. (Mark Camm) A new DNA analysis of stranded Gray's beaked whales, a species rarely observed alive, demonstrated with the highest accuracy yet that the population is large and has high genetic diversity, factors that will help it avoid being threatened by global warming and other ecosystem changes like many other whales are.

A decades-long dispute over something you've likely never heard of has been settled. (University of Stuttgart/Björn Miksch)
A decades-long dispute over something you've likely never heard of has been settled. (University of Stuttgart/Björn Miksch) A fresh experiment on an extreme state of matter has settled nearly 20 years of contradictory results about its ground state in one material, using direct measurements of electron spins unprecedented to the material to advance understanding of an almost five-decade-old physics problem.

Processing speeds might someday shoot through the roof, thanks to "polar vortices." (AP Photo/Khalil Senosi)
Processing speeds might someday shoot through the roof, thanks to "polar vortices." (AP Photo/Khalil Senosi) Physicists and material scientists have created a way to interact with electricity-based "polar vortices" that respond to signals at a rate of nearly 400 billion times per second, a fundamental scientific approach that could someday provide data storage and processing that is more compact and more than 100 times faster than some modern central processing units.