Ocean temperatures faithfully recorded in mother-of-pearl

Mother-of-pearl or nacre (pronounced nay-ker), the lustrous, tough-as-nails biomineral that lines some seashells, has been shown to be a faithful record of ancient ocean temperature.

Writing online Thursday, Dec. 15, in the journal Earth and Planetary Science Letters, a team led by University of Wisconsin–Madison physics Professor Pupa Gilbert describes studies of the physical attributes of nacre in modern and fossil shells showing that the biomineral provides an accurate record of temperature as the material is formed, layer upon layer, in a mollusk.

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Tropical moth alights in UW’s Botany Garden, a Wisconsin first

A tropical white-tipped black moth, a species whose northernmost range is typically Florida and the Gulf Coast of Texas, was sighted in the UW–Madison Botany Garden on Oct. 18. The moth was recorded for the first time in Wisconsin and its visit to the state is possibly the northernmost sighting for the moth.

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Supermoon? Meh. It may be closer, but it won’t be super duper

NASA, Space.com, Sky & Telescope magazine, observatories everywhere — just about any entity with a stake in the night sky — have been busy telling us how great the full moon will be Nov. 14 because the satellite will be closer to Earth than it’s been for almost 70 years. But to the casual observer, the moon will look little different from any other full moon.

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IceCube search for the ‘sterile neutrino’ draws a blank

With the latest results from an icy particle detector at the South Pole, scientists are almost certain that the hypothesized particle does not exist.

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Ellen Zweibel wins Maxwell Prize for Plasma Physics

The prize citation recognizes the astrophysicist for “seminal research on the energetics, stability and dynamics of astrophysical plasmas, including those related to stars and galaxies, and for leadership in linking plasma and other astrophysical phenomena.”

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