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She’s the greatest dancer, how to name an element, soccer ball finally orbits Earth


By Hamish Johnston

The award for most bizarre title for a scientific paper goes to psychologist Nick Neave and colleagues at the UK’s Northumbria University and University of Lincoln for “Optimal asymmetry and other motion parameters that characterise high-quality female dance”. The team says it used “a data-driven approach to pinpoint the movements that discriminate female dance quality”. Why, you might ask? “The form and significance of attractive dance, however, has been less well studied, and this limits our understanding of its role in human courtship and partner selection.” The above video is from a previous study by the team about what constitutes a good male dancer.

Have you ever wondered how the chemical elements got their names? “Taking a seat at the periodic table” by NIST’s Michael Newman explains the naming conventions and gives a few hints if you are keen on coming up with a name for a newly discovered element.

If you are of a certain age you can probably remember exactly where you were when you heard about the Space Shuttle Challenger disaster. One of the crew who perished was Ellison Onizuka. His daughter’s school soccer team gave him a ball to take into space, and incredibly the ball was recovered after the crash and returned to the school. Now, astronaut Shane Kimbrough – who has a son at the same school – has taken the ball to the International Space Station. You can read more in “31 years after disaster, Challenger soccer ball finally gets to orbit”.

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