Vote for Ohio State’s Coolest Science Story in 2021

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It’s the happiest time of the year for the Ohio State News research communications team, when we invite readers to vote for the college’s coolest science story of the year. .

This is our fifth annual contest, and the winner receives a trophy from the Ohio State News and a $ 500 prize from the Ohio State’s Company for Research, Innovation and Knowledge.

We have written over 170 scientific papers this year, which makes it difficult to select the list of the five finalists. But we’ve narrowed it down to this list of finalists:

The black hole is the closest to Earth, among the smallest ever discovered: Scientists have discovered one of the smallest black holes ever recorded – and the closest to Earth found to date. It has been nicknamed “The Unicorn”, partly because it is, so far, one of a kind, and partly because it was found in the constellation Monoceros – “The Unicorn”.

COVID-19 in our dust may help predict outbreaks, study finds: Study in rooms where COVID-19 patients have been isolated shows virus RNA – part of the genetic material inside of a virus – can linger in dust for up to a month, a finding that offers another option for monitoring outbreaks of COVID-19 in specific buildings, including nursing homes, offices or schools.

The newly identified saber-toothed cat is one of the largest in history: Researchers performed a careful comparison of seven unclassified fossil specimens with previously identified fossils and bone samples from around the world to describe a new species: a giant saber-toothed cat that lived in North America between 5 million and 9 million years ago, weighing up to 900 pounds and hunting prey that probably weighed 1,000 to 2,000 pounds .

A quantum step towards a thermal switch without moving parts: Researchers have discovered a new electronic property at the border between thermal and quantum sciences in a specially designed metal alloy – and in the process have identified a promising material for future devices that could turn the heat on and off with the application of a magnetic “switch”.

Think recreation is a waste? This may not bode well for your mental health: Feeling like leisure time is unnecessary and unproductive can lead to less happiness and higher levels of stress and depression, a series of studies have found. . Researchers looked at the effects of a common belief in modern society: that productivity is the ultimate goal and that time is wasted if you just have fun.

Voting begins today and is open for one month, until January 21, 2022 at 5:00 p.m. The process is decidedly unscientific: participants can vote daily until the polls close.

Thanks in advance for deciding which story will reign as Ohio State’s coolest science story in 2021!

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