How to make and store gummy candy for ideal chewiness : Short Wave This week for our science news roundup, superstar host of All Things Considered Ari Shapiro joins Short Wave hosts Emily Kwong and Regina G. Barber to discuss the joy and wonder found in all types of structures. The big. The small. The delicious. We ask if diapers can be repurposed to construct buildings, how single-celled organisms turned into multi-cellular ones and how to make the best gummy candy?

Have questions about science in the news? Email us at shortwave@npr.org.

Scientists finally know the secret to creating — and storing — perfectly gummy candy

Scientists finally know the secret to creating — and storing — perfectly gummy candy

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Tuesday, researchers at Ozyegin University and Middle East Technical University published a paper in the journal Physics of Fluids that investigates various formulations and storage settings for gummy candy. Cosmin Buse / 500px/Getty Images/500px hide caption

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Cosmin Buse / 500px/Getty Images/500px

Tuesday, researchers at Ozyegin University and Middle East Technical University published a paper in the journal Physics of Fluids that investigates various formulations and storage settings for gummy candy.

Cosmin Buse / 500px/Getty Images/500px

This week for our science news roundup, superstar host of All Things Considered Ari Shapiro joins Short Wave hosts Emily Kwong and Regina G. Barber to discuss the joy and wonder found in all types of structures. The big. The small. The delicious.

We begin our tour through some of the latest headlines with a simple question: Can diapers be repurposed to construct buildings? Then, we ponder the origins of multicellular organisms. And finally, we ask, what physics goes into making a gummy candy with the longest shelf life?

Building sustainably with used diapers

A team of researchers led by Siswanti Zuraida, a PhD candidate at The University of Kitakyushu in Japan, found that used disposable diapers could be sanitized and repurposed for the construction of housing without significantly weakening the structural integrity of the building. The findings were published Thursday in the journal Scientific Reports. The researchers prepared concrete and mortar samples for an approximately 400 square foot house by shredding and then chemically sanitizing the diapers, and then mixing them into concrete as a replacement for some of the sand usually used in this type of construction. The researchers hope these sanitized diapers will one day serve as a viable, scalable alternative building material in low- and middle-income countries.

Clues about the transition to multicellular organisms

A paper recently published in the journal Nature details a long-term evolution experiment that may hint at how the transition from single- to multi-cellular organisms might have happened hundreds of millions of years ago. A team of researchers from Georgia Institute of Technology and the University of British Columbia found that in environments where the yeast was deprived of oxygen, they grow bigger and stronger, creating a branching structure of dozens of cells. The experiment hints at how multicellular life may have evolved, a process which occurred two dozen times in the history of life on Earth.

The physics behind perfectly gummy candy

How do you optimize for gumminess in a candy? Researchers from Ozyegin University and Middle East Technical University have conducted a series of experiments to find out. According to the paper, published Tuesday in the journal Physics of Fluids, the key to optimal gumminess begins with the very formulation of the candy. It involves reducing the cornstarch and increasing the gelatin in the mix. And to keep them soft for a long time, researchers found it was best to them at a warm temperature.

Have questions about science in the news? Email us at shortwave@npr.org.

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This episode was produced by Berly McCoy and Gus Contreras. It was edited by Brent Baughman, Christopher Intagliata and managing producer Rebecca Ramirez. The audio engineer was Ko Takasugi-Czernowin. Special thanks to Gilly Moon.