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Surviving Chernobyl: Wildlife Populations on the Rise

October 6, 2015 1:30 pm | by Greg Watry, Digital Reporter | Articles | Comments

When it comes to wildlife, humans may have worse effects than nuclear disaster. A long-term study on wildlife populations at Chernobyl has found a large number of mammals—from elk and deer, to wild boar and wolves—inhabit the 1,621 square-mile human exclusion zone.


Organic semiconductors get weird at the edge

October 6, 2015 1:00 pm | by Chris Balma, Univ. of British Columbia | News | Comments

As the push for tinier and faster electronics continues, a new finding by Univ. of British Columbia scientists could help inform the design of the next generation of cheaper, more efficient devices. The work, published in Nature Communications, details how electronic properties at the edges of organic molecular systems differ from the rest of the material.


On-chip optical sensing technique used to detect multiple flu strains

October 6, 2015 12:00 pm | by Tim Stephens, Univ. of California, Santa Cruz | News | Comments

New chip-based optical sensing technologies developed by researchers enable the rapid detection and identification of multiple biomarkers. In a paper published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, the researchers describe a novel method to perform diagnostic assays for multiple strains of flu virus on a small, dedicated chip.


Crucial hurdle overcome in quantum computing

October 6, 2015 11:00 am | by Wilson da Silva, Univ. of New South Wales | Videos | Comments

The significant advance, by a team at the Univ. of New South Wales (UNSW) in Sydney appears in Nature. "What we have is a game-changer," said team leader Andrew Dzurak, Scientia Professor and Director of the Australian National Fabrication Facility at UNSW.


Tackling Discrepancies in Forest Definitions

October 6, 2015 10:30 am | by Greg Watry, Digital Reporter | Articles | Comments

Depending on where you live, a glance out the window may yield a perimeter of trees. The leaves and branches thicken to the untouched wilds beyond. But what constitutes a forest? Published in Nature Climate Change, a study from NASA and other institutions aimed to tackle discrepancies between “forest” definitions from different organizations.


Nanoscale photodetector shows promise to improve the capacity of photonic circuits

October 6, 2015 9:52 am | by The Optical Society | News | Comments

Photonic circuits, which use light to transmit signals, are markedly faster than electronic circuits. Unfortunately, they're also bigger. It's difficult to localize visible light below its diffraction limit, about 200 to 300 nm, and as components in electronic semiconductors have shrunk to the nanometer scale, the photonic circuit size limitation has given electronic circuits a significant advantage, despite the speed discrepancy.


A Good Vent: A Brief Look at Energy-Efficient Lab Ventilation Strategies

October 6, 2015 8:27 am | by Lindsay Hock, Editor | Articles | Comments

In today’s lab world, most people are aware of the amount of air they use in their labs. Along with this well-known fact, lab owners and users both know the use of air in a lab environment is the single biggest issue with energy consumption, and that labs are energy hogs. With these realizations, lab owners and users must find one or more strategies to fix this issue, and do so fast.


Laser-wielding physicists seize control of atoms’ behavior

October 6, 2015 7:45 am | by Steve Koppes, Univ. of Chicago | News | Comments

Physicists have wondered in recent years if they could control how atoms interact using light. Now they know that they can, by demonstrating games of quantum billiards with unusual new rules. In an article published in Physical Review Letters, a team of Univ. of Chicago physicists explains how to tune a laser to make atoms attract or repel each other in an exotic state of matter called a Bose-Einstein condensate.


A “greener” way to assemble materials for solar applications

October 6, 2015 7:39 am | by Dawn Levy, Oak Ridge National Laboratory | News | Comments

The efficiency of solar cells depends on precise engineering of polymers that assemble into films 1,000 times thinner than a human hair. Today, formation of that polymer assembly requires solvents that can harm the environment, but scientists have found a "greener" way to control the assembly of photovoltaic polymers in water using a surfactant as a template.


Boulder Placement Explained by 800-Ft Tsunami

October 5, 2015 8:00 pm | by Greg Watry, Digital Reporter | Articles | Comments

In 1958, rock fall resulting from a 7.7 earthquake brought forth something fantastical from the depths of Alaska’s Lituya Bay. A megatsunami measuring over 1,720 ft wreaked havoc on the surrounding area, killing five people. According to the Western States Seismic Policy Council, scientists later discovered a massive rock broke from an inlet wall and fell 2,000 ft into the bay. It was the largest tsunami ever recorded.


Making Crops Naturally Insect-Resistant

October 5, 2015 4:45 pm | by Greg Watry, Digital Reporter | Articles | Comments

When herbivorous insects indulge in a smorgasbord of leafy greens, some wild plants boast a variety of mechanisms to prevent their destruction at the roving pincers of their attackers.


A new way to weigh a star

October 5, 2015 4:00 pm | by Univ. of Southampton | News | Comments

Researchers from the Univ. of Southampton have developed a new method for measuring the mass of pulsars. Until now, scientists have determined the mass of stars, planets and moons by studying their motion in relation to others nearby, using the gravitational pull between the two as the basis for their calculations.


Gene-editing Technique Stops AIDS Virus in its Tracks

October 5, 2015 3:30 pm | by Lindsay Hock, Editor | Articles | Comments

With millions of people infected with the HIV virus world-wide, a cure has yet to be found. The reason why vaccines and drugs are so hard to develop for this virus relates to both mutation and latency of the virus. When humans make copies of our DNA during reproduction, it’s reproduced with very high fidelity, where there’s one mistake made for every billion events.


Flame retardant breakthrough is naturally derived and nontoxic

October 5, 2015 3:00 pm | by Sandra Zaragoza, Univ. of Texas at Austin | Videos | Comments

Inspired by a naturally occurring material found in marine mussels, researchers at The Univ. of Texas at Austin have created a new flame retardant to replace commercial additives that are often toxic and can accumulate over time in the environment and living animals, including humans.


Big range of behaviors for tiny graphene pores

October 5, 2015 2:00 pm | by Jennifer Chu, MIT News Office | News | Comments

The surface of a single cell contains hundreds of tiny pores, or ion channels, each of which is a portal for specific ions. Ion channels are typically about 1 nm wide; by maintaining the right balance of ions, they keep cells healthy and stable. Now MIT researchers have created tiny pores in single sheets of graphene that have an array of preferences and characteristics similar to those of ion channels in living cells.



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