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Gene study boosts interest in heart drug Zetia

November 12, 2014 5:59 pm | by Marilynn Marchione - AP Chief Medical Writer - Associated Press | Comments

Scientists have discovered gene mutations that give people naturally lower cholesterol levels and cut their risk of heart disease in half. That discovery may have a big implication: A blockbuster drug that mimics these mutations has long been sold without evidence that it cuts the chance of heart disease. Results of a large study that looked for that evidence will be revealed on Monday.

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Common fracking chemicals no more toxic than household substances

November 12, 2014 4:15 pm | by Laura Snider, CU-Boulder Media Relations | Comments

The “surfactant” chemicals found in samples of fracking fluid collected in five states were no more toxic than substances commonly found in homes, according to a first-of-its-kind analysis by researchers at the Univ. of Colorado Boulder. Fracking fluid is largely comprised of water and sand, but oil and gas companies also add a variety of other chemicals, including surfactants.

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Primordial galaxy bursts with starry births

November 12, 2014 4:09 pm | by Vasyl Kacapyr, Cornell Univ. | Comments

Peering deep into time with one of the world’s newest, most sophisticated telescopes, astronomers have found a galaxy—AzTEC-3—that gives birth annually to 500 times the number of suns as the Milky Way galaxy, according to a new Cornell Univ.-led study published in the Astrophysical Journal.

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A piece of the quantum puzzle

November 12, 2014 3:59 pm | by Julie Cohen, Univ. of California, Santa Barbara | Comments

While the Martinis Lab at the Univ. of California, Santa Barbara has been focusing on quantum computation, they have also been exploring qubits for quantum simulation on a smaller scale. The team worked on a new qubit architecture, which is an essential ingredient for quantum simulation, and allowed them to master the seven parameters necessary for complete control of a two-qubit system.

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Report: China headed to overtake EU, U.S. in science and technology spending

November 12, 2014 11:59 am | by Catherine Bremer, OECD | Comments

Squeezed R&D budgets in the EU, Japan and U.S. are reducing the weight of advanced economies in science and technology research, patent applications and scientific publications and leaving China on track to be the world’s top R&D spender by around 2019, according to a OECD report.

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Lighter, cheaper radio wave device could transform telecommunications

November 12, 2014 11:18 am | by Sandra Zaragoza, The Univ. of Texas at Austin | Comments

Researchers at The Univ. of Texas at Austin have achieved a milestone in modern wireless and cellular telecommunications, creating a radically smaller, more efficient radio wave circulator that could be used in cellphones and other wireless devices, as reported in Nature Physics. The new circulator has the potential to double the useful bandwidth in wireless communications by enabling full-duplex functionality.

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Evolution software looks beyond the branches

November 12, 2014 10:47 am | by Mike Williams, Rice Univ. | Comments

The tree has been an effective model of evolution for 150 years, but a Rice Univ. computer scientist believes it’s far too simple to illustrate the breadth of current knowledge. Rice researcher Luay Nakhleh and his group have developed PhyloNet, an open source software package that accounts for horizontal as well as vertical inheritance of genetic material among genomes.

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Electronic “tongue” to ensure food quality

November 12, 2014 10:35 am | by American Chemical Society | Comments

An electronic “tongue” could one day sample food and drinks as a quality check before they hit store shelves. Or it could someday monitor water for pollutants or test blood for signs of disease. With an eye toward these applications, scientists are reporting the development of a new, inexpensive and highly sensitive version of such a device in ACS Applied Materials & Interfaces.

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Some plants regenerate by duplicating their DNA

November 12, 2014 10:29 am | by Diana Yates, Life Sciences Editor Univ. of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign | Comments

When munched by grazing animals (or mauled by scientists in the laboratory), some herbaceous plants overcompensate, producing more plant matter and becoming more fertile than they otherwise would. Scientists say they now know how these plants accomplish this feat of regeneration. They report their findings in Molecular Ecology.

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Robotic ocean gliders aid study of melting polar ice

November 12, 2014 8:18 am | by Jessica Stoller-Conrad, Caltech | Comments

The rapidly melting ice sheets on the coast of West Antarctica are a potential major contributor to rising ocean levels worldwide. Although warm water near the coast is thought to be the main factor causing the ice to melt, the process by which this water ends up near the cold continent is not well understood. Using robotic ocean gliders, Caltech researchers now have a better understanding of the cause.

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Versatile process efficiently converts biomass to liquid fuel

November 12, 2014 8:05 am | by Emil Venere, Purdue Univ. | Comments

Researchers have demonstrated a new process to convert all biomass into liquid fuel, and the method could make possible mobile processing plants. The researchers at Purdue Univ. filed a patent application on the concept in 2008 and have now demonstrated that it works in laboratory experiments.

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Atomic timekeeping, on the go

November 12, 2014 7:58 am | by Jennifer Chu, MIT News Office | Comments

What time is it? The answer, no matter what your initial reference may be, will always trace back to the atomic clock. The international standard for time is set by atomic clocks—room-sized apparatuses that keep time by measuring the natural vibration of atoms in a vacuum. The frequency of atomic vibrations determines the length of one second.

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Japan's nuclear cleanup stymied by water woes

November 12, 2014 6:58 am | by Mari Yamaguchi - Associated Press - Associated Press | Comments

More than three years into the massive cleanup of Japan's tsunami-damaged nuclear power plant, only a tiny fraction of the workers are focused on key tasks such as preparing for the dismantling of the broken reactors and removing radioactive fuel rods. Instead, nearly all the workers at the Fukushima Dai-ichi plant are devoted to a single, enormously distracting problem: coping with the vast amount of contaminated water.

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Ebola workers ask Congress for help

November 12, 2014 3:58 am | by Lauran Neergaard - Associated Press - Associated Press | Comments

Health workers on the front line of the Ebola crisis say the need for urgent help isn't letting up, as Congress begins considering President Barack Obama's $6.2 billion emergency aid request to fight the disease. Despite reports that the number of infections is slowing in some parts of West Africa, cases still are rising in other areas.

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Bending in search of new materials

November 11, 2014 2:15 pm | by Britt Faulstick, Drexel Univ. | Comments

Making a paper airplane in school used to mean trouble. Today it signals a promising discovery in materials science research that could help next-generation technology get off the ground. Researchers at Drexel Univ. and Dalian Univ. of Technology in China have chemically engineered a new, electrically conductive nanomaterial that is flexible enough to fold, but strong enough to support many times its own weight.

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