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The Lead

Igniting the air for atmospheric research

February 19, 2015 9:14 am | by Vienna Univ. of Technology | News | Comments

Scientists have created a high-energy mid-infrared laser powerful enough to create shining filaments in the air. Such devices could be used to detect chemical substances in the atmosphere.

New nanogel for drug delivery

February 19, 2015 9:04 am | by Anne Trafton, MIT News Office | News | Comments

Chemical engineers have designed a new type of self-healing hydrogel that could be injected...

For the first time, spacecraft catch a solar shockwave in the act

February 19, 2015 9:02 am | by Jennifer Chu, MIT News Office | News | Comments

New research has shown that a 2013 solar storm produced “ultrarelativistic, killer electrons” in...

Does dark matter cause mass extinctions and geologic upheavals?

February 19, 2015 8:56 am | by NYU | News | Comments

Research concludes that Earth's infrequent but predictable path around and through our Galaxy's ...

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Cheap solar cells made from shrimp shells

February 19, 2015 8:48 am | by Queen Mary, Univ. of London | News | Comments

Researchers have successfully created electricity-generating solar-cells with chemicals found the shells of shrimps and other crustaceans for the first time.

Cerebral palsy - it can be in your genes

February 12, 2015 11:29 am | by Univ. of Adelaide | News | Comments

An international research group led by a team at the University of Adelaide has made what they believe could be the biggest discovery into cerebral palsy in 20 years.                

Evolution of a natural gene network explored by Yale researchers

February 12, 2015 11:24 am | by Bill Hathaway, Yale Univ. | News | Comments

Scientists have extensive knowledge of how mutations of single genes during evolution can have a fitness cost or benefit for the host organism. However, genes are often embedded into complex regulatory networks. The role of these gene networks in evolution is less well understood. 

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Startup could change the way high school students practice music

February 12, 2015 11:09 am | by Purdue Univ. | News | Comments

A Purdue startup has developed a gamified learning management system that is being tested in Indiana high schools and could help music students develop better practice habits and assist teachers in distributing learning materials and announcements through a communication platform.

Smartphone apps just as accurate as wearable devices for tracking physical activity

February 11, 2015 12:37 pm | by Univ. of Pennsylvania | News | Comments

Although wearable devices have received significant attention for their ability to track an individual’s physical activity, most smartphone applications are just as accurate.              

Power efficiency in the violin

February 11, 2015 12:32 pm | by Jennifer Chu, MIT News Office | News | Comments

Acousticians and fluid dynamicists at MIT, along with violinmakers at the North Bennet Street School in Boston, have analyzed measurements from hundreds of Cremonese-era violins, identifying key design features that contribute to these particular violins’ acoustic power, or fullness of sound.

Bionic leaf

February 11, 2015 12:27 pm | by Elizabeth Cooney, HMS | News | Comments

Harvesting sunlight is a trick plants mastered more than a billion years ago, using solar energy to feed themselves from the air and water around them in the process we know as photosynthesis.           

NASA awards $30M grant to Penn State

January 13, 2015 1:17 pm | by Patricia Craig, Penn State Univ. | News | Comments

Penn State Univ. will lead a five-year, $30 million mission to improve quantification of present-day carbon-related greenhouse gas sources and sinks. An improved understanding of these gases will advance our ability to predict and manage future climate change.

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Airplanes go hybrid-electric

December 23, 2014 11:08 am | News | Comments

Researchers from the University of Cambridge, in association with Boeing, have successfully tested the first aircraft to be powered by a parallel hybrid-electric propulsion system.              

Trapping light with a twister

December 23, 2014 10:55 am | News | Comments

Researchers at MIT who succeeded last year in creating a material that could trap light and stop it in its tracks have now developed a more fundamental understanding of the process.             

New technique reveals immune cell motion through variety of tissues

December 22, 2014 10:47 am | News | Comments

Neutrophils, a type of white blood cell, are the immune system’s all-terrain vehicles. The cells are recruited to fight infections or injury in any tissue or organ in the body despite differences in the cellular and biochemical composition. Researchers collaborated to devise a new technique for understanding how neutrophils move in these confined spaces.

Scientists reveal breakthrough in optical fiber communications

December 22, 2014 10:44 am | News | Comments

Researchers from the University of Southampton have revealed a breakthrough in optical fiber communications. Academics have collaborated to develop an approach that enables direct modulation of laser currents to be used to generate highly advanced modulation format signals.

The VuePod: Powerful enough for a gamer, made for an engineer

December 22, 2014 10:37 am | News | Comments

On the massive screen, images are controlled by a Wii remote that interacts with a Kinnect-like Bluetooth device (called SmartTrack), while 3D glasses worn by the user create dizzying added dimensions. This real-life, computer-powered mega TV is not for gaming. It’s for engineering.

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New technology makes 3-D tissues, maybe organs in the future

December 22, 2014 10:34 am | Videos | Comments

A new instrument could someday build replacement human organs the way electronics are assembled today: with precise picking and placing of parts. In this case, the parts are not resistors and capacitors, but 3-D microtissues containing thousands to millions of living cells that need a constant stream of fluid to bring them nutrients and to remove waste. The new device is called “BioP3” for pick, place, and perfuse.

Lost memories might be able to be restored

December 22, 2014 10:01 am | News | Comments

New UCLA research indicates that lost memories can be restored. The findings offer some hope for patients in the early stages of Alzheimer’s disease. For decades, most neuroscientists have believed that memories are stored at the synapsesm which are destroyed by Alzheimer’s disease. The new study provides evidence contradicting the idea that long-term memory is stored at synapses.

221 new species described in 2014

December 22, 2014 9:58 am | News | Comments

In 2014, researchers at the California Academy of Sciences added a whopping 221 new plant and animal species to our family tree, enriching our understanding of Earth's complex web of life and strengthening our ability to make informed conservation decisions.

In one aspect of vision, computers catch up to primate brain

December 19, 2014 2:13 pm | News | Comments

For decades, neuroscientists have been trying to design computer networks that can mimic visual skills such as recognizing objects, which the human brain does very accurately and quickly.            

Creating the fastest outdoor wireless internet connection

December 19, 2014 1:46 pm | News | Comments

Lancaster University engineers are to head up a European team working on the world’s first W-band wireless system, heralding the arrival of cost effective, high speed internet everywhere, every time.          

Spider's web weaves way to advanced networks and displays

December 19, 2014 8:26 am | News | Comments

The next generation of light-manipulating networks may take their lead from designs inspired by spiders and leaves, according to a new report from two Boston College physicists and colleagues at South China Normal University.               

Research aims to improve rechargeable batteries by focusing on graphene oxide paper

December 19, 2014 8:19 am | News | Comments

A Kansas State University engineering team has discovered some of graphene oxide's important properties that can improve sodium- and lithium-ion flexible batteries.                               

Tailor-made cancer treatments? New cell culture technique paves the way

December 19, 2014 8:15 am | News | Comments

In a development that could lead to a deeper understanding of cancer and better early-stage treatment of the disease, University of Michigan researchers have devised a reliable way to grow a certain type of cancer cells from patients outside the body for study.

Rice study fuels hope for natural gas cars

December 19, 2014 8:11 am | News | Comments

Cars that run on natural gas are touted as efficient and environmentally friendly, but getting enough gas onboard to make them practical is a hurdle. A new study led by researchers at Rice University promises to help.                    

Computational clues into the structure of a promising energy conversion catalyst

December 19, 2014 8:08 am | News | Comments

Hydrogen fuel is a promising source of clean energy that can be produced by splitting water into hydrogen and oxygen gas. The reaction is difficult but achievable with the help of a catalyst. However, current catalysts lack the efficiency required for water splitting to be commercially competitive. Recently, however, scientists have identified one such catalyst, iron-doped nickel oxide.

Researchers glimpse pathway of sunlight to electricity

December 19, 2014 8:02 am | News | Comments

Four pulses of laser light on nanoparticle photocells in a spectroscopy experiment has opened a window on how captured sunlight can be converted into electricity. The work, which potentially could inspire devices with improved efficiency in solar energy conversion, was performed on photocells that used lead-sulfide quantum dots as photoactive semiconductor material. 

Instant-start computers possible with new breakthrough

December 19, 2014 7:57 am | News | Comments

A team at Cornell University has made a breakthrough in that direction with a room-temperature magnetoelectric memory device. Equivalent to one computer bit, it exhibits the holy grail of next-generation nonvolatile memory: magnetic switchability, in two steps, with nothing but an electric field.

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