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Electron's magnetic moment calculated to new precision

September 11, 2012 3:36 am | by Anne Ju, Cornell University | News | Comments

An electron, as well as other subatomic particles with an electric charge, is actually a little magnet—it spins like a top, giving it its own magnetic moment. It's the subtle change in this magnetic moment caused by emission and reabsorption of photons, a quantum phenomenon called the anomalous magnetic moment, that has interested a Cornell University professor. And now, a team at Cornell has calculated the value of the anomalous magnetic moment of the electron and muon to the most precise degree known to physics.

Deciphering the language of transcription factors

September 11, 2012 3:25 am | by Larry Hardesty, MIT News Office | News | Comments

A new, Massachusetts Institute of Technology-developed analytical method identifies the precise binding sites of transcription factors—proteins that regulate the production of other proteins—with 10 times the accuracy of its predecessors.

Predicting wave power could double marine-based energy

September 10, 2012 10:36 am | News | Comments

A team of researchers has developed a control algorithm that, when used in conjunction with previously developed wave prediction technology, helps wave energy converters calculate the correct amount of force needed to collect the maximum energy possible, allowing the device to respond to each wave individually.

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NC State signs research agreement with Eastman Chemical Co.

September 10, 2012 7:32 am | News | Comments

In a move signaling a new, innovative approach to multidisciplinary research with university partners, North Carolina State University has entered into a multiyear agreement with Eastman Chemical Co. to conduct joint cutting-edge research in chemistry, materials science, and other scientific disciplines.

Scientists cast doubt on the uncertainty principle

September 10, 2012 5:21 am | News | Comments

Researchers at the University of Toronto have demonstrated that theoretical physicist Werner Heisenberg was too pessimistic in 1927 when formulating his famous uncertainty principle. The Heisenberg uncertainty principle is one of the cornerstones of quantum mechanics; and in its most familiar form, it says that it is impossible to measure anything without disturbing it. The principle has bedeviled quantum physicists for nearly a century, until recently, when the researchers demonstrated the ability to directly measure the disturbance.

Researchers craft program to stop cloud computing problems

September 10, 2012 5:02 am | News | Comments

Researchers from North Carolina State University have developed a new software tool to prevent performance disruptions in cloud computing systems by automatically identifying and responding to potential anomalies before they can develop into problems.

Enough wind to power global energy demand

September 10, 2012 4:03 am | News | Comments

There is enough energy available in winds to meet all of the world's demand. Atmospheric turbines that convert steadier and faster high-altitude winds into energy could generate even more power than ground- and ocean-based units, according to a Carnegie Institution of Science study.

Researchers make first all-optical nanowire switch

September 10, 2012 3:48 am | News | Comments

Computers may be getting faster every year, but those advances in computer speed could be dwarfed if their 1s and 0s were represented by bursts of light, instead of electricity. Researchers at the University of Pennsylvania have made an important advance in this frontier of photonics, fashioning the first all-optical photonic switch out of cadmium sulfide nanowires.

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Computer chip developed from sea squirt molecules

September 10, 2012 3:29 am | News | Comments

Scientists from the University of Aberdeen's Marine Biodiscovery Center and the University of St Andrews presented their work on the components of a new type of computer chip created using molecules from a sea squirt sourced from the bottom of the Great Barrier Reef.

Study finds how BPA affects gene expression

September 7, 2012 7:15 am | News | Comments

New research led by researchers at North Carolina State University shows that exposure to the chemical bisphenol A (BPA) early in life results in high levels of anxiety by causing significant gene expression changes in a specific region of the brain called the amygdala. The researchers also found that a soy-rich diet can mitigate these effects.

Weapons of mass protection

September 7, 2012 5:18 am | by Denise Brehm, Civil and Environmental Engineering | News | Comments

Competition is a strong driving force of evolution for organisms of all sizes: Those individuals best equipped to obtain resources adapt and reproduce, while others may fall by the wayside. Many organisms also form cooperative social structures that allow resources to be defended and shared within a population. But surprisingly, even microbes, which are thought to thrive only when able to win the battle for resources against those nearest to them, have a somewhat sophisticated social structure that relies on cooperation, according to Massachusetts Institute of Technology scientists.

Mathematicians offer unified theory of dark matter, dark energy

September 7, 2012 4:57 am | News | Comments

A pair of mathematicians, one from Indiana University and the other from Sichuan University in China, have proposed a unified theory of dark matter and dark energy that alters Einstein's equations describing the fundamentals of gravity. The mathematicians suggest the law of energy and momentum conservation in spacetime is valid only when normal matter, dark matter, and dark energy are all taken into account.

Engineering team improves lab-on-a-chip blood testing technology

September 6, 2012 9:55 am | News | Comments

A team of engineers and students at the University of Rhode Island has developed an advanced blood-testing technology that incorporates a smartphone application, a handheld biosensor, and a credit card-sized cartridge to provide rapid, accurate biological analysis and wireless communication of test results.

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What light through yonder tiny window breaks?

September 6, 2012 9:02 am | News | Comments

Sorting good data from bad is critical when analyzing microscopic structures like cells and their contents, according to researchers at Rice University. The trick is to find the right window of time through which to look. A new paper offers a methodology to optimize the sensitivity of photoluminescent probes using time-resolved spectroscopy.

Quantum physics at a distance

September 6, 2012 6:57 am | News | Comments

Physicists at the University of Vienna and the Austrian Academy of Sciences have achieved quantum teleportation over a record distance of 143 km. The experiment is a major step towards satellite-based quantum communication.

Study may lead to understanding of how to break up bacterial biofilms

September 6, 2012 6:27 am | News | Comments

A new study shows that when enough bacteria get together in one place, they can make a collective decision to grow an appendage and swim away. This type of behavior has been seen for the first time in marine sponges, and could lead to an understanding of how to break up harmful bacterial biofilms, such as plaque on teeth or those found on internal medical devices like artificial heart valves.

A step forward for ultrafast spintronics

September 6, 2012 4:08 am | News | Comments

In spin-based electronics, the spin of the electron is used as a carrier of information. To meet the need for faster electronics, the speed must be increased as far as possible. Uppsala University physicists have shown how spin information can be transmitted using spin currents at terahertz speeds, a thousand times faster than today.

Researchers identify biochemical functions for most of the human genome

September 5, 2012 11:06 am | by Anne Trafton, MIT News Office | News | Comments

Only about 1% of the human genome contains gene regions that code for proteins, raising the question of what the rest of the DNA is doing. Scientists have now begun to discover the answer: About 80% of the genome is biochemically active, and likely involved in regulating the expression of nearby genes, according to a study from a large international team of researchers.

Tough gel stretches to 21 times its length

September 5, 2012 10:52 am | News | Comments

A team of experts in mechanics, materials science, and tissue engineering at Harvard University have created an extremely stretchy and tough gel that may pave the way to replacing damaged cartilage in human joints. Called a hydrogel, the new material is a hybrid of two weak gels that combine to create something much stronger. Not only can this new gel stretch to 21 times its original length, but it is also exceptionally tough, self-healing, and biocompatible.

Explosion of galaxy formation lit up early universe

September 5, 2012 6:54 am | News | Comments

New data from the South Pole Telescope indicates that the birth of the first massive galaxies that lit up the early universe was an explosive event, happening faster and ending sooner than suspected. Extremely bright, active galaxies formed and fully illuminated the universe by the time it was 750 million year old, or about 13 billion years ago, according to a researcher from the University of California, Berkeley.

Researchers create tiny, wirelessly powered cardiac device

September 5, 2012 6:01 am | by Andrew Myers, Stanford University | News | Comments

Stanford University electrical engineers overturn existing models to demonstrate the feasibility of a millimeter-sized, wirelessly powered cardiac device. The findings, say the researchers, could dramatically alter the scale of medical devices implanted in the human body.

Waste silicon gets new life in lithium-ion batteries

September 5, 2012 4:58 am | News | Comments

Researchers at Rice University and from Belgium have developed a way to make flexible components for rechargeable lithium-ion batteries from discarded silicon. The researchers created forests of nanowires from high-value but hard-to-recycle silicon. Silicon absorbs 10 time more lithium than the carbon commonly used in lithium-ion batteries.

Mapping neurological disease

September 5, 2012 4:36 am | by Helen Knight, MIT News correspondent | News | Comments

Disorders such as schizophrenia can originate in certain regions of the brain and then spread out to affect connected areas. Identifying these regions of the brain, and how they affect the other areas they communicate with, would allow drug companies to develop better treatments and could ultimately help doctors make a diagnosis. But interpreting the vast amount of data produced by brain scans to identify these connecting regions has so far proved impossible, until now.

Interfaces provide new control over oxides' electronic properties

September 5, 2012 3:38 am | by Anne Ju, Cornell University | News | Comments

Materials called transition metal oxides have physicists intrigued by their potentially useful properties. By combining two sophisticated experimental tools, researchers have gained the first insights into quantum interactions in transition metal oxide superlattices, which are artificial stacked layers of alternating materials, each just a few atoms thick.

UCF researchers record world record laser pulse

September 4, 2012 12:06 pm | News | Comments

A University of Central Florida research team has created the world's shortest laser pulse and in the process may have given scientists a new tool to watch quantum mechanics in action—something that has been hidden from view until now.

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