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How proteins read meta DNA code

March 19, 2013 10:40 am | News | Comments

Three-quarters of the DNA in evolved organisms is wrapped around proteins, forming the basic unit of DNA packaging called nucleosomes, like a thread around a spool. The problem lies in understanding how DNA can then be read by such proteins. Nowphysicists have created a model showing how proteins move along DNA, in a paper just published in EPJ E

Drug-resistant MRSA bacteria here to stay

March 18, 2013 9:07 am | by Cather­ine Zan­donella, Office of the Dean for Research | News | Comments

The drug-resistant bac­te­ria known as MRSA, once con­fined to hos­pi­tals but now wide­spread in com­mu­ni­ties, will likely con­tinue to exist in both set­tings as sep­a­rate strains, accord­ing to a new study. Researchers at Prince­ton Uni­ver­sity used math­e­mat­i­cal mod­els to explore what will hap­pen to com­mu­nity and hos­pi­tal MRSA strains, which dif­fer genet­i­cally.  

Study reveals how animal swarms respond to overcrowding

March 18, 2013 9:02 am | News | Comments

Swarming is the spontaneous organized motion of a large number of individuals. It is observed at all scales, from bacterial colonies to animal herds. Physicists in Ireland have uncovered new collective properties of swarm dynamics that could ultimately guide efforts to control swarms of animals, robots, or human crowds.

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Plasmonics: Model makes light work of nanocircuits

March 13, 2013 5:36 pm | News | Comments

As computer manufacturers cram ever more processing power onto tiny chips, the connections between electronic components that measure just a few billionths of a meter across allow electrons to leak. One promising solution is to replace those electrons with photons of light. Researchers in Singapore have now developed a numerical model to simulate the performance of circuits that rely on light

The science of clouds

March 13, 2013 1:14 pm | News | Comments

Clouds can both cool the planet, by acting as a shield against the sun, and warm the planet, by trapping heat. But why do clouds behave the way they do? And how will a warming planet affect the cloud cover? Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory scientist David Romps has made it his mission to answer these questions.

Mechdyne licenses CAVE2 from University of Illinois at Chicago

March 12, 2013 9:27 am | News | Comments

Mechdyne Corporation has recently announced that it has licensed the CAVE2 hybrid reality environment developed by the Electronic Visualization Laboratory at University of Illinois at Chicago. The licensing agreement was signed in January of 2013, and continues the strong working relationship that began in 1994 when Mechdyne licensed the EVL-designed original CAVE technology. 

Ground-level ozone falling faster than model predicted

March 11, 2013 1:32 pm | News | Comments

According to a recent study from Rice University and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, there is good news and better news about ground-level ozone in American cities. While dangerous ozone levels have fallen in places that clamp down on emissions from vehicles and industry, the report suggests that a model widely used to predict the impact of remediation efforts has been too conservative. 

Volcanic aerosols, not pollutants, tamped down recent Earth warming

March 1, 2013 2:38 pm | News | Comments

A research team led by the University of Colorado Boulder had been looking for clues about why Earth did not warm as much as scientists expected between 2000 and 2010. They now think the culprits are hiding in plain sight—dozens of volcanoes spewing sulfur dioxide. The study results essentially exonerate Asia, including India and China, two countries that are estimated to have increased their industrial sulfur dioxide emissions by about 60% from 2000 to 2010 through coal burning.

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An atlas of the human heart is drawn using statistics

February 26, 2013 10:17 am | News | Comments

Researchers at Pompeu Fabra University (Spain) have created a high resolution atlas of the heart with 3D images taken from 138 people. The study demonstrates that an average image of an organ along with its variations can be obtained for the purposes of comparing individual cases and differentiating healthy forms from pathologies.

Supercomputers journey to limits of spacetime

February 21, 2013 1:19 pm | News | Comments

Researchers have used the 3D simulation capabilities of the supercomputers at the Texas Advanced Computing Center to predict the formation of accretion disks and relativistic jets that warp and bend more than previously thought, shaped both by the extreme gravity of the black hole and by powerful magnetic forces generated by its spin. Their highly detailed models of the black hole environment contribute new knowledge to the field.

Chemistry trick kills climate controversy

February 12, 2013 7:48 am | News | Comments

Volcanoes are well known for cooling the climate. But just how much and when has been a bone of contention among historians, glaciologists, and archeologists. Now a team of atmosphere chemists, from the Tokyo Institute of Technology and the University of Copenhagen, has come up with a way to say for sure which historic episodes of global cooling were caused by volcanic eruptions.

Maplesoft project for Toyota leverages symbolic computation

February 6, 2013 8:30 am | News | Comments

Maplesoft this week announced that its ongoing partnership with Toyota Motor Engineering & Manufacturing North America, Inc. has been expanded to include the use of new symbolic computation methods in control systems engineering. The new research will allow developers to consider system nonlinearities, modeling inaccuracies, and parametric uncertainties in the design process, helping Toyota shorten development time while maintaining high quality results.

“Invisible” particles could enhance thermoelectric devices

February 6, 2013 8:15 am | by David L. Chandler, MIT News Office | News | Comments

Thermoelectric efficiency has improved enough to enable limited commercial use, but lack of better materials has prevented widespread adoption. New development work at Massachusetts Institute of Technology could help reduce thermal conductivity while keeping electrical conductivity high. In addition to computer modeling, the researchers draw upon methods developed by optics researchers who have been attempting to create invisibility cloaks—ways of making objects invisible to certain radio waves or light waves using nanostructured materials that bend light.

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New modeling approach transforms imaging technologies

February 5, 2013 12:09 pm | by Emil Venere, Purdue University | News | Comments

Researchers are improving the performance of technologies ranging from medical computed tomography scanners to digital cameras using a system of models to extract specific information from huge collections of data and then reconstructing images like a jigsaw puzzle. The new approach is called model-based iterative reconstruction, or MBIR, and it is helping to greatly reduce the noise in data, providing great clarity at lower radiation intensities.

Scientists use Amazon Cloud to view molecular machinery in detail

February 1, 2013 1:24 pm | News | Comments

In a paper published this week’s Nature Methods, Salk Instititute researchers share a how-to secret for biologists: code for Amazon Cloud that significantly reduces the time necessary to process data-intensive microscopic images. The method promises to speed research into the underlying causes of disease by making single-molecule microscopy of practical use for more laboratories.

Winners of annual NSF visualization competition announced

February 1, 2013 12:03 pm | News | Comments

The National Science Foundation (NSF), along with the journal Science, this week announced the 53 winners and honorable mentions of the International Science & Technology Visualization Challenge, a contest jointly sponsored by NSF and the joournal Science. The winning entries highlight the often stunning capabilities of computer-aided visualization techniques.

Researchers develop first kinetic model of plasma focus device

January 30, 2013 10:05 am | News | Comments

Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory researchers have developed a new simulation capability to model a classic plasma configuration. The researchers demonstrated, for the first time, a fully kinetic model of the dense plasma focus (DPF) Z-pinch device, including the electrodes, in a realistic geometry.

Study: Distant rural areas may feel cities' heat

January 28, 2013 8:33 am | by Seth Borenstein, AP Science Writer | News | Comments

Heat rising up from cities such as New York, Paris and Tokyo might be remotely warming up winters far away in some rural parts of Alaska, Canada, and Siberia, a new study theorizes. In an unusual twist revealed by computer modeling, that same urban heat from buildings and cars may be slightly cooling the autumns in much of the Western United States, Eastern Europe, and the Mediterranean. The finding stems from the ability of “heat island” energy to change high-altitude currents.

“Quadruple helix” DNA structure proven to exist in human cells

January 21, 2013 8:53 am | News | Comments

Marking the culmination of over 10 years of investigation by scientists to show—in vivo—that complex four-stranded structures exist in the human genome alongside Watson and Crick’s famous double helix, researchers in the U.K. have recently published a paper that goes on to show clear links between concentrations of four-stranded quadruplexes and the process of DNA replication, which is pivotal to cell division and production.

Scientists construct first map of how the brain organizes everything we see

December 20, 2012 11:40 am | by Yasmin Anwar, UC Berkeley | News | Comments

Our eyes may be our window to the world, but how do we make sense of the thousands of images that flood our retinas each day? Scientists at the University of California, Berkeley, have found that the brain is wired to put in order all the categories of objects and actions that we see. They have created the first interactive map of how the brain organizes these groupings.

Toward a new model of the cell

December 17, 2012 9:58 am | News | Comments

Researchers at the University of California, San Diego School of Medicine and colleagues have proposed a new method that creates an ontology, or a specification of all the major players in the cell and the relationships between them. This computational model of the cell is made from large networks of gene and protein interactions, and is created automatically from large datasets, helping researchers see potentially new biological components.

New forecast system helps transoceanic flights avoid storms

December 12, 2012 9:00 am | News | Comments

A new NASA-funded prototype system developed by the National Center for Atmospheric Research now is providing weather forecasts that can help flights avoid major storms as they travel over remote ocean regions. The eight-hour forecasts of potentially dangerous atmospheric conditions are designed for pilots, air traffic controllers and others involved in transoceanic flights.

Hybrid approach sheds light on crystal structure solution

December 12, 2012 8:43 am | News | Comments

Understanding the arrangement of atoms in a solid is vital to materials research—but the problem can be difficult to solve in many important situations. Now, by combining the work of two different scientific camps, Northwestern University researchers have created an algorithm that makes crystal structure solution more automated and reliable.

Virtual reality system is key to medical discovery

December 11, 2012 12:31 pm | News | Comments

Because of the limited image spatial-resolution of even today's best-quality laptop and desktop computers, researchers and physicians often can’t see phenomena that are too large, too small, too complex, or too distant. CAVE2, a next-generation, large-scale virtual environment, combines the benefits of scalable-resolution display walls with virtual-reality system to create a revealing and seamless 2D and 3D environment that is becoming increasingly important in scientific discovery.

Study: Wind, solar, and energy storage could power electric grid

December 11, 2012 9:49 am | by Teresa Messmore, University of Delaware | News | Comments

According to new research by the University of Delaware, renewable energy could fully power a large electric grid 99.9% of the time by 2030 at costs comparable to today’s electricity expenses. The study’s authors developed a computer model to consider 28 billion combinations of renewable energy sources and storage mechanisms, each tested over four years of historical hourly weather data and electricity demands.

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