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Study: More carbon dioxide leads to less clouds

September 5, 2012 4:36 am | News | Comments

It is common knowledge that the warmer the air, the more water can evaporate. Researchers in Europe have now established that this is not always the case: Although an increase in the greenhouse gas carbon dioxide makes the climate warmer, it also allows less water to evaporate. This finding has informed a set of new calculations for climate modeling.

Space shuttle exhaust reveals behavior of atmospheric winds

August 29, 2012 11:45 am | by Karen C. Fox | News | Comments

When the Space Shuttle Atlantis took off from Cape Canaveral on its final flight more than a year ago, a research team took advantage of this opportunity to track the 350-ton plume of water vapor exhaust that it released shortly after launch. Crossing through the paths of seven separate sets of instruments, the vapor spread far faster than expected and quickly moved to the Arctic. Such information will be used to inform global circulation models.

Small droplets grow differently

August 29, 2012 4:01 am | News | Comments

For the first time, scientists in Germany have comprehensively investigated what laws govern droplets when they originate and grow in size. Computer simulations and experiments show that the beginning of this growth phase proceeds differently than previously thought: The smallest droplets grow notably faster compared to their larger siblings. This new knowledge could be important for irrigation technology and refrigeration.

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New simulation models metastasis

August 27, 2012 3:28 am | News | Comments

Cancer metastasis, the escape and spread of primary tumor cells, is a common cause of cancer-related deaths. But metastasis remains poorly understood, and only recently have studies indicate that blood’s “stickiness” actually tears off tumor cells. Using a statistical technique employed by animators, scientists created a new computer simulation that reveals how cancer cells enter the bloodstream and the physical forces involved.

Understanding the blood-brain barrier by building one

August 22, 2012 9:14 am | News | Comments

Much like a sentry at a border crossing, the network of tiny blood vessels surrounding the brain only allows a few important molecules in or out. This is the blood-brain barrier, which shields the brain from potentially harmful substances. Researchers are hoping to better understand this little understood roadblock by creating an artificially engineered, or simulated, barrier.

Radiation belt probes may help predict space weather

August 16, 2012 9:26 am | News | Comments

Living with a star can be a challenge, especially as Earthlings extend their reach into space. A Rice University scientist is contributing to an effort to make life more comfortable for both the people and satellites sent out there, and provide valuable research for those who remain planet-bound.

Recreating a slice of the universe

August 15, 2012 9:07 am | News | Comments

Scientists at the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics and their colleagues at the Heidelberg Institute for Theoretical Studies have invented a new computational approach that can accurately follow the birth and evolution of thousands of galaxies over billions of years.

New insight into independent control of ionic, electronic conductivity of materials

August 14, 2012 4:19 am | News | Comments

Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory researchers have discovered a new method to independently control ionic and electronic conductivities in certain solids. The method, which uses tailored acceptor-donor co-doping to bind charged native vacancies and selectively modulate ionic but not electronic conductivity, was developed by using first-principles materials simulations.

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3D facial reconstruction tools “shaves” faces virtually

August 13, 2012 4:48 am | News | Comments

Conventional face capturing is well established and widely utilized in the entertainment industry to capture a 3D model of an actor's face. However, up to now, no method was capable of reconstructing facial hair or even handling it appropriately. A new method developed at Disney Research in Switzerland captures individual strands of facial hair and stores them separately from the actual human face until added. Or “shaved” away.

Researchers unlock secret of the rare twinned rainbow

August 7, 2012 6:25 am | News | Comments

Scientists have yet to fully unravel the mysteries of rainbows, but an international team of scientists have used simulations of these natural wonders to unlock the secret to a rare optical phenomenon known as the twinned rainbow. Unlike the more common double-rainbow, which consists of two separate and concentric rainbow arcs, the elusive twinned rainbow appears as two rainbows arcs that split from a single base rainbow.

Team aims to broaden researcher access to protein simulation

August 7, 2012 4:06 am | News | Comments

Using just an upgraded desktop computer equipped with a relatively inexpensive graphics processing card, a team of computer scientists and biochemists at the University of California, San Diego has developed advanced GPU accelerated software and demonstrated, for the first time, that this approach can sample biological events that occur on the millisecond timescale.

Animation research could offer control of skeleton-free characters

August 3, 2012 7:45 am | News | Comments

While bipeds and quadrupeds have reigned supreme in CG animation, attempts to create and control their skeleton-free cousins using similar techniques has proved time-consuming and laborious. Georgia Institute of Technology researchers have found a possible solution to this challenge by developing a way to simulate and control movement of computer-generated characters without a skeletal structure, anything from starfish and earthworms to an elephant’s trunk or the human tongue.

The culprit that polluted the solar system

August 3, 2012 5:32 am | News | Comments

For decades it has been thought that a shock wave from a supernova explosion triggered the formation of our Solar System. Material from the exploding star generated cloud of dust and gas, which collapsed to form the Sun and its surrounding planets. New work from the Carnegie Institution provides the first fully 3D models for how this process could have happened.

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Simulated: Worldwide increase of air pollution

August 3, 2012 5:00 am | News | Comments

Scientists in Europe have recently completed a study of global pollution levels by simulating the atmosphere using the chemical atmospheric model EMAC. The research is the first include all five major air pollutants known to negatively impact human health: nitrogen dioxide, sulphur dioxide, ozone, carbon monoxide, and particulate matter smaller than 2.5-?m. China, India, and the Middle East are shown to be especially at risk.

Entropy can lead to order, paving the route to nanostructures

July 26, 2012 10:42 am | News | Comments

Researchers trying to herd tiny particles into useful ordered formations have found an unlikely ally: entropy, a tendency generally described as "disorder." Computer simulations by University of Michigan scientists and engineers show that the property can nudge particles to form organized structures. By analyzing the shapes of the particles beforehand, they can even predict what kinds of structures will form.

Data visualization tool helps find the 'unknown unknowns'

July 26, 2012 3:30 am | News | Comments

A research team at the Georgia Tech Research Institute has developed a software tool that enables users to perform in-depth analysis of modeling and simulation data, then visualize the results on screen. The new data analysis and visualization tool offers improved ease of use compared to similar tools, the researchers say, and could be readily adapted for use with existing data sets in a variety of disciplines.

3D motion and common cold virus offers hope for improved drugs

July 16, 2012 6:28 am | News | Comments

University of Melbourne researchers are now simulating in 3D the motion of the complete human rhinovirus, the most frequent cause of the common cold, on Australia's fastest supercomputer, paving the way for new drug development.

New simulation method avoids mesh generation, speeds process

July 15, 2012 3:28 pm | News | Comments

Computer simulations are indispensable, but standard finite element technology requires designers to carry out a time-consuming and often error-prone mesh generation step that transfers the computer-aided design (CAD) model into the simulation model. A student in Germany has just accelerated this process by directly integrating the CAD geometry into the finite element analysis, circumventing any mesh generation.

Peering into the heart of a supernova

July 12, 2012 6:32 am | News | Comments

Using computer simulations, researchers from the California Institute of Technology have determined that if the interior of a dying star is spinning rapidly just before it explodes in a magnificent supernova, two different types of signals emanating from that stellar core will oscillate together at the same frequency. This could be a piece of "smoking-gun evidence" that would lead to a better understanding of supernovae.

Princeton researchers working at forefront of 'exascale' supercomputing

June 28, 2012 10:22 am | News | Comments

Scientists at Princeton University are composing the complex codes designed to instruct a new class of powerful computers that will allow researchers to tackle problems that were previously too difficult to solve. These supercomputers, operating at a speed called the "exascale," will produce realistic simulations of complex phenomena in nature such as fusion reactions, earthquakes, and climate change.

ORNL, UTK team maps the nuclear landscape

June 27, 2012 10:38 am | News | Comments

An Oak Ridge National Laboratory and University of Tennessee team has used the Jaguar supercomputer to calculate the number of isotopes allowed by the laws of physics. The team used a quantum approach known as density functional theory, applying it independently to six models of the nuclear interaction to determine that there are about 7,000 possible combinations of protons and neutrons allowed in bound nuclei with up to 120 protons.

X-ray vision exposes aerosol structures

June 27, 2012 9:23 am | News | Comments

Researchers at SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory have captured the most detailed images to date of airborne soot particles, a key contributor to global warming and a health hazard. The discovery reveals the particles' surprisingly complex nanostructures and could ultimately aid the understanding of atmospheric processes important to climate change, as well as the design of cleaner combustion sources, from car engines to power plants.

Researchers establish structure of a new superhard form of carbon

June 27, 2012 5:38 am | News | Comments

An international team led by Stony Brook University has established the structure of a new form of carbon. The team used a novel computational method to demonstrate that the properties of what had previously been thought to be only a hypothetical structure of a superhard form of carbon called "M-carbon" matched perfectly the experimental data on "superhard graphite."

Researchers use computer model to probe mysteries of human immune system

June 25, 2012 4:21 am | News | Comments

A new computational model developed by a team of Virginia Tech researchers provides a framework to better understand responses of macrophage cells of the human immune system. The Virginia Tech team used the Metropolis algorithm, a computer simulation technique widely used in physics and chemistry, to enumerate possible molecular mechanisms giving rise to priming and tolerance.

Technique allows simulation of noncrystalline materials

June 22, 2012 3:36 am | by David Chandler, MIT News Office | News | Comments

A multidisciplinary team of researchers at Massachusetts Institute of Technology and in Spain has found a new mathematical approach to simulating the electronic behavior of noncrystalline materials, which may eventually play an important part in new devices including solar cells; organic LED lights; and printable, flexible electronic circuits.

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