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Muon tomography images of a valve allowed researchers to differentiate between an open and closed valve. Courtesy of Matt Durham, Los Alamos National Laboratory

Using muons from cosmic rays to find fraying infrastructure

July 1, 2015 12:58 pm | by Laurel Hamers, American Institute of Physics | News | Comments

In the United States, electricity comes with the flip of a switch and heat arrives with the push of a button. Behind such convenience lies a massive infrastructure network that produces and distributes energy. And just like roads wear down and need to be repaved occasionally, this energy infrastructure degrades over time. Pipes can corrode and concrete can wear thin. Failure can be catastrophic...

Monitoring volcanoes with ground-based atomic clocks

July 1, 2015 10:07 am | by University of Zurich | News | Comments

An international team led by scientists from the University of Zurich finds that high-precision...

NASA missions monitor a waking black hole

July 1, 2015 7:00 am | by NASA | News | Comments

NASA's Swift satellite detected a rising tide of high-energy X-rays from the constellation...

Chemists characterize 3-D macroporous hydrogels

July 1, 2015 7:00 am | by Carnegie Mellon University | News | Comments

Carnegie Mellon University chemists have developed two novel methods to characterize 3-...

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New model of cosmic stickiness favors 'Big Rip' demise of universe

July 1, 2015 7:00 am | by Vanderbilt University | News | Comments

The universe can be a very sticky place, but just how sticky is a matter of debate. That is because for decades cosmologists have had trouble reconciling the classic notion of viscosity based on the laws of thermodynamics with Einstein's general theory of relativity. However, a team from Vanderbilt University has come up with a fundamentally new mathematical formulation of the problem that appears to bridge this long-standing gap.

Computer simulations are layered over a picture of a time trial rider. Riders can save around six seconds if the team car maintains a gap of five meters, instead of the 10 meters laid down by the regulations. Courtesy of Eindhoven University of Technology

Aerodynamic effects can save tens of seconds in cycling time trials

June 30, 2015 10:35 am | by Eindhoven University of Technology | News | Comments

Will next Saturday’s Tour de France prologue get the winner it deserves? New aerodynamic research shows that riders in a time trial can save vital seconds by riding closer to the following team car. Over a short distance like the prologue of the Tour de France, that can save as much as six seconds: enough to make the difference between winning and losing. On longer events like world championships, the effect can add up to tens of seconds.

Rice University has installed microscopes that will allow researchers to peer deeper than ever into the fabric of the universe. The Titan Themis scanning/transmission electron microscope, one of the most powerful in the United States, will enable scientis

New electron microscopes will capture images at subnanometer resolution

June 30, 2015 10:15 am | by Rice University | News | Comments

Rice University has installed microscopes that will allow researchers to peer deeper than ever into the fabric of the universe. The Titan Themis scanning/transmission electron microscope, one of the most powerful in the United States, will enable scientists from Rice as well as academic and industrial partners to view and analyze materials smaller than a nanometer — a billionth of a meter — with startling clarity.

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Graphene flexes its electronic muscles

June 30, 2015 8:47 am | by Mike Williams, Rice University | News | Comments

Flexing graphene may be the most basic way to control its electrical properties, according to calculations by theoretical physicists at Rice University and in Russia.

Startup brings nonstick coating to consumer goods packaging

June 30, 2015 8:44 am | by Rob Matheson, MIT News Office | News | Comments

The days of wasting condiments — and other products — that stick stubbornly to the sides of their bottles may be gone, thanks to MIT spinout LiquiGlide, which has licensed its nonstick coating to a major consumer-goods company.  

New nanogenerator harvests power from rolling tires

June 30, 2015 8:40 am | by University of Wisconsin-Madison | News | Comments

A group of University of Wisconsin-Madison engineers and a collaborator from China have developed a nanogenerator that harvests energy from a car's rolling tire friction.

Physicists shatter stubborn mystery of how glass forms

June 30, 2015 8:37 am | by University of Waterloo | News | Comments

A physicist at the University of Waterloo is among a team of scientists who have described how glasses form at the molecular level and provided a possible solution to a problem that has stumped scientists for decades.

Sandia's Z machine receives funding aimed at fusion energy

June 30, 2015 8:35 am | by DOE, Sandia National Laboratories | News | Comments

A two-year, $3.8 million award has been received by Sandia National Laboratories and the University of Rochester's Laboratory for Laser Energetics (LLE) to hasten the day of low-cost, high-yield fusion reactions for energy purposes.

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A deep, dark mystery

June 30, 2015 8:31 am | by UC Santa Barbara | News | Comments

UC Santa Barbara geologist Jim Boles has found evidence of helium leakage from the Earth's mantle along a 30-mile stretch of the Newport-Inglewood Fault Zone in the Los Angeles Basin.

Multi-color optical image around the ULX "X-1" (indicated by the arrow) in the dwarf galaxy Holmberg II, located in the direction of the constellation Ursa Major, at a distance of 11 million light-years. The image size corresponds to 1,100 × 900 light-yea

Unexpectedly small black-hole monsters rapidly suck up surrounding matter

June 29, 2015 11:10 am | by Subaru Telescope | News | Comments

Using the Subaru Telescope, researchers have found evidence that enigmatic objects in nearby galaxies—called ultra-luminous X-ray sources—exhibit strong outflows created as matter falls onto their black holes at unexpectedly high rates. The strong outflows suggest that black holes in these ULXs must be much smaller than expected. Curiously, these objects appear to be "cousins" of one of the most exotic objects in our own Milky Way Galaxy.

The same plastic as in garbage bags makes an efficient heat exchanger in power plants by creating microchannels. Courtesy of Joshua Pearce

Better heat exchangers using garbage bags

June 29, 2015 10:21 am | by Michigan Technological University | News | Comments

The plastic used to make garbage bags also makes a good base for building low-temperature heat exchangers. Joshua Pearce's team helped design and make the plastic-based heat exchangers to be used in power plants. The key is expanded microchannel structures...

Eco-friendly oil spill solution developed

June 29, 2015 10:00 am | by City College of New York | News | Comments

City College of New York researchers led by chemist George John have developed an eco-friendly biodegradable green "herding" agent that can be used to clean up light crude oil spills on water. Derived from the plant-based small molecule phytol abundant in the marine environment, the new substance would potentially replace chemical herders currently in use.

Scientists develop potential new class of cancer drugs in lab

June 29, 2015 8:48 am | by Saint Louis University | News | Comments

In research published in Cancer Cell, Thomas Burris, chair of pharmacology and physiology at Saint Louis University, has, for the first time, found a way to stop cancer cell growth by targeting the Warburg Effect, a trait of cancer cell metabolism that scientists have been eager to exploit.

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Making a better semiconductor

June 29, 2015 8:44 am | by Michigan State University | News | Comments

Research led by Michigan State University could someday lead to the development of new and improved semiconductors. In a paper, scientists detailed how they developed a method to change the electronic properties of materials in a way that will more easily allow an electrical current to pass through.

Tomorrow will be one second longer

June 29, 2015 8:39 am | News | Comments

The day will officially be a bit longer than usual on Tuesday, June 30, 2015, because an extra second, or "leap" second, will be added.

Opening a new route to photonics

June 29, 2015 8:35 am | News | Comments

A new route to ultrahigh density, ultracompact integrated photonic circuitry has been discovered by researchers. The Berkeley Lab team has developed a technique for effectively controlling pulses of light in closely packed nanoscale waveguides, an essential requirement for high-performance optical communications and chip-scale quantum computing.

SpaceX rocket destroyed on way to space station, cargo lost

June 28, 2015 4:04 pm | by Marcia Dunn, Associated Press | News | Comments

An unmanned SpaceX rocket carrying supplies to the International Space Station broke apart Sunday shortly after liftoff. It was a severe blow to NASA, the third cargo mission to fail in eight months.

Helium “balloons” offer new path to control complex materials

June 26, 2015 2:00 pm | by Morgan McCorkle, Oak Ridge National Laboratory | News | Comments

Researchers at Oak Ridge National Laboratory have developed a new method to manipulate a wide range of materials and their behavior using only a handful of helium ions. The team’s technique advances the understanding and use of complex oxide materials that boast unusual properties such as superconductivity and colossal magnetoresistance but are notoriously difficult to control.

Z machine solves Saturn’s 2-billion-year age problem

June 26, 2015 1:45 pm | by Sandia National Laboratories | News | Comments

Planets tend to cool as they get older, but Saturn is hotter than astrophysicists say it should be without some additional energy source. The unexplained heat has caused a two-billion-year discrepancy for computer models estimating Saturn's age.

Tactical throwable cameras

June 26, 2015 11:40 am | by Rob Matheson, MIT News Office | News | Comments

Unseen areas are troublesome for police and first responders: Rooms can harbor dangerous gunmen, while collapsed buildings can conceal survivors. Now Bounce Imaging, founded by an Massachusetts Institute of Technology alumnus, is giving officers and rescuers a safe glimpse into the unknown.

Making clothes out of gelatin could reduce agricultural waste

June 26, 2015 10:30 am | by American Chemical Society | News | Comments

From gummy bears to silky mousses, gelatin is essential for making some of our favorite sweets. Now scientists are exploring another use for the common food ingredient: spinning it into yarn so it can be made into clothing. And because gelatin comes from livestock by-products, the new technique would provide an additional use for agricultural leftovers. The report appears in Biomacromolecules.

All-plastic solar cell could help power future flexible electronics

June 26, 2015 7:06 am | by American Chemical Society | News | Comments

If you picture a solar panel, it’s most likely dark blue or black, and rigid and flat. Now imagine one that’s semi-transparent, ultra-thin and bendable. Scientists are closing in on making the latter version a reality. They report in ACS Applied Materials & Interfaces the development of a see-through, bendable solar cell made entirely out of plastic. The device could help power the coming wave of flexible electronics.

Stretching a thin crystal to get better solar cells

June 26, 2015 6:59 am | by Tom Abate, Stanford Engineering | News | Comments

Nature loves crystals. Salt, snowflakes and quartz are three examples of crystals—materials characterized by the lattice-like arrangement of their atoms and molecules. Industry loves crystals, too. Electronics are based on a special family of crystals known as semiconductors, most famously silicon. To make semiconductors useful, engineers must tweak their crystalline lattice in subtle ways to start and stop the flow of electrons.

Engineering new routes to biochemicals

June 26, 2015 6:51 am | by Andy Fell, UC Davis News Service | News | Comments

Living cells can make a vast range of products for us, but they don’t always do it in the most straightforward or efficient way. Shota Atsumi, a chemistry professor at the Univ. of California, Davis, aims to address that through “synthetic biology”: designing and building new biochemical pathways within living cells, based on existing pathways from other living things.

Sprayable foam slows bleeding

June 25, 2015 1:00 pm | by American Chemical Society | News | Comments

Traumatic injuries, whether from serious car accidents, street violence or military combat, can lead to significant blood loss and death. But using a material derived from crustacean shells, scientists have now developed a foam that can be sprayed onto an open wound to stop the bleeding. They report their successful tests on pigs in ACS Biomaterials Science & Engineering.

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