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Scientists tackle the carbon conundrum

November 16, 2011 8:40 am | News | Comments

U.S. scientists have developed a new, integrated, ten-year science plan to better understand the details of Earth's carbon cycle and people's role in it. Understanding the carbon cycle is central for mitigating climate change and developing a sustainable future.

New material can enhance energy, computer, lighting technologies

November 16, 2011 8:30 am | News | Comments

Arizona State University researchers have created a new compound crystal material, called erbium chloride silicate, that promises to help produce advances in a range of scientific and technological pursuits.

Georgia Tech develops software designed to improve drug development

November 16, 2011 8:05 am | News | Comments

A research team headed by the Georgia Institute of Technology has developed a computer program that can study larger molecules (more than 200 atoms) faster than any other program in existence, helping in pursuit of creating new pharmaceuticals.

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Researchers turn troublesome molecules to their advantage

November 16, 2011 4:55 am | News | Comments

By nestling quantum dots in an insulating egg-crate structure, researchers at the Harvard School of Engineering and Applied Sciences have demonstrated a robust new architecture for quantum-dot light-emitting devices (QD-LEDs).

Chemists cram two million nanorods into a single cancer cell

November 16, 2011 4:18 am | News | Comments

Rice University chemists have found a way to load more than two million tiny gold particles called nanorods into a single cancer cell. The breakthrough could speed development of cancer treatments that would use nanorods like tiny heating elements to cook tumors from the inside.

The first hairy microbes

November 16, 2011 4:09 am | by Jennifer Chu, MIT News Office | News | Comments

Geologists at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Harvard University have unearthed rare, flask-shaped microfossils dating back 635 to 715 million years, representing the oldest known ciliates in the fossil record.

Study rethinks the ocean's role in Pacific climate

November 15, 2011 5:37 am | News | Comments

University of Miami Rosenstiel School of Marine & Atmospheric Science researchers have climate scientists rethinking a commonly held theory about the ocean's role in the global climate system. The new findings can aid scientists in better understanding and predicting changes in the Pacific climate and its impacts around the globe.

Ionized plasmas used as cheap sterilizers for developing world

November 15, 2011 4:20 am | News | Comments

University of California, Berkeley, scientists have shown that ionized plasmas like those in neon lights and plasma TVs not only can sterilize water, but make it antimicrobial—able to kill bacteria—for as long as a week after treatment.

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Research team to develop energy-efficient 3D CPU

November 15, 2011 3:53 am | News | Comments

Researchers from North Carolina State University are developing a 3D central processing unit (CPU) with the goal of boosting energy efficiency by 15 to 25%. The work is being done under a $1.5 million grant from the Intel Corporation.

An about-face on electrical conductivity at the interface

November 15, 2011 3:40 am | News | Comments

To improve the electronic devices that keep our world organized, scientists are on the hunt for new semiconductor materials. One answer could lie with an unusual form of electrical conductivity that takes place at the junction of two oxides. However, a group of scientists were recently surprised to find the interface of two complex oxides—the polar lanthanum chromium oxide, and the nonpolar strontium titanium oxide—did not conduct electricity.

Biosensor benefits from melding of carbon nanotubes, DNA

November 15, 2011 3:16 am | News | Comments

Purdue University scientists have developed a method for stacking synthetic DNA and carbon nanotubes onto a biosensor electrode, a development that may lead to more accurate measurements for research related to diabetes and other diseases.

Computer chip models how neurons communicate

November 15, 2011 3:06 am | by Anne Trafton, MIT News Office | News | Comments

For decades, scientists have dreamed of building computer systems that could replicate the human brain's talent for learning new tasks. Massachusetts Institute of Technology researchers have now taken a major step toward that goal by designing a computer chip that mimics how the brain's neurons adapt in response to new information.

Ancient midges offer clues to climate variability 10,000 years ago

November 14, 2011 10:24 am | News | Comments

An analysis of the remains of ancient midges—tiny non-biting insects closely related to mosquitoes—opens a new window on the past with a detailed view of the surprising regional variability that accompanied climate warming during the early Holocene epoch, 10,000 to 5,500 years ago.

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Animals inspire advances in ultrasound technology

November 14, 2011 9:09 am | News | Comments

Sonar and ultrasound, which use sound as a navigational device to paint accurate pictures of an environment, are the basis of countless technologies, including medical ultrasound machines and submarine navigation systems. But when it comes to more accurate sonar and ultrasound, animals' "biosonar" capabilities still have the human race beat. Until now.

Nature's armor could help engineers design stronger materials

November 14, 2011 6:27 am | News | Comments

In nature, the strength of mother-of-pearl is a key to survival for some shellfish. Now a team led by Xiaodong Li, an engineering professor at the University of South Carolina, has posited an explanation for the unusual resilience that this important defensive shield shows in the face of predatory attacks.

Stem cell bandage in human clinical trials

November 14, 2011 6:12 am | News | Comments

The company behind a pioneering stem cell bandage, believed to be the world's first adult and autologous (patient's own) stem cell treatment designed to heal torn meniscal cartilage, can now take the technology to human clinical trials thanks to an investment from one of the U.K.'s most successful entrepreneurs.

Cray replaces IBM on University of Illinois supercomputer

November 14, 2011 5:56 am | by David Mercer, Associated Press | News | Comments

The University of Illinois says Seattle-based Cray Inc. will take over construction of the stalled $300 million Blue Waters supercomputer project, three months after IBM pulled out citing cost and technical concerns.

Adding up photons with a transition edge sensor

November 14, 2011 5:24 am | News | Comments

Scientists have demonstrated that a superconducting detector called a transition edge sensor (TES) is capable of counting the number of as many as 1,000 photons in a single pulse of light with an accuracy limited mainly by the quantum noise of the laser source.

Rising air pollution worsens drought, flooding

November 14, 2011 5:03 am | News | Comments

Increases in air pollution and other particulate matter in the atmosphere can strongly affect cloud development in ways that reduce precipitation in dry regions or seasons, while increasing rain, snowfall, and the intensity of severe storms in wet regions or seasons, says a new study by a University of Maryland-led team of researchers.

System will detect insider threats from massive data sets

November 14, 2011 4:49 am | News | Comments

When a soldier in good mental health becomes homicidal or a government employee abuses access privileges to share classified information, we often wonder why no one saw it coming. With support from the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) and the Army Research Office, researchers at the Georgia Institute of Technology are collaborating with scientists from four other organizations to develop new approaches for identifying these "insider threats" before an incident occurs.

Single water molecule trapped in a fullerene cage

November 14, 2011 4:19 am | News | Comments

Always hydrogen-bonded to other molecules of water or polar compounds, water has never been studied as a single molecule because researchers never been able to isolate it. Two scientists in Japan have recently achieved this for the first time, using organic reactions to push one water molecule into a C60 fullerene cage.

Ultrathin flexible brain implant offers unique look at seizures

November 14, 2011 3:58 am | News | Comments

Researchers funded by the National Institutes of Health have developed a flexible brain implant that could one day be used to treat epileptic seizures. In animal studies, the researchers used the device—a type of electrode array that conforms to the brain's surface—to take an unprecedented look at the brain activity underlying seizures.

Dye-sensitized solar cells break new record

November 14, 2011 3:42 am | News | Comments

Dye-sensitized Grätzel solar cells have just set a new efficiency benchmark. By changing the composition and color of the cells, an EPFL team has increased their efficiency to more than 12%.

Researchers gain insight into hundred-year-old Haber-Bosch process

November 14, 2011 3:29 am | by Peter Iglinski, University of Rochester | News | Comments

For the past 100 years, the Haber-Bosch process has been used to convert atmospheric nitrogen into ammonia, which is essential in the manufacture of fertilizer. Despite the longstanding reliability of the process, scientists have had little understanding of how it actually works. Until now.

Common bacteria could convert sugar to biodiesel at fast rate

November 14, 2011 3:20 am | by Louis Bergeron, Stanford News | News | Comments

Researchers studying how biodiesel can be generated using E. coli as a catalyst have determined the bacteria have what it takes to produce high volumes of the fuel. Now they need to figure out how to tweak its cellular controls in order to kick it into high gear.

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