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New research challenges evolutionary theory

October 20, 2011 4:50 am | News | Comments

New research from the University of Reading overturns conventional views on the nature of evolution, arguing that mammals did not develop into their many different forms in one early and rapid burst of evolution, but rather found many different evolutionary routes.

Study: Urban 'heat island' effect is a small contributor to global warming

October 20, 2011 4:41 am | News | Comments

Cities release more heat to the atmosphere than the rural vegetated areas around them, but how much influence these urban "heat islands" have on global warming has been a matter of debate. Now a study by Stanford University researchers has quantified the contribution of the heat islands for the first time, showing that it is modest compared with what greenhouse gases contribute to global warming.

Nanoconfinement of organic solar cell material enhances conductivity

October 20, 2011 4:24 am | News | Comments

Sometimes a change in surroundings makes all the difference. That's the approach a group of researchers at Brookhaven National Laboratory has used to improve the electricity output of a semiconductor material used in polymer-based solar cells.

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Energy that drives the stars comes closer to Earth

October 20, 2011 4:01 am | News | Comments

Heavy-ion fusion, a special approach to creating fusion for electrical power production, has long been the choice of Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory accelerator physicists. Now the near prospect of "burn and gain" at the National Ignition Facility, plus a forthcoming National Academies report on inertial confinement fusion energy, have spurred new interest in heavy-ion fusion.

NIST measures key property of potential spintronic material

October 20, 2011 3:33 am | News | Comments

An advanced material that could help bring about next-generation "spintronic" computers has revealed one of its fundamental secrets to a team of scientists from Argonne National Laboratory and NIST.

Princeton model shows fallout of a giant meteorite strike

October 19, 2011 10:42 am | News | Comments

Seeking to better understand the level of death and destruction that would result from a large meteorite striking the Earth, Princeton University researchers have developed a new model that can not only more accurately simulate the seismic fallout of such an impact, but also help reveal new information about the surface and interior of planets based on past collisions.

Miniaturizing nuclear recycling experiments

October 19, 2011 9:36 am | News | Comments

Designing better ways to recycle spent nuclear fuel could make nuclear energy a safer solution to the global energy problem, but there are a lot of gaps in our chemical knowledge—and it's difficult to get those answers when the experiments involve radioactive material. Scientists at Argonne National Laboratory have one answer: Shrink the whole experiment down—to microliters.

'Microring' device could aid in future optical technologies

October 19, 2011 9:20 am | News | Comments

Researchers at Purdue University and NIST have created a device small enough to fit on a computer chip that converts continuous laser light into numerous ultrashort pulses, a technology that might have applications in more advanced sensors, communications systems, and laboratory instruments.

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Polymer characterization 'tweezers' turn Nobel theory into benchtop tool

October 19, 2011 5:20 am | News | Comments

Researchers at the University of California, Santa Barbara have developed a new and highly efficient way to characterize the structure of polymers at the nanoscale—effectively designing a routine analytical tool that could be used by industries that rely on polymer science to innovate new products, from drug delivery gels to renewable biomaterials.

Tiny stamps for tiny sensors

October 19, 2011 5:03 am | by Jennifer Chu, MIT News Office | News | Comments

Advances in microchip technology may someday enable clinicians to perform tests for hundreds of diseases from just one drop of blood. But fabricating such "lab-on-a-chip" designs is a technically challenging, time-consuming, and expensive feat. Now, researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology have come up with a simple, precise, and reproducible technique that cuts the time and cost of fabricating such sensors.

Allergies may help in fighting brain tumors

October 19, 2011 4:38 am | News | Comments

A study conducted by Brown University researchers provides some new but qualified support for the idea that the immune system's response to allergies may reduce the risk of developing deadly brain tumors. In the study, subjects with somewhat elevated levels of antibodies produced to fight allergens were less likely to go on to develop bain tumors. This study adds to evidence from prior studies, but questions still remain.

Aerospace Strikes Back

October 19, 2011 4:21 am | by Paul Livingstone | Articles | Comments

The last decade has been challenging for the aerospace industry, but a host of breakthroughs have given both big business and private consumers reason to hope.

Unmanned Aerial Systems Soar to New Places and Sizes

October 19, 2011 4:02 am | by Lindsay Hock | Articles | Comments

Unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV) or systems (UAS)—vital components in the national security and military arsenal—can be controlled from a remote location or flown autonomously based on pre-programmed flight plans using complex automation systems. Military UAS perform reconnaissance, attack missions, or other missions deemed too dirty or dangerous for personnel.

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Antennas Enable Early Science at ALMA

October 18, 2011 11:02 am | Articles | Comments

Thirteen 12-m antennas manufactured by General Dynamics SATCOM Technologies have been installed at the 16,500-foot-high Chajnanator plateau in Chile, home to the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA) astronomical observatory.

Carbon Nanotubes Chart Their Own Course

October 18, 2011 10:41 am | by Paul Livingstone | Articles | Comments

Propelled by funding and pure scientific interest, research on carbon nanostructures—in all of its forms—is rapidly giving way to practical applications.

The Circle of Materials Science Life

October 18, 2011 10:27 am | by Lindsay Hock | Articles | Comments

As materials science researchers look to drive new product innovations, they inspire—and are aided by—sophisticated analytical and imaging instruments.

Better Times, Better Labs?

October 18, 2011 10:10 am | by R&D Magazine Editors | Articles | Comments

As R&D laboratories put tough economic times behind, more flexible, energy-efficient labs may be on the horizon.

Manage First to Put Safety First

October 18, 2011 9:54 am | by Nathan Watson, President, BioRAFT, Lebanon, N.H. | Articles | Comments

The first step in managing laboratory safety is managing the training process.

Innovation Moves Outside the Proverbial Box

October 18, 2011 9:43 am | by Matthew Heim, President, NineSigma Inc., Cleveland | Articles | Comments

Organizations are discovering that open innovation is a viable route to R&D success.

The More Things Change …

October 18, 2011 9:05 am | by Rita C. Peters | Articles | Comments

Concern is growing in the scientific community about the changing attitude of Congress toward federal research and development activities. Once content to rely upon the recommendations of government research officials, Congressional leaders now are swinging to the other extreme—the questioning of virtually every major research decision.

Robot roach sheds light on evolution of flight

October 18, 2011 5:32 am | News | Comments

When engineers at the University of California, Berkeley, outfitted a six-legged robotic bug with wings in an effort to improve its mobility, they unexpectedly shed some light on the evolution of flight.

Links in the chain: Global carbon emissions and consumption

October 18, 2011 4:48 am | News | Comments

It is difficult to measure accurately each nation's contribution of carbon dioxide to the Earth's atmosphere. Carbon is extracted out of the ground as coal, gas, and oil, and these fuels are often exported to other countries where they are burned to generate the energy that is used to make products. In turn, these products may be traded to still other countries where they are consumed. A team led by the Carnegie Institution has tracked and quantified this supply chain of global carbon dioxide emissions.

Impurity atoms introduce waves of disorder in exotic electronic material

October 18, 2011 4:37 am | News | Comments

Brookhaven National Laboratory scientists reveal how substituting just a few atoms can cause widespread disruption of the delicate electron interactions that give a particular "heavy fermion" material its unique properties, including superconductivity.

Lab biophysicist invents improvement to Monte Carlo technique

October 18, 2011 4:10 am | News | Comments

Jerome P. Nilmeier, a biophysicist working in computational biology, is willing to bet his new research will provide a breakthrough in the use of the Monte Carlo probability code in biological simulations.

MIT Lincoln Laboratory researchers develop new radar technology

October 18, 2011 3:55 am | News | Comments

The ability to see through walls is no longer the stuff of science fiction, thanks to new radar technology developed at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology's Lincoln Laboratory. The researchers' device is an unassuming array of antenna arranged into two rows—eight receiving elements on top, 13 transmitting one below—and some computing equipment, all mounted onto a movable cart.

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