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How dividing cells end up the same size

June 5, 2015 8:03 am | by Ken Kingery, Duke Univ. | Videos | Comments

There aren't any giants or midgets when it comes to the cells in your body, and now Duke Univ. scientists think they know why. A new study appearing in Nature shows that a cell's initial size determines how much it will grow before it splits into two. This finding goes against recent publications suggesting cells always add the same amount of mass, with some random fluctuations, before beginning division.

Unlocking nanofibers’ potential

June 5, 2015 7:40 am | by Larry Hardesty, MIT News Office | News | Comments

Nanofibers have a huge range of potential applications, from solar cells to water filtration to fuel cells. But so far, their high cost of manufacture has relegated them to just a few niche industries. MIT researchers describe a new technique for producing nanofibers that increases the rate of production fourfold while reducing energy consumption by more than 90%, holding out the prospect of cheap, efficient nanofiber production.

Maximizing the Value of Scientific Literature

June 4, 2015 1:18 pm | by Jaqui Hodgkinson, VP Product Development, Elsevier | Articles | Comments

Reading through the more than one million articles published annually isn’t an option for life sciences researchers that want to keep on top of the constantly growing body of medical literature. That leaves two primary strategies for sifting through the burgeoning literature and extracting meaningful information: manual curation or automated curation.

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Avoid Outdated Methods for Predicting Powder Flow

June 4, 2015 9:46 am | by Robert G. McGregor, General Manager, Global Marketing & High-End Instrument Sales, Brookfield Engineering | Articles | Comments

Powder processors are constantly challenging their manufacturing staff to bring new formulations to full-scale production on a relatively short time scale. Pilot plant testing isn’t always possible given marketing pressure to launch products. Therefore, physical test methods used by R&D in the laboratory must accurately predict the “flowability” of the powder before initial startup.

Monitoring Lab Energy Usage

June 4, 2015 9:21 am | by Chuck McKinney, VP, Strategic Accounts, Aircuity Inc., Newton, Mass. | Articles | Comments

Laboratories are notorious for their extraordinary energy consumption, often using six to 10 times the amount of energy of a normal office facility. As more and more attention is given to reduce lab energy use, it becomes increasingly more important to understand the energy drivers in labs to better target energy-conservation measures and improve occupant behaviors.

Recovering a rare metal from LCDs to avoid depleting key resource

June 4, 2015 9:00 am | by American Chemical Society | News | Comments

Life without bright screens on our smartphones and TVs is hard to imagine. But in 20 years, one of the essential components of the liquid-crystal displays, or LCDs, that make many of our gadgets possible could disappear. To address the potential shortage of this component—the element indium—scientists report a new way to recover the valuable metal so it could be recycled.

Keeping astronauts in space longer with better air, water

June 4, 2015 8:00 am | by American Chemical Society | News | Comments

As astronauts embark on increasingly ambitious space missions, scientists have to figure out how to keep them healthy for longer periods far from Earth. That entails assuring the air they breathe and the water they drink are safe—not an easy task given their isolated locations. But scientists are now reporting a new method to monitor the quality of both in real time with one system.

How “perfect” materials begin to fail

June 4, 2015 7:27 am | by Evan Lerner, Univ. of Pennsylvania | News | Comments

Crystalline materials have atoms that are neatly lined up in a repeating pattern. When they break, that failure tends to start at a defect, or a place where the pattern is disrupted. But how do defect-free materials break? Until recently, the question was purely theoretical; making a defect-free material was impossible.

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Evolving Electron Microscopes Push Even Deeper

June 3, 2015 2:58 pm | by Tim Studt | Articles | Comments

Electron microscopy is a multi-scale, multi-modal and multi-dimensional technique for imaging materials down to the atomic level. Developed in 1931 by German physicist Ernst Ruska and electrical engineer Max Knoll, the electron microscope (EM) has evolved from Ruska’s initial 400X capabilities to its current 10,000,000X performance.

Energy-Efficient Tunnel Ventilation

June 3, 2015 1:16 pm | by Fathi Tarada, Managing Director, Mosen Ltd., U.K. | Articles | Comments

Improving the efficiency of turbomachinery, including jet (turbine) fans used in tunnel ventilation systems, is essential in combating the volatile cost of fuel and reducing emissions of greenhouse gases. Energy-efficient equipment is also more attractive to worldwide transportation authorities.

Brain’s reaction to certain words could replace passwords

June 3, 2015 8:26 am | by Binghamton Univ. | News | Comments

You might not need to remember those complicated email and bank account passwords for much longer. According to a new study, the way your brain responds to certain words could be used to replace passwords. In "Brainprint," a newly published study in Neurocomputing, researchers from Binghamton Univ. observed the brain signals of 45 volunteers as they read a list of 75 acronyms, such as FBI and DVD.

Paleo study shows how elevation may affect evolution

June 3, 2015 7:56 am | by David Orenstein, Brown Univ. | News | Comments

Paleontologists have documented how dramatic shifts in climate have led to dramatic shifts in evolution. One such event, the Grande Coupure, was a wipeout of many European mammal species 33.9 million years ago when global temperatures and precipitation declined sharply. What has been puzzling is that during the same transition between the Eocene and Oligocene periods, North American mammals fared much better.

Saving money and the environment with 3D printing

June 3, 2015 7:47 am | by Amanda Morris, Northwestern Univ. | News | Comments

A Northwestern Univ. team has confirmed a new way to help the airline industry save dollars while also saving the environment. And the solution comes in three dimensions. By manufacturing aircrafts’ metal parts with 3D printing, airlines could save a significant amount of fuel, materials and other resources.

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Essential Instruments for Open-Access Environment

June 2, 2015 3:55 pm | by Russell Scammell,PhD, Group Leader, Physical Chemistry, Charles River Laboratories | Articles | Comments

Pharmaceutical companies, like other industries, face frequent and mounting requirements to resolve complex mixtures of active pharmaceutical ingredients into their unique components. Given the demands being placed on medicinal chemistry departments to deliver high-quality new drug candidates, the speed at which separations can be achieved is of utmost importance.

Pinholes be gone!

June 2, 2015 11:39 am | by Kaoru Natori, OIST | News | Comments

Researchers at the Okinawa Institute of Science and Technology Graduate Univ. have eliminated problematic pinholes in the top layer of next-generation solar cells in development. At the same time, they have significantly improved the lifetime of the solar cell and made it thinner.

Tool measures the distance between phonon collisions

June 2, 2015 11:32 am | by Jennifer Chu, MIT News Office | News | Comments

Today’s computer chips pack billions of tiny transistors onto a plate of silicon within the width of a fingernail. Each transistor, just tens of nanometers wide, acts as a switch that, in concert with others, carries out a computer’s computations. As dense forests of transistors signal back and forth, they give off heat, which can fry the electronics, if a chip gets too hot.

New material accelerates healing

June 2, 2015 8:50 am | by Matthew Chin, Univ. of California, Los Angeles | Videos | Comments

Researchers from the Univ. of California, Los Angeles have developed an injectable hydrogel that helps skin wounds heal more quickly. The material creates an instant scaffold that allows new tissue to latch on and grow within the cavities formed between linked spheres of gel.

Using robots to assemble promising antimicrobial compounds

June 2, 2015 8:14 am | by Dan Krotz, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory | News | Comments

There’s an urgent demand for new antimicrobial compounds that are effective against constantly emerging drug-resistant bacteria. Two robotic chemical-synthesizing machines, named Symphony X and Overture, have joined the search. Their specialty is creating custom nanoscale structures that mimic nature’s proven designs. They’re also fast, able to assemble dozens of compounds at a time.

Microendoscope could eliminate unneeded biopsies

June 2, 2015 7:59 am | by Jade Boyd, Rice Univ. | Videos | Comments

In a clinical study of patients in the U.S. and China, researchers found that a low-cost, portable, battery-powered microendoscope developed by Rice Univ. bioengineers could eventually eliminate the need for costly biopsies for many patients undergoing standard endoscopic screening for esophageal cancer.

Tough biogel structures produced by 3D printing

June 2, 2015 7:42 am | by David L. Chandler, MIT News Office | News | Comments

Researchers have developed a new way of making tough, but soft and wet, biocompatible materials, called “hydrogels,” into complex and intricately patterned shapes. The process might lead to injectable materials for delivering drugs or cells into the body; scaffolds for regenerating load-bearing tissues; or tough but flexible actuators for future robots, the researchers say.

R&D Live: Has 3D Printing Become a Commodity OnDemand

June 1, 2015 1:28 pm | by Tim Studt | Videos | Comments

With all of the manufacturing and tooling capabilities, are 3D printers becoming a service-based commodity with all the reticent encumbrances associated with this connotation? Is the technology and its associated materials still advancing at a rapid pace? What are the different capabilities, limitations and applications of the current iterations of 3D printing equipment materials and technologies?

Unraveling the origins of lunar swirls

June 1, 2015 11:27 am | by Anne M. Stark, Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory | News | Comments

As the closest object in the night sky, Earth’s moon and its craters have long been studied. These craters have been formed over billions of years by impacts from both asteroids and comets. A new study examines how cometary impacts may transform the surface of the moon in ways distinct from asteroidal impacts, producing unique signatures that are consistent with observations of mysterious, ghost-like features called “lunar swirls."

Yeast protein network could provide insights into obesity

June 1, 2015 11:20 am | by Ker Than, Caltech | News | Comments

A team of biologists and a mathematician have identified and characterized a network composed of 94 proteins that work together to regulate fat storage in yeast. The findings, detailed in PLOS Computational Biology, suggest that yeast could serve as a valuable test organism for studying human obesity.

Ancient algae found deep in tropical glacier

June 1, 2015 11:04 am | by Mike Williams, Rice Univ. | News | Comments

The remains of tiny creatures found deep inside a mountaintop glacier in Peru are clues to the local landscape more than a millennium ago, according to a new study. The unexpected discovery of diatoms, a type of algae, in ice cores pulled from the Quelccaya Summit Dome Glacier demonstrate that freshwater lakes or wetlands that currently exist at high elevations on or near the mountain were also there in earlier times.

Circular orbits identified for small exoplanets

June 1, 2015 10:50 am | by Jennifer Chu, MIT News Office | News | Comments

Viewed from above, our solar system’s planetary orbits around the sun resemble rings around a bulls-eye. Each planet, including Earth, keeps to a roughly circular path, always maintaining the same distance from the sun. For decades, astronomers have wondered whether the solar system’s circular orbits might be a rarity in our universe.

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