science + technology news

At One Trillion Degrees, Even Gold Turns Into the Sloshiest Liquid

April 20, 2005

Scientists at the Brookhaven National Laboratory on Long Island have produced a state of matter that flows better than water at about a trillion degrees instead of turning into a gas, as expected.

The scientists stopped short of announcing that they had created a subatomic soup known as quark-gluon plasma. Physicists are interested in quark-gluon plasma because it will help them understand the “strong force” that holds protons and… read more

New twist in wrangle over changing physical constant

April 20, 2005

A new study of distant galaxies is adding a fresh perspective to the debate over whether a fundamental physical constant has actually changed over time. The work suggests the number has not varied in the last 7 billion years, but more observations are still needed to settle the issue.

The controversy centers on the fine-structure constant, also called alpha, which governs how electrons and light interact. Alpha is an… read more

Computer generates verifiable mathematics proof

April 20, 2005

Mathematicians have employed logic-checking software to help develop a proof of the Four Color Theorem. The method could be used to develop a similar system for checking the logic used in computer programs, which could pre-empt some unforeseen bugs that cause programs to crash.

The Four Color Theorem states that any four colors are the minimum needed to fill in a flat map without any two regions of the… read more

Lunch with Mikhail Gorbachev

April 19, 2005

With only 53,000 engineering graduates a year compared to Russia’s 200,000, the U.S. needs to “communicate the importance of science in today’s world,” Mikhail Gorbachev told Ray Kurzweil in a luncheon discussion that ranged from blogs to nuclear disarmament and longevity.

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Cientifica Publishes Study of Carbon Nanotubes’ Impact on Energy Production and Storage

April 19, 2005

Cientifica has released a study of the market and technology impact of carbon nanotubes on the energy sector.

Among its conclusions:

  • 50% of all lithium batteries now incorporate carbon nanofibers, which double their energy capacity; this figure will rise to 85% by 2010.
  • Multi-wall carbon nanotubes can enable a tenfold improvement in the performance of fuel cells and a 50% reduction of the cost of
  • read more

    ‘Two brained’ chips to boost PC performance

    April 19, 2005

    Intel’s new dual-core microprocessors perform calculations using twin processing cores that sidestep the problems created by shrinking components.

    Shrinking chips to the next landmark, 65 nanometers, introduces quantum effects that can cause the circuit to malfunction. Operating the circuit at higher power can overcome this effect, but can cause overheating.

    Dual-core processors offer a way around this problem, by splitting calculations between separate execution cores. And Intel’s Hyper-Threading… read more

    Kurzweil Educational Systems acquired by Cambium Learning

    April 18, 2005

    Kurzweil Educational Systems Inc. has been acquired by Cambrium Learning Inc. in a move to support underserved student populations. The purchase price was over $20 million.

    Kurzweil Educational Systems, founded by Ray Kurzweil and Mike Sokol in 1996, is the “leader in print-to-speech reading systems for people with reading disabilities such as dyslexia and for the blind,” says Sokol.

    The Kurzweil 3000 reads printed material with natural sounding… read more

    First clone of champion racehorse revealed

    April 18, 2005

    The first ever clone of a champion racehorse was cloned from a skin cell of Pieraz, a multiple world champion in equine endurance races.

    It’s Moore’s Law, but Another Had the Idea First

    April 18, 2005

    Computer scientist Douglas Engelbart was the first to conceive the idea that miniaturized circuitry would scale down to vastly smaller sizes than current electronic components.

    ‘Minority Report’ interface created for US military

    April 18, 2005

    A computer interface inspired by the futuristic system portrayed in the movie Minority Report could soon help real military personnel deal with information overload.

    The system under development at Raytheon lets users don a pair of reflective gloves and manipulate images projected on a panoramic screen. A mounted camera keeps track of hand movements and a computer interprets gestures.

    Raytheon plans to offer the technology as a way… read more

    The impact of its environment on a quantum computer

    April 15, 2005

    Scientists have discovered how the performance of a quantum computer can be affected by its surrounding environment.

    The study, published in the latest issue of the journal Science, will help engineers to better understand how to integrate quantum components into a standard office computer – moving us one step closer to a future of quantum computing.

    University College London news release

    Smart plastics change shape with light

    April 15, 2005

    MIT and German researchers have created the first plastics that can be deformed and temporarily fixed in a second, new shape by illumination with light having certain wavelengths.

    These programmed materials will only switch back to their original shape when exposed to light of specific different wavelengths.

    MIT news release

    Self-assembled networks grown from carbon nanotube bridges

    April 15, 2005

    Case Western Reserve University engineers are growing building blocks of large-scale integrated circuits by growing self-assembled and self-welded carbon nanotubes.

    Case Western Reserve University news release

    DNA project to trace human steps

    April 14, 2005

    The Genographic Project will collect DNA samples from over 100,000 people worldwide to help piece together to trace ancient migratory routes.

    Members of the public will be able to buy a kit that contains all the material needed to add their genetic information to the database.

    Laser beams sort stem cells by springiness

    April 13, 2005

    Measuring the elasticity of cells using a new laser technique promises to pinpoint human stem cells in blood and distinguish cancerous cells from benign ones, say researchers.

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