science + technology news

Gene therapy reduces skin cancer from sunburn

December 13, 2004

University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center at Dallas have successfully tested the first gene therapy for skin cancer, using a mouse model for the disease xeroderma pigmentosum, or XP.

Humans with XP have a mutation that prevents the body from repairing DNA damaged by UV light. Mice with mutations in the gene Xpa suffer from XP and develop cancerous lesions on their skin within three weeks after UV light… read more

Neurobiologists distinguish in unprecedented detail the patterns of brain activity

December 13, 2004

Duke University Medical Center neurobiologists have demonstrated that they could distinguish in unprecedented detail the patterns of brain activity — including fleeting changes in communication among brain structures — in awake animals, as they fall sleep and as they transition among different sleep stages.

They believe that their new analytical technique will enable unprecedented insights into function of both the healthy brain and those afflicted with neurological disease.… read more

No effect of nanotubes on white blood cells, researchers find

December 10, 2004

The introduction of nanotubes in white blood cells caused no measurable change in cell properties like shape, rate of growth or the ability to adhere to surfaces, researchers from Rice University, the University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston, and the Texas Heart Institute have found.

The white blood cells, which were incubated in dilute solutions of Acccnanotubes, treated the nanotubes as they would other extracellular particles –… read more

Complete chicken genome map revealed

December 10, 2004

The complete genome sequence of the chicken has been published.

The chicken is the closest relative of mammals sequenced so far, and should provide a crucial point of comparison in studies of mammalian evolution.

The number of chicken genes is similar to that of mammals, but the chicken genome appears to contain a smaller amount of repetitive “junk” DNA. Comparison of the chicken and human genomes reveals about… read more

Wireless network smashes world speed record

December 10, 2004

A team at the Siemens Communications research laboratory in Munich have transmitted one gigabit of data per second across their mobile network.

The researchers used multiple receiving antennas and Orthogonal Frequency-Division Multiplexing (OFDM) to set their record.

Christoph Caselitz, president of the Mobile Networks Division at Siemens Communications. Caselitz estimates that wireless networks will be expected to cope with 10 times as much data by 2015.

OFDM… read more

Sunlight to Fuel Hydrogen Future

December 9, 2004

The photovoltaic cell is old news: the latest way to exploit the sun is through tiny materials that can directly convert sunlight into large amounts of hydrogen.

Hydrogen Solar of Guilford, England, and Altair Nanotechnologies are building a hydrogen-generation system that captures sunlight and uses the energy to break water molecules into hydrogen and oxygen. The company’s current project is a fuel station in Las Vegas that will soon… read more

Model for testing transistor reliability

December 9, 2004

Purdue University researchers have created a unified model for predicting the reliability of new designs for silicon transistors.

The method can be used to simultaneously evaluate the reliability of two types of transistors essential for CMOS computer chips and accurately predict how new designs for both types of transistors will degrade over time.

The model describes the rate at which silicon-hydrogen bonds break and how they “repair” themselves.… read more

Energy-Saving Computer Chip

December 9, 2004

University of Alberta researchers have designed a computer chip that uses about 100 times less energy than current state-of-the-art digital chips

It uses a new method of processing digital data, known as analog decoding, using extremely low levels of power to execute its detection algorithm.

University of Alberta news release

New Way to Store Memory in Ferroelectric Nanodisks and Nanorods

December 9, 2004

University of Arkansas physicists have discovered a new phase in nanodisks and nanorods that may enable researchers to increase memory storage density.

The researchers studied ferroelectric materials at the nanometer scale. They found that the dipoles in nanomaterials form a new state when the temperature is lowered. Instead of polarization, the new phase creates a toroid moment, which rotates in a circular fashion like a vortex or a tornado.… read more

New ‘protopolymer’ chemical state found

December 8, 2004

A new “protopolymer” chemical state has been observed by Penn State researchers in chains of phenylene molecules on a crystalline copper surface at low temperature.

Protopolymers form when monomers align and interact without forming chemical bonds.

The existence of this bonding state could potentially have significant implications for supramolecular design. These intermolecular interactions could be used to place compounds together like a jigsaw puzzle into complex structures based… read more

Protein ‘key’ could aid search for cancer drugs

December 8, 2004

New research at Rice University is allowing biochemists to understand a key hierarchy of protein interactions that occurs in DNA replication.

It shows for the first time how a key cell regulatory protein called p21 “trumps” its rivals and shuts down cell division while DNA repairs take place.

In healthy cells, p21 binds strongly with Human Proliferating Cellular Nuclear Antigen (PCNA) to prevent the cells from making copies… read more

Video Feeds Follow Podcasting

December 8, 2004

With the success of podcasting — which lets anyone subscribe to and play back audio feeds on an iPod — the natural next step is technology that can do the same with video.

The Scientific Consensus on Climate Change

December 8, 2004

There is a scientific consensus on the reality of anthropogenic (human-caused) climate change, according to reports from several professional societies.

High school students win awards for nanotube, tomography projects

December 7, 2004

An invention that converts ocean wave energy into electricity and genetics research on breast cancer won top honors
in the 2004-05 Siemens Westinghouse Competition in Math, Science and Technology.

Other finalists included a team project studying singled-walled carbon nanotubes (SWNTs) sorting methods, and an individual studying non-contact noninvasive biological tissue imaging using Optical Coherence Tomography (OCT) sensors.

Siemens foundation

Siemens Westinghouse newsread more

Artificial cells take shape

December 7, 2004

Rockefeller University researchers have created synthetic cells — similar to bacteria — that cannot replicate or evolve but can churn out proteins for days.

These artificial protocells could be useful for drug production, as well as for advancing the quest to build artificial life from scratch.

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