science + technology news

Nanotube 2001 [Event]

July 20, 2001

The International Workshop on the Science and Application of Nanotubes will be held in Potsdam, Germany, July 22-25, 2001.

The meeting is intended to facilitate informal interaction between theoretical and experimental scientists who are actively working in this field. To preserve an informal character and to avoid parallel sessions, the number of attendees will be limited to 140.

Topics receiving special attention include:

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    Digital critters mimic behavior of real life

    July 19, 2001

    Researchers are using computers to generate “digital organisms” that undergo evolutionary processes such as mutation and reproduction. As a result, they have overturned a long-standing assumption of evolutionary theory: that the faster a given species reproduces, the likelier it is to win a competition with another species for dominance of an ecosystem, according to an article today in the journal Nature.Wilke and his associates’ computer work suggests the opposite is… read more

    Atom laser-beam microscope

    July 17, 2001

    An atom laser-beam microscope that could have sharper vision while causing less damage to a sample than an electron microscope is being developed by physicists at the Ludwig-Maximilians University in Munich.

    The development of lenses and mirrors to sharpen atom laser beams might also improve technologies to build atomic-scale structures, similar to how an ink-jet printer writes text.
    Just as an optical laser beam is better than a light… read more

    ‘Nano-chip’ chipmaking products announced

    July 17, 2001

    “Nano-chip” chipmaking products were announced at the Semicon West trade show by Applied Materials.

    The new products will enable the development of advanced chips with design rules of 100-nm (0.10-micron) and below. They include new process module technologies and an atomic layer deposition chamber for its chemical vapor deposition equipment.

    Clever Wiring Harnesses Tiny Switches

    July 17, 2001

    Hewlett-Packard researchers are starting to tackle how to wire the tiny molecular switches together into useful devices.

    Two years ago, scientists at Hewlett-Packard and U.C.L.A. announced that they had created a custom-designed, carbon-based molecule called rotaxane that could act as a switch. A ring-shape structure slides up or down along the rest of the molecule, changing its electrical resistance. The switch mechanism consisted of rotaxane molecules between two crossed… read more

    The Next Small Thing

    July 15, 2001

    Scientists are re-creating our world in the realm of the intensely tiny. The potential payoff: denser hard drives, smaller chips, better medicine.
    Top research organizations within large companies and renowned universities are inventing the future: electronics as cheap and plentiful as bar codes on packaging; lightweight vests enmeshed with sensors could measure a person’s vital signs; analysis of a patient’s DNA could be done so quickly and precisely that designer… read more

    Smarter bomb bot

    July 14, 2001
    Police robot carries a mock suitcase<br />
bomb down a hallway

    A wheeled police robot that makes many tactical decisions on its own during potentially dangerous bomb-disablement or other law enforcement missions has been unveiled by researchers at Sandia National Laboratories.

    The Wolverine robot hardware was developed at Northrop Grumman’s REMOTEC unit; Sandia Labs added software.

    The Wolverine now incorporates some of the most challenging and commonly needed robotic tools and behaviors in police work, such… read more

    World’s highest-res display matches human eye’s acuity

    July 14, 2001
    A complicated data set displayed with a clarity unmatched by the HDTV images on either side (higher-res image here)

    A 20-million-pixels screen with the visual acuity of the human eye at 10 feet has been developed at Sandia National Laboratories. It is also the fastest in the world in rendering complex scientific data sets, says program leader Philip Heermann.

    The Sandia images are created through massively parallel imaging, using outputs of 64 computers and splitting data into 16 screens arranged as a 4 by 4… read more

    Biocompatible silicon developed

    July 14, 2001

    Silicon can be developed into a biocompatible and biodegradable material that could lead to smaller, smarter and more-interactive implants in the human body. The secret: “porous” silicon ­– bulk silicon that has been deliberately riddled with nanometer-sized holes.
    Rather than having to shield a silicon-based device from body tissues and the bloodstream, it is now theoretically possible to construct silicon-based devices that are genuinely “bioactive.”

    The surface of a… read more

    The physics of the Web

    July 14, 2001

    Statistical mechanics is offering new insights into the structure and dynamics of the Internet, the World Wide Web and other complex interacting systems.

    The challenge for physicists is to unearth the signatures of order from the apparent chaos of millions of nodes and links.

    Findings include:

    * The Web is a scale-free network whose links follow a power-law distribution, which implies that there is an abundance… read more

    Nanotubes turned into superconductors

    July 13, 2001

    Scientists have turned the world’s smallest nanotubes into superconductors.

    Researchers at Hong Kong University of Science and Technology demonstrated that the world’s smallest nanotubes appear to reach superconductivity at temperatures below 20 degrees Kelvin.

    Superconducting nanotubes could one day be used in nanoscale sensors and nanoelectronic devices. Their lack of electrical resistance could mitigate one of nanoelectronics’ anticipated problems: the buildup of heat from tightly… read more

    Scientists Make Embryos for Cells

    July 11, 2001

    Human embryos have been created in the lab for the sole purpose of harvesting their stem cells for the first time.

    Until now, scientists had derived stem cells only from excess embryos donated from infertility treatments. In this case, the scientists approached donors and informed them that their eggs and sperm would be used to develop embryos for stem-cell research.

    The work, conducted by researchers at the Jones… read more

    The making of Final Fantasy

    July 11, 2001

    Final Fantasy’s hyperreal animation was achieved by Honolulu-based Square USA, using Maya for animation authoring and RenderMan for rendering.

    Square animators used four Silicon Graphics M 2000 series servers, four Silicon Graphics Onyx2 visualization systems, and 167 Octane workstations.

    Special challenges — realistic flowing hair and follicles, the physics of how cloth wrinkles and drapes as the body wearing the fabric moves, the fluidity… read more

    New Markets for Biotech

    July 10, 2001

    The next big producers of biotech crops could very well be nations in the developing world. Countries such as China and India are now gearing up to commercialize dozens of genetically modified plants in the next few years.

    But some developing nations, concerned that agricultural exports could be negatively affected by existing or future bans on plant biotech in Europe and elsewhere, are putting the brakes on research.

    Dispute over number of human genes

    July 10, 2001

    Two rival teams that cracked the human genome may have underestimated the number of human genes, according to a new computer analysis.

    “There are probably between 65,000 and 75,000 transcriptional units,” said Ohio State University’s Dr Yuan.

    A transcriptional unit is a length of DNA that shows strong evidence of being a gene but which requires future verification.

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