science + technology news

A stretchable, foldable transparent electronic display

Uses include foldable/expandable screens for new classes of smartphones and other personal electronic devices, electronics-integrated clothing, and wallpaper-like lighting
September 25, 2013

ucla_foldable_electronics

Imagine an electronic display nearly as clear as a window, or a curtain that illuminates a room, or a smartphone screen that doubles in size, stretching like rubber,  and all of these being made from the same material.

Researchers from UCLA’s Henry Samueli School of Engineering and Applied Science have developed a transparent, elastic organic light-emitting device, or OLED, that could one day make all… read more

A ‘student-centered’ approach to science education

October 18, 2012

(Credit: iStockphoto)

A group of educational researchers at Florida State University are drawing widespread attention after their paper measuring the superior results of a more “student-centered” approach to teaching science was published in the pre-eminent journal Science.

The stakes are extraordinarily high, so it is critical that the United States find more effective ways of teaching the so-called STEM fields (science, technology, engineering, mathematics) in K-12 classrooms, said the paper’s… read more

A super antioxidant based on material used in vehicle catalytic converters

Could help treat traumatic brain injury, cardiac arrest, and Alzheimer’s patients, guard against radiation-induced side effects suffered by cancer patients, perhaps even slow the effects of aging
October 22, 2013

rice_antioxidants

Scientists at Rice University are enhancing the natural antioxidant properties of cerium oxide, used in vehicle catalytic converters, to make it useful for medical applications.

Rice chemist Vicki Colvin led a team that created small, uniform spheres of cerium oxide and gave them a thin coating of fatty oleic acid to make them biocompatible.

The researchers say their discovery has… read more

A super-high-resolution snapshot of RNA folding

Could lead to future discoveries in basic biology, gene expression, RNA viruses, and disease
November 4, 2016

This matrix of the RNA folding pathway shows how the transcription length and nucleotide positions change over time. (Nucleotide position is along the x-axis; transcription length is along the y-axis.) Each pixel in the matrix is a piece of information about the structure of the RNA molecules. (credit: Northwestern University)

Northwestern University engineers have invented a tool to make a super-high-resolution representation of RNA folding as it is being synthesized. It could potentially lead to future discoveries in basic biology, gene expression, RNA viruses, and disease.

Made up of long chains of nucleotides, RNA is responsible for many tasks in the cellular environment, including making proteins, transporting amino acids, gene expression, and carrying messages between DNA and… read more

A ‘super-resolution’ microscope for nanostructures

May 1, 2013

A new type of super-resolution optical microscopy takes a high-resolution image (at right) of graphite "nanoplatelets" about 100 nanometers wide. The imaging system, called saturated transient absorption microscopy, or STAM, uses a trio of laser beams and represents a practical tool for biomedical and nanotechnology research. (Weldon School of Biomedical Engineering, Purdue University)

Researchers have found a way to see synthetic nanostructures and molecules, using a new type of super-resolution optical microscopy that does not require fluorescent dyes, representing a practical tool for biomedical and nanotechnology research.

“Super-resolution optical microscopy has opened a new window into the nanoscopic world,” said Ji-Xin Cheng, an associate professor of biomedical engineering and chemistry at Purdue University.

Conventional… read more

A super-resolution window into the center of a cell

October 11, 2013

Focal adhesions and actin-jpeg

A new microscopic technique that can see tiny structures inside the “control center” of the cell for the first time has been developed by researchers at Queen Mary University of London,

It represents a major advance for cell biologists because it will allow them to investigate structures deep inside the cell, such as viruses, bacteria, and parts of the nucleus in depth.

Recent advances in… read more

A super-stretchable yarn made of graphene

June 25, 2014

Strong, stretchable fibers made of graphene oxide can be knotted like yarn (credit: Terrones group/Penn State)

A simple, scalable method of making strong, stretchable graphene oxide fibers that are easily scrolled into yarns and have strengths approaching that of Kevlar is possible, according to Penn State and Shinshu University, Japan, researchers.

“We found this graphene oxide fiber was very strong, much better than other carbon fibers,” said Mauricio Terrones, professor of physics, chemistry and materials science and engineering, Penn… read more

A supercomputer to map the cosmos

January 22, 2013

eso_alma

A new petascale supercomputer built to study the universe is one of the fastest calculating machines in the world, and certainly the fastest of its kind.

The supercomputer is part of ALMA, a new radio telescope that is claimed to be “largest ground-based astronomical project in existence,” HPC Wire reports.

The ALMA (Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array and “soul” in Spanish) radio telescope is a… read more

A Supercomputer to Save Earth?

December 17, 2002

“Running 35.6 trillion calculations per second, the Earth Simulator is the fastest supercomputer in the world…According to the Department of Energy, the Earth Simulator has put American scientists at a 10- to 100- fold disadvantage in weather studies. And there are much deeper implications….”

A superconductor advance using ‘superatoms’

February 27, 2015

Superconductivity is the ability to transmit electricity without resistance (credit: USC/Original image/DC Comics Mystery in Space #56, December 1959)

USC scientists may have discovered a family of superconductor materials called superatoms that could lead to room-temperature supercomputers.

A team led by Vitaly Kresin, professor of physics at the USC Dornsife College of Letters, Arts and Sciences, found that aluminum “superatoms” — homogenous clusters of atoms — appear to form Cooper pairs of electrons (one of the key elements of superconductivity) at temperatures around 100 Kelvin.

Though 100… read more

A Superlens That Assembles Itself

July 23, 2009
(Nature)

Korean researchers have created nanoscale lenses with superhigh resolution, using a novel self-assembly method, that can be used for ultraviolet lithography for chips, for imaging objects too tiny for conventional lenses, and for capturing individual photons from a light-emitting nanostructure called a quantum dot.

A surreal timeline: When is ‘The Matrix’?

November 7, 2003

The Associated Press has compiled an estimated timeline of the war between men and machines.

2010-60 — Humans create humanoid drone robots with Artificial Intelligence to fill jobs as construction laborers and servants.

2075 — AI programs evolve and some robots began to resent their human overlords.

….

“This timeline is incredibly flawed. It fails to mention the fact that ‘The One’ has been inserted into… read more

A survey of new educational technologies and methods

September 20, 2010

Learning by playing video games, the effects of exercise on learning, and replacing text books with tablet computers are among the topics in a New York Times Magazine special issue on technology in education published on Sunday September 19.

A Survival Imperative for Space Colonization

July 17, 2007

In 1993, Princeton professor of astrophysics J. Richard Gott III computed with scientific certainty that humanity would survive at least 5,100 more years. Now he has issued a wake-up call: To ensure our long-term survival, we need to get a colony up and running on Mars within 46 years.

A synthetic creation story

May 25, 2010

With last week’s announcement of the “chemical synthesis of a living organism,” what Craig Venter and his colleagues have achieved is not so much a “synthesis of life” as a semi-synthetic recreation of what we currently deem life to be, says Phillip Ball, consultant editor for Nature.

“‘Life’ in biology, rather like ‘force’ in physics, is a term carried over from a time when scientists thought quite differently, when… read more

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