science + technology news

Science’s Elusive Realm: Life’s Little Mysteries

April 27, 2001

The mysterious realm of the mesoscale, a region between molecules and living cells, where proteins fold, charged ions move through cell membranes and messenger molecules read DNA instructions in the cell nucleus, has remained largely inaccessible.

Now work has begun under the auspices of the Institute for Complex Adaptive Matter (ICAM), a new and independent unit of the Los Alamos National Laboratory and the University of California at Berkeley,… read more

Science’s greatest questions revealed

July 6, 2005

A special, free news feature in Science magazine explores 125 big questions that face scientific inquiry over the next quarter-century.

The questions include:

What Is the Universe Made Of?

What is the Biological Basis of Consciousness?

Why Do Humans Have So Few Genes?

To What Extent Are Genetic Variation and Personal Health Linked?

How Far Can We Push Chemical Self-Assembly?

What Are the… read more

Science’s most powerful computer tackles first questions

April 9, 2009

The first research projects for the Jaguar supercomputer (at 1.64 petaflops, second only to the 1.7 petaflop Roadrunner), located at Oak Ridge National Laboratory, are focused on 21 environmental issues, such as climate models and synthesizing biofuels from waste plant material.

Scientific American 50

November 30, 2006

The 2006 SCIENTIFIC AMERICAN 50 special issue, December 2006, profiles the technology leaders of the year.

Scientific Discovery Moves Racetrack Memory Closer to Reality

December 24, 2010

Researchers  today revealed a previously unknown aspect of key physics inside Racetrack memory — a new technology design which stands to improve memory capabilities within mobile phones, laptop computers and business-class servers. This new class of memory could enable devices to store much more information — as much as a factor of 100 times greater — while using much less energy than today’s designs.

The Racetrack memory… read more

Scientific Method Man

September 2, 2004

The “verifier” method — used by psychologist Gordon Rugg to reveal the Voynich manuscript as a hoax — may revolutionize the scientific method and help solve seemingly unsolvable mysteries, such as the origins of the universe or the cause of Alzheimer’s disease.

The new method detects erroneous reasoning based on pattern-matching, bias, lack of familiarity with other fields of science, differing definitions of key terms, and other factors. It… read more

Scientific world gathers data on ‘nuclear test’

October 10, 2006

Scientists around the world are taking a cautious wait-and-see attitude after North Korea claimed to have successfully conducted an underground nuclear test on Monday.

Only careful analysis of data returned by seismic or atmospheric sensors will determine whether the blast was a success or a damp squib, they say. Nor could they rule out the possibility of a scam, in which North Korea blew up a huge stock of… read more

Scientist develops programme to understand alien languages

October 17, 2008

John Elliott of Leeds Metropolitan University has developed a program to compare the syntax of an alien language to 60 different languages in the world.

If aliens are much smarter than us, there would a lot of words packed into phrases (a measure of ability to process multiple ideas), he says, and the program should also be able to break a language up into crucial words such as nouns… read more

Scientist Finds the Beginnings of Morality in Primate Behavior

March 22, 2007

UPDATED 8/22/2010: Harvard confirms misconduct by morality researcher

The brain has a genetically shaped mechanism for acquiring moral rules, similar to the neural machinery for learning language, according to Harvard evolutionary biologist Marc Hauser.

Some animals are surprisingly sensitive to the plight of others. Chimpanzees, who cannot swim, have drowned in zoo moats trying to save others. Given the chance to get food by pulling a… read more

Scientist postulates 4 aspects of ‘humaniqueness’ differentiating human and animal cognition

February 18, 2008

A Harvard University scientist claims four key differences separate human and animal cognition.

The four novel components of human cognition are the abilities to combine and recombine different types of information and knowledge to gain new understanding; to apply the same “rule” or solution to one problem to a different and new situation; to create and easily understand symbolic representations of computation and sensory input; and to detach modes… read more

Scientist proposes adhesive Spider-Man suit

April 30, 2007

In an upcoming paper, Nicola Pugno, a professor of structural engineering at the Polytechnic University in Turin, Italy, discusses formulas for fashioning carbon nanotubes into superadhesive gloves and boots that could be used to create a Spider-Man-like suit in the near future.

He also outlines a theory for using carbon nanotubes to create large invisible cables that could act as human-strength cobwebs.

Scientist: Holographic television to become reality

October 7, 2008

University of Arizona scientists have developed the first updatable three-dimensional display with memory.

The researchers produced displays that can be erased and rewritten in a matter of minutes. They believe it could reach the market within five to ten years.

Scientist: Human brain could be replicated in 10 years

September 8, 2009

Inhibitory neurons in the neocortex (Blue Brain Project, Ecole Polytechnique Federale de Lausanne)

A model that replicates the functions of the human brain is feasible in 10 years according to neuroscientist Professor Henry Markram of the Brain Mind Institute in Switzerland.

“A brain model will sit on a massive supercomputer and serve as a kind of educational and diagnostic service to society,” he said. “As the industrial revolution in science progresses we will generate more data than anyone can track or any… read more

Scientists a step nearer to creating artificial life

September 10, 2007

Enrico Fermi researchers have made simple cells comprising a fatty membrane containing just 36 enzymes and purified ribosomes. The primitive cells are capable of manufacturing protein from one gene.

The ultimate aim is to build a living thing from the bottom up.

Scientists able to zoom in and out as the brain processes sound

Mouse research could lead to better treatments for hearing loss
August 18, 2014

A two-photon microscopy image showing a calcium sensor (green), the nuclei of neurons (red) and supporting cells called astrocytes (magenta). (Credit: John Issa/Johns Hopkins Medicine)

Researchers at Johns Hopkins have mapped a new technique for watching auditory processing in the brains of mice as brain cells lit up when the mice listened to tones and one another’s calls.

The results, which represent a step toward better understanding how our own brains process language, appear online July 31 in the journal Neuron.

In the past, researchers often studied sound processing… read more

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