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Understanding the science for tomorrow: myth and reality

January 3, 2012

Understanding the science for tomorrow

In 24 video lectures on Understanding the Science for Tomorrow: Myth and Reality, Jeffrey C. Grossman, a research scientist and professor at University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and MIT, presents a “scientifically accurate and enlightening survey of today’s most advanced research” in fields such as engineering, biology, chemistry, and theoretical physics, including nanotechnology, quantum computing, genetic engineering, and AI.

Techno hits basic beat

January 7, 2004
Complexity of nine musical genres

Physicists have quantified differences in the patterns of various musical genres and their correlations to subjective, qualitative musical aspects of these genres by using a technique called detrended fluctuation analysis (DFA). DFA has been used to study complicated signals in economic, genetic and heartbeat data.

The method produces a number, “alpha,” that quantifies the complexity of patterns in a signal, in this case, the volume of music. Western classical… read more

Self-assembling computer chips

March 17, 2010

MIT researchers have developed a new technique that may lead to shrinking chip features, using chain-like self-assembling molecules that arrange themselves into complex patterns to create desired patterns.

The method uses electron-beam lithography (which is more precise than conventional optical lithography) to create patterns of tiny posts that become “hitching posts” to which the molecules can attach themselves and spontaneously assume the desired pattern.

More info:… read more

More-Efficient Thermoelectrics

July 25, 2008

Ohio State University researchers have doubled the efficiency of a common thermoelectric material (a type of semiconductor that converts heat into electricity), making it more practical for generating electricity from waste heat such as that produced in power plants and car engines.

The improved efficiency could translate into a 10 percent increase in the fuel economy of cars if the devices are used to replace alternators in automobiles, by… read more

How to Shrink a Carbon Nanotube

December 1, 2006

A research group has devised a way to control the diameter of a carbon nanotube — down to essentially zero nanometers.

This useful new ability, designed by scientists from the University of California at Berkeley and Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, may help carbon nanotubes become more easily incorporated into new technologies.

A Real-Life Debate on Free Expression in a Cyberspace City

January 16, 2004

A debate over free expression and ethical behavior in online worlds is reverberating in the real one.

Massively multiplayer online role-playing games now regularly attract a million or more Americans. Sims Online, Everquest and others, where the border between fantasy and reality is increasingly blurry, the games have become more than simply a source of entertainment. They are also a gateway to a complex social network that takes on… read more

HP Demos Rollup Flexible Displays

March 26, 2010

HP demos rollup display

HP’s new production method called Self-Aligned Imprint Lithography (SAIL) will streamline production and reduce cost.

Nanoparticles + light = dead tumor cells

July 30, 2008

Medical physicists at the University of Virginia have created a novel way to kill tumor cells using quantum dots and light.

Upon exposure to high doses of radiation, the dots become luminescent and emit light that triggers the cancer-killing activity of Photofrin. The only photosensitizer currently approved by the FDA, Photofrin is absorbed by cancer cells and upon exposure to light becomes active and kills cells.

In theory,… read more

Crystal printing promises flexible electronics

December 13, 2006

A method for growing organic semiconducting crystals onto a surface could lead to better flexible electronic devices and video displays.

The new “block printing” technique can grow individual crystals on top of a surface previously patterned with metal electrodes. This provides a cheaper and simpler way to create circuitry on a surface.

Nanotech spy eyes life inside the cell

February 2, 2004

Gold nanoparticles are giving an unprecedented picture of the chemical and physical activity in cells.

The “nano-cameras” are able to image individual viruses in living cells for the first time, at an astonishing resolution of about 30 nanometers.

Picking our brains: Can we make a conscious machine?

April 7, 2010

Research projects trying to create artificial consciousness include the Intelligent Distribution Agent (IDA), built in 2003 by Stan Franklin at the University of Memphis in Tennessee, which assigns sailors in the US navy to new jobs when they finish a tour of duty; and a humanoid robot developed by Owen Holland’s team at the University of Sussex, UK, based on the assumption that robot with a body that is very… read more

Obscura demonstrates Minority Report display

August 6, 2008

Obscura Digital has released a video of a “multi-touch hologram” technolgy that shows a man interacting with holographic images projected before him, moving them around and resizing them much as you would on Microsoft’s Surface. The product is dubbed VisionAir.

Microbe found in California mine could be smallest life form yet

December 25, 2006

Microbes measuring about 200 nanometers wide — the size of large viruses, which scientists consider lifeless because they cannot reproduce on their own — have been found.

The discovery could prove that life in the universe is not unique to Earth, but an inherent property of matter.

New automated tomography imaging process speeds up whole-brain mapping

January 18, 2012

STP tomography

Serial Two-Photon Tomography (STP tomography), a new technology developed by neuroscientists at Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory (CSHL) and MIT, significantly speeds up the process of acquiring highly detailed anatomical images of whole brains. Until now, the process has been painstakingly slow and available only to a handful of highly specialized research teams.

“The new technology should greatly facilitate the systematic study of neuroanatomy in mouse… read more

Talking to bacteria

February 12, 2004

Scientists have genetically engineered bacteria to “talk” to each other in a new language, bringing us one step closer to turning cells into tiny robots that we can control by flooding them with chemicals.

Bacteria already communicate with each other by sending out chemical signals, in response to stress, for example, causing them to switch on genes in neighboring cells that change their behavior.

“You could use this… read more

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