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Simulating society at the global scale

May 10, 2011

An initiative to determine the next scientific or technological breakthrough for humankind is being unveiled by the EU via the Future and Emerging Technologies (FET) program at the European Future Technologies Conference in Budapest.

There are six candidates in the running; in 2012 two will be granted funding for the next decade. Among the six contenders is the futurICT (also called “Futurist”) initiative. The group… read more

Patching the Body With Fabric From Protein

June 21, 2005

Researchers are working to create replacement human tissue from a naturally occurring protein, elastin.

In animal studies financed by the Army, Dr. Kenton Gregory, director of the Oregon Medical Laser Center, has succeeded in patching what would usually be fatal wounds to the gastrointestinal tract and other organs with living tissue that is accepted by the body and that eventually becomes part of the organ itself.

“We are… read more

Nanotubes Help Advance Brain Tumor Research

January 17, 2008

The potential of carbon nanotubes to diagnose and treat brain tumors is being explored through a partnership between NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory and City of Hope.

They plan to functionalize and attach inhibitory RNA to nanotubes and deliver it to specific areas of the brain. It could also be used to treat stroke, trauma, neurodegenerative disorders and other disease processes in the brain.

Nanotech: Big Dreams, Small Steps

June 24, 2002

Diagnostic tools and sensors for bioscience and materials to enhance the fabrication of complex materials (such as gene chips) are the most likely nantechnology products to emerge in the next five years, according to experts.These will followed by diagnostic technologies to help researchers better understand and measure nanoscale interactions, mainly in biotech, then nanotherapeutic devices that will carry stores of drugs through the blood stream, and further off, nanoscale electronics.

Stretched neutrinos could span the universe

June 10, 2009

The most massive quantum-mechanical superpositions of three different mass-energy states of “relic” neutrinos produced by the big bang may have slowed down, stretching them across the universe as it expanded, according to calculations by George Fuller and Chad Kishimoto of the University of California, San Diego.

‘Master switch’ gene for obesity and diabetes discovered

May 16, 2011

A gene linked to type 2 diabetes and cholesterol levels is in fact a “master regulator” gene that controls the behavior of other genes found within fat in the body, researchers at King’s College London and the University of Oxford have found.

The researchers examined over 20,000 genes in subcutaneous fat biopsies from 800 UK female twin volunteers.

They found an association… 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

Longest Piece of Synthetic DNA Yet

January 25, 2008

Researchers at the J. Craig Venter Institute have crafted a bacterial genome from scratch, moving one step closer to creating entirely synthetic life forms–living cells designed and built by humans to carry out a diverse set of tasks ranging from manufacturing biofuels to sequestering carbon dioxide.

They pieced together the genes of Mycoplasma genitalium, the smallest free-living bacterium that can be grown in the laboratory.

The final step… read more

It Slices! It Dices! Nanotube Struts Its Stuff

July 16, 2002

Nanotubes can be processed to acquire remarkable properties: fibers thinner than a human hair that can be woven as a cloth or into a 100-times stronger muscle, molecular-scale electronic circuits, low-cost TV displays, X-ray sources, heat sinks, and microscopic gears.

CT scan nearly as good as regular colonoscopy

June 17, 2009

By spotting 85 percent of polyps, CT scans offer a way to detect the precancerous growths in a way that is less invasive than a conventional colonoscopy, a European team of researchers reports.

Human Bone Contains Shock Absorbing ‘Glue’

July 21, 2005

Human bone has a form of ‘glue’ or adhesive that acts as a shock absorber to help bone during stress, University of California Santa Barbara researchers have announced.

This “molecular shock absorber,” studied at a nano-scale molecular level using an atomic force microscope, is similar to that discovered in abalone shell. The discovery of these molecules may lead to better treatment of bone diseases. As Dr. Daniel Morse explains,… read more

DNA construction kit self-assembles 3D crystals

January 30, 2008

Northwestern University and Brookhaven National Laboratory researchers have demonstrated a way to program strands of DNA to assemble nanoparticles into 3D structures, using squid-like gold nanoparticles with “arms” made of DNA.

The discovery points towards a new way to engineer materials from the bottom up. Previously, only flat shapes have been assembled in this way.


August 6, 2002

On July 21, Edge held a meeting, REBOOTING CIVILIZATION II, concerned with information processing and computation as central metaphors.

It included leading scientists commenting on various “universes”: physicist Seth Lloyd (the computational universe), physicist Paul Steinhardt (the cyclic universe), physicist Alan Guth (the inflationary universe), computer scientist Marvin Minsky (the emotional universe), and technologist Ray Kurzweil (the intelligent universe).

The text and… read more


June 25, 2009

Optogenetics combines genetic engineering, lasers, neurology and surgery to create a mechanism for easier and more effective direct control of groups of neurons in treating disorders such as Parkinson’s, chronic pain, and depression.

Quantum sensor tracked in human cells could aid drug discovery

May 26, 2011

Quantum Sensor

Researchers at the University of Melbourne School of Physics have encased a single atom in nanodiamond for use as a sensor to explore the nanoscale environment inside a living human cell.

The sensor is capable of detecting biological processes at a molecular level, such as the regulation of chemicals in and out of the cell. This can be used in the development of new drugs… read more

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