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A Database for Disease

October 16, 2006

A newly developed genetic “roadmap” promises to streamline the drug discovery process. Called the Connectivity Map, this public database matches drug compounds with diseased cells and the processes occurring within them.

At any point in time, some genes in a cell are expressed, or “on,” while others are not. And a cell’s particular profile of activity is known as its gene-expression signature. When cells are exposed to a drug,… read more

Moore’s Law doesn’t work for solar cells

July 28, 2008

Contrary to Al Gore’s assertion of Moore’s law-type cost reductions for solar cells, the price-performance of photovoltaic solar electric cells is not increasing as rapidly.

Blood could generate body repair kit

December 1, 2003

A small company in London, UK, says it can turn white blood cells into cells capable of regenerating damaged or diseased tissues. This could transform the treatment of everything from heart disease to Parkinson’s.

Its “miracle” hinges on an antibody that binds to a receptor on the cell surface and allegedly triggers “retrodifferentiation.”

Spin liquids: an exotic quantum state of matter

August 16, 2011

Anti-ferromagnetic order (upper) compared to a spin liquid phase (lower). In an anti-ferromagnet, the spins are anti-aligned. A spin liquid has no order and the spins can be viewed as bobbing about like water molecules in liquid water (credit: E. Edwards)

Researchers at the Joint Quantum Institute (JQI) in College Park, Maryland, and colleagues, have uncovered evidence for a long-sought-after quantum state of matter: a spin liquid.

The researchers studied what happens when “frustration” (ensembles of interacting components that cannot settle into a state that minimizes each interaction) occurs in materials with a hexagonal (six-sided) unit cell lattice.

These atoms interact via their respective spins. The… read more

Smallest superconductor promises cool electronics

March 31, 2010

Ohio University researchers have made four-molecule-long nanowires — the smallest superconducting structure yet reported.

The nanowires achieve two objectives of engineers trying to maintain exponential growth in the power of electronics: making components smaller and making them produce less waste heat.

The nanoscopic wires were made by placing a mixture of a large organic molecule and a salt of the metal gallium. The molecules in the mixture then… read more

Researchers make important advancement in unraveling mysteries of fusion energy

October 26, 2006

University of Nevada researchers have used a plasma confinement system that can generate 100-nanosecond pulses exceeding 20 million amps to create the microscopic effects that cause inefficiencies limiting the conversion of electrical energy required for implosion energy.

New technique to compress light could open doors for optical communications

July 31, 2008

Scientists at the University of California, Berkeley, have devised a way to squeeze light into tighter spaces (on the order of 10 nanometers), potentially opening doors to new technology in the fields of optical communications, miniature lasers and optical computers.

Light ‘frozen’ in its tracks

December 11, 2003

Harvard University researchers have stopped light with all its photons intact for the first time by firing a short burst of red laser light into a gas of hot rubidium atoms.

This is then “frozen” with the help of two control beams. The light in the control beams interacts with the rubidium atoms to create layers that alternately transmit and reflect the pulse.

As the signal tries to… read more

Invisibility cloak that generates virtual images gets closer to realization

April 9, 2010

Researchers at Southeast University in Nanjing, China have designed a metamaterial that not only makes an object invisible, but also generates one or more virtual images in its place.

Because it doesn’t simply display the background environment to a viewer, this kind of optical device could have applications that go beyond a normal invisibility cloak.

Two nerve cells in direct contact

November 7, 2006

Scientists at the Max Planck Institute for Neurobiology in Martinsried near Munich (Germany) have been able to show how two nerve cells communicate with each other from different hemispheres in the visual centre. This astoundingly simple circuit diagram could at a later date provide a model for algorithms to be deployed in technical systems.

An Artificial Pancreas

August 8, 2008
(Medtronic, Inc.)

Scientists at the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation are pairing continuous glucose monitors with insulin pumps to create an artificial pancreas for people with diabetes.

Sony’s Humanoid Robot Learns How to Jog

December 18, 2003

Sony has demonstrated a walking robot that can smoothly simulate running. The breakthrough required sophisticated features in the robot’s joints and CPU to keep its balance and manage delicate maneuvers.

Study identifies small molecules mimicking key brain growth factor

April 20, 2010

Stanford University School of Medicine researchers have identified several small molecules that mimic BDNF, a key protein in the brain, a discovery that could open the door to new therapies for a variety of brain disorders.

BDNF belongs to a family of proteins called nerve growth factors, which are critical during development of the nervous system. When a growth factor binds to its receptor on the surface of a… read more

NewScientist special report features predictions by leading scientists

November 21, 2006

New Scientist’s Special Report, “Brilliant Minds Forecast the Next 50 Years,” includes predictions on what the next 50 years will bring from leading scientists, including Francis Collins, Edward O. Wilson, Ray Kurzweil, Steven Pinker, “Oliver Sacks, Dan Dennett, Stephen Wolfram, Bill Joy, Jaron Lanier, Rodney Brooks, and… read more

Scientists to study synthetic telepathy

August 14, 2008

A team of UC Irvine scientists has been awarded a $4 million grant from the U.S. Army Research Office to study the neuroscientific and signal-processing foundations of “synthetic telepathy.”

The brain-computer interface would use a noninvasive brain imaging technology like electroencephalography to let people communicate thoughts to each other.

The research could lead to a communication system that would benefit soldiers on the battlefield and paralysis and stroke… read more

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