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10 emerging technologies in 2012 (MIT list)

10 emerging technologies in 2012 (MIT list) | Amazing Science | Scoop.it

The TR10 list represents the 10 most important technological milestones reached in the last 12 months. To compile the list, Technology Review selects the technologies we believe will have the greatest impact on the shape of innovation in years to come.

 

This impact can take very different forms: one technology points toward a method of discovering better battery materials for mobile devices and electric vehicles; another offers a new way for entrepreneurs to fund the commercialization of emerging technologies. But in all cases, these are breakthroughs with the potential to transform the world.

 

Technologies include: Egg Stem Cells, Ultra-Efficient Solar Cells, Light-Field Photography, Solar Microgrids, 3-D Transistors, Sparce Fourier Transform, Nanopore Sequencing, Crowdfunding, High-Speed Materials, and Facebook Timeline.

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Bill Gates wants to reinvent the toilet: Solar-powered, hydrogen and electricity producing

Bill Gates wants to reinvent the toilet: Solar-powered, hydrogen and electricity producing | Amazing Science | Scoop.it

Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates has launched a search for a new toilet better suited to developing countries to help prevent disease and death. "Toilets are extremely important for public health, and the flush toilets we use in the wealthy world are irrelevant, impractical and impossible for 40 per cent of the global population, because they often don't have access to water, and sewers, electricity, and sewage treatment systems", Gates said.

 

The recently organized Toilet Fair was described as a swirl of about 200 inventors, designers, investors, partners and others passionate about creating safe, effective, and inexpensive waste management systems.

 

Universities from Britain, Canada, and the United States were awarded prizes in a competition launched a year ago challenging inventors to come up with a better toilet.

 

First place went to the California Institute of Technology for designing a solar-powered toilet that generates hydrogen gas and electricity.

 

Loughborough University came in second for a toilet that transforms waste into biological charcoal, minerals, and clean water.

Third place went to the University of Toronto for a toilet that sanitises human waste and recovers minerals and water.

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New technology produces up to 50 fold more electricity from wastewater using microbial fuel cells

New technology produces up to 50 fold more electricity from wastewater using microbial fuel cells | Amazing Science | Scoop.it

Engineers at Oregon State University have made a breakthrough in the performance of microbial fuel cells that can produce electricity directly from wastewater, opening the door to a future in which waste treatment plants not only will power themselves, but will sell excess electricity. The new technology developed at OSU can now produce 10 to 50 more times the electricity, per volume, than most other approaches using microbial fuel cells, and 100 times more electricity than some.

 

Researchers say this could eventually change the way that wastewater is treated all over the world, replacing the widely used “activated sludge” process that has been in use for almost a century. The new approach would produce significant amounts of electricity while effectively cleaning the wastewater.

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Scientists develop 'bionic eye' implants which could restore near-normal sight to the blind

Scientists develop 'bionic eye' implants which could restore near-normal sight to the blind | Amazing Science | Scoop.it

Researchers have dramatically boosted the performance of retinal implants by cracking a “code” that communicates visual signals to the brain. The code consists of specific patterns of electrical pulses. By incorporating it into their device, the scientists came close to restoring normal vision in totally blind mice lacking any light-sensitive cells.

 

Tests showed that the animals were able to discern facial features and track images with their eyes. A reconstruction based on electrical signals from the implant showed recognisable features of a baby’s face. In contrast, a standard retinal implant without the new encoder produced a confused pattern of bright and dark spots.

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The biological impacts of the Fukushima nuclear accident in Japan on the pale grass blue butterfly

The biological impacts of the Fukushima nuclear accident in Japan on the pale grass blue butterfly | Amazing Science | Scoop.it

The collapse of the Fukushima Dai-ichi Nuclear Power Plant caused a massive release of radioactive materials to the environment. A prompt and reliable system for evaluating the biological impacts of this accident on animals has not been available.The accident caused physiological and genetic damage to the pale grass blue Zizeeria maha, a common lycaenid butterfly in Japan. The F1 offspring from the first-voltine females showed more severe abnormalities, which were inherited by the F2 generation. Adult butterflies collected in September 2011 showed more severe abnormalities than those collected in May. Similar abnormalities were experimentally reproduced in individuals from a non-contaminated area by external and internal low-dose exposures. Conclusion: the artificial radionuclides released from the Fukushima Nuclear Power Plant caused a variety of physiological and genetic damage to this species.

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Surprising finding: Tree's leaves genetically different from its roots

Surprising finding: Tree's leaves genetically different from its roots | Amazing Science | Scoop.it

Black cottonwood trees (Populus trichocarpa) can clone themselves to produce offspring that are connected to their parents by the same root system. Now, after the first genome-wide analysis of a tree, it turns out that the connected clones have many genetic differences, even between tissues from the top and bottom of a single tree. The variation within a tree is as great as the variation across unrelated trees. Such somatic mutations — those that occur in cells other than sperm or eggs — are familiar to horticulturalists, who have long bred new plant varieties by grafting mutant branches onto ‘normal’ stocks. But until now, no one has catalogued the total number of somatic mutations in an individual plant.

 

In one tree, the top buds of the parent and offspring were genetically closer to each other than to their respective roots or lower branches. In another tree, the top bud was closer to the reference cottonwood genome than to any of the other tissues from the same individual.The tissue-specific mutations affected mainly genes involved in cell death, immune responses, metabolism, DNA binding and cell communication. Olds think that this may be because many of the mutations are harmful, and the tree reacts by destroying the mutated tissues or altering its metabolic pathways and the way it controls its genes, which leads to further mutations.

 

The findings have parallels to cancer studies, which have recently shown that separate parts of the same tumor can evolve independently and build up distinct genetic mutations, meaning that single biopsies give only a narrow view of the tumor’s diversity.

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The highest possible resolution for color images — about 100,000 dots per inch — has been achieved

The highest possible resolution for color images — about 100,000 dots per inch — has been achieved | Amazing Science | Scoop.it

Images made up of metal-nanostructure pixels could be used for security or optical data storage. Each pixel in these ultra-resolution images is made up of four nanoscale posts capped with silver and gold nanodisks. By varying the diameters of the structures (which are tens of nanometers) and the spaces between them, it’s possible to control what color of light they reflect. Researchers at the Agency for Science, Technology and Research (A*STAR) in Singapore used this effect, called structural color, to come up with a full palette of colors. As a proof of principle, they printed a 50×50-micrometer version of the ‘Lena’ test image, a richly colored portrait of a woman that is commonly used as a printing standard.

 

Joel Yang, a materials scientist A*STAR, who led the study, first noticed the effect when looking at metal nanoparticles under a light microscope. “We saw that we could control the colors, from red to blue, by controlling the size of the particles,” he says. Depending on its size, a metal nanostructure resonates with a particular wavelength of light — much like a guitar string resonates at a particular frequency depending on its length. Light at the right wavelength causes electrons on the surface of the metal nanostructure to resonate, and this determines the color the structure reflects. This effect, called plasmon resonance, is well known to physicists. Yang is the first to come up with a way to take advantage of it to print high-resolution, full-color images, says Jay Guo, an engineer at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, who was not involved with the work.

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Daily aspirin reduces cancer risk and slows its spread, study with 100,000 patients confirms

Daily aspirin reduces cancer risk and slows its spread, study with 100,000 patients confirms | Amazing Science | Scoop.it

Taking a low dose of aspirin every day may reduce the risk of cancer and slow the spread of the disease, according to a study that followed the health of more than 100,000 patients.

 

Research by a team at the American Cancer Society in Atlanta found the overall risk of dying from cancer was 16% lower among people who took a daily aspirin pill for up to 11 years, with deaths from gastrointestinal cancers, such as oesophageal, stomach and colorectal cancers, falling by around 40%. Deaths from other cancers fell by 12% on average.

 

Scientists are unsure how aspirin prevents cancer, but it may act by damping down inflammation in the body, or slowing the buildup of mutations in cells that ultimately turn cancerous. The drug appears to slow the spread of cancer around the body by preventing cancer cells from sticking to blood platelets.

 

Despite the evidence that regular low doses of aspirin – 75 mg a day – can keep cancer at bay, many doctors believe it is too early to encourage widespread use of the drug to prevent the disease. One of the most serious side effects of aspirin is damage to the stomach lining. This can cause internal bleeding, which in rare cases is fatal, especially in those aged 70 and older.

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Mass of ants behaving like an "intelligent" fluid

Fire ants use their claws to grip diverse surfaces, including each other. As a result of their mutual adhesion and large numbers, ant colonies flow like inanimate fluids. This film shows how ants behave similarly to the spreading of drops, the capillary rise of menisci, and gravity-driven flow down a wall. By emulating the flow of fluids, ant colonies can remain united under stressful conditions.

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Research on language gene seeks to uncover the origin of the singing mouse

Research on language gene seeks to uncover the origin of the singing mouse | Amazing Science | Scoop.it

Singing mice (scotinomys teguina) are from the tropical cloud forests in the mountains of Costa Rica; and, as their name hints, they use song to communicate. University of Texas at Austin researcher Steven Phelps is examining these unconventional rodents to gain insights into the genes that contribute to the unique singing behavior—information that could help scientists understand and identify genes that affect language in humans.

 

The song of the singing mouse song is a rapid-fire string of high-pitched chirps called trills used mostly used by males in dominance displays and to attract mates. Up to 20 chirps are squeaked out per second, sounding similar to birdsong to untrained ears. But unlike birds, the mice generally stick to a song made up of only a single note. Most rodents make vocalizations at a frequency much too high for humans to hear. But other rodents typically don't vocalize to the extent of singing mice, which use the song to communicate over large distances in the wild.

 

What could cause this kind of song expression genetically? Center stage is a special gene called FOXP2. FOXP2 is famous because it's the only gene that's been implicated in human speech disorders. Having at least one mutated copy of the gene has been associated with a host of language problems in humans, from difficulty understanding grammar to an inability to make the precise mouth movements needed to speak a clear sentence. The FOXP2 gene is remarkably similar overall between singing mice, lab mice and humans. Recent research has found that when an animal hears a song from the same species, neurons that carry FOXP2 become activated. So FOXP2 may play a role in integrating song information. Learning what activates FOXP2 and what genes are activated by it could provide clues into how outside stimuli affects gene expression and what genes are important in the understanding and integration of information.

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Hundred-Year Drought? Climate models predict dangerously low rainfall for the next several decades

Hundred-Year Drought? Climate models predict dangerously low rainfall for the next several decades | Amazing Science | Scoop.it

Until recently, many scientists spoke of climate change mainly as a “threat,” sometime in the future. But it is increasingly clear that we already live in the era of human-induced climate change, with a growing frequency of weather and climate extremes like heat waves, droughts, floods and fires.

 

Future precipitation trends, based on climate model projections for the coming fifth assessment from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, indicate that droughts of this length and severity will be commonplace through the end of the century unless human-induced carbon emissions are significantly reduced. Indeed, assuming business as usual, each of the next 80 years in the American West is expected to see less rainfall than the average of the five years of the drought that hit the region from 2000 to 2004.

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A third species of humans coexisted with Homo erectus and Homo habilis 2 million years ago

A third species of humans coexisted with Homo erectus and Homo habilis 2 million years ago | Amazing Science | Scoop.it

Researchers think they have found a new kid on the Paleolithic ‘block’ — a third species of humans coexisting with Homo erectus and Homo habilis almost 2 million years ago. Habilis, Erectus, say hello to your new ‘cousin,’ Homo rudolfensis. This latest thinking comes from the analysis of fossils discovered in Kenya. The researchers published their findings Thursday in the science journal Nature. Dr. Meave Leakey, of the famous paleontology family, led the Koobi Fora Research Project.

 

"The new fossils confirm the presence of two contemporary species of early Homo, in addition to Homo erectus, in the early Pleistocene of eastern Africa," the team has suggested.

 

Between 2007 and 2009, the team found three human fossils, which are from 1.78 to 1.95 million years old. The finds include a face, a complete lower jaw and part of a second lower jaw.

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Can 80 year old BCG TB Vaccine Stop Type 1 Diabetes?

Can 80 year old BCG TB Vaccine Stop Type 1 Diabetes? | Amazing Science | Scoop.it
A tiny phase 1 clinical trial suggests that repeated doses of the 80-year-old BCG tuberculosis vaccine may halt the abnormal immune responses behind type 1 diabetes, allowing insulin-producing cells to regenerate.

 

Over a decade ago, Denise Faustman, MD, PhD, and colleagues at Massachusetts General Hospital and Harvard Medical School showed that the BCG vaccine worked in diabetic mice. By stimulating positive immune responses, the vaccine stopped the haywire immune responses that cause diabetes. Once this happened, the animals' insulin-making cells regenerated.

 

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How Google's Self-Driving Car Works

How Google's Self-Driving Car Works | Amazing Science | Scoop.it

Once a secret project, Google's autonomous vehicles are now out in the open, quite literally, with the company test-driving them on public roads and, on one occasion, even inviting people to ride inside one of the robot cars as it raced around a closed course.

 

Google's fleet of robotic Toyota Priuses has now logged more than 190,000 miles (about 300,000 kilometers), driving in city traffic, busy highways, and mountainous roads with only occasional human intervention. The project is still far from becoming commercially viable, but Google has set up a demonstration system on its campus, using driverless golf carts, which points to how the technology could change transportation even in the near future.

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Many new animal species discovered in sequestered underground cave thriving exclusively off sulfur bacteria

Many new animal species discovered in sequestered underground cave thriving exclusively off sulfur bacteria | Amazing Science | Scoop.it

In a cavernous underworld 100 meters beneath a soft limestone quarry in Ramle, Israel, scientists have found eight new animal species – seven of which are still thriving in the darkness below.

 

Researchers recently completed a comprehensive study on the species – whose habitat quarry workers discovered in 2006 – and have thus far given names to seven out of the eight animals inhabiting the area. Isolated for millions of years in a 40- meter-long hall in a 2.7-kilometer- long cave, the species have survived off of sulfur bacteria in their underground lake. The cave was concealed about 100 meters under the surface with no natural opening to the surface.

 

The only other cave in the world comparable to this isolated Israeli wonder is the Movile Cave in Romania, which has a similar groundwater system and is also sulfuric – essential for internal energy production in place of photosynthesis. The ecosystem in the Romanian cave, however, is larger, with many more species, but many of them also live outside the cave. They are not endemic to the cave. But in Israel, most or perhaps all are endemic to the cave.

 

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More trials, less errors - An effort to lower incorrect scientific claims through a new type of service

More trials, less errors - An effort to lower incorrect scientific claims through a new type of service | Amazing Science | Scoop.it

So many scientific studies are making incorrect claims that a new service has sprung up to fact-check reported findings by repeating the experiments.

 

A year-old Palo Alto, California, company, Science Exchange, announced on Tuesday its "Reproducibility Initiative," aimed at improving the trustworthiness of published papers. Scientists who want to validate their findings will be able to apply to the initiative, which will choose a lab to redo the study and determine whether the results match. The project sprang from the growing realization that the scientific literature - from social psychology to basic cancer biology - is riddled with false findings and erroneous conclusions, raising questions about whether such studies can be trusted. Not only are erroneous studies a waste of money, often taxpayers', but they also can cause companies to misspend time and resources as they try to invent drugs based on false discoveries.

 

Last year, Bayer Healthcare reported that its scientists could not reproduce some 75 percent of published findings in cardiovascular disease, cancer and women's health. In March, Lee Ellis of M.D. Anderson Cancer Center and C. Glenn Begley, the former head of global cancer research at Amgen, reported that when the company's scientists tried to replicate 53 prominent studies in basic cancer biology, hoping to build on them for drug discovery, they were able to confirm the results of only six.

 

The new initiative's 10-member board of prominent scientists will match investigators with a lab qualified to test their results, said Elizabeth Iorns, Science Exchange's co-founder and chief executive officer. The original lab would pay the second for its work. How much depends on the experiment's complexity and the cost of study materials, but should not exceed 20 percent of the original research study's costs. Iorns hopes government and private funding agencies will eventually fund replication to improve the integrity of scientific literature.

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CERN physicists create record-breaking subatomic soup with highest man-made temperature ever

CERN physicists create record-breaking subatomic soup with highest man-made temperature ever | Amazing Science | Scoop.it

Get the Guinness Book ready: Physicists at the CERN’s Large Hadron Collider near Geneva, Switzerland, have achieved the hottest man-made temperatures ever, by colliding lead ions to momentarily create a quark–gluon plasma, a subatomic soup and unique state of matter that is thought to have existed just moments after the Big Bang. The results come from the ALICE heavy-ion experiment (at right) — a lesser-known sibling to ATLAS and the Compact Muon Solenoid, which produced the data that led to the announcement in July that the Higgs boson had been discovered. ALICE physicists, presenting on Monday at Quark Matter 2012 in Washington DC, say that they have achieved a quark–gluon plasma 38% hotter than a record 4-trillion-degree plasma achieved in 2010 by a similar experiment at Brookhaven National Laboratory in New York, which had been anointed the Guinness record holder. ALICE spokesman Paolo Giubellino says that the team’s measurement is relatively uncertain and, moreover, they haven’t yet converted an energy measurement into degrees. But he says there’s no reason to suspect that the conversion won’t produce a number like 5.5 trillion degrees.

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New fragrance created that mosquitoes can’t resist

New fragrance created that mosquitoes can’t resist | Amazing Science | Scoop.it

Those pesky mosquitoes snacking on your arms and legs aren’t only out for blood. Like most other creatures, they have a favorite food. In their case, it’s sweet, succulent flower nectar. Mosquitoes don’t pollinate flowers as other insects do. After sniffing out a floral fragrance, they track down the plant and steal its nectar for energy. That weakness for nectar, however, could be their kryptonite. Using flower scents created in a lab, a team of researchers at Ohio State University plans to lure mosquitoes into traps. The objective: Kill the pests that carry life-threatening diseases, including West Nile Virus and malaria. 

 

The first step was building a machine, called an olfactometer, to detect and measure odor. That started in 2006. The team began analyzing plant chemicals in 2008 and got to the tests two years later. The experiment was simple: Give a mosquito two options and see which one it chooses. The research team plans to take its study into the field soon, but the venture won’t be without its challenges. For example, synthetic scents might not be as effective as the real thing outside the lab. They hope someday to expand the study and identify scents that would attract a host of mosquitoes around the world, particularly those that transmit malaria in African countries, where a child dies every minute from the disease, according to the World Health Organization.

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Science in three dimensions: The print revolution - 3D printers are opening up new worlds to research

Science in three dimensions: The print revolution - 3D printers are opening up new worlds to research | Amazing Science | Scoop.it

Research labs use many types of 3D printers to construct everything from fossil replicas to tissues of beating heart cells. Arthur Olson’s team at the Scripps Research Institute in La Jolla, California, produces models of molecules; some are shown here partway through the printing process. 

 

Chemists and molecular biologists have long used models to get a feel for molecular structures and make sense of X-ray and crystallography data. Just look at James Watson and Francis Crick, who in 1953 made their seminal discovery of DNA's structure with the help of a rickety construction of balls and sticks.

 

These days, 3D printing is being used to mock up far more complex systems, says Arthur Olson, who founded the molecular graphics lab at the Scripps Research Institute in La Jolla, California, 30 years ago. These include molecular environments made up of thousands of interacting proteins, which would be onerous-to-impossible to make any other way. With 3D printers, Olson says, “anybody can make a custom model”. But not everybody does: many researchers lack easy access to a printer, aren't aware of the option or can't afford the printouts (which can cost $100 or more).

 

Yet Olson says that these models can bring important insights. When he printed out one protein for a colleague, they found a curvy 'tunnel' of empty space running right through it. The conduit couldn't be seen clearly on the computer screen, but a puff of air blown into one side of the model emerged from the other. Determining the length of such tunnels can help researchers to work out whether, and how, those channels transport molecules. Doing that on the computer would have required some new code; with a model, a bit of string did the trick.

 

3D printer 'inks' aren't limited to plastic. Biologists have been experimenting with printing human cells — either individually or in multi-cell blobs — that fuse together naturally. These techniques have successfully produced blood vessels and beating heart tissue. The ultimate dream of printing out working organs is still a long way off — if it proves possible at all. But in the short term, researchers see potential for printing out 3D cell structures far more life-like than the typical flat ones that grow in a Petri dish.

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Largest Stars In The Universe

Largest Stars In The Universe | Amazing Science | Scoop.it

A team of astronomers at the University of Bonn in Germany has suggested that the four ultramassive stars, discovered two years ago and located in the giant star cluster R136 in the nearby galaxy the Large Magellanic Cloud, were created from the merger of lighter stars in tight binary systems. Until the discovery of these objects in 2010, with the heaviest more than 300 times as massive as our Sun, observations of the Milky Way and other galaxies suggested that the upper limit for stars formed in the present day Universe was about 150 times the mass of the Sun. This value represented a universal limit and appeared to apply wherever stars formed.

 

The Large Magellanic Cloud (LMC) has many star forming regions, with by far the most active being the 1000 light year diameter ‘Tarantula Nebula’ where the four supermassive stars are found. This cloud of gas and dust is a highly fertile breeding ground of stars in the LMC also known as the 30 Doradus (30 Dor) complex. Near the center of 30 Dor is R136, by far the brightest stellar nursery not just in the LMC but in the entire ‘Local Group’ of more than 50 galaxies.

 

The above figure shows a red dwarf, the Sun, a blue dwarf, and R136a1.

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A Novel Approach for Transcription Factor Analysis Using SELEX with High-Throughput Sequencing (TFAST)

A Novel Approach for Transcription Factor Analysis Using SELEX with High-Throughput Sequencing (TFAST) | Amazing Science | Scoop.it

A modified aptamer-free SELEX-seq protocol (afSELEX-seq) has been developed for the discovery of transcription factor binding sites. The included TFAST software is designed with a simple graphical interface (Java) so that it can be installed and executed without extensive expertise in bioinformatics. TFAST completes analysis within minutes on most personal computers. Once afSELEX-seq data are aligned to a target genome, TFAST identifies peaks and, uniquely, compares peak characteristics between cycles. TFAST generates a hierarchical report of graded peaks, their associated genomic sequences, binding site length predictions, and dummy sequences.

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Autonomous robotic plane dodges obstacles inside parking garage without use of GPS

Autonomous robotic plane dodges obstacles inside parking garage without use of GPS | Amazing Science | Scoop.it

New algorithms allow an autonomous robotic plane to dodge obstacles in a subterranean parking garage, without the use of GPS. At the 2011 International Conference on Robotics and Automation (ICRA), a team of researchers from the group described an algorithm for calculating a plane’s trajectory; in 2012, at the same conference, they presented an algorithm for determining its “state” — its location, physical orientation, velocity and acceleration. Now, the MIT researchers have completed a series of flight tests in which an autonomous robotic plane running their state-estimation algorithm successfully threaded its way among pillars in the parking garage under MIT’s Stata Center.

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Tiny 'Firefly' satellite to solve mystery of extremely powerful terrestrial gamma ray flashes

Tiny 'Firefly' satellite to solve mystery of extremely powerful terrestrial gamma ray flashes | Amazing Science | Scoop.it

Bursts of gamma rays usually occur far out in space, near black holes and other high-energy cosmic phenomena. Scientists were surprised when, in the mid-1990s, they found powerful gamma-ray flashes happening in the skies over Earth. Powerful natural particle accelerators in the atmosphere are behind the processes that create lightning. Terrestrial gamma rays (TGFs) result from this particle acceleration. Individual particles in a TGF contain a huge amount of energy, sometimes more than 20 mega-electron volts. The aurora borealis, for example, is powered by particles with less than one-thousandth as much energy as a TGF. But what causes a TGF's high-energy flashes? Does it trigger lightning--or does lightning trigger it? Could it be responsible for some of the high-energy particles in the Van Allen radiation belts, which can damage satellites?

 

A tiny little satellite, called CubeSat or 'Firefly - the size of a milk carton whirling in space - will soon find out. The CubeSat will look specifically for gamma-ray flashes coming from the atmosphere, not space, conducting the first focused study of TGF activity. Firefly will carry a gamma-ray detector along with a suite of instruments to detect lightning and will return the first simultaneous measurements of TGFs and lightnings. When thunderstorms happen, powerful electric fields stretch upward for miles, into the upper atmosphere. These electric fields accelerate free electrons, whirling them to speeds that are close to the speed of light. When these ultra-high-speed electrons collide with molecules in the air, they release high-energy gamma rays as well as more electrons, starting a cascade of electrons and TGFs. But unlike lightning, a TGF's energy is released as invisible gamma rays, not visible light. TGFs therefore don't produce colorful bursts of light like many lightning-related phenomena. But these unseen eruptions could help explain why brilliant lightning strikes happen.

 

More info:

NSF news release: Cubesats "Land" at National Science Foundation: http://tinyurl.com/8xwa36r
NSF news release: National Science Foundation Awards Grant to Build "CubeSats": http://tinyurl.com/d4j4exj
NSF webcast: CubeSats Come to NSF: http://tinyurl.com/bqwzho9

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Silicon out - copper in: Researchers create solar panels from cheap copper oxide

Silicon out - copper in: Researchers create solar panels from cheap copper oxide | Amazing Science | Scoop.it

Researchers from the University of California and Berkeley Lab have discovered a way of making photovoltaic cells out of any semiconducting material, not just beautiful, expensive crystals of silicon. In principle, this could open the door to much cheaper solar power. 

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Shell game: why heavier atoms might get stable again - islands of stability

Shell game: why heavier atoms might get stable again - islands of stability | Amazing Science | Scoop.it

Adding unnatural amounts of nucleons may create energy shells, stabilize heavy nuclei. Quantum-mechanical shell effects are expected to strongly enhance nuclear binding on an “island of stability” of superheavy elements. The predicted center at proton number Z = 114, 120, or 126 and neutron number N = 184 has been substantiated by the recent synthesis of new elements up to Z = 118. However, the location of the center and the extension of the island of stability remain vague. High-precision mass spectrometry allows the direct measurement of nuclear binding energies and thus the determination of the strength of shell effects. A group of researchers now present such measurements for nobelium and lawrencium isotopes, which also pin down the deformed shell gap at N = 152.

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