The solution to saving energy might not be something big—it could be small. Nanoscale, to be exact. Read more in Conor Gearin’s article at NOVA Next. http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/nova/next/tech/this-new-nanogenerator-can-power-20-leds-with-the-tap-of-a-finger/
posted May 10, 2016 at 1:42 pm
posted November 24, 2015 at 12:43 pm
In 1960s America, television programs like The Six Million Dollar Man showed a world where biotechnology could make us nearly immortal. Kids were enamored by the premise of bionic limbs, thinking they were better than their own arms and legs. One child’s desire to amputate his legs and replace them with bionic ones drove his mother to write to Senator Edward Kennedy for advice. Full Article »
posted November 24, 2015 at 11:41 am
In a recent Barbie ad, young girls step into professional roles such as neuroscience professor, veterinarian, and businesswoman. Titled “Imagine the Possibilities,” the commercial ends by telling girls “You Can Be Anything.” This may be a novel concept for Barbie, but it’s a decades-old message for the Society of Women Engineers (SWE), founded more than sixty years ago. Full Article »
posted December 8, 2014 at 8:25 pm
This month, a team of scientists announced that they had identified and combined key genetic mutations to significantly increase fruit production in tomato plants. These new mutations arose from a breeding technique called induced mutation, where seeds are sprayed with DNA-altering chemicals. It’s a research endeavor so risky that some describe it as “spray and pray”–but this time, it appears to have paid off. Tomatoes, the researchers say, are only the beginning: this increased fruit production could someday be translated into other crops, and might help produce more food for a growing world. Read more at NOVA Next.
posted December 7, 2014 at 8:53 pm
Mussels, pounded by the oceans’ waves, fasten themselves to rocks as a matter of survival. Bacteria cast protein nets to hold onto surfaces for dear life. Now MIT researchers have combined the two in a clever new way, producing the best-ever underwater glue inspired by Mother Nature—and a potential replacement for today’s surgical stitches.
The new study, published in Nature Nanotechnology on September 21, describes glue made of super-sticky, self-assembling networks of protein fiber. Led by Chao Zhong—a physical science professor at ShanghaiTech University and former MIT post-doc—the study addresses an enormous need: man’s lack of effective underwater adhesives.
posted December 7, 2014 at 8:47 pm
According to joint research from the University of Washington and Northwest University, untrue internet rumors have a long life on the world wide web, even after they’ve been debunked. Head to NOVA Next for the full story.
posted November 1, 2014 at 12:15 pm
It can be a challenge to make adhesives that stay sticky in wet conditions, but it’s an important task–especially in surgery, where repairs may need to hold strong amidst blood and other bodily fluids. But marine organisms like mussels, barnacles, and bacteria have figured out how to stick to wet rocks and surfaces with incredible strength. Researchers at MIT decided to steal a few tricks from these creatures. Read more at NOVA Next.
posted September 26, 2014 at 6:04 pm
One very small device may hold very big promise for answering some of the most complex questions in physics. A team led by researchers at Princeton University has developed a system that can force light into a solid state. They are hopeful that their device could lead to the discovery of new forms of light energy, and that it might pave the way toward new answers in the mysterious realm of quantum mechanics.
It is hard to imagine crystallized light, and with good reason. Photons, the tiny particles that make up light energy, “…are massless particles…in nature, photons don’t interact at all,” says co-first author Dr. Darius Sadri, a postdoctoral fellow in condensed matter physics at Princeton. “[What] we’ve managed to do is figure out how to get photons to interact with each other in a strong way.”
posted June 9, 2014 at 9:35 am
Sommeliers beware; a robot “tongue” is being trained to taste wine.
The electronic tongue—a machine that “tastes”—has been used to study the qualities of wine, water, beer, and even urine, but a team at Washington State University is working on further developing the machine’s wine-tasting skills in a large-scale red wine analysis project. The researchers arecurrently analyzing sixty-one different commercial merlots, local Washington vintages of varying price levels, to understand the characteristics that shape a good wine.
Although wine has been sniffed, swirled, and sipped for centuries, the chemicals and compounds that make up wine’s complex features remain unidentified. Using built-in chemical sensors, the e-tongue can perceive taste qualities in a fashion similar to the human tongue, yet with no boundaries of time, palatability, or toxicity—and with the added ability to detect specific molecules. Full Article »
posted April 17, 2014 at 4:28 pm
Think of chemistry and you probably imagine a lab filled with beakers and flasks, bubbling with colorful liquids in a variety of hues. There’s an element of this in Will Tisdale’s chemical engineering lab, which overlooks a courtyard on the MIT campus dominated by a huge red modernist sculpture. Here, his team mixes together chemicals and boils them in oxygen-free environments to make a substance called quantum dots.
But in the Tisdale lab, these dots are often just a means to an end. On a dreary December afternoon, two lab members, Ferry Prins and Aaron Goodman, shined lasers on colorful quantum dots to explore how they share energy and electrons with a two-dimensional chemical called molybdenum disulfide. Full Article »