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Brian Dodson

Artist's conception of a quantum atomic gas undergoing laser cooling in an ultracold refri...

Quantum physics likes the cold. In particular, macroscopic quantum phenomena such as superconductivity, superfluidity, and Bose-Einstein condensates (BECs) are only found at quite low temperatures. While current refrigeration methods can attain temperatures of a few nanoKelvins, attaining still lower temperatures is largely prevented by the need to support the cooling matter against the pull of Earth's gravity. Now NASA's Cold Atom Lab, scheduled for installation on the ISS in 2016, will aim for temperatures roughly four orders of magnitude smaller.  Read More

RevMedx's XStat syringe injects hemostatic sponges into deep wounds to control hemorrhage ...

Uncontrolled hemorrhage (bleeding out) is responsible for 80 percent of combat deaths. About the same proportion of those who die after being evacuated to a medical treatment facility also die of hemorrhage, usually associated with deep arterial wounds that cannot be treated using tourniquets – people die because we can't plug a simple hole. Now RevMedX, a small Oregon startup, has developed an alternative approach to treat such potentially survivable injuries.  Read More

Cityzen Science's smart shirt integrates a sensor web, distributed intelligence, communica...

Rightly or wrongly, the French are known for clothing designs that are often less than practical. Now, however, French company Cityzen Sciences has won the CES 2014 Inclusive Innovation in Everyday Health award for its development of a Smart Sensing fabric woven with integral micro-sensors – these add the practical benefit of monitoring the health and fatigue levels of the wearer.  Read More

This schematic illustration of a graphene plasmonic nano-antenna shows how short wavelengt...

Smart dust. Utility fog. Programmable matter. Grey and blue goo. Cooperating swarms of micron-sized devices (motes) offer completely new solutions and capabilities that can hardly be imagined. However, cooperation requires communication, and conventional radio or optical networking simply isn't practical at this size. Now researchers at Georgia Tech have invented a plasmonic graphene nano-antenna that can be efficiently used at millimeter radio wavelengths, taking one more step toward smart dust.  Read More

Supernova 2014J (red circle and arrow) and the starburst galaxy M82 (Photo: NASA/Swift/P. ...

A cloudy night in London led to the discovery of the 21st Century's brightest supernova to date. The new supernova 2014J, the brightest since 1993, is located in the galaxy M82. This Type-Ia supernova has just reached its peak brightness of magnitude 10.6. M82 lies at a distance of only about 12 million light years, which explains the brightness of 2014J in our skies. 2014J is bright enough to be seen in small telescopes or perhaps in (very) large binoculars. We'll tell you how to find it.  Read More

Astrophoto in redshifted Lyman-alpha light, possibly emitted by a cosmic filament of gas a...

That the Universe is largely composed of a cosmic web consisting of narrow filaments upon which galaxies and intergalactic gas and dust are concentrated has been known for more than a decade. While a great deal of evidence for this has accumulated, visual evidence has been difficult to find. Astronomers have now photographed what appears to be a segment of a cosmic filament stimulated into fluorescence by irradiation from a nearby quasar.  Read More

The dwarf planet Ceres emitting plumes of water vapor from its surface (Photo: ESA)

In mid-2015, the asteroid probe Dawn is scheduled to establish orbit around Ceres, the only dwarf planet in the inner Solar System, as well as the largest asteroid, to begin roughly six months of close-up observation. The level of interest in this mission has significantly increased with the detection by the ESA's Herschel space observatory of plumes of water vapor being exuded from Ceres' surface from a pair of local sources.  Read More

Crystal structure of sodium bismuthide (Na3Bi), one of the newly discovered 3D topological...

Exciting times are ahead in the high-tech industries with the discovery by three independent groups that a new class of materials mimic the special electronic properties of graphene in 3D. Research into these superfast massless charge carriers opens up a wide range of potential applications in electronics, including smaller hard drives with more storage capacity, faster transistors and more efficient optical sensors.  Read More

Ball lightning appears at the impact point of a lightning strike, and its emission spectru...

A scientific team in China fortuitously recorded the first optical spectrum of an example of ball lightning. The ball lightning, which was accompanied by a cloud to ground lightning strike, appears to have consisted at least partially of vaporized soil from the location of the strike. While ball lightning may result from a variety of sources, this observation provides considerable evidence that the vaporized silicon explanation is valid, although possibly not unique.  Read More

Photographs often contain more information than we think (Photo: University of York)

The worst has happened. You receive an emailed kidnap demand with a picture of your loved one in dire straits. You contact the authorities, and in a flash (relatively speaking), they have identified the kidnapper and possibly some accomplices, and are well on their way toward recovering the victim. How did this happen? By identifying the faces of the kidnappers caught in the reflection of your loved one's eyes.  Read More

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