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Brian Dodson

Science

What shall we do with a neutron microscope?

Neutrons have a set of unique properties that make them better suited than light, electrons, or x-rays for looking at the physics and chemistry going on inside an object. Scientists working out of MIT's Nuclear Reactor Laboratory have now invented and built a high-resolution neutron microscope, a feat that required developing new approaches to neutron optics. Read More

Space

Final flight of Grasshopper v1.0 sets new record

SpaceX made another successful Grasshopper flight last week, which was also the last flight for Grasshopper v1.0. Its swan song lasted some 80 seconds, during which time Grasshopper reached an altitude of 744 meters (nearly half a mile), more than twice the previous record. Grasshopper v1.1 is well along the road to flight tests. Read More

Science

First laser-driven electron accelerator demonstrated

If Angus MacGyver was a particle physicist, he might face a challenge like this: Take a femtosecond laser and a fused quartz grating and make the world's most powerful particle accelerator. Despite the apparent incongruity of the resources and the goal, researchers at the US Department of Energy’s SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory and Stanford University have fabricated a proof-of-principle electron accelerator using just such equipment. In the demonstration, electrons from a 60 MeV beam saw a force of acceleration about ten times greater than possible in a conventional accelerator. Read More

Spin Chill turns beverages cold in 60 seconds

Since the earliest days of brewing beer and making wine, the search has been on for an easy, affordable method of chilling drinks quickly without diluting them in the process. Florida-based start-up Spin Chill claims to have a solution to this vexing problem with a portable device that (literally) turns beverages ice cold in 60 seconds. Read More

Military

SOCOM Admiral pushes for Iron Man-style combat suit

The US Navy's top SEAL, four-star Admiral William McRaven, is pushing hard for a modern suit of armor called the Tactical Assault Light Operator Suit (TALOS). Though not exactly an Iron Man suit, it's that ballpark. As a result, a Broad Agency Announcement has now been issued seeking proposals and research in support of the design, construction, and testing of TALOS, with a basic version hopefully seeing service within three years.Read More

Science

Nobel Prize in Chemistry awarded for foundations of computational chemistry

The Nobel Prize in Chemistry has been awarded to Martin Karplus, Michael Levitt, and Arieh Warshel for the development of multi-scale computer models of chemical reactions. Such computational chemical models are now the foundation for protein, enzyme, and pharmaceutical research, and combine a classical description of the motion and structure of large molecules with a quantum description of the regions within the molecule where a reaction takes place.Read More

New refining process could lower cost of titanium by 60%

Researchers at Case Western Reserve University (CWRU) have been selected by ARPA-E, the US government's Advanced Research Projects Agency - Energy, to carry out a one year project aimed at developing a low cost method to obtain titanium metal from its ore. It is thought that the process could lower the cost of the metal by up to 60 percent.Read More

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