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According to researchers, Blu-ray disc patterns markedly improve the efficiency of solar c...

Blu-ray discs have proven themselves superior to DVDs as storage media in light of their high capacity, high definition, and higher transfer rate. Now researchers claim that Blu-ray discs have one more advantage over DVDs: they also have the ability to help markedly improve the efficiency of solar cells, when their etched information patterns are repurposed for use as light concentrators.  Read More

Metamaterials negate the properties of the so-called aberrating layers, allowing ultrasoun...

Score another point for metamaterials. Researchers at North Carolina State University have designed complementary metamaterials that will aid medical professionals and engineers in diagnosing problems under the skin. These metamaterials are structured to account for so-called "aberrating layers" that block or distort the acoustic waves used in ultrasounds, making it possible to now conduct ultrasounds of a person's head or an airplane's wing – among other things.  Read More

A view through the channels of the new zeolite-type allotrope of silicon (Image: Timothy S...

You probably wouldn't be reading this if it weren't for silicon. It's the second most-abundant element in the Earth's crust as well as the key to modern technology – used in the integrated circuits that power such electronics as computers, mobile phones, and even some toasters and refrigerators. It's also used in compound form in building, ceramics, breast implants, and many other areas. And now the ubiquitous element may have a plethora of new applications, thanks to a team of Carnegie scientists who synthesized an allotrope (new/different physical form) with the chemical formula Si24.  Read More

New research shows that the sound emitted by fish tags can make them more likely to become...

Tagging fish offers scientists new ways of learning about their movements, growth and methods of survival. While this helps in conservation efforts, new research suggests it may in fact be having an adverse effect, with the sounds emitted by the tags alerting predators to the fish's location and where to hunt for their next meal.  Read More

New research suggests synesthesia, a condition that sees people experience an overlapping ...

Tasting lemons when they see a number seven, regarding a certain letter as being yellow in color. Not a great deal is known about why some people experience an overlapping of the senses, a phenomena known as synesthesia. But a new study conducted at the University of Sussex has suggested that specific training of the mind can induce the effects of the condition. The study even suggests that such training can boost a person's IQ.  Read More

A batch of exVive3D three-dimensional liver models (Photo: Organovo)

When a medication enters the bloodstream, it ends up being concentrated in the liver – after all, one of the organ's main functions is to cleanse the blood. This means that if a drug is going to have an adverse effect on any part of the body, chances are it will be the liver. It would seem to follow, therefore, that if a pharmaceutical company wanted to test the safety of its products, it would be nice to have some miniature human livers on which to experiment – which is just what San Diego-based biotech firm Organovo is about to start selling.  Read More

Artist Jonty Hurwitz has created sculptures so tiny that they can only be seen using an el...

A sculpture so tiny that it cannot be seen by the naked eye is claimed to be the smallest sculpture of the human form ever created. Measuring a picayune 20 x 80 x 100 microns, artist Jonty Hurwitz’s tiny human statue is part of a new series of equally diminutive new sculptures that are at a scale so infinitesimally miniscule that each of the figures is approximately equal in size to the amount your fingernails grow in around about 6 hours, and can only be viewed using a scanning electron microscope.  Read More

The orbiting GPS network could be used to detect waves of dark matter that pass between th...

Dark matter is hypothesized to account for the large amounts of "missing" invisible matter in the universe where visible objects such as stars, gas, and dust are insufficient to explain the total gravitational effects observed. Despite repeated and verifiable observational evidence supporting this hypothesis, the existence of dark matter remains unproven. However, recent research has suggested that the hunt for this elusive substance may be aided by detecting any changes in the synchronization between the individual atomic clocks on-board satellites in the orbiting GPS network and receivers on the ground as waves of dark matter pass between them and the surface of the Earth.  Read More

The line array being tested at the University of Southampton's Institute of Sound and Vibr...

It's a classic situation ... a family is watching TV, but in order for the grandparents to be able to hear it, the volume is turned up too loud for everyone else's liking. A PhD student from the University of Southampton, however, might have a solution. Marcos Simón has developed a speaker system that projects high-volume audio to just one spot in the room.  Read More

A high-resolution simulation of the global climate provides a much better representation o...

High-resolution simulations of the global climate can now perform much closer to actual observations, and they perform far better at reproducing extreme weather events, a new Berkeley Lab study has found. Lead author Michael Wehner heralds this news as evidence of a golden age in climate modeling, as not only did the simulation closer match reality but it also took a fraction as long to complete as it would have in recent history – just three months compared to several years.  Read More

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