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Science

The parallel ordering of liquid crystals make them near-frictionless lubricants (Image: Mi...

The world uses tens of millions of tons of lubricant every year, from the smallest part of a micro-precision instrument to the expansion rollers on the largest bridges. Most are oil based, though others use powders, and even metals, and it’s been that way for decades. That could be changing as the Fraunhofer Institute for Mechanics of Materials, Nematel GmbH, and Dr. Tillwich GmbH have developed a new class of lubricants that are based on liquid crystals instead of oil. According to Fraunhofer, this is the first fundamentally new lubricant developed in twenty years.  Read More

The new technique pioneered by researchers from MIT and the University of Vienna has the p...

A team of researchers from the University of Vienna and MIT have developed a novel way of observing the behavior of neurons on a brain-wide scale. The discovery has potential applications in the medical field, allowing scientists to pinpoint the specific cells involved in a brain disorder, thus aiding them in tailoring a focused course of treatment.  Read More

Methanogens prepared to be exposed to Martian conditions

Since the first Mariner probes reached the Red Planet in the 1960s, it’s become clear just how very alien Mars is and how hard it is to find parallel examples of possible Martian life on Earth. However, it’s not impossible. Rebecca Mickol, a doctoral student in space and planetary sciences at the University of Arkansas, has discovered that two species of methane-producing bacteria can live in the harsh conditions on Mars, and may aid in the search for life there.  Read More

The adhesive fibers in one of the man-made attachment discs, holding down a nylon thread

In recent years we've seen a number of attempts at artificially replicating the strong-yet-light characteristics of spider silk. It turns out that the silk itself isn't the only thing that's inspiring scientists, however. Researchers from the University of Akron have recently created their own version of the "attachment discs" that spiders use to secure their silk fibers to surfaces, when building webs. These man-made discs could conceivably prove superior to conventional glues as a form of adhesive.  Read More

Nathan Han, 15, has developed a machine learning software tool to study mutations of a gen...

Intel has announced the winners of its 2014 International Science and Engineering Fair (ISEF). According to Intel, the contest is the world's largest high school science research competition. The top prize went to 15-year-old Nathan Han for his software that studies the mutations of a gene linked to breast cancer.  Read More

The new technique could allow corn to be grown in caves or on space colonies (Photo:  Ashl...

Scientists at Purdue University have come up with a way of growing corn in caves, but it doesn't involve some bizarre mating of maize and mushroom. Instead, they manipulated artificial light and temperature in such a way that the growth of the corn plants, while stunted, didn't significantly affect the seed yield. The finding could have a significant impact on the future of genetically modified crops by helping prevent genetically modified pollen escaping into the ecosystem.  Read More

A group of scientists are turning to Indiegogo to fund fusion power research (Image: LPP F...

A group of researchers at New Jersey-based LPP Fusion is turning to crowdfunding to demonstrate net power gain from a nuclear fusion reactor. The scientists plan to do this using a technique which is relatively little-known, but which they claim is scientifically sound and only relies on well-established science. Given enough funding, the researchers say they could design a US$500,000, 5 MW reactor that would produce energy for as little as 0.06 cents per kWh, all by the end of the decade.  Read More

Researchers at Imperial College London have devised a method of achieving light to matter ...

In what could be a landmark moment in the history of science, physicists working at the Blackett Physics Laboratory in Imperial College London have designed an experiment to validate one of the most tantalizing hypotheses in quantum electrodynamics: the theory that matter could be created using nothing more than pure light.  Read More

The Ultrasion Sonorous 1G is an ultrasonic molding machine

Injection molding is the widely preferred method for shaping plastic medical components, but now a new type of machine promises to slash energy and materials costs. Ultrasion's Sonorous 1G uses ultrasound to produce highly targeted and efficient heating to melt its plastic base material.  Read More

A Scanning Electron Microscopy (SEM) image of the new ultra-strong polymer reinforced with...

The chemical tree got a bit of a shake this week with scientists at IBM announcing the discovery of the first new class of polymer materials in decades. Discovered using a combination of lab experiments and computer modelling, the new plastics have properties that could potentially have a huge impact in manufacturing, transportation, aerospace, and micro electronics.  Read More

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