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Science

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

These implantable shape changing transistors can grip nerves and tissues, changing shape w...

A multinational group of scientists has developed implantable shape-changing transistors that can grip nerves, blood vessels and tissues. According to the researchers, these soft electronic devices can change shape within the body, while still maintaining their electronic properties, allowing them to be used in a variety of applications and treatments.  Read More

HADES at the GSI in Darmstadt/Germany searches for dark matter candidates (Image: A. Schma...

Scientists at the Helmholtz-Zentrum Dresden-Rossendorf (HZDR) in Dresden, Germany have analyzed data from the HADES particle detector and concluded that the so-called "dark photons" are not the constituents of dark matter. Dark photons, or U bosons, are hypothetical particles that had thus far been the main candidate for that role, and this new result could make the search for the dark matter particle even more challenging than before.  Read More

Fraunhofer's thermic-piezoelectric deformable mirror could be applied in high-powered lase...

One cinematic cliché we've all seen is when the hero deflects the villain's dastardly laser beam with a hastily snatched hand mirror, sending it back at his adversary. Physics, ever the wet blanket, says that this is a highly improbable scenario. Focusing high-powered lasers isn't easy. A powerful laser distorts the mirror, throwing the beam off and spreading it out uselessly. To combat this, Fraunhofer is developing a lens that can deform itself to compensate for heating and other distortion factors to keep lasers focused on target.  Read More

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