Highlights from the 2014 LA Auto Show

Science

HD 140283 - the Methuselah star (Photo: Hubble via W.M. Keck Observatory)

An international team of scientists using one of the pair of 10-meter telescopes at the W.M. Keck Observatory on the summit of Mauna Kea on the island of Hawaii has now shown that the early moments of our Universe closely followed the theoretical model for the genesis of the elements. Improved observational and modeling methods show that the elemental composition of the post-Big Bang universe agrees with the predictions of that model, eliminating what was thought to be a substantial discrepancy between theory and observation.  Read More

Entanglement mixes you with everything (Photo: ShutterStock)

Quantum entanglement is the key to quantum computing, cryptography, and numerous other real-world applications of quantum mechanics. It is also one of the strangest phenomena in the Universe, overcoming barriers of space and time and knitting the entire cosmos into an integrated whole. Scientists have long thought that entanglement between two particles was a rare and fleeting phenomenon, so delicate that exposure of the particles to their surroundings would quickly destroy this linkage. Now mathematicians at Case Western University have shown that entanglement between parts of large systems is the norm, rather than being a rare and short-lived relationship.  Read More

Subjects were trained to control the quadcopter by imagining opening or closing their fist...

Researchers at the University of Minnesota have done away with all that tedious joystick work by developing a mind-controlled quadcopter. It may seem like the top item of next year’s Christmas list, but it also serves a very practical purpose. Using a skullcap fitted with a Brain Computer Interface (BCI), the University's College of Science and Engineering hopes to develop ways for people suffering from paralysis or neurodegenerative diseases to employ thought to control wheelchairs and other devices.  Read More

Prof. William Dichtel and Deepti Gopalakrishnan with samples of the polymer

Detecting bombs in places such as airports could be getting easier, thanks to a new fluorescing polymer. While you might expect the material to glow in the presence of explosives, they actually cause it to stop glowing.  Read More

Researchers are building an all-solid Li-S battery that is cheap, safe, durable, and store...

Researchers at the Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) have come up with a promising design for a lithium-sulfur rechargeable battery that is considerably cheaper and energy-dense than standard lithium-ion. Using a solid electrolyte rather than a liquid one, the battery is also testing much safer and more durable than previous designs.  Read More

A statuette of the Stanford bunny made with the resin, before and after being carbonized

Other than putting it in a tiny art gallery, what could you do with a rabbit sculpture that sits just a few micrometers tall? Perhaps not much, although it’s a remarkable example of the level of detail that can be achieved using a new electrically-conductive shapable resin. That same resin could find use in custom-formed electrodes for things like fuel cells, batteries, or even biosensor interfaces used to treat brain disorders.  Read More

Selective UV light keeps beautiful, lush strawberries that way even longer  (Photo: Shutte...

A truism as old as strawberry picking is the observation that the juicier and tastier the strawberries, the more quickly the berries turn to a mushy heap of rot and mold, even in the fridge. An answer to longer fruit storage may come with research showing that selective UV light inhibits both decay and the growth of mold. With new LEDs able to produce specific types of UV light, we might see gadgets for use in the fridge that keep produce fresher longer.  Read More

Columbia University researchers have come up with a way to produce large joined sheets of ...

A study conducted at Columbia University has revealed that even when stitched together from much smaller fragments, large sheets of graphene still retain much of their mechanical properties. The discovery may be a crucial step forward in the mass-production of carbon nanotubes that could be used to manufacture flexible electronics, ultra-light and strong materials, and perhaps even the first space elevator.  Read More

The self-healing-concrete would fill cracks and prevent decay and the corrosion of rebar (...

You’d think that concrete would last forever. After all, it’s pourable stone, so it should hang around as long as the Rock of Gibraltar. But, under the right (or wrong) conditions, concrete decays with alarming speed. To combat this, researchers at the University of Bath in the UK are working on a self-healing concrete that uses bacteria to seal the cracks that lead to decay. In this way, they hope to cut down on maintenance costs and increase the life of concrete structures.  Read More

“4D printing” sees 3D-printed materials self-assemble into different shapes (Image: Skylar...

Molecular self-assembly, whereby molecules position themselves into defined arrangements, is commonplace in biological systems and nanotechnology. But researchers at MIT are working on so called "4D printing" technology that aims to bring the process up to the macro scale, enabling 3D-printed materials to be programmed to self-assemble into predefined shapes and structures. Just imagine buying some flat-pack furniture, bringing it home and enjoying a coffee whilst you watch it assemble itself.  Read More

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