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MINER is a portable neutron scatter camera

It’s been a common trope in films since the 1950s; a madman with an atomic bomb holds a city for ransom while the authorities race to find it in time. If such a thing ever does come about, Sandia National Laboratories is working on taking the suspense out of the situation with its Mobile Imager of Neutrons for Emergency Responders (MINER) – a nuclear device detector capable of narrowing a search to within a city block without door-to-door sweeps.  Read More

The chemical computer works by differences in surface tension

If you’re going out for pizza in Budapest, which would you choose to get you there; a smartphone with GPS or a drop of gel on a little maze? A team of scientists from Switzerland, Hungary, Japan and Scotland under the leadership of Empa, the Swiss Federal Laboratories for Materials Science and Technology, thinks that the gel might be your better bet because that little bit of plastic and goo is a chemical computer capable of navigating a maze faster than a satnav.  Read More

The microwalkers consist of a pair of particles, one of which has magnetic properties and ...

Ever wonder how a germ knows where to attack the body or how a white blood cell knows where to counter attack? How bacteria find food? Or how cells organize themselves to close a wound? How can something so simple do things so complex? A team of MIT researchers is seeking the answers as they develop "microwalkers" – microscopic machines that can move unguided across the surface of a cell as they seek out particular areas.  Read More

The center of the exhibit is a giant radio tuner from the 1920s

If the 19th and 20th centuries were the Transportation Age, then the 21st century is the Information Age. Like most other ages, it didn't suddenly leap into being with the arrival of the Web or the smartphone – it has a history going back more than 200 years. The Science Museum in London is exploring this history in a new permanent exhibit called "Information Age: Six Networks That Changed Our World," which was recently opened by Queen Elizabeth II when she sent the first tweet by a British monarch.  Read More

CERN is currently digitizing over 50 years of old black and white photographs, but researc...

CERN is currently digitizing over 50 years worth of its old black and white photographs to make them searchable via the Cern Document Server. However, the subject of many of the photos has been lost in the sands of time and the researchers can’t work out what’s what. If you know your Large Hadron Collider from your Low Energy Antiproton Ring, then be sure to read on and lend a hand ...  Read More

Researchers have used a DNA brick self-assembly method to build 32 different crystal struc...

The very same building blocks that make us have been successfully programmed to form 32 differently-shaped crystal structures. The structures feature a precisely-defined depth and a variety of sophisticated 3D nanoscale attributes, thereby laying further foundations for the use of DNA to revolutionize nanotechnology.  Read More

A light pulse fired from a 10 TW laser, dispersing into water vapor – the blue glow is las...

It's no secret that Star Wars is full of scenes that defy the laws of physics. From space battles inspired by WW I and II dogfights to beams of light clashing in lightsaber duels. The laser bolts fired from Han Solo's trusty blaster and Luke's X-wing also play by their own rules, traveling much slower than the speed of light and being perfectly visible in the vacuum of space. Researchers in Poland have now created a film to show what a laser bolt would actually look like.  Read More

Fiber optic sensors may help reduce the death toll in landslides, by providing an early wa...

Landslides kill thousands of people every year, so it should come as no surprise that various systems have been developed in an effort to predict when they're about to occur. One of the most recent innovations, developed by scientists at Italy's Second University of Naples, utilizes fiber optics to create a sort of watchable "nervous system" of the slope that's being monitored.  Read More

Dr Vladlen Shvedov (left) and Dr Cyril Hnatovsky (right) with a magnified projection of th...

We're still a far cry from Star Trek's ship-towing and repelling technology, but laser physicists at the Australian National University (ANU) have built a tractor beam that can repel and attract objects. The beam moved spherical glass shells one fifth of a millimeter in diameter across a distance of up to 20 centimeters (7.87 in), which is around 100 times further than previous experiments at this scale, using only a single hollow laser beam that's bright around the edges and dark in its center.  Read More

Sugar kelp yields a lot of bio-oil – if you put the heat on (Photo: NOAA)

Biofuels may indeed offer a greener alternative to fossil fuels, but they do raise at least one concern – crops grown as biofuel feedstock could take up farmland and use water that would otherwise be used to grow crops for much-needed food. That's why some scientists have looked to seaweed as a feedstock. Kelp is particularly attractive, in that it's abundant and grows extremely quickly, although its fuel yields haven't been particularly impressive. That could be about to change, however, thanks to a newly-developed hydrothermal process.  Read More

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