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Science


— Environment

Breaking down humanity's contribution to climate change

Over the past 100 years, global temperatures have risen by an average amount of 0.8° C (1.4° F), which according to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), is due largely to humanity's release of pollutants into the atmosphere. Now an international team of researchers has analyzed almost 40 years worth of data in order to quantify exactly what fraction of the change can be attributed to mankind based on events and trends in different regions.

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— Medical

Electrically-trained muscle cells get damaged hearts pumping

Repairing damaged hearts with healthy cells derived from the patient's own skin or blood is a promising approach to tackling cardiovascular disease, but it does have its limitations. Difficulty in getting the young, freshly implanted cells to integrate and beat in-synch with the surrounding muscle has so far held the technique back. Now scientists are reporting an important advance in this area, demonstrating for the first time that electrically stimulating the new cells can give their development a critical boost.

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— Medical

MRIs could soon be quicker and safer

While MRI scans may not expose patients to the ionizing radiation found in X-rays, they still are potentially harmful. This is because the increased radiofrequency energy absorption associated with newer high-field and ultra-high-field MRI scanners can heat body tissue. Thanks to research being conducted at the Australian National University, however, that may soon no longer be an issue – additionally, scans could be quicker and produce higher-quality images.

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— Medical

Dissolvable sensors could soon be used to wirelessly monitor the human brain

Even though as many as 50,000 people die of traumatic brain injuries in the United States every year, the equipment used to measure vital stats like intracranial pressure is usually made up of decades-old technology. To address this, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and the Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis have created a new sensor that's far less invasive and much safer than the existing technology.

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— Science

Detailed seafloor gravity map brings the Earth's surface into sharp focus

Not so long ago the ocean floor was as unknown as the far side of the Moon. Now, an international team of scientists is using satellite data to chart the deep ocean by measuring the Earth's gravitational field. The result is a new, highly-detailed map that covers the three-quarters of the Earth's surface that lies underwater. The map is already providing new insights into global geology.

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— Energy

Researchers can now image the flow of energy in nuclear fusion ignition attempts

It's fair to say that nuclear fusion is the holy grail of clean energy production, with the potential to provide limitless clean energy, but right now there are a fair few barriers to making it a reality. An international team of researchers has inched the dream one step closer to reality, creating a method by which energy dispersal can be observed during ignition attempts, paving the way for improved energy delivery during the process.

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