Scientists haven't created life in the laboratory yet, but when they do, they'll be off and running. Case in point is a University of Glasgow team led by Professor Lee Cronin, the Regius Chair of Chemistry, which has developed the world's first chemical system capable of evolving as part of a project that aims at creating synthetic "life" without DNA.
When we get the feeling of "being full," it's because our gut has released hormones that tell our brain to stop being hungry. It would seem to follow, therefore, that people who overeat might benefit from producing greater amounts of those hormones. Well, that's just what an experimental new food additive is claimed to cause the body to do.
Although it's now possible to create lab-grown cartilage
, there's still at least one big challenge in doing so – cartilage grown in a flat Petri dish may not be optimally-shaped for replacing the body's own natural cartilage parts. Scientists from a consortium of UK universities, however, are developing a possible solution. They're using "ultrasonic tweezers" to grow cartilage in mid-air.
According to the World Health Organization, approximately 107 million blood donations are collected globally every year. Nonetheless, blood is often in short supply – particularly in developing nations. Despite new safeguards, there's also still the risk of incompatibility, or of infections being transmitted from donors to recipients. Charitable organization the Wellcome Trust hopes to address these problems, by developing the ability to manufacture blood outside of the body. Last week, it announced that test subjects should begin receiving transfusions of blood made with lab-grown red blood cells by late 2016.
Pizza. An oven-baked flat, round bread covered by a combination of tomato sauce, cheese, and other toppings. Despite this rather clinical description, pizza is arguably the most scrumptious item in the ever-widening field of junk foods ... but must pizza be a junk food? Two people, appropriately named Maclean
of Glasgow, Scotland had an idea for making it healthier.
All life on Earth is carbon-based, which has led to the widespread assumption that any other life that may exist in the universe would also be carbon-based. Excluding the possibility of elements other than carbon forming the basis of life is often referred to as carbon chauvinism and researchers at the University of Glasgow are looking to overcome this bias and provide new insights into evolution by attempting to create “life” from carbon-free, inorganic chemicals. They’ve now taken the first tentative steps towards this goal with the creation of inorganic-chemical-cells, or iCHELLS.
In order to capture slow-motion footage in which a bullet can actually be seen traveling through the air, a camera has to film at a speed somewhere in the neighborhood of 5,000 frames per second. Given that as a benchmark, what would be the purpose of a camera that manages a whopping 4.5 million
fps? In the case of the UK-based Science and Technology Facilities Council (STFC)'s new X-ray camera, it's to obtain three-dimensional images of individual molecules.
If you’ve ever removed the battery from a laptop, then you will know that it constitutes quite a large percentage of the total weight of the computer. Well, if you think you’ve got it tough lugging that laptop battery around, consider the plight of infantry soldiers – they have to carry multiple batteries to power devices such as weapons, radios, and GPS equipment, and
they have to do so for hours at a time, often under very harsh conditions. Attempts to lighten the 45 to 70 kg (99 to 154 lb) loads typically carried by soldiers currently include the use of fuel cells
, li-ion batteries woven into their clothing
, and autonomous pack horse-like vehicles
. Now, UK researchers are adding their two pence-worth, by developing wearable solar and thermoelectric power systems.
Hydrogen has great potential as a clean fuel source for powering our cars
, but it also poses some big hurdles – in particular, how to store it. Making practical use of hydrogen in gas or liquid form raises difficulties in terms of volume and pressurization – a hydrogen gas tank for a car would need to be around four times larger than current petroleum tanks. Another possible solution is the use of solid state hydrogen and the European Aeronautic Defense and Space Company (EADS), along with the University of Glasgow, hope to boost this approach by developing a new storage system using materials modified at the nanoscale that receive and release the hydrogen at a faster rate.
A better understanding of color vision has been gained in a feat of interdisciplinary and inter-institutional science. Researchers from neuroscience, nanoengineering, physics and electronics departments at universities on opposite sides of the world have come together to build a sensor that detects activity in the neural circuitry of the eye with a level of accuracy never before seen.