Our star, the Sun, provides most of the energy on this planet. (Essentially, all the energy except for nuclear, comes directly or indirectly from it.) Our current methods of converting solar radiation into electricity (photovoltaics) are not very efficient in comparison with plants. Researchers at the University of Georgia looked to nature for inspiration, and they are now developing a new technology that makes it possible to use plants to generate electricity.... Read more »
Calkins, J., Umasankar, Y., O'Neill, H., & Ramasamy, R. (2013) High photo-electrochemical activity of thylakoid–carbon nanotube composites for photosynthetic energy conversion. Energy . DOI: 10.1039/C3EE40634B
An international team of physicists has found the first direct evidence of pear shaped nuclei in exotic atoms.
The findings could advance the search for a new fundamental force in nature that could explain why the Big Bang created more matter than antimatter—a pivotal imbalance in the history of everything.... Read more »
Nicole Casal Moore. (2013) Exotic atoms hold clues to unsolved physics puzzle at the dawn of the universe. The Michigan State University. info:/
ESA’s Herschel space observatory has made detailed observations of surprisingly hot molecular gas that may be orbiting or falling towards the supermassive black hole lurking at the centre of our Milky Way galaxy.... Read more »
ESA. (2013) Herschel finds hot gas on the menu for milky way's black hole. ESA Herschel. info:/
A group of scientists from the Arizona State University have developed a semiconductor device that is capable of emitting two distinct colors simultaneously. An ability to emit light in a wide spectrum range from a single monolithic structure could potentially become a basis for a cheaper and more efficient lighting technology.... Read more »
Fan, F., Liu, Z., Yin, L., Nichols, P., Ning, H., Turkdogan, S., & Ning, C. (2013) Simultaneous two-color lasing in a single CdSSe heterostructure nanosheet. Semiconductor Science and Technology, 28(6), 65005. DOI: 10.1088/0268-1242/28/6/065005
Scientists at Yale think that for some solar cells the future may be fluorescent. While many may believe that the purpose of a solar cell is to absorb light, not to emit it (fluorescence is the emission of light by a substance that has absorbed light or other electromagnetic radiation), it turns out that the addition of a fluorescent organic dye to the cell layer improves the ability of a promising type of solar cell to absorb light and convert it into electrical power.... Read more »
Huang, J., Goh, T., Li, X., Sfeir, M., Bielinski, E., Tomasulo, S., Lee, M., Hazari, N., & Taylor, A. (2013) Polymer bulk heterojunction solar cells employing Förster resonance energy transfer. Nature Photonics. DOI: 10.1038/nphoton.2013.82
Radioactive iodine is dangerous, and public health and academic researchers are now trying to determine what long-term damage can occur, where it can occur, and how long it will take to occur. What politcs can learn from Fukushima.... Read more »
J. Mangano, J. (2013) Elevated airborne beta levels in Pacific/West Coast US States and trends in hypothyroidism among newborns after the Fukushima nuclear meltdown. Open Journal of Pediatrics, 03(01), 1-9. DOI: 10.4236/ojped.2013.31001
Researchers have reported that a good neighborhood is important for the better growth of the plants as they could talk with each other possibly through sound waves in addition to other mechanisms.
It was already found that plants could communicate with each other through shade, aromatic chemicals, and physical touch that is important in better growth, and protection from diseases and invaders such as bees.
Now researchers hav........ Read more »
Gagliano M, & Renton M. (2013) Love thy neighbour: facilitation through an alternative signalling modality in plants. BMC ecology, 13(1), 19. PMID: 23647722
According to Dutch theoretical physicist Erik Verlinde, there is a new theory for gravity: Entropic gravity is a hypothesis in modern physics that describes gravity as an entropic force.... Read more »
The Moon clung to its magnetic field until at least 3.56 billion years ago, a study suggests — about 160 million years longer than scientists had thought.
That small change may be enough to rule out some ideas about how the Moon generated and held onto its ancient magnetism, through a process known as a dynamo.
“It seems like the lunar dynamo lasted very late in the Moon’s history,” says Benjamin Weiss, a palaeomagnetics expert at the Massachusetts Institute of Tech........ Read more »
In a collaboration led by the King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (KAUST), Saudi Arabia, the researchers deformed mirrors in order to disrupt the regular light path in an optical cavity and, surprisingly, the resulting chaotic light paths allowed more light to be stored than with ordered paths.... Read more »
University of York Press Office. (2013) Chaos proves superior to order. University of York. info:/
A little over a year ago, a research team started to develop a vital part of a Finnish invention – an electric solar wind sail for interplanetary journeys. Now, a prototype has been successfully manufactured and tested.... Read more »
Anneli Waara. (2013) One step closer to solar wind-powered spacecraft. Uppsala University. info:/
Scientists from the SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory and Stanford University have developed a relatively cheap, long-life “flow” battery that can be used to mitigate power fluctuations from solar and wind energy plants, therefore enabling them to become major suppliers to the electrical grid.... Read more »
Yang, Y., Zheng, G., & Cui, Y. (2013) A membrane-free lithium/polysulfide semi-liquid battery for large-scale energy storage. Energy , 6(5), 1552. DOI: 10.1039/C3EE00072A
If you were hoping that antimatter powered anti-gravity hovercraft would be the next big thing in transportation, you might be disappointed. Scientists from Berkeley Lab and UC Berkeley have used data from the ALPHA Experiment at CERN to measure antimatter gravity directly. For now, it seems that antihydrogen refuses to fall upward.... Read more »
Amole, C., Ashkezari, M., Baquero-Ruiz, M., Bertsche, W., Butler, E., Capra, A., Cesar, C., Charlton, M., Eriksson, S., Fajans, J.... (2013) Description and first application of a new technique to measure the gravitational mass of antihydrogen. Nature Communications, 1785. DOI: 10.1038/ncomms2787
It’s a problem most scientists don’t have; what would happen if your experiment outlived you? For physicist John Mainstone at the University of Queensland, this has become an important question. He’s the leader of what’s being called the world’s oldest experiment.... Read more »
The COUPP-60 dark-matter experiment has begun recording the trails of bubbles that passing particles form in its detector.... Read more »
Kelen Tuttle. (2013) Dark-matter detector hears first particle pops. Symmetry magazine. info:/
Quantum laws loom ever larger in physical world as new research finds quantum phenomena in effect on a molecular level... Read more »
University of Cambridge. (2013) Movement of pyrrole molecules defy ‘classical’ physics. University of Cambridge Research News. info:/
Researchers from the Energy Department’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) found that two approaches to breaking down cell walls of biomass, if used together, are more effective than either method alone.... Read more »
Resch, M., Donohoe, B., Baker, J., Decker, S., Bayer, E., Beckham, G., & Himmel, M. (2013) Fungal cellulases and complexed cellulosomal enzymes exhibit synergistic mechanisms in cellulose deconstruction. Energy . DOI: 10.1039/C3EE00019B
Berkeley Lab physicists and their colleagues in CERN’s ALPHA experiment present the first direct evidence of how atoms of antimatter interact with gravity... Read more »
Paul Preuss. (2013) Does Antimatter Fall Up or Down?. Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory . info:/
The National Institute for Material Science Global Research Center for Environment and Energy based on Nanomaterials Science (Japan) together with the researchers from the Tokyo Metropolitan University have successfully measured the volumetric expansion of single particles of silicon, which is a negative electrode material for lithium ion batteries, accompanying the charging reaction. Based on these results, scientists demonstrated the importance of the electrode design and are looking into the ........ Read more »
MOON, J., MUNAKATA, H., KAJIHARA, K., & KANAMURA, K. (2013) Hydrothermal Synthesis of Manganese Dioxide Nanoparticles as Cathode Material for Rechargeable Batteries. Electrochemistry, 81(1), 2-6. DOI: 10.5796/electrochemistry.81.2
We can knit sweaters for oiled penguins, but it's harder to protect whales and dolphins from the harm of having us as neighbors. Loud underwater sounds from activities like sonar and drilling may damage these animals' hearing and even lead to mass strandings. Though we can't chase cetaceans around with homemade earmuffs, we might be able to teach them to tune us out.
Like squinting or letting one's pupil shrink in bright light, some animals can adjust how sensitive their ears are. When we're........ Read more »
Nachtigall, P., & Supin, A. (2013) A false killer whale reduces its hearing sensitivity when a loud sound is preceded by a warning. Journal of Experimental Biology. DOI: 10.1242/jeb.085068
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