Sunday, April 30, 2006

Science Sunday: Wrap-up of recent advancements in science from EurekAlert!

Water and nanoelectronics will mix to create ultra-dense memory storage devices, researchers say

Your iPod Nano isn't really "nano" -- but it could be, according to researchers at Penn, Drexel and Harvard. They have theorized a means of using water to control the electrical properties of nano-scale structures. Nano-scale memory in an MP3 player the size of an iPod Nano could hold enough music to play for 300,000 years.

Cure for cancer worth $50 trillion

A new study calculates the prospective gains that could be obtained from further progress against major diseases. Kevin M. Murphy and Robert H. Topel, two University of Chicago researchers, estimate that even modest advancements against major diseases would have a significant impact - a 1 percent reduction in mortality from cancer has a value to Americans of nearly $500 billion. A cure for cancer would be worth about $50 trillion.

Nanotechnology may find disease before it starts

Nanotechnology may one day help physicians detect the very earliest stages of serious diseases like cancer, a new study suggests. It would do so by improving the quality of images produced by one of the most common diagnostic tools used in doctors' offices - the ultrasound machine.

Study first to show potential of light-activated gene therapy for knee injuries

An early study has demonstrated for the first time that laser light can target gene therapy right up to the edge of damaged cartilage, while leaving nearby healthy tissue untouched, according to an article published in the April edition of the Journal of Bone and Joint Surgery. True repair of injuries to articular cartilage would enable millions of patients, currently consigned to worsening arthritis and joint replacement, to return to athletic exercise.

Micro-pump is cool idea for future computer chips
Engineers at Purdue University have developed a tiny "micro-pump" cooling device small enough to fit on a computer chip that circulates coolant through channels etched into the chip.

MIT: Mini satellites rocketing to space station
A Russian rocket launched Monday, April 24, is carrying the first of three small, spherical satellites developed at MIT to the International Space Station -- a major step toward building space-based robotic telescopes and other systems.

A flying carpet to take us to Pluto
A giant flexible solar panel unfurled in space could one day provide power to space shuttles on long-haul space flights. Although a long way before the technology becomes a reality, researchers believe it may provide a practical alternative to nuclear propulsion - considered undesirable because of a potential accident.

Scaled-down genome may power up E. coli's ability in lab, industry
By stripping the E. coli genome of vast tracts of its genetic material - hundreds of apparently inconsequential genes - a team of Wisconsin researchers has created a leaner and meaner version of the bacterium that is a workhorse of modern biology and industry.

UC Berkeley researchers create a biologically-inspired artificial compound eye
Using the eyes of insects such as dragonflies and houseflies as models, a team of bioengineers at University of California, Berkeley, has created a series of artificial compound eyes. These eyes can eventually be used as cameras or sensory detectors to capture visual or chemical information from a wider field of vision than previously possible.

Terahertz imaging may reduce breast cancer surgeries
Researchers have reported on a promising new technique to ensure complete tumor removal at breast cancer excision. Using light waves in a newly explored region of the electromagnetic spectrum -- the terahertz region -- the researchers examined excised breast tissue and determine if the removed tissue margins were clear of cancer, with good results. This technology has the potential to eliminate the need for multiple surgeries and tissue samples to get clear surgical margins.

Software allows neighbors to improve Internet access at no extra cost

Computer scientists at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign have developed software that enables the sharing of high-speed wireless connections without compromising security or privacy. The software can improve Internet connectivity in residential areas at no additional cost.



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