Sunday, October 15, 2006

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

Cincinnati Children's researchers publish findings on potential target for leukemia treatment:

Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center today announced the publication of pioneering research identifying the crucial role and novel mechanism of action of the protein RhoH GTPase in the development and activation of cells critical to the immune system. The findings suggest that RhoH GTPase may provide a target for therapeutic intervention in some types of leukemia. The paper is due to appear in an upcoming edition of the journal, Nature Immunology.

How can we make nanoscale capacitors even smaller?:

Researchers at UC Santa Barbara have discovered what limits our ability to reduce the size of capacitors, often the largest components in integrated circuits, down to the nanoscale. They have answered a 45-year-old question: Why is the capacitance in thin-film capacitors so much smaller than expected?

Fossilized liquid assembly: Nanomaterials research tool:

From a butterfly's iridescent wing to a gecko's sticky foot, nature derives extraordinary properties from ordinary materials like wax and keratin. Its secret is hierarchical topology -- macroscale structures assembled from microscale components of varying sizes. Borrowing a page from nature's playbook, researchers at NIST have developed a novel platform for the self-assembly of experimental hierarchical surfaces in a fluid. Their work offers diverse industries a new way to generate and measure self-assembly at the nanoscale.

Nanoparticle assembly enters the fast lane:

The speed of nanoparticle assembly can be accelerated with the assistance of DNA, a team of researchers at the U.S. Department of Energy's Brookhaven National Laboratory recently found. Learning how to control the assembly of these miniscule particles into larger systems remains a major challenge for scientists. The Brookhaven results, published online on October 11, 2006, by the Journal of the American Chemical Society, are a step in that direction.

University of Penn chemists reinvent the science and industry of making plastics:

Chemists at the University of Pennsylvania have created a new process for free radical polymerization, the chemical reaction responsible for creating an enormous array of everyday plastic products, from Styrofoam cups to PVC tubing to car parts. Unlike the "traditional" method for living polymerization, which has been around for more than 50 years, this method takes place at room temperature, uses less metal catalyst to drive the reaction and requires a very short reaction time.

Molecular 'signature' protects cells from viruses:

Viruses are cunning little parasites: they breed by forcing the affected cells to do what they want. By fake commands they get them to produce new viruses. However, the cell often notices that there is something fishy going on. Researchers at the University of Bonn and Munich's Ludwig Maximilian University have now discovered why: cells are in a position to attach their "signature" to their commands, whereas viruses cannot. Their findings are published on October 12 in the prestigious journal Science.

Northern bogs may have helped kick-start past global warming:

Methane gas released by peat bogs in the northern-most third of the globe helped fuel the last major round of global warming, which drew the ice age to a close between 11,000 and 12,000 years ago, conclude scientists from UCLA and the Russian Academy of Sciences.

New method edges closer to holy grail of modern chemistry:

University of Chicago chemist David Mazziotti has developed a new method for determining the behavior of electrons in atoms and molecules, a key ingredient in predicting chemical properties and reactions. He presented the details of his method in the Oct. 6 issue of the journal Physical Review Letters. "In his new paper, David Mazziotti has made a major advance in fundamental theory," said Nobel laureate Dudley Herschbach of Harvard University.

Scientists make atomic clock breakthrough:

In a battle against time, a team of researchers at the University of Nevada, Reno have helped the world tell time more accurately.

MIT material stops bleeding in seconds:

MIT and Hong Kong University researchers have shown that some simple biodegradable liquids can stop bleeding in wounded rodents within seconds, a development that could significantly impact medicine.

Sending secret messages over public internet lines can take place with new technique:

A new technique sends secret messages under other people's noses so cleverly that it would impress James Bond -- yet the procedure is so firmly rooted in the real world that it can be instantly used with existing equipment and infrastructure.

Evolutionary first: Parasite reaches beyond host to play havoc with others' sex lives:

Scientists revealed today that a prolific parasite is helping shape the destiny of a species it does not even infect. The complex relationship between the parasite, its host and the unconnected species is the first known example of evolutionary pressure from such a remote source.

Northwestern researchers develop bistable nano switch:

Carbon nanotubes (CNT) have been under intense study by scientists all over the world for more than a decade and are being thought of as ideal building blocks for nanoelectromechanical systems. Northwestern University scientists have demonstrated a novel carbon nanotube-based nanoelectromechanical switch exhibiting bistablity based on current tunneling, a device that could help advance technological developments in memory chips and electronic sensing devices

Scientists win grants to develop $1,000 genome sequencing technology:

To spur the development of fundamentally new technologies necessary to reduce the cost of sequencing a genome 10,000-fold, the federal government has awarded $13 million to nine universities and corporate groups.



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