Sunday, September 30, 2007

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

New Delft material concept for aircraft wings could save billions:
Building aircraft wings with a special aluminium fiber combination makes them nearly immune to metal fatigue. The application of this technology, partly developed at Delft University of Technology, will lead to substantial savings. The unusual qualities of this special material can make a significant contribution to the development of truly energy-efficient, 'green' aircraft. Lower fuel consumption and reduction of maintenance costs could lead to worldwide savings as high as $100 billion.

Carnegie Mellon system makes any digital camera take multibillion-pixel shots:
Researchers at Carnegie Mellon and NASA have built a low-cost robotic device that enables any digital camera to produce breathtaking gigapixel panoramas called GigaPans.

Enzyme's second messenger contributes to cell overgrowth:
Scientists at the University of California, San Diego School of Medicine have uncovered a novel pathway by which hormones elevated in inflammation, cancer and cell injury act on cells to stimulate their growth.

Scientists discover how cancer may take hold:
A team, led by researchers at the Carnegie Institution, has found a key biochemical cycle that suppresses the immune response, thereby allowing cancer cells to multiply unabated. The research shows how the biomolecules responsible for healthy T cells, the body's first defenders against hostile invaders, are quashed, permitting the invading cancer to spread. The same cycle could also be involved in autoimmune diseases such as multiple sclerosis.

MicroRNA convicted of triggering metastasis:
While past studies have shown that some microRNAs cause normal cells to divide rapidly and form tumors, this one offers proof that a microRNA can also cause tumors to metastasize. It establishes an important new role for a class of RNA molecules whose significance was discovered only recently.

Engineered eggshells to help make hydrogen fuel:
Engineers at Ohio State University have found a way to turn discarded chicken eggshells into an alternative energy resource. The patented process uses eggshells to soak up carbon dioxide from a reaction that produces hydrogen fuel. It also includes a unique method for peeling the collagen-containing membrane from the inside of the shells, so that the collagen can be used commercially.

Yale scientists make 2 giant steps in advancement of quantum computing:
Two major steps toward putting quantum computers into real practice -- sending a photon signal on demand from a qubit onto wires and transmitting the signal to a second, distant qubit -- have been brought about by a team of scientists at Yale. The accomplishments are reported in sequential issues of Nature on Sept. 20 and Sept. 27, on which it is highlighted as the cover.

Digital cable goes quantum:
Physicists at the National Institute of Standards and Technology have transferred information between two 'artificial atoms' by way of electronic vibrations on a microfabricated aluminum cable, demonstrating a new component for potential ultra-powerful quantum computers of the future. The setup resembles a miniature version of a cable television transmission line, but with some powerful added features, including superconducting circuits with zero electrical resistance, and multitasking data bits that obey the unusual rules of quantum physics.

Printing in 3-D:
It is a simple matter to print an E-book or other document directly from your computer, whether that document is on your hard drive, at a web site or in an email. But, imagine being able to "print" solid objects, a piece of sports equipment, say, or a kitchen utensil, or even a prototype car design for wind tunnel tests. US researchers suggest such 3-D printer technology will soon enter the mainstream once a killer application emerges.

Do migratory birds 'see' the magnetic field?:
Every year millions of migratory birds fly towards their wintering quarters and come back in next year's spring to breed. Behavioral experiments have shown that the Earth's magnetic field is the main orientation cue on their journeys. Nevertheless, surprisingly little is known about the neuronal substrates underlying these navigational abilities.

Scientists get first look at nanotubes inside living animals:
Rice University scientists have captured the first optical images of carbon nanotubes inside a living organism. The research appears in the September issue of Nano Letters. The researchers fed carbon nanotubes to newly hatched fruit flies. Using a laser, they excited a fluorescent glow from the nanotubes and took pictures of the near-infrared glow with a custom microscope. The researchers hope the technique will be useful in finding new ways to diagnose disease.

Bacteria join ranks of lazy cheaters:
A new study has discovered that one type of bacteria has mutants that shut down certain communication systems so they don't have to share the communal burden of obtaining nutrients. This "cheating" mechanism forces other bacteria do all the work while the lazy bacteria save their energy, grow faster and out-compete other cells. The findings could suggest new concepts for antibiotic development.



Post a Comment

<< Home