Sunday, October 07, 2007

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

Stopping atoms:
A paper, published today in the Institute of Physics' New Journal of Physics, demonstrates how a group of physicists from the University of Texas at Austin have found a way to slow down, stop and explore a much wider range of atoms than ever before.

Nature leads the way for the next generation of paints, cosmetics and holograms:
A plant-like micro-organism mostly found in oceans could make the manufacture of products, from iridescent cosmetics, paints and fabrics to credit card holograms, cheaper and "greener."

MU physicist defends Einstein's theory and 'speed of gravity' measurement:
Scientists have attempted to disprove Albert Einstein's theory of general relativity for the better part of a century. After testing and confirming Einstein's prediction in 2002 that gravity moves at the speed of light, a professor at the University of Missouri-Columbia has spent the past five years defending the result, as well as his own innovative techniques for measuring the speed of propagation of the tiny ripples of space-time known as gravitational waves.

Brain needs perfection in synapse number:
Like Goldilocks, the brain seeks proportions that are just right. The proper number of synapses or communication between nerve cells, determined early in life, is crucial to having a healthy brain that can learn and retain information.

UC San Diego physicists tackle knotty puzzle:
Electrical cables, garden hoses and strands of holiday lights seem to get themselves hopelessly tangled with no help at all. Now research initiated by an undergraduate student at the University of California, San Diego has resulted in the first model of how knots form.

Stomach stem cell discovery could bring cancer insights:
University of Michigan researchers have for the first time identified progenitor cells in mouse stomachs in a region where cancer often begins. The ability to see and trace these cells gives a green light to efforts to understand the origins of one of the world's most common cancers.

FSU physicist shining a light on mysterious 'dark matter':
We've all been taught that our bodies, the Earth and in fact all matter in the universe is composed of tiny building blocks called atoms. Now imagine if this weren't the case. This mind-bending concept is at the core of the scientific research that one Florida State University professor -- and hundreds of his colleagues all over the world -- are pursuing.

MU researcher presents origin-of-life theory for young Earth:
Scientists have been trying to find the origin of Earth's adenine and where else it might exist in the solar system. University of Missouri-Columbia researcher Rainer Glaser may have the answer. Glaser is hypothesizing the existence of adenine in interstellar dust clouds. Those same clouds may have showered young Earth with adenine as it began cooling billions of years ago, and could potentially hold the key for initiating a similar process on another planet.

Even without math, ancients engineered sophisticated machines:
Move over, Archimedes. A researcher at Harvard University is finding that ancient Greek craftsmen were able to engineer sophisticated machines without necessarily understanding the mathematical theory behind their construction.

Software 'chipper' speeds debugging:
Computer scientists at UC-Davis have developed a technique to speed up program debugging by automatically 'chipping' the software into smaller pieces so that bugs can be isolated more easily.

U-M research: New plastic is strong as steel, transparent:
By mimicking a brick-and-mortar molecular structure found in seashells, University of Michigan researchers created a composite plastic that's as strong as steel, but lighter and transparent.

UCLA engineering model advances prospect of alternative-fuel vehicles:
UCLA engineering researchers have developed a hydrogen storage model that could speed the develpment of alternative fuel vehicles.



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