Heading into the Independence Day weekend, materials that compute — what your clothes may say about you; Sandia’s Z machine solving an 80-year-old puzzle; an amazing satellite view of the San Francisco Bay area; a monster black hole waking after 26 years; a tactical toss camera that sends panoramic images back to a smartphone; and breaking key barriers that limit the distance information can travel in fiber optic cables, are all top hits.
NASA has joined a multi-agency field campaign studying summer storm systems in the U.S. Great...
A galaxy 23 million light-years away is the site of impressive, ongoing, fireworks. Rather than...
A new robot that raises its tail like a scorpion is scheduled to look at melted nuclear fuel inside one of the three wrecked Fukushima reactors in Japan. Toshiba, co-developer of the "scorpion" crawler, said the robot will venture into the Unit 2 reactor's primary containment vessel in August after a month of training for its handlers. Officials hope the robot can see the fuel in the pressure vessel in the middle of the reactor.
A 24-minute, high-resolution science documentary narrated Benedict Cumberbatch about the dynamics of the sun that features data-driven visualizations produced by NCSA at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign debuted on June 30, 2015, at the Louisiana Art & Science Museum in Baton Rouge before rolling out to more than a dozen planetariums and science centers around the world.
A team of researchers led by UCLA electrical engineers has demonstrated a new way to harness light particles, or photons, that are connected to each other and act in unison no matter how far apart they are — a phenomenon known as quantum entanglement. In previous studies, photons have typically been entangled by one dimension of their quantum properties — usually the direction of their polarization.
NASA astronaut Scott Kelly (@StationCDRKelly) captured photographs and video of auroras from the International Space Station on June 22, 2015. Kelly wrote, "Yesterday's aurora was an impressive show from 250 miles up. Good morning from the International Space Station! #YearInSpace
This 600X image shows a live cultured human mesothelial cell activated to produce hyaluronan. It received an honorable mention in the 2014 Nikon Small World Photomicrophotography Competition, which recognizes excellence in photography with the optical microscope and was taken using confocal microscopy.
Planets tend to cool as they get older, but Saturn is hotter than astrophysicists say it should be without some additional energy source. The unexplained heat has caused a 2-billion-year discrepancy for computer models estimating Saturn’s age. Experiments at Sandia’s Z machine verified an 80-year-old untested proposition that molecular hydrogen, normally an insulator, becomes metallic if squeezed by enough pressure...
The intricate jumble depicted in this image from ESA’s Herschel space observatory shows the distribution of gas and dust in the Taurus Molecular Cloud, a giant stellar nursery about 450 light-years away in the constellation Taurus, the Bull. Dust is a minor but crucial ingredient in this diffuse mixture that provides the raw material for stars to form.
As we entered our first week of summer, the week’s biggest hits included a strong bent toward several “lighter” mathematical topics: learning how math drives Formula 1 and launches Angry Birds, inspiring young minds at MoMATH, and Pi Day under attack. You also won’t want to miss molecules exhibiting strange, exotic states, hot lava flows on Venus, and some of the coolest experimental technology showcased at this year’s Paris Air Show.
Unseen areas are troublesome for police and first responders: Rooms can harbor dangerous gunmen, while collapsed buildings can conceal survivors. In July, a startup will release its first line of tactical spheres, equipped with cameras and sensors that can be tossed into potentially hazardous areas to instantly transmit panoramic images of those areas back to a smartphone, giving officers and rescuers a safe glimpse into the unknown.
The image shows an entire live zebrafish embryo at 22 hours post-fertilization and single-cell resolution, enabling an insightful view of its early morphogenetic development. The embryo’s cell nuclei were fluorescently labeled and imaged with a SiMView custom light-sheet microscope. Color encodes depth in the image.
Over the past week, ESA's Integral satellite has been observing an exceptional outburst of high-energy light produced by a black hole that is devouring material from its stellar companion. X-rays and gamma rays point to some of the most extreme phenomena in the Universe, such as stellar explosions, powerful outbursts and black holes feasting on their surroundings.
Moving closer to the possibility of "materials that compute" and wearing your computer on your sleeve, researchers have designed a responsive hybrid material that is fueled by an oscillatory chemical reaction and can perform computations based on changes in the environment or movement, and potentially even respond to human vital signs. The material system is sufficiently small and flexible to ultimately be integrated into a fabric.
At the recent International Conference on Robotics and Automation, researchers presented a printable origami robot that folds itself up from a flat sheet of plastic when heated and measures about 1 cm from front to back. Weighing only a third of a gram, the robot can swim, climb an incline, traverse rough terrain, and carry a load twice its weight. Other than the self-folding plastic sheet, the only component is a permanent magnet.
Jill Hruby was named the next president and director of Sandia National Laboratories, the country’s largest national lab. When she steps into her new role July 17, she will be the first woman to lead a national security laboratory. A Sandia staff member and manager for the past 32 years, Hruby most recently oversaw Sandia efforts in nuclear, biological and chemical security, homeland security, counterterrorism and energy security.
This 40x image of wandering jew leaf stomata — pores found in the epidermis that control gas exchange — received an honorable mention in the 2014 Nikon Small World Photomicrophotography Competition, which recognizes excellence in photography with the optical microscope. The photograph was taken using brightfield, epi illumination and image stacking.
For someone suffering from paralysis or limited mobility, visiting with other people is extremely difficult. Researchers have been working on a revolutionary brain-machine approach to restore a sense of independence to the disabled. The idea is to remotely control a robot from home with one's thoughts. The research, involving numerous subjects located in different countries, produced excellent results in both human and technical terms.
This photo, suggestive of an old-fashioned lift cage, shows a much smaller enclosure: an electrode housing box that will fly on ESA’s LISA Pathfinder mission. The inside measures 5.5 centimeters on each side. The mission is a technology demonstrator that will pave the way for future space-based observatories measuring gravitational waves — ripples in the fabric of space-time predicted by Einstein’s general theory of relativity.
IBM and Bon Appétit have introduced a one-of-a-kind Chef Watson cognitive computing cooking app that is open to anyone interested in expanding his or her imagination in the kitchen. Created through a collaboration with Bon Appétit, the app inspires home cooks everywhere to discover unexpected flavor combinations to address everyday mealtime challenges in creative ways and bring new ideas to the kitchen.
Landsat-8 captured this image of the San Francisco Bay Area in California on March 5, 2015. The city of San Francisco is on a peninsula in the center left of the image. In the upper-central portion, we can see the delta of the Sacramento and San Joaquin rivers with brown, sediment-filled water flowing down into the larger bay. Starting in the top-left corner of the image and running diagonally to the south is the San Andreas Fault.
After a year in orbit, the three Swarm satellites have provided a first glimpse inside Earth and started to shed new light on the dynamics of the upper atmosphere — all the way from the ionosphere through to the outer reaches of our protective magnetic shield. Swarm is tasked with measuring and untangling the different magnetic signals that stem from Earth’s core, mantle, crust, oceans, ionosphere and magnetosphere.
The idea of cloaking and rendering something invisible hit the small screen in 1966 when a Romulan Bird of Prey made an unseen, surprise attack on the Starship Enterprise. Not only did it make for a good storyline, it inspired budding scientists, offering a window of technology's potential. Today, pop culture has embraced the idea of hiding behind force fields, and mathematicians are looking at transforming science fiction into science.
Some models of planetary evolution suggest that Venus was resurfaced in a cataclysmic flood of lava around half a billion years ago. But whether Venus is active today has remained a hot topic in planetary science. ESA’s Venus Express, which completed its eight-year study of the planet last year, conducted a range of observations at different wavelengths to address this important question.
In the late spring and summer, unusual clouds form high in the atmosphere above the polar regions of the world. As the lower atmosphere warms, the upper atmosphere gets cooler, and ice crystals form on meteor dust and other particles high in the sky. The result is noctilucent or “night-shining” clouds — electric blue wisps that grow on the edge of space.
A newly-designed material, which mimics the wing structure of owls, could help make wind turbines, computer fans and even planes much quieter. Early wind tunnel tests of the coating have shown a substantial reduction in noise without any noticeable effect on aerodynamics.
Planes you can park in your garage. Satellites that fit in your backpack. Some of the coolest experimental technology showcased at this year’s Paris Air Show is about thinking small — though it's easy to get distracted by the huge aircraft performing overhead, from thundering fighter jets to the surprising near-vertical liftoff of a Boeing passenger jet. These innovative ideas may change the way we travel, wage wars or explore space.
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