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The effectiveness of current laser-propulsion techniques is limited by the instability of supersonic gas flow, caused by shock waves that “choke” the inlet of the nozzle, reducing thrust. Those effects can be reduced with the help of laser ablation, redir

Supersonic Laser-propelled Rockets may Enable Aircraft to Exceed Mach 10

October 31, 2014 2:21 pm | by The Optical Society | News | Comments

Scientists and science fiction writers alike have dreamed of aircrafts that are propelled by beams of light rather than conventional fuels. Now, a new method for improving the thrust generated by such laser-propulsion systems may bring them one step closer to practical use. A new system integrates a laser-ablation propulsion system with the gas blasting nozzles of a spacecraft. 

Harnessing Error-prone Chips Trades Computational Accuracy for Energy Savings

October 31, 2014 2:09 pm | by Larry Hardesty, MIT | News | Comments

As transistors get smaller, they also grow less reliable. Increasing their operating voltage can...

Starry Sky from the Space Station

October 31, 2014 11:13 am | News | Comments

An Expedition 41 crew member aboard the Earth-orbiting International Space Station on September...

Seeing the World in a New Perspective

October 31, 2014 10:10 am | by Suzanne Tracy, Editor-in-Chief, Scientific Computing and HPC Source | Blogs | Comments

Floating 40 floors above street level, at the New York Academy of Sciences, winners and judges...

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Rotifer showing the mouth interior and heart shaped corona, by Rogelio Moreno

Jaw-Dropping Image of Open-Mouthed Rotifer wins Nikon Small World Competition

October 30, 2014 5:00 pm | by Nikon | News | Comments

Nikon has revealed the winners of the 40th annual Nikon Small World Photomicrography Competition, awarding first prize to veteran competitor Rogelio Moreno of Panama for capturing a rarely seen image of a rotifer’s open mouth interior and heart-shaped corona. A computer system programmer by occupation, Moreno is a self-taught microscopist whose photomicrograph serves to show just how close the beauty and wonder of the micro-world truly is.

MIT researchers explain their new visualization system that can project a robot's "thoughts." Video screenshot courtesy of Melanie Gonick/MIT

Projecting a Robot’s Intentions: New Spin on Virtual Reality to Read Robots’ Minds

October 30, 2014 4:46 pm | by Jennifer Chu, MIT | News | Comments

In a darkened, hangar-like space inside MIT’s Building 41, a small, Roomba-like robot is trying to make up its mind. Standing in its path is an obstacle — a human pedestrian who’s pacing back and forth. To get to the other side of the room, the robot has to first determine where the pedestrian is, then choose the optimal route to avoid a close encounter.

The software stores only the changes of the system state at specific points in time. Courtesy of Université du Luxembourg, Boshua

New Algorithm Provides Enormous Reduction in Computing Overhead

October 30, 2014 4:37 pm | by University of Luxembourg | News | Comments

The control of modern infrastructure, such as intelligent power grids, needs lots of computing capacity. Scientists have developed an algorithm that might revolutionize these processes. With their new software, researchers are able to forego the use of considerable amounts of computing capacity, enabling what they call micro mining.

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Bovine Pulmonary Artery Epithelial Cells -- Courtesy of Nikon Small World

Bovine Pulmonary Artery Epithelial Cells

October 30, 2014 12:53 pm | News | Comments

This 63X photo shows bovine pulmonary artery epithelial cells. It received an Image of Distinction designation in the 2013 Nikon Small World Photomicrophotography Competition, which recognizes excellence in photography with the optical microscope, and was taken using confocal microscopy.

Origin and OriginPro 2015 Data Analysis and Graphing Software

Origin and OriginPro 2015 Data Analysis and Graphing Software

October 30, 2014 12:45 pm | Originlab Corporation | Product Releases | Comments

Origin and OriginPro 2015 are software applications for data analysis and publication-quality graphing that are tailored to the needs of scientists and engineers. The applications are designed to offer an easy-to-use interface for beginners, and the ability for advanced users to customize analysis and graphing tasks using themes, templates, custom reports, batch processing and programming.

Caddisfly Nymph -- Courtesy of Nikon Small World

Close-up: Caddisfly Nymph

October 29, 2014 10:21 am | News | Comments

This 25X photo shows detail of a Trichoptera nymph, or caddisfly. It received an Image of Distinction designation in the 2013 Nikon Small World Photomicrophotography Competition, which recognizes excellence in photography with the optical microscope, and was taken using stereomicroscopy.

Discrete bands of superconductivity: A diagram depicts unpaired spin up electrons congregating in discrete bands.

New Evidence for Exotic, Predicted Superconducting State

October 29, 2014 10:07 am | by Brown University | News | Comments

Superconductors and magnetic fields do not usually get along. But a research team has produced new evidence for an exotic superconducting state, first predicted a half-century ago, that can indeed arise when a superconductor is exposed to a strong magnetic field.

Erik Demain is a computer scientist turned artist, whose scientific area of expertise lies in computational geometry — specifically, computational origami, that is, the mathematical study of bending and folding. Martin Demaine, Erik's father, is an artist

Ancient Art Form of Origami Launches into Space

October 29, 2014 9:57 am | by Miles O'Brien and Marsha Walton, NSF | News | Comments

Most people who know of origami think of it as the Japanese art of paper folding. Though it began centuries ago, origami became better known to the world in the 20th century when it evolved into a modern art form. In the 21st century, origami has caught the attention of engineers who are using it to create all sorts of new structures — from collapsible packaging to airbags for cars. Origami has even found its way into space.

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The Large Hadron Collider at CERN, a European research organization that operates the world’s largest particle physics laboratory.

Understanding the Balance of Matter and Antimatter

October 28, 2014 2:03 pm | by Rob Enslin, Syracuse University | News | Comments

Physicists have made important discoveries regarding Bs meson particles — something that may explain why the universe contains more matter than antimatter. At CERN, Stone and his research team have studied two landmark experiments that took place at Fermilab, a high-energy physics laboratory near Chicago, in 2009. 

Combined map showing holidays and working periods

Mobile Phone Mapping Proves Reliable

October 28, 2014 1:58 pm | by University of Southampton | News | Comments

A study by an international team, including the University of Southampton, has shown population maps based on anonymous mobile phone call record data can be as accurate as those based on censuses. Their findings show maps made using mobile records are detailed, reliable and flexible enough to help inform infrastructure and emergency planners; particularly in low income countries, where recent population density information is often scarce.

Edge-on spiral galaxy NGC 4206 -- Courtesy of European Space Agency/Hubble & NASA, Acknowledgement: Nick Rose

Hubble Catches a Dusty Spiral in Virgo

October 28, 2014 11:52 am | by NASA | News | Comments

This magnificent new image taken with the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope shows the edge-on spiral galaxy NGC 4206, located about 70 million light-years away from Earth in the constellation of Virgo. Captured here are vast streaks of dust, some of which are obscuring the central bulge, which can just be made out in the center of the galaxy.

As the United States pursues the next generation of computing (exascale), new software-centered partnerships could be the key to maximizing economic benefits for Americans

Supporting America’s Economic Competitiveness: A Look at Federal Supercomputing Leadership

October 28, 2014 11:18 am | by Council on Competitiveness | News | Comments

The Council on Competitiveness has released a new report that explores the value of government leadership in supercomputing for industrial competitiveness, titled Solve. The Exascale Effect: the Benefits of Supercomputing Investment for U.S. Industry. As the federal government pursues exascale computing to achieve national security and science missions, Solve examines how U.S.-based companies also benefit from leading-edge computation

Huygens Titan Image Search Engine

Huygens Titan Image Search Engine

October 28, 2014 10:43 am | Scientific Volume Imaging | Product Releases | Comments

Huygens Titan is lightweight software that indexes, finds and shows 2-D to 5-D microscopic image data. It can read all common microscope formats from any folder and subdirectory on any location to which a user has access. The software does not alter or move images.

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Net-winged midge -- Courtesy of Nikon Small World

Close-up: Net-winged Midge Larvae

October 27, 2014 3:23 pm | News | Comments

This 40X photo shows abdominal segments of net-winged midge larvae. It received an Image of Distinction designation in the 2013 Nikon Small World Photomicrophotography Competition, which recognizes excellence in photography with the optical microscope, and was taken using stereomicroscopy.

President Barack Obama is directing federal money toward new technologies, apprenticeship programs and competitions designed to assist small manufacturers.

Obama Taking Action to Push Manufacturing

October 27, 2014 12:58 pm | by AP | News | Comments

President Barack Obama is expanding his push for increased manufacturing in the United States by directing federal money toward new technologies, apprenticeship programs and competitions designed to assist small manufacturers. The White House announced the executive actions October 27, 2014, as part of the day's focus on manufacturing, which administration officials consider one of the bright spots of the economic recovery.

Micro-optical array projectors: Double-sided lens array with buried slide array (left) and lens array with buried color filters for LCD micro-imager (right) © Fraunhofer IOF

Researchers Project a Million Dazzlingly Sharp Images per Second on Curved Screens

October 27, 2014 5:38 am | by Fraunhofer | News | Comments

Projecting images on curved screens poses a dilemma. The sharper the image, the darker it is. A novel optical approach brings brightness and sharpness together for the first time on screens of any curvature — and additionally allows about 10,000-times faster projection rates. Researchers have applied a proven approach used with cameras.

A 3-D image of the researchers' study site in Malaysian Borneo using drone data and a photo of the Sensefly eBee drone up close. Courtesy of Trends in Parasitology, Fornace et al.

Drones Help Map Spread of Infectious Disease

October 24, 2014 5:07 pm | by Cell Press | News | Comments

Unmanned aerial vehicles, or drones, can collect detailed information in real time at relatively low cost for ecological research. In a new Opinion piece published in the Cell Press journal Trends in Parasitology, experts demonstrate that drones can be used to understand how environmental factors influence the spread of infectious diseases.

A Google executive has broken the sound barrier and set several skydiving records over the southern New Mexico desert after taking a leap from the edge of space.

Supersonic Skydiver: Google Exec Sets Records with Leap from Near-Space

October 24, 2014 4:54 pm | by AP | News | Comments

A Google executive has broken the sound barrier and set several skydiving records over the southern New Mexico desert after taking a leap from the edge of space. Alan Eustace's supersonic jump from a high-altitude, helium-filled balloon is part of a project by Paragon Space Development and its Stratospheric Explorer team. The goal is to develop a self-contained commercial spacesuit that would allow people to explore the stratosphere.

High in the atmosphere of Titan, large patches of two trace gases glow near the north pole, on the dusk side of the moon, and near the south pole, on the dawn side. Brighter colors indicate stronger signals from the two gases, HNC (left) and HC3N (right);

Astrochemists Discover Titan Glows at Dusk and Dawn

October 24, 2014 3:49 pm | by NASA | News | Comments

New maps of Saturn’s moon Titan reveal large patches of trace gases shining brightly near the north and south poles. These regions are curiously shifted off the poles, to the east or west, so that dawn is breaking over the southern region while dusk is falling over the northern one.

The sun emitted a significant solar flare on October 19, 2014-- Courtesy of NASA/Solar Dynamics Observatory

Significant Solar Flare in Extreme Ultraviolet

October 24, 2014 3:35 pm | by NASA | News | Comments

The sun emitted a significant solar flare on October 19, 2014, peaking at 1:01 a.m. EDT. NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory, which is always observing the sun, captured this image of the event in extreme ultraviolet wavelength of 131 Angstroms — a wavelength that can see the intense heat of a flare and that is typically colorized in teal.

Researchers used the Pancam on NASA's Mars Exploration Rover Opportunity to capture this 10-second-exposure view of comet C/2013 A1 Siding Spring as it flew near Mars on October 19, 2014. Courtesy of NASA/JPL-Caltech/Cornell Univ./ASU/TAMU

NASA Rover Opportunity Captured Images of Comet Siding Spring

October 23, 2014 3:56 pm | by NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory | News | Comments

NASA's Mars Exploration Rover Opportunity captured images of a comet passing much closer to Mars than any previous known comet flyby of Earth or Mars. The images of comet Siding Spring were taken against a backdrop of the pre-dawn Martian sky on October 19, 2014. Images of comet A1 Siding Spring from the rover's panoramic camera (Pancam) are online.

To carry out their work, the team was awarded resources on two world-class supercomputers — HeCTOR at the University of Edinburgh and Abel at the University of Oslo — which were made available through PRACE.

Imaging Extremely Distant Galaxies to Create New Window on Early Universe

October 23, 2014 3:18 pm | by University of Bonn | News | Comments

Scientists at the Universities of Bonn and Cardiff see good times approaching for astrophysicists after hatching a new observational strategy to distill detailed information from galaxies at the edge of the Universe. Using two world-class supercomputers, the researchers were able to demonstrate the effectiveness of their approach by simulating the formation of a massive galaxy at the dawn of cosmic time.

Found near the ocean floor and beneath Arctic permafrost, methane hydrate is an icy substance that burns when lit and holds vast amounts of potential energy. Courtesy of USGS

$58 Million Effort to Study Potential New Energy Source, Fire and Ice

October 23, 2014 3:10 pm | by The University of Texas at Austin | News | Comments

A research team has been awarded approximately $58 million to analyze deposits of frozen methane under the Gulf of Mexico that hold enormous potential to increase the world’s energy supply. The grant, one of the largest ever awarded to the university, will allow researchers to advance scientific understanding of methane hydrate, a substance found in abundance beneath the ocean floor and under Arctic permafrost.

Composite Cross-cut -- Courtesy of Nikon Small World

Composite Cross-cut

October 23, 2014 9:42 am | News | Comments

This 50X photo shows cross-cut through an assembly of two dark-brown fiber-reinforced composite pieces, which are bonded together with gray adhesive and back-filled with a blue mass of composite material. It received an Image of Distinction designation in the 2013 Nikon Small World Photomicrophotography Competition, which recognizes excellence in photography with the optical microscope, and was taken using reflected light and darkfield.

Set up of the experiment showing the orthogonal side illumination  © Vetlugin et al.

Quantum Holograms could become Quantum Information Memory

October 22, 2014 12:22 pm | by Springer | News | Comments

Russian scientists have developed a theoretical model of quantum memory for light, adapting the concept of a hologram to a quantum system. The authors demonstrate for the first time that it is theoretically possible to retrieve, on demand, a given portion of the stored quantized light signal of a holographic image — set in a given direction in a given position in time sequence.

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