Could floating nuclear plants could ride out tsunamis?

When an earthquake and tsunami struck the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant complex in 2011, neither the quake nor the inundation caused the ensuing contamination. Rather, it was the aftereffects — specifically, the lack of cooling for the reactor cores, due to a shutdown of all power at the station — that caused most of the harm.

Understanding the 'Water World' theory of life's origins

Life took root more than four billion years ago on our nascent Earth, a wetter and harsher place than now, bathed in sizzling ultraviolet rays. What started out as simple cells ultimately transformed into slime molds, frogs, elephants, humans and the rest of our planet's living kingdoms. How did it all begin?

An Arctic ozone hole? Not quite

Since the discovery of the Antarctic ozone hole, scientists, policymakers, and the public have wondered whether we might someday see a similarly extreme depletion of ozone over the Arctic.

Understanding how memories stick together

Scientists at the Salk Institute have created a new model of memory that explains how neurons retain select memories a few hours after an event. This new framework provides a more complete picture of how memory works, which can inform research into disorders liked Parkinson's, Alzheimer's, post-traumatic stress and learning disabilities.

Searching for dark energy with neutrons

All the particles we know to exist make up only about five per cent of the mass and energy of the universe. The rest – "Dark Matter" and "Dark Energy" – remains mysterious.

Improving electric vehicle range with supercharged batteries

Electric vehicles could travel farther and more renewable energy could be stored with lithium-sulfur batteries that use a unique powdery nanomaterial.

Are we over the Starcraft gaming hill at 24?

It’s a hard pill to swallow, but if you’re over 24 years of age you’ve already reached your peak in terms of your cognitive motor performance, according to a new Simon Fraser University study.

'Problem wells' source of greenhouse gas at unexpected stage of natural gas production

High levels of the greenhouse gas methane were found above shale gas wells at a production point not thought to be an important emissions source, according to a study jointly led by Purdue and Cornell universities. The findings could have implications for the evaluation of the environmental impacts from natural gas production.

Device turns flat surface into spherical antenna

By depositing an array of tiny, metallic, U-shaped structures onto a dielectric material, a team of researchers in China has created a new artificial surface that can bend and focus electromagnetic waves the same way an antenna does.

Novel technique developed by NUS scientists opens door to better solar cells

A team of scientists, led by Assistant Professor Andrivo Rusydi from the Department of Physics at the National University of Singapore's (NUS) Faculty of Science, has successfully developed a technique to study the interface between materials, shedding light on the new properties that arise when two materials are put together.

Achieving data transmission in the terabit range

The amount of data generated and transmitted worldwide is growing continuously. With the help of light, data can be transmitted rapidly and efficiently. Optical communication is based on glass fibers, through which optical signals can be transmitted over large distances with hardly any losses.

Scientists study genetically modified tobacco plants as an alternative for producing bioethanol

Researchers at the NUP/UPNA-Public University of Navarre and the IdAB-Institute of Agrobiotechnology have conducted a study into genetically modified tobacco plants from which it is possible to produce between 20 and 40 per cent more ethanol; this would increase their viability as a raw material for producing biofuels.

A molecular approach to solar power

It’s an obvious truism, but one that may soon be outdated: The problem with solar power is that sometimes the sun doesn’t shine. Now a team at MIT and Harvard University has come up with an ingenious workaround — a material that can absorb the sun’s heat and store that energy in chemical form, ready to be released again on demand.

Report: Nutrient-rich forests absorb more carbon

The ability of forests to sequester carbon from the atmosphere depends on nutrients available in the forest soils, shows new research from an international team of researchers, including IIASA.

Does germ plasm accelerate evolution?

Scientists at The University of Nottingham have published research in the leading academic journal Science that challenges a long held belief about the way certain species of vertebrates evolved.

Shiny quantum dots brighten future of solar cells

A house window that doubles as a solar panel could be on the horizon, thanks to recent quantum-dot work by Los Alamos National Laboratory researchers in collaboration with scientists from University of Milano-Bicocca (UNIMIB), Italy. Their project demonstrates that superior light-emitting properties of quantum dots can be applied in solar energy by helping more efficiently harvest sunlight.

How the brain pays attention

Picking out a face in the crowd is a complicated task: Your brain has to retrieve the memory of the face you’re seeking, then hold it in place while scanning the crowd, paying special attention to finding a match.

Bringing extinct plants to life

Jeff Benca is an admitted über-geek when it comes to prehistoric plants, so it was no surprise that, when he submitted a paper describing a new species of long-extinct lycopod for publication, he ditched the standard line drawing and insisted on a detailed and beautifully rendered color reconstruction of the plant.

Testing boundaries of 'new physics' with discovery of 4-quark hadron

hysicists in Syracuse University's College of Arts and Sciences have helped confirm the existence of exotic hadrons—a type of matter that cannot be classified within the traditional quark model.

Odds that global warming is due to natural factors? Slim to none

An analysis of temperature data since 1500 all but rules out the possibility that global warming in the industrial era is just a natural fluctuation in the earth's climate, according to a new study by McGill University physics professor Shaun Lovejoy.