Brewing up sustainability

Each day, breweries and wineries produce thousands of gallons of wastewater, which is either poured down the drain or shipped to treatment facilities at a high cost to the companies.

This system detects global trends in social networks two months in advance

A new method of monitoring identifies what information will be relevant on social networks up to two months in advance. This may help predict social movements, consumer reactions or possible outbreaks of epidemics.

Report: Graphene not all good

In a first-of-its-kind study of how a material some think could transform the electronics industry moves in water, researchers at the University of California, Riverside Bourns College of Engineering found graphene oxide nanoparticles are very mobile in lakes or streams and therefore likely to cause negative environmental impacts if released.

Climate change: don't wait until you can feel it

Despite overwhelming scientific evidence for the impending dangers of human-made climate change, policy decisions leading to substantial emissions reduction have been slow.

Research shows smartphone sensors leave trackable fingerprints

Fingerprints — those swirling residues left on keyboards and doorknobs — are mostly invisible. They can affirm your onetime presence, but they cannot be used to track your day-to-day activities.

Stanford bioengineers create circuit board modeled on the human brain

Stanford bioengineers have developed a new circuit board modeled on the human brain, possibly opening up new frontiers in robotics and computing. For all their sophistication, computers pale in comparison to the brain. The modest cortex of the mouse, for instance, operates 9,000 times faster than a personal computer simulation of its functions.

Multilayer, microscale solar cells enable ultrahigh efficiency power generation

Researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign use a printing process to assemble tiny cells into multilayer stacks for extraordinary levels of photovoltaic conversion efficiency.

Claim: Wetlands likely to blame for greenhouse gas increases

A surprising recent rise in atmospheric methane likely stems from wetland emissions, suggesting that much more of the potent greenhouse gas will be pumped into the atmosphere as northern wetlands continue to thaw and tropical ones to warm, according to a new international study led by a University of Guelph researcher.

Report: Ozone levels drop 20 percent with switch from ethanol to gasoline

A Northwestern University study by an economist and a chemist reports that when fuel prices drove residents of São Paulo, Brazil, to mostly switch from ethanol to gasoline in their flexible-fuel vehicles, local ozone levels dropped 20 percent. At the same time, nitric oxide and carbon monoxide concentrations tended to go up.

Researcher develops smart components that assemble themselves

Skylar Tibbits SM '10 was constructing a massive museum installation with thousands of pieces when he had an epiphany. “Imagine yourself facing months on end assembling this thing, thinking there’s got to be a better way,” he says.

Reconstructed ancient ocean reveals secrets about the origin of life

Researchers from the University of Cambridge have published details about how the first organisms on Earth could have become metabolically active. The results, which are reported in the journal Molecular Systems Biology, permit scientists to speculate how primitive cells learned to synthesize their organic components – the molecules that form RNA, lipids and amino acids. The findings also suggest an order for the sequence of events that led to the origin of life.

What would the ancient Maya have thought about Facebook?

If Facebook were around 1,400 years ago, the ancient Maya might have been big fans of the virtual self. The Maya believed that part of your identity could inhabit material objects, like a courtier's mirror or sculptor's carving tool. Maya might even name these objects, talk to them or take them to special events. They considered these items to be alive.

3D printing cancer cells

Drexel’s Wei Sun, PhD, Albert Soffa chair professor in the College of Engineering, has devised a method for 3D printing tumors that could soon be taking cancer research out of the petri dish.

Making graphene work for real-world devices

Graphene, a one-atom-thick form of the carbon material graphite, has been hailed as a wonder material--strong, light, nearly transparent and an excellent conductor of electricity and heat--and it very well may be. But a number of practical challenges must be overcome before it can emerge as a replacement for silicon and other materials in microprocessors and next-generation energy devices.

Scientists develop a 3D printed microscope for $2

A droplet of clear liquid can bend light, acting as a lens. Now, by exploiting this well-known phenomenon, researchers have developed a new process to create inexpensive high quality lenses that will cost less than a penny apiece.

When things get glassy, molecules go fractal

Colorful church windows, beads on a necklace and many of our favorite plastics share something in common -- they all belong to a state of matter known as glasses. School children learn the difference between liquids and gases, but centuries of scholarship have failed to produce consensus about how to categorize glass.

‘Double-duty’ electrolyte enables new chemistry for longer-lived batteries

Researchers at the Department of Energy’s Oak Ridge National Laboratory have developed a new and unconventional battery chemistry aimed at producing batteries that last longer than previously thought possible.

Study finds accelerated soil carbon loss, increasing the rate of climate change

Research published in Science today found that increased levels of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere cause soil microbes to produce more carbon dioxide, accelerating climate change.

Superconducting qubit array points the way to quantum computers

A fully functional quantum computer is one of the holy grails of physics. Unlike conventional computers, the quantum version uses qubits (quantum bits), which make direct use of the multiple states of quantum phenomena. When realized, a quantum computer will be millions of times more powerful at certain computations than today’s supercomputers.

Weightless plants fly on a dragon

It is a race against time for ESA’s Gravi-2 experiment following launch last Friday on the Dragon space ferry. Stowed in Dragon’s cargo are lentil seeds that will be nurtured into life on the International Space Station.