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.

Greenland ice cores show industrial record of acid rain

The rise and fall of acid rain is a global experiment whose results are preserved in the geologic record.

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.

Researchers bolster development of programmable quantum computers

University of Chicago researchers and their colleagues at University College London have performed a proof-of-concept experiment that will aid the future development of programmable quantum computers.

SU plays key role in search for elusive dark matter

Physicist Richard Schnee hopes to find traces of dark matter by studying particles with low masses and interaction rates, some of which have never been probed before. The ongoing search for invisible dark matter is the subject of a recent article involving physicists from Syracuse University's College of Arts and Sciences.

Into the abyss: Scientists explore one of Earth's deepest ocean trenches

What lives in the deepest part of the ocean--the abyss? A team of researchers funded by the National Science Foundation (NSF) will use the world's only full-ocean-depth, hybrid, remotely-operated vehicle, Nereus, and other advanced technology to find out. They will explore the Kermadec Trench at the bottom of the Pacific Ocean.

Sunlight generates hydrogen in new porous silicon

Porous silicon manufactured in a bottom up procedure using solar energy can be used to generate hydrogen from water, according to a team of Penn State mechanical engineers, who also see applications for batteries, biosensors and optical electronics as outlets for this new material.

Growing crops on photovoltaic farms

Growing agave and other carefully chosen plants amid photovoltaic panels could allow solar farms not only to collect sunlight for electricity but also to produce crops for biofuels, according to new computer models by Stanford scientists.

How to make ethanol without corn or other plants

Stanford University scientists have found a new, highly efficient way to produce liquid ethanol from carbon monoxide gas. This promising discovery could provide an eco-friendly alternative to conventional ethanol production from corn and other crops, say the scientists. Their results are published in the April 9 advanced online edition of the journal Nature.

Scientists develop bacterial ‘FM Radio’

Programming living cells offers the prospect of harnessing sophisticated biological machinery for transformative applications in energy, agriculture, water remediation and medicine. Inspired by engineering, researchers in the emerging field of synthetic biology have designed a tool box of small genetic components that act as intracellular switches, logic gates, counters and oscillators.

Report: Movies synchronize minds

When we watch a movie, our brains react to it immediately in a way similar to other people's brains.

Did life as we know it originate in deep sea vents?

One of the greatest mysteries facing humans is how life originated on Earth. Scientists have determined approximately when life began (roughly 3.8 billion years ago), but there is still intense debate about exactly how life began. One possibility has grown in popularity in the last two decades - that simple metabolic reactions emerged near ancient seafloor hot springs, enabling the leap from a non-living to a living world.

Micro-robots, smaller than a penny, could one day swarm to the rescue

Imagine robots no bigger than your finger tip scrambling through the rubble of a disaster site to search for victims or to assess damage. That's the vision of engineer Sarah Bergbreiter and her research team at the University of Maryland.

Yes, memory accuracy and strength can be manipulated during sleep

The sense of smell might seem intuitive, almost something you take for granted. But researchers from NYU Langone Medical Center have found that memory of specific odors depends on the ability of the brain to learn, process and recall accurately and effectively during slow-wave sleep — a deep sleep characterized by slow brain waves.

Green tea boosts your brain

Green tea is said to have many putative positive effects on health. Now, researchers at the University of Basel are reporting first evidence that green tea extract enhances the cognitive functions, in particular the working memory.

These electronics dissolve when triggered

A medical device, once its job is done, could harmlessly melt away inside a person’s body. Or, a military device could collect and send its data and then dissolve away, leaving no trace of an intelligence mission. Or, an environmental sensor could collect climate information, then wash away in the rain.

Report: Social networking use linked to infidelity and divorce

Twitter and other social networking services have revolutionized the way people create and maintain relationships. However, new research shows that Twitter use could actually be damaging to users’ romantic relationships.

Trees go high-tech: process turns cellulose into energy storage devices

Based on a fundamental chemical discovery by scientists at Oregon State University, it appears that trees may soon play a major role in making high-tech energy storage devices.