Can converting methane into CO2 help reduce climate change?

Greenhouse gases, such as carbon dioxide (CO2) and methane, contribute to global warming by slowing the rate at which heat energy escapes into space. Although methane is less abundant than CO2, it is several times more potent, absorbing up to 36 times more energy than CO2 over a century. Last year marked the first time that global methane concentrations reached levels 2.5 times greater than … Continue reading Can converting methane into CO2 help reduce climate change?

How did dinosaurs learn to fly? Robots can help model the flapping wings.

Scientists generally agree that today’s birds descend from ancient flying dinosaurs, but nobody is sure exactly how the first flying dinosaurs actually took flight. A group of researchers from Tsinghua University and the Chinese Academy of Sciences think they might be able to piece together the origins of flight using a mix of fossils, mathematical models, robotic models, and modern ostriches. The scientists started their … Continue reading How did dinosaurs learn to fly? Robots can help model the flapping wings.

Mending a Broken Heart: A new post-heart attack adhesive patch speeds healing

Heart attack is a leading cause of death, and often results in damage by overstretching the heart muscle. Once overstretched, the weakened heart muscle is less efficient at pumping blood, and it’s hard for the muscle to recover once the damage is formed because the heart is always beating. It can’t ever stop to heal. Researchers from Brown University and Fudan University have developed an … Continue reading Mending a Broken Heart: A new post-heart attack adhesive patch speeds healing

A Sweet Solution for Preserving Vaccines

Researchers at McMaster University have developed a novel method for stabilizing vaccines, removing the strict requirement that the components be maintained within a specific low temperature range from development through delivery. The technique is based on drying the vaccines using two FDA-approved sugars and was shown to be successful in preserving vaccine effectiveness at elevated temperatures for twelve weeks. While it must still be validated on other vaccines, this method could be a major step toward cheap, accessible immunization in developing areas. Continue reading A Sweet Solution for Preserving Vaccines

So what color was that dinosaur, actually?

Tyrannosaurus Rex, Triceratops, Saber-toothed Tiger…as kids, we probably imagined these creatures using a variety of crayon colors. But what if we could figure out what color these creatures actually were? A scientific technique developed by Roy Wogelius involving the Interdisciplinary Centre for Ancient Life at the University of Manchester may paint the ancient world in its truest form. Paleontologists use information contained in fossils to try … Continue reading So what color was that dinosaur, actually?

Electric Forest

Semiconductors are materials that are used as switches in modern electronics. While the switches in your computer and smartphone are made of silicon, carbon-based organic semiconductors offer the potential for flexible, inexpensive electronics. Toward this goal, students in CHEM 100R have synthesized a novel organic semiconductor. For an organic semiconductor film to perform well, it must be processed so that is both crystalline and continuous. Students in CHEM 165 … Continue reading Electric Forest

Conductors vs. Insulators: A Quantum Perspective

Electricity is created by electrons flowing through materials. Materials that allow electrons to travel through, like copper wires, are called conductors, whereas materials that inhibit electron flow, like rubber, are called insulators. However, the models behind our understanding have been incomplete. To understand which materials permit electron movement, scientists have investigated the patterns of electron motion in materials. Electrons do not behave like macroscopic objects. … Continue reading Conductors vs. Insulators: A Quantum Perspective

Pigs & Immortality: A Step Towards Reversing Death

Researchers from the Yale School of Medicine have developed a system capable of sustaining certain aspects of brain function for several hours, even if the host animal has been dead for up to four hours beforehand. While this by no means suggests that complete restoration of neurological function is on the horizon, it reveals the surprising resilience of post-mortem brain tissue, introduces a promising technique that could allow scientists to study certain biological functions outside of live animals, and highlights the important ethical considerations that must be discussed before any potential complete resuscitation of neurological activity is achieved. Continue reading Pigs & Immortality: A Step Towards Reversing Death

Foxy Behavior: how a Russian fox farm uncovered the basis of canine domestication

by Drew Drabek figures by Nicholas Lue Foxes are not dogs. As a rule, dogs are docile and foxes are feral. You could say it’s in their DNA. But there are exceptions to every rule. A fox raised in captivity might learn to be gentle. A dog who was abused might lash out. Behavior: it’s complicated. There has been great interest in the selective breeding of … Continue reading Foxy Behavior: how a Russian fox farm uncovered the basis of canine domestication