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.
by Catherine Weiner figures by Elayne Fivenson Every cell in our bodies is constantly on the edge of danger. Our DNA, the molecular blueprints that tell our cells how to function, brought us to life. But it is also just one error away from catastrophe. Our cells are constantly fighting to preserve this fragile balance, for if they fail, they send us down a path … Continue reading Six Ways Our Cells Can Turn Against Us
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
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
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?
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
by Christopher Gerry Our DNA influences our height, eye color, affinity for sky diving and other extreme thrills, sleep habits, disease risk factors, and more. It’s no surprise, then, that scientists have found another job for our reliable genetic ledger: as a tool to aid the discovery of new medicines. The hope is that these DNA-based tools will enable researchers to find better starting points … Continue reading Finding What Sticks
by Ankur Podder and Rhea Grover figures by Jovana Andrejevic Electric Vehicles (EVs) were once regarded as hopeless, tasteless, and incapable of replacing the fossil fuel-powered vehicles. In 2006, the award-winning documentary “Who Killed the Electric Car?” illustrated the impending obsolescence of EVs after a series of failed experiments by the automotive industry. The predicted doom didn’t stop environmentalists from pressing for the industry to make better EVs, … Continue reading How Electric Cars Can Become Truly ‘Green’, Once and For All
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
Need another reminder of the lasting impact that the Pokémon anime franchise has had on those who grew up in the 1990s? Rewind to the summer of 2016, when it became nearly impossible to walk down the street without bumping into a millennial immersed in the wildly successful ‘Pokémon GO’ mobile app. As it turns out, it is not just a sense of nostalgia that … Continue reading Pokémon Light Up the Brain