Patrick Sanan, who studied mathematics at UC San Diego, combined geometry, physics, and the tiger model from the movie "Life of Pi" to work on a computer graphics problem.
A beam of helium ions can control the transport of electrical currents through high-temperature ceramic superconductors by creating an atomic scale Josephson junction, physicists have found.
The discovery paves the way for the development of sophisticated electronic devices to measure tiny magnetic fields in the heart or brain or improve satellite communications, and may also help to unravel the physics underlying superconductivity. Learn more.
Chemists have designed and synthesized an artificial cell membrane capable of sustaining continual growth, just like a living cell.
The membranes, though completely synthetic, mimic several features of more complex living organisms, such as the ability to adapt their composition in response to environmental cues and will be an important new tool for synthetic biology and origin-of-life studies. Learn more.
Spinel particles that make up the cathodes of batteries capable of high voltage recharging shift the position of defects under strain, rather than cracking, a collaboration between physicists and engineers has found. Learn more.
Scientist have developed a way to watch nanoscale chemical complexes assemble in real time using a recently developed technique called liquid cell transmission electron microscopy.
The new method will allow them to better understand the stepwise formation of nanostructures by creating video recordings of the process. Learn more.
Video games transport players into richly imagined alternate worlds rendered by graphics processing units, GPUs, within game controllers. Chemists have begun using arrays of these same GPUs to explore another world, this one real: the motion of molecules as they interact with each other and their environment. Jamie Schiffer, a graduate student in chemistry and biochemistry, used this approach to follow the motion of two proteins that influence how much energy is available at the surface of heart muscle cells.
Inspired by the way iridescent bird feathers play with light, scientists have created thin films of material in a wide range of pure colors with hues determined by physical structure rather than pigments.
Chemists synthesized and assembled nanostructures of synthetic melanin that mimic melanosomes found in the feathers of some birds. The material bends and reflects light to amplify some wavelengths and dampen others, creating color without pigment. Learn more.
Jérémie Palacci and colleagues have created microbe-sized beads that utilize energy in their environment to self-propel upstream by purely physical means.
Their creation is a step toward the realization of biomimetic microsystems with the ability to actively respond to environmental changes.
Undergraduate students in the Biofuels Awareness and Action Network worked out the chemistry to create polyols from oils produced by algae.
Mixed with a catalyst and silicates in the right proportions, the polyols expand to form polyurethane foam. Polyols from algae were recently used to make the first algae-based foam cores for surfboards.