ARPA-E, and Emission-Free Metal…

Topics: Climate Change, Green Tech, Materials Science, Research When it comes to making steel greener, “only the laws of physics limit our imagination,” says Christina Chang of the Advanced Research Projects Agency–Energy (ARPA–E). Chang, an ARPA–E fellow, is seeking public input on a potential new agency program titled Steel Made via Emissions-Less Technologies. During herContinue reading “ARPA-E, and Emission-Free Metal…”

The Anatomy of Delta…

Topics: Biology, Biotechnology, COVID-19, DNA, Existentialism, Research The coronavirus sports a luxurious sugar coat. “It’s striking,” thought Rommie Amaro, staring at her computer simulation of one of the trademark spike proteins of SARS-CoV-2, which stick out from the virus’s surface. It was swathed in sugar molecules, known as glycans. “When you see it with allContinue reading “The Anatomy of Delta…”

COVID, and Fieldwork…

Topics: Climate Change, COVID-19, Research, STEM Just before dawn in the Jama-Coaque Ecological Reserve, a patch of Ecuador’s lush coastal forest, Abhimanyu Lele unfurls a tall net between two poles, then retreats out of sight. A half-hour later, he and a local assistant reappear and smile: Their catch—10 birds that collided with the net andContinue reading “COVID, and Fieldwork…”

Collider Neutrinos…

Topics: CERN, High Energy Physics, Particle Physics, Research Think “neutrino detector” and images of giant installations come to mind, necessary to compensate for the vanishingly small interaction probability of neutrinos with matter. The extreme luminosity of proton-proton collisions at the LHC, however, produces a large neutrino flux in the forward direction, with energies leading toContinue reading “Collider Neutrinos…”

Every Tank Has Its Limits…

Topics: Biology, Planetary Science, Research, Tardigrades They can survive temperatures close to absolute zero. They can withstand heat beyond the boiling point of water. They can shrug off the vacuum of space and doses of radiation that would be lethal to humans. Now, researchers have subjected tardigrades, microscopic creatures affectionately known as water bears, toContinue reading “Every Tank Has Its Limits…”

Elephants, Mice, and Clocks…

Topics: Biology, DNA, Evolution, Research In her laboratory in Barcelona, Spain, Miki Ebisuya has built a clock without cogs, springs, or numbers. This clock doesn’t tick. It is made of genes and proteins, and it keeps time in a layer of cells that Ebisuya’s team has grown in its lab. This biological clock is tiny,Continue reading “Elephants, Mice, and Clocks…”

Weather Prediction…

Topics: History, Meteorology, Research In August 1861 the London-based newspaper The Times published the world’s first “daily weather forecast.” The term itself was created by the enterprising meteorologist Robert FitzRoy, who wanted to distance his work from astrological “prognostications.” That story has led to a widespread assumption that weather forecasting is an entirely modern phenomenon and thatContinue reading “Weather Prediction…”

Asteroids, Dinosaurs, and Rain Forests…

Topics: Asteroids, Biology, Evolution, Existentialism, Research Note: Working on two reviews, and my research proposal. It’s a very busy writing semester. Dinosaur and fossil aficionados are intimately familiar with the meteorite strike that drove Tyrannosaurus rex and all nonavian dinosaurs to extinction around 66 million years ago. But it is often overlooked that the impact also wipedContinue reading “Asteroids, Dinosaurs, and Rain Forests…”

Women’s History Month, and CRISPR…

Topics: Biology, Chemistry, DNA, Nobel Prize, Research, Women in Science This year’s (2020) Nobel Prize in Chemistry has been awarded to two scientists who transformed an obscure bacterial immune mechanism, commonly called CRISPR, into a tool that can simply and cheaply edit the genomes of everything from wheat to mosquitoes to humans.  The award went jointlyContinue reading “Women’s History Month, and CRISPR…”