Sci/tech

Iowa State engineer helps journal highlight how pyrolysis can advance the bioeconomy
January 13, 2017 09:29 AM - Iowa State University

A special issue of the journal Energy Technology details the latest advances in pyrolysis technologies for converting biomass into fuels, chemicals and fertilizers.

Two pyrolysis experts are guest editors of the issue: Robert C. Brown, the director of Iowa State University’s Bioeconomy Institute, an Anson Marston Distinguished Professor in Engineering and the Gary and Donna Hoover Chair in Mechanical Engineering; and George Huber, the University of Wisconsin-Madison’s Harvey D. Spangler Professor of Chemical and Biological Engineering.

Nanoscience expert receives 2016 Dickson Prize in Science
January 12, 2017 04:17 PM - Northwestern University

EVANSTON - Chad A. Mirkin, the George B. Rathmann Professor of Chemistry in the Weinberg College of Arts and Sciences and director of the International Institute for Nanotechnology at Northwestern University, has been awarded the 2016 Dickson Prize in Science.

Study describes new method to remove nickel from contaminated seawater
January 12, 2017 10:11 AM - Springer

The same deposit that builds up in many tea kettles or water pipes in areas where calcium-rich water is the norm might be just the (cheap) ticket to rid contaminated seawater of toxic metals. This is according to a study by a research group led by Charlotte Carré of the University of New Caledonia in the French Pacific territory of New Caledonia and published today in Springer’s journal Environmental Chemistry Letters. The researchers dipped electrodes made from galvanized steel into contaminated seawater and ran a weak current through it. Within seven days, up to 24 percent of the nickel it initially contained was trapped in a calcareous build-up of limestone.

Campus greenhouse gas emissions down 7 percent since 2014
January 11, 2017 02:15 PM - Francesca M. Schembri via Massachusetts Institute of Technology

MIT’s total campus emissions have dropped by 7 percent since 2014, according to MIT’s second annual greenhouse gas inventory. The inventory, whose results were released by the MIT Office of Sustainability in collaboration with the Department of Facilities and the Environment, Health and Safety Office, measured campus emissions in fiscal year 2016, which runs from July 2015 through June 2016. The analysis provides a wealth of data to inform MIT’s carbon-reduction strategies going forward.

Farthest Stars in Milky Way Might Be Ripped from Another Galaxy
January 11, 2017 12:14 PM - Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics

The 11 farthest known stars in our galaxy are located about 300,000 light-years from Earth, well outside the Milky Way's spiral disk. New research by Harvard astronomers shows that half of those stars might have been ripped from another galaxy: the Sagittarius dwarf. Moreover, they are members of a lengthy stream of stars extending one million light-years across space, or 10 times the width of our galaxy.

Our Galaxy's Black Hole is Spewing Out Planet-size "Spitballs"
January 11, 2017 12:07 PM - Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics

Every few thousand years, an unlucky star wanders too close to the black hole at the center of the Milky Way. The black hole's powerful gravity rips the star apart, sending a long streamer of gas whipping outward. That would seem to be the end of the story, but it's not. New research shows that not only can the gas gather itself into planet-size objects, but those objects then are flung throughout the galaxy in a game of cosmic "spitball."

Our Galaxy's Black Hole is Spewing Out Planet-size "Spitballs"
January 11, 2017 12:07 PM - Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics

Every few thousand years, an unlucky star wanders too close to the black hole at the center of the Milky Way. The black hole's powerful gravity rips the star apart, sending a long streamer of gas whipping outward. That would seem to be the end of the story, but it's not. New research shows that not only can the gas gather itself into planet-size objects, but those objects then are flung throughout the galaxy in a game of cosmic "spitball."

Rudolph's antlers inspire next generation of unbreakable materials
December 21, 2016 07:21 AM - Queen Mary University of London

The team looked at the antler structure at the 'nano-level', which is incredibly small, almost one thousandth of the thickness of a hair strand, and were able to identify the mechanisms at work, using state-of-the-art computer modelling and x-ray techniques.

First author Paolino De Falco from QMUL's School of Engineering and Materials Science said: "The fibrils that make up the antler are staggered rather than in line with each other. This allows them to absorb the energy from the impact of a clash during a fight."

December 20, 2016 12:31 PM - Pacific Northwest National Laboratory

RICHLAND, Wash. – Scientists have witnessed the birth of atmospheric ice clouds, creating ice cloud crystals in the laboratory and then taking images of the process through a microscope, essentially documenting the very first steps of cloud formation.

Earliest evidence discovered of plants cooked in ancient pottery
December 19, 2016 12:58 PM - University of Bristol

A team of international scientists, led by the University of Bristol, has uncovered the earliest direct evidence of humans processing plants for food found anywhere in the world.

Researchers at the Organic Geochemistry Unit in the University of Bristol's School of Chemistry, working with colleagues at Sapienza, University of Rome and the Universities of Modena and Milan, studied unglazed pottery dating from more than 10,000 years ago, from two sites in the Libyan Sahara.

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