Top Stories

Argonne scientists make vanadium into a useful catalyst for hydrogenation
May 26, 2017 11:28 AM - DOE / Argonne National Laboratory

Just as Cinderella turned from a poor teenager into a magnificent princess with the aid of a little magic, scientists at the U.S. Department of Energy’s Argonne National Laboratory have transformed a common metal into a useful catalyst for a wide class of reactions, a role formerly reserved for expensive precious metals.

In a new study, Argonne chemist Max Delferro boosted and analyzed the unprecedented catalytic activity of an element called vanadium for hydrogenation – a reaction that is used for making everything from vegetable oils to petrochemical products to vitamins. 

Nagoya University Researchers Break Down Plastic Waste
May 26, 2017 11:19 AM - Nagoya University

What to do proteins and Kevlar have in common? Both feature long chain molecules that are strung together by amide bonds. These strong chemical bonds are also common to many other naturally occurring molecules as well as man-made pharmaceuticals and plastics. Although amide bonds can give great strength to plastics, when it comes to their recycling at a later point, the difficultly of breaking these bonds usually prevents recovery of useful products. Catalysts are widely used in chemistry to help speed up reactions, but breaking the kinds of amide bonds in plastics, such as nylon, and other materials requires harsh conditions and large amounts of energy.

Tornado Spawning Eastern U.S. Storms Examined by NASA's GPM Satellite
May 26, 2017 10:59 AM - NASA / Goddard Space Flight Center

On Wednesday May 24, 2017 severe weather affected a large area of the eastern United States. That's when the Global Precipitation Measurement mission or GPM core satellite passed over the area and found extremely heavy rainfall and towering clouds in the system.

Tornadoes were reported in Florida, Georgia, South Carolina, North Carolina and Ohio on that day. The National Weather Service noted that rainfall in Tallahassee, Florida set a record at 1.52 inches on May 24.

Diesel Pollution Linked to Heart Damage
May 26, 2017 09:55 AM - European Society of Cardiology

Diesel pollution is linked with heart damage, according to research presented today at EuroCMR 2017 (1).

“There is strong evidence that particulate matter (PM) emitted mainly from diesel road vehicles is associated with increased risk of heart attack, heart failure, and death,” said lead author Dr Nay Aung, a cardiologist and Wellcome Trust research fellow, William Harvey Research Institute, Queen Mary University of London, UK. “This appears to be driven by an inflammatory response – inhalation of fine particulate matter (PM2.5) causes localised inflammation of the lungs followed by a more systemic inflammation affecting the whole body.”

NOAA begins transition of powerful new tool to improve hurricane forecasts
May 26, 2017 07:40 AM - NOAA

NOAA will begin using its newest weather prediction tool -- the dynamic core, Finite-Volume on a Cubed-Sphere (FV3), to provide high quality guidance to NOAA’s National Hurricane Center through the 2017 hurricane season.

Developed by Shian-Jiann Lin and his team at NOAA’s Geophysical Fluid Dynamics Laboratory (GFDL), the FV3 will be used to power experimental hurricane forecast models that run parallel to the operational forecast models this season. This is the start of a major transition of the FV3 to NOAA operational weather forecasting, expected to be completed in 2019.

University of Saskatchewan Bat Men shed light on bat super immunity
May 26, 2017 07:40 AM - University of Saskatchewan

Coronaviruses such as Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) and Middle-East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) cause serious and often fatal disease in people, but bats seem unharmed.

Veterinary microbiology PhD candidate Arinjay Banerjee and his professor Vikram Misra have now found some clues.

New brain mapping tool produces higher resolution data during brain surgery
May 25, 2017 05:10 PM - University of California - San Diego

Researchers have developed a new device to map the brain during surgery and distinguish between healthy and diseased tissues. The device provides higher resolution neural readings than existing tools used in the clinic and could enable doctors to perform safer, more precise brain surgeries.

The device is an improved version of a clinical tool called an electrode grid, which is a plastic or silicone-based grid of electrodes that is placed directly on the surface of the brain during surgery to monitor the activity of large groups of neurons. Neurosurgeons use electrode grids to identify which areas of the brain are diseased in order to avoid damaging or removing healthy, functional tissue during operations. Despite their wide use, electrode grids have remained bulky and have not experienced any major advances over the last 20 years.

A new view of tropical forest emissions
May 25, 2017 04:41 PM - Pacific Northwest National Laboratory

Emissions of isoprene, a compound from plant matter that wields great influence in the atmosphere, are up to three times higher in the Amazon rainforest than scientists have thought, according to new findings published this week in Nature Communications.

The findings come from a team of scientists from the Department of Energy's Pacific Northwest National Laboratory and the University of California, Irvine. Corresponding authors are Dasa Gu of both UCI and PNNL along with Alex Guenther of UCI.

Tiny Shells Indicate Big Changes to Global Carbon Cycle
May 25, 2017 04:27 PM - Kat Kerlin via University of California – Davis

Experiments with tiny, shelled organisms in the ocean suggest big changes to the global carbon cycle are underway, according to a study from the University of California, Davis. 

For the study, published in the journal Scientific Reports, scientists raised foraminifera — single-celled organisms about the size of a grain of sand — at the UC Davis Bodega Marine Laboratoryunder future, high CO2 conditions.

These tiny organisms, commonly called “forams,” are ubiquitous in marine environments and play a key role in food webs and the ocean carbon cycle.

UW engineers borrow from electronics to build largest circuits to date in living eukaryotic cells
May 25, 2017 04:21 PM - Jennifer Langston via University of Washington

Living cells must constantly process information to keep track of the changing world around them and arrive at an appropriate response.

Through billions of years of trial and error, evolution has arrived at a mode of information processing at the cellular level. In the microchips that run our computers, information processing capabilities reduce data to unambiguous zeros and ones. In cells, it’s not that simple. DNA, proteins, lipids and sugars are arranged in complex and compartmentalized structures.

But scientists — who want to harness the potential of cells as living computers that can respond to disease, efficiently produce biofuels or develop plant-based chemicals — don’t want to wait for evolution to craft their desired cellular system.

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