• PPPL physicist uncovers clues to mechanism behind magnetic reconnection

    Physicist Fatima Ebrahimi at the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory (PPPL) has published a paper showing that magnetic reconnection — the process in which magnetic field lines snap together and release energy — can be triggered by motion in nearby magnetic fields. By running computer simulations, Ebrahimi gathered evidence indicating that the wiggling of atomic particles and magnetic fields within electrically charged gas known as plasma can spark the onset of reconnection, a process that, when it occurs on the sun, can spew plasma into space. 

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  • Improving prognoses for a sustainable future

    Computer models play a significant role in environmental policy, but offer only a partial picture of the industrial system

    Whether it’s electric automobiles, renewable energy, carbon tax or sustainable consumption: Sustainable development requires strategies that meet people’s needs without harming the environment. Before such strategies are implemented, their potential impact on environment, economy, and society needs to be tested.

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  • Spanish scientists create a 3D bioprinter to print human skin

    Scientists from the Universidad Carlos III de Madrid (UC3M), CIEMAT (Center for Energy, Environmental and Technological Research), Hospital General Universitario Gregorio Marañón, in collaboration with the firm BioDan Group, have presented a prototype for a 3D bioprinter that can create totally functional human skin. This skin is adequate for transplanting to patients or for use in research or the testing of cosmetic, chemical, and pharmaceutical products. 

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  • Study of round worm that returns to life after freezing

    The first molecular study of an organism able to survive intracellular freezing (freezing within its cells) is published this week by British Antarctic Survey (BAS), in collaboration with researchers from the University of Otago, New Zealand. The paper represents a milestone in scientists’ understanding of an extraordinary adaptation.

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  • New Study Will Help Find the Best Locations for Thermal Power Stations in Iceland

    A new research article, with lead authors from the University of Gothenburg, gives indications of the best places in Iceland to build thermal power stations.

    In Iceland, heat is extracted for use in power plants directly from the ground in volcanic areas. Constructing a geothermal power station near a volcano can be beneficial, since Earth’s mantle is located relatively close to the crust in those areas, making the heat easily accessible. This means that the boreholes do not need to be very deep and the pipes to the power plant can be short.

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  • SF State astronomer searches for signs of life on Wolf 1061 exoplanet

    SF State astronomer Stephen Kane searches for signs of life in one of the extrasolar systems closest to Earth

    Is there anybody out there? The question of whether Earthlings are alone in the universe has puzzled everyone from biologists and physicists to philosophers and filmmakers. It’s also the driving force behind San Francisco State University astronomer Stephen Kane’s research into exoplanets — planets that exist outside Earth’s solar system.

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  • How Much Drought Can a Forest Take?

    Aerial tree mortality surveys show patterns of tree death during extreme drought.

    Why do some trees die in a drought and others don’t? And how can we predict where trees are most likely to die in future droughts?

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  • Heat from Earth's core could be underlying force in plate tectonics

    For decades, scientists have theorized that the movement of Earth’s tectonic plates is driven largely by negative buoyancy created as they cool. New research, however, shows plate dynamics are driven significantly by the additional force of heat drawn from the Earth’s core.

    The new findings also challenge the theory that underwater mountain ranges known as mid-ocean ridges are passive boundaries between moving plates. The findings show the East Pacific Rise, the Earth’s dominant mid-ocean ridge, is dynamic as heat is transferred.

    David B. Rowley, professor of geophysical sciences at the University of Chicago, and fellow researchers came to the conclusions by combining observations of the East Pacific Rise with insights from modeling of the mantle flow there. The findings were published Dec. 23 in Science Advances.

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  • Prehistoric mega-lake sediment offers key insight into how inland regions responded to "super-greenhouse" event

    Sediment found at the site of one of the largest lakes in Earth’s history could provide a fascinating new insight into how inland regions responded to global climate change millions of years ago.

    A pioneering new study, carried out by a team of British-based researchers, has analysed sediments from the site of the vast lake which formed in the Sichuan Basin, in China, around 183 million years ago in the Jurassic period.

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  • Green Sahara's Ancient Rainfall Regime Revealed by Scientists

    Rainfall patterns in the Sahara during the 6,000-year "Green Sahara" period have been pinpointed by analyzing marine sediments, according to new research led by a UA geoscientist.

    What is now the Sahara Desert was the home to hunter-gatherers who made their living off the animals and plants that lived in the region's savannahs and wooded grasslands 5,000 to 11,000 years ago.

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