Geothermal Heat Pump
January 02, 2013
A more efficient geothermal pump taps the Earth's heat to lower utility bills by up to 80 percent
Inside a Net Zero House
November 29, 2012
Take a tour of a house designed to consume less energy than it generates on an annual basis.
Frozen Powder Drops
November 19, 2012
Water Droplets "freeze" into unique shapes when impacting a special powder at high velocities.
Gaps in Physics Education
November 15, 2012
Why should high school physics education change? Because the most recent, exciting discoveries are left out.
November 12, 2012
Medical physicists can now measure breast density with two different x-ray energies, increasing risk assessment accuracy and reducing radiation exposure.
October 15, 2012
When falling onto another liquid layer, water droplets typically bounce then coalesce. If the surface is vibrating, however, the droplets will continue bouncing, as seen in this video.
September 21, 2012
First-ever study aims to help in developing improved child helmets.
DIY Robot Blocks
September 18, 2012
Roboticists have created multi-functional toy blocks that teach the basics of robot-building to kids.
Touchscreen Door Knobs
September 13, 2012
A new technique called Touché can transform door knobs into multi-touch devices
August 31, 2012
Newly detected particle could supply missing piece of cosmic puzzle.
Robots and snakes
June 27, 2012
Mechanical engineers mimic snakes to build better robots.
May 21, 2012
Physicists study lunar glow to monitor Earth's climate change.
May 14, 2012
A physicist has developed electronic sunglasses that blot out blinding spots of glare from the sun.
Math Helps Forecast Crimes
April 30, 2012
Mathematicians are helping police find the locations where future crime is most likely to occur.
Preventing Slips, Trips and Falls
April 23, 2012
Biomechanics researchers are using a special slip simulator to study ways to reduce worker injures associated with tripping and falling.
April 02, 2012
StarCAVE Pushes 3D Virtual Reality to New Frontiers
March 26, 2012
Soil scientists are using a non-toxic chemical at construction sites to remove dirt from muddy stormwater before it reaches streams.
Mysteries in Space
March 19, 2012
Astrophysicists found the largest water mass in the universe contained in a quasar. A quasar is an extremely old, distant object in space that emits several thousand times more energy than our entire galaxy. Water in this quasar is in the form of vapor, but if condensed into liquid would fill Earth’s oceans more than 100 trillion times. Scientists also determined that it is the oldest body of water known today.
March 12, 2012
Civil and environmental engineers created a traffic application that uses GPS data from drivers’ cell phones to alert the public to current traffic conditions. Because so many phones come equipped with GPS technology, researchers were able to tap into it to track and more accurately gauge road congestion. The app is able to tell the user what time to leave his home and even how much gas will be saved by using alternate routes.
Detecting Dangerous Roads
March 05, 2012
Atmospheric scientists and engineers created an advanced sensor system that can be embedded into the pavement of a road and remotely monitor the surface to more accurately determine the conditions of that road. Lasers are used to monitor the road’s surface temperature and transmit the information to a remote computer. Data such as this, combined with information from weather stations along the road, helps maintenance personnel make more accurate decisions about what types of de-icing chemicals to use, how many snowplows are ideal and how long it would take to clear the road.
February 27, 2012
Landscape ecologists are studying what sounds can tell them about a specific ecosystem. Researchers have found that certain sounds or lack thereof can be an important indicator of environmental changes. By recording the sounds in a particular area, scientists can track the typical patterns and note any changes and investigate the causes.
Earthquake! What's Your Risk?
February 20, 2012
Geologists, computer scientists and engineers designed a website to incorporate data from around the world in a real-time assessment that shows each individual’s risk of experiencing an earthquake and the subsequent damage. The assessment helps people decide if the property insurance they have for earthquake coverage is adequate.
Deep Space Discoveries
February 13, 2012
Optical scientists designed a way to help small telescopes create sharper images. Because so many elements in the atmosphere, such as cloud cover, can interfere with your view of the night sky, scientists came up with a method that counters those effects. The method uses a system of lasers and cameras to indicate to a computer what shape the mirror should be to achieve a clearer view
K-Team's Medical Materials
February 06, 2012
Chemical and bioengineers are working in a unique, interdisciplinary lab to find technologies that address big medical needs. For example, they are studying the sticky quality of gecko feet for use in a special adhesive that could be used after a variety of procedures to prevent bleeding or leaking. The researchers are also studying how to program cells to help more of them survive during bone marrow and stem cell transplants, among other innovations.
Violet the Sattelite
January 30, 2012
Mechanical and aerospace engineers designed a satellite with some unique abilities. Because of its small size, the satellite is able to move more quickly than larger satellites, making it a leader in fast spacecraft. Speed also lends itself to rapid data collection, so the satellite can take pictures of the Earth or space much more efficiently. The satellite has all the necessary tools to navigate and will be launched in one to two years.
January 23, 2012
Materials Scientists Make Portable, Circuits with Special Pen and Conducting Ink
Mission to Jupiter
January 09, 2012
Astrophysicists Send Spacecraft to Jupiter, Study Planet’s Mysteries
January 02, 2012
Atmospheric Scientists Find that Planes Can Cause Rain and Snow Inadvertently
December 19, 2011
Plant Pathologists Consider Switch Grass for Biofuel Crop, Manipulate Genes for More Effective Yield
November 28, 2011
Physical Therapists Use Simulation Technology to Identify Areas of Concern in Injured Athletes
Inside the NIH
November 21, 2011
Therapists Use New Therapy Systems to Help Disabled Get Most Effective Treatment
Electric Fish Orchestra
November 14, 2011
Biological Engineers, Visual Artists and Composers Make Beautiful Music Using a Choir of Fish
Melanoma in 3D
November 07, 2011
Biomedical Engineers Use New Imaging Technique to Find Cancer in the Body
Candy Corn Space Soap
October 31, 2011
No, this isn't how astronauts trick-or-treat, but it is an interesting and fun way to eat your candy. In this video Don Pettit explains how soap works using candy corn.
Treating Tremors with Ultrasound
October 24, 2011
Neurosurgeons are using a new, non-invasive procedure using ultrasound to help stop certain types of tremors that impede their patients everyday lives.
October 17, 2011
A diode is an object that conducts electric current in only one direction. Powering a diode with an alternating current (AC) electric field causes the diode in this video to pump water over its surface, propelling it back and forth on the water surface. Modifying the AC field causes the diode to change direction.
October 10, 2011
The excess heat made by busy commuters in a train station helps power a building a football field’s length away.
October 03, 2011
A camera that can zoom without the typical oversized lens, inspired by the human eye, uses a curved, flexible lens to snap close-up pictures.
September 26, 2011
Models that can track how power systems respond to outages can help power system operators anticipate problems and plan ahead.
Radioactive Water: Tea Bags To The Rescue
September 05, 2011
Materials scientists created a biodegradable foam that works like a gooey sponge to filter out salt, heavy metals and even radioactive materials. One liter of the foam can make 100 liters of contaminated water safe for drinking. As easy to use as a tea bag, the new substance could provide clean water for victims of natural disasters.
August 01, 2011
Engineers and doctors help medical students train their ears to catch abnormal heartbeats with a special stethoscope.
3D Sun in STEREO
July 25, 2011
Astrophysicists reveal 3-D images of the sun for the first time.
Fly Fishing Physics
July 18, 2011
Biologists and fly fishing experts explain the physics of the sport and the trick to the ideal cast.
July 11, 2011
Chemical engineers make electronics' future flexible with a new material.
July 04, 2011
Software engineers re-invent classic music performances using artificial intelligence.
Building Better Bridges
June 27, 2011
As many bridges decay around the world, engineers consider how to build better bridges by studying special materials to help strengthen bridges.
Perfection on Ice
June 20, 2011
Biomechanists are helping ice skaters improve their performances, using motion capture technology to study skaters' movements.
June 13, 2011
Chemists are using a special X-ray technology to uncover chemical clues to determine an art piece's authenticity.
Proving Life on Other Planets
June 06, 2011
Astronomers are using a special spacecraft equipped with a unique telescope to identify planets outside our solar system.
Anybots at Work
May 23, 2011
Engineers designed a robot that can represent a person absent from the office. This gives "working from home" a whole new look.
Engineering For Earthquakes
May 16, 2011
Structural engineers designed a building foundation that can help to minimize damage when an earthquake strikes.
Vacuuming Up Oil
May 09, 2011
Environmental scientists created a more efficient and safer way to clean up oil spills, using the principles of density, buoyancy, and suction.
May 02, 2011
Environmental scientists are evaluating the Gulf Stream as a source of renewable energy. Scientists are using sound to measure the speed and power of the current at different times. The hope is that one day, different types of energy-generating equipment could be stationed to turn the power of the ocean into electricity.
Soap Free Suds
April 25, 2011
Materials scientists developed a clear coating that can be applied to a washable, nonporous surface and eliminate the need to use soap to clean it off. The coating is simply sprayed on, and when a substance like oil comes into contract with the surface, it responds accordingly to repel the oil and make it easier to remove. Add some water, and the surface rinses clean without soap.
Secrets on Saturn
April 18, 2011
Planetary scientists learned more than has ever been known about Saturn by evaluating one-of-a-kind images and video collected by a spacecraft that has been orbiting the planet for the past five years. Because Saturn's north pole has been in winter for nearly 15 years, it has remained dark and unobservable to scientists. A special camera on the spacecraft can see through the dark, revealing clouds and a large cyclone storm. This tells researchers that Saturn is a much more active planet than previously thought.
X-Rays Uncover Past
April 11, 2011
Physicists used a special type of X-ray to read the lost writings of an ancient mathematician, found underneath the script of a monk who wrote on top of it.
April 04, 2011
Engineers found that in certain areas of the basketball court, bank shots- which hit the backboard and fall into the net- can improve success by up to 20 percent, by using just a couple laws of physics.
Saving Lives: Detecting Lung Cancer Faster
March 28, 2011
Radiologists are using a new technology to find lung cancer earlier. Computer software can pinpoint areas of concern on a traditional X-ray. These areas can then be analyzed more closely by a doctor. Traditionally, lung cancer can evade detection because the ribs and blood vessels can obstruct the view in a chest X-ray. Studies have shown that the new technology can detect up to 50 percent of lung cancers that were missed in initial imaging, and early detection means a higher survival rate.
Lasers Defying Gravity
March 21, 2011
Optical physicists are working with lasers and metal to potentially change the way blood is drawn. By using a special laser, pulsing at extremely fast rates, scientists can change the surface of any metal. The newly etched metal enables liquid to flow uphill and spread out, against gravity. This means that a single drop of blood could be pulled to a diagnostic sensor, instead of drawing vials of blood. The technique can also make it easier to cool computers and allow them to work faster.
Robots Reading Autistic Kids' Minds
March 14, 2011
Engineers designed a robot that interacts with autistic children through a ball toss game to learn more about what triggers anxiety and tension in these patients. The robot reads the patient's mood through a series of sensors that record skin temperature, heart rate and muscle movements. The robot moves a hoop at a certain rate, while the child attempts to throw a ball through. The system determines how the child is responding to the game and changes the difficulty level by varying the speed at which the hoop oscillates.
New Approach to ACL Repair
March 07, 2011
Orthopedic surgeons are revolutionizing a traditional surgery that restores a vital component of the knee that helps keeps us stable on our feet, the anterior cruciate ligament. Traditional surgery can restore front-to-back stability in the knee, but the new surgery adds additional stability by creating a better fit for the repair- creating rotational stability and minimizing failure.
Veggies In Space
February 28, 2011
Agricultural engineers and plant scientists developed a greenhouse prototype intended for growing vegetables in space. A computerized system uses special lamps instead of sunlight as well as mineral nutrient solutions instead of soil. Researchers anticipate that this collapsible model could travel on a spacecraft and sent to grow food before the astronauts arrived.
Girls Changing Science
February 14, 2011
Earth scientists, oceanographers and engineers worked with the youngest of scientists on real research contributing to real issues in today's world. Claire, only 9 years old, studied water runoff in her home town's grass soccer fields and compared it with runoff on turf fields. She found chemicals in both fields that sometimes exceeded levels set by the Government. In another project, a fourth grader named Olivia helped with a bio-inspired design for dropping emergency packs from great heights.
February 07, 2011
Oncologic orthopedic surgeons are sparing young victims of bone cancer from repeated invasive surgery by placing extendable implants in place of real bone to stop the cancer from spreading. Because children are still growing when the actual bone is removed, they would have to undergo several invasive surgeries to replace a typical implant with larger sizes. The extendable implant uses a magnet to gradually elongate the leg without pain, incisions or drugs.
Surviving A Tsunami
January 31, 2011
Civil engineers are using a wave machine to simulate large waves in order to study the impact of tsunamis and learn ways to defend against their destruction.
Biggest and Best 3D Imax
January 24, 2011
Scientists who used to study biology and chemistry are now explaining the science behind 3-D IMAX films, revealing what goes on behind the projector to create the effect viewers enjoy. Some impressive numbers surround these effects: IMAX screens are typically five to six stories in height and the films are so large they weigh 300 to 400 pounds each. To make the popping 3-D images, two reels of film are run through the projectors while viewers wear special glasses. The film strips are slightly offset, so they don't exactly line up with one another. The glasses pick up one reel in each lens, so the audience sees the created effect.
Secrets of Snowflakes
January 10, 2011
Mathematicians used mathematical equations to create a computer model that simulates the growth of snowflake crystals. The simulations closely mimic snowflakes found in nature. The model could help scientists better understand how various types of snowflake shapes in the clouds affect the amount of water reaching the ground.
January 03, 2011
Materials research engineers are studying natural pink diamonds to determine what it is that makes them pink. Researchers are using specialized equipment to study the color on a microscopic scale, and have thus far discovered that while the overall diamond appears pink, it is actually a clear stone with pink stripes. Those stripes can be seen if the stone is cut a certain way, and each pink stripe has certain defects that cause the entire diamond to appear pink.
GPS Tracks Asthma Attacks
December 20, 2010
Epidemiologists designed an asthma inhaler equipped with a compact GPS tracking system to learn when and where attacks are happening for asthma sufferers, with the hope of finding out why. Researchers are able to take this information and provide the users with feedback about the frequency of their inhaler use, along with suggestions to manage their asthma better. Sufferers can become more aware of their asthma triggers and take proper measures to avoid them.
Saving Time, Money & Jobs
December 13, 2010
Operations researchers improved the efficiency of school bus routes while minimizing the amount of time the students ride. Researchers calculated travel distances to and from various pickup points and consulted census and district maps that show roads, railroads and rivers to find the best routes, eliminating two bus runs and saving thousands of dollars the first year.
More Volcanoes = Less Storms
December 06, 2010
Atmospheric scientists are studying the connection between volcanic eruptions in the tropics and their effect on hurricane activity. Eruptions produce ash that blocks sunlight, which cools the Earth's surface and oceans. Since hurricanes need warm ocean waters to form, there is an observed decrease in the number of storms after these eruptions.
Helping to Hear: Cochlear Implants
November 29, 2010
Hearing scientists found that for a child who is hearing impaired, placing a cochlear implant in each ear is more beneficial than one implant alone. The researchers found that having both implants improved a child's ability to determine the direction of a sound's source.
Rev Up Your Electric Engines!
November 22, 2010
Bioscientists and electrical engineers are making quiet, ecofriendly electric and hybrid cars more pedestrian-friendly by adding an artificial sound. These vehicles can be a hazard to pedestrians, bikers and the visually or hearing impaired. Researchers added a computer inside the engine and several speakers around the car to emit a fake engine noise, warning passersby through the compression waves from the speaker. As their efforts continue, scientists hope to make a variety of engine sounds available to drivers, from a Corvette to a Harley.
Allergy-Free/Asthma-Free Green Home
November 15, 2010
Builders designed and constructed an allergy-free, asthma-friendly, and green home that is fully sustainable. Nearly all of the materials used to construct the home were recycled, from the wood in the flooring and stairs, to the locally purchased cabinets and cork floors. To make the home asthma-friendly and allergy-free, builders used recycled tile and concrete, avoiding pressed wood- which contains harmful chemicals, irritating the nose and throat.
Inside a Lamborghini Lab
November 08, 2010
Lamborghini Materials scientists at the Nation's only Lamborghini Lab are using unique methods to study the safety, fuel efficiency and speed of the cars. New materials intended for performance cars are just as stiff and strong as the steel used in most, non-sports cars, but are five times lighter. A lighter car means more power with fewer emissions.
Dinosaurs Turn Into Works of Art!
October 27, 2010
Paleohistologists, using the principles of polarized light, are winning awards for their unique photographs of dinosaur fossils as seen under a microscope. To collect the images, researchers remove an ultra-thin slice of fossilized dinosaur bone from an entire sample. Using a polarizer to align the light as it shines through the slice reveals an array of unique colors. The final image appears more like art than science, but researchers also gather a lot of information about the animal.
Forecasting Floods in 3D
October 25, 2010
Hydrologists at the USGS created a map that turns the weather forecast into a flood forecast in one hour. By adding the amount of approaching rain to the local geography and using physics equations, the flood map can show when and where a flood will occur and how deep the water will be to better prepare when storms hit.
Robots in the Classroom
October 18, 2010
Learning to write can be challenging and even more frustrating when people can’t understand what you’ve written. Rehabilitation scientists designed a table-top robot to help kids improve their handwriting. A robotic arm, equipped with a pen, guides the user's hand through the movements of writing words repeatedly until the student can write legibly on their own.
Submerged In Oil
October 11, 2010
Physical oceanographers and geophysicists are using a robotic submarine to study the recent Gulf of Mexico oil spill in order to find how much oil is hidden beneath the surface. The submarine, a machine engineered to manipulate density and fitted with sensors to detect depth, location and methane levels traveled one mile below the surface and came within three miles of the spill, sampling the water for analysis.
Green Wheel For Eco-Cyclists
October 04, 2010
Architects and civil engineers designed a bicycle wheel equipped with a battery and motor to seamlessly replace the rear wheel of any standard bike. The battery allows one type of matter to convert into another, thus converting one form of energy into another and making each hill climb easier an easier.
New Roofs Put Money In Your Pocket
September 27, 2010
As summer comes to a close and the final heat waves of the season begin, energy conservation continues to be at the forefront of many people’s minds. Mechanical engineers are designing a roof and attic insulation system that uses the properties of phase change and insulation to create a material that absorbs heat and infrared radiation during the day and then releases it into the atmosphere at night, helping keep the inside of your house cool.
Surviving the Storm
July 08, 2010
Emergency medicine physicians shared important lightning safety information, warning individuals, "When thunder roars, go indoors." The simple rhyme serves to help bystanders stay out of harm's way and avoid the neurological damage that results from being struck by lightning.
Lightning is a form of static electricity. We experience static electricity every time we drag our feet on the carpet and then touch a conducting surface, like a metal doorknob.
The Guessing Game
June 25, 2010
Physicists shared their tips for making a better educated guess when it comes to mathematical estimations. For example, the common contest of guessing the number of jelly beans in a jar is not best approached by attempting to count every visible jelly bean. Instead, experts suggest counting the number of beans in one row and then multiplying that by the number of layers in the jar. A broader approach is more effective than getting tied up in the smaller details.
Tracking Asteroids Before They Kill Us
June 18, 2010
Astronomers are tracking debris from outer space that could pose a potential threat to Earth. With 100 tons of material hitting the Earth daily, they are devising ways to destroy the most threatening objects.
Cleaner, Greener Metals
June 10, 2010
Metallurgists created a cleaner and safer alternative to chrome that is equally durable, providing a solution to the environmentally harmful processes of both making chrome and disposing of it.
The new coating is made by dipping metal into a mix of nickel and tungsten atoms. An electrical pulse is sent through the mix, causing the atoms to adhere to the metal, or "plate" the surface. The electrical current is pulsed according to the pattern chosen by the researchers.
Creating Science Masterpieces
May 31, 2010
Materials science and engineering students coincidentally created microscopic art out of particles of pollen they are studying.
Phantom Traffic Jams
May 24, 2010
Mathematicians explain how traffic jams form without apparent cause.
Detecting Bombs, Saving Lives
May 17, 2010
Science and engineering students are developing a detection method to find improvised explosive devices (IEDs). detectors use magnetic waves to sense the magnetic field given off by the ferrous material in the IED.
Lasers: Transforming Life
May 16, 2010
In this wonderful video produced by the Optical Society of America, NPR Science Friday's host, Ira Flatow describes how lasers are used in optical fiber communication, surgery and more.
For more great laser innovations, visit:
www.laserfest.org and http://www.osa.org/
Life On Mars
April 12, 2010
Atmospheric scientists and physicists discover lightning on mars using a unique detector
Science of Speed
December 18, 2009
Fluid Dynamics Engineers Help Potential Olympic Swimmers with Water Flow Technology
New and Improved Wind Power
December 04, 2009
Mechanical engineers create wind turbine that responds to the wind, maximizes power generation.
Inside the Wind
November 20, 2009
Aerospace engineers use wind tunnel to study hurricane-strength winds.
Smart Bridge Keeping Drivers Safe
November 06, 2009
Civil engineers installed approximately 400 sensors in a bridge to monitor how corrosion, temperature and traffic loans impact the structure.
Catching Cataracts Early with Lasers
October 23, 2009
Ophthalmologists use safe laser light to identify damaged proteins in the eye to detect the early signs of cataract formation.
Meet the Hexapod Robot
September 28, 2009
Matt Bunting is an Electrical Engineering student at the University of Arizona. He built his first robot when he was 11 years old. In this video he demonstrates his six legged robot known as a hexapod. He began building this hexapod when he was still in high school. It is controlled by a wireless Playstation controller with motion sensitivity.
Oh, and he also wrote the background music.
A Brush with the Laws of Electromagnetism
August 21, 2009
Watch physicists Becky Thompson and Ted Hodapp trade quips as they show how to take apart a small DC motor and find out how it works. They get the armature of the motor spinning with just a battery, a few wires, and a permanent magnet.
July 17, 2009
Researchers found that bacteria can initiate ice formation when super-cooled water droplets condense around the microbes and found evidence of these microbes in snow and rain samples from around the world.
Science Behind Strikeouts
July 10, 2009
Kinesiologists use the principles of physics to explain why a fastball pitch in baseball is hard to hit and how a curveball gets its motion.
Robots Helping Stroke Survivors
July 03, 2009
Using fMRI in combination with a robotic device can help monitor the progress of stroke patients' rehabilitation.
Hearts In Danger
June 24, 2009
Medical physicists improved their ability to replace leads connecting pacemakers and defibrillators to the heart by using an excimer laser.
Reducing Your Lead Footprint
May 15, 2009
Materials scientists created a lead-free piezoelectric material to replace the current one used in electronics that contains up to 40 percent lead. To make the material tiny samples of bismuth ferrite and samarium ferrite are formed into puck shape pieces. A laser then fragments the pucks into different molecules and chemicals, creating a mist that is coated onto a chip.
Roboclam to the Rescue
May 08, 2009
Mechanical Engineers designed a robotic clam to mimic the digging motion of the razor clam in nature.
May 01, 2009
Physicists are Right Up Front with Upright, Walk-In MRI
Physicists created a low magnetic field walk-in MRI that enables them to obtain images of the patient in many positions-standing, sitting or laying down.
April 24, 2009
Acoustical engineers rubberize roads to quiet highway noise.
Steve Avery: Battling Cancer with Protons
April 17, 2009
Dr. Steve Avery is an assistant professor or radiation oncology at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine. He works on the Proton project that uses proton therapy to treat tumors by bombarding them with subatomic particles.
Cars Powered by the Sun
April 03, 2009
Arts, science, and engineering students are driven by solar energy to the finish line.
Prosthetics that Grow
March 13, 2009
Doctors use electromagnetism to heat and melt plastic, which allows a spring to expand and lengthen a bone prosthesis.
February 13, 2009
Engineers have created a strong but lightweight isotruss bike using carbon fibers.
January 30, 2009
Gastroenterologists use lasers to diagnose chronic heartburn more effectively.
January 15, 2009
Ever wondered what you could do with all that space in your garage? Watch this video to learn how these three kids came together to build the greatest high school physics experiment ever; they are building a cyclotron! Its amazing what you can do if you try.
Finding Victims After a Disaster
December 10, 2008
Scientists and engineers developed an aerial imaging system to identify the locations of persons in need after disasters.
December 03, 2008
Electrical and computer engineers design wheelchair controlled by a magnet on the user's tongue.
Dangers of Going Green
November 26, 2008
Industrial hygienists suggest watching out for mold when going green.
Gamers Saving Lives
November 19, 2008
Biochemists and computer scientists collaborate to create protein-folding computer game.
Moving in the ICU
November 17, 2008
Pulmonologists invent device to help intensive care patients walk safely.
Pain-Free Golf Swing
November 12, 2008
Podiatrists suggest healing foot pain in order to fix golf swing.
November 03, 2008
Ocular oncologists inject a drug into eye to starve tumors and save sight.
Workout For the Eyes
October 22, 2008
Optometrist establishes sports vision clinic to improve athletic performance.
Year 'Round Bloom
October 20, 2008
Horticulturists and botanists developed a flower that blooms all summer long
Science of Origami
September 26, 2008
Mathematicians and Artists Use Algorithms to Make Complicated Paper Sculptures
Thunderstorms Cause Asthma
September 17, 2008
Meteorologists and Epidemiologists Study Connection Between Thunderstorms and Asthma Attacks.
NASA Saving Lives
September 12, 2008
Earth Scientists and Meteorologists Create Historically-Based, Realistic Weather Animations
September 10, 2008
Electrical Engineers and Meteorologists Devise Method to Measure Strength of Lightning Strikes on Tall Buildings
September 03, 2008
Computer and Security Scientists Add New Technology to Redesigned Five Dollar Bill
Crash Test Dummies Keep Kids Safe
September 01, 2008
Biomechanical and safety engineers added a more lifelike abdomen to models representing children between the ages of four and eight.
August 14, 2008
Dr. Greene is a professor of physics at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. As a woman interested in science in the 70s she overcame many barriers to become a physicist. Learn about her life long passion for science.
Knowing Where Tornadoes Will Strike
August 01, 2008
Meteorologists recently studied the effect of gravity waves on tornado formation. They found that when gravity waves push down on rotating thunderstorms the storm compresses and spins faster. Being able to recognize and track gravity waves before they reach thunderclouds allows meteorologists to better predict tornadoes, increasing both the accuracy of their predictions and the amount of warning time that they can provide.
Sniffing Out Bombs
July 01, 2008
A tiny sensor that monitors electrical conductivity allows scientists to detect the presence of explosives. The sensor measures the conductivity of two different thin films, one made of a cobalt compound and another made of a copper compound. When reacting to most fumes, the two films respond in similar ways, but when exposed to hydrogen peroxide the films show a difference in electrical conductivity. When the sensor indicates this difference, that means that trace amounts of hydrogen peroxide are present, a common ingredient of explosives.
Nanotechnology - Cleaning up our Water
April 01, 2008
Chemical engineers created nanoparticles out of gold and palladium to break down pollutants in groundwater. Adding the particles to groundwater converts dangerous contaminants like trichloroethylene into non-toxic compounds.
Kids Discovering New Asteroids
March 01, 2008
Astronomy students looking for supernovae examined photographs and found asteroids. They used both unaided eyes and computer analysis to identify the asteroids. The images were composited from three separate images, one each of green, red, and blue. When combined into one image, asteroids stand out because they move against the background.
Alejandro (Alex) Rodriguez
February 01, 2008
Meet Alejandro (Alex) Rodriguez, a physics graduate student at MIT. In this video, Alex talks about his background in Cuba and the US and about his love of physics.
December 01, 2007
Chemists have added polymers to a new paint that dries faster and requires no second coat or primer. The paint uses long polymer chains to surround pigments, which makes it easier for latex spheres to bond to it. That advance makes the color cover the wall more completely. Additionally, this technique means that the paint requires almost zero volatile organic compounds, which contribute to odor and also smog.
Creating 21st Century Video Games
November 01, 2007
A computer science student created an updated form of the classic video game Pong. The ball appears to move unpredictably, but is actually governed by algorithms that analyze the fluid dynamics of actual plasmas. Careful programming that considers the plasmaýs mathematical properties allows players to activate a vacuum effect or plasma jet that moves the ball in physically realistic ways as well.
August 01, 2007
Chemical Engineers developed a way to break down plastic bottles made from polyethylene terephthalate -- or PET, and recycle it back into high value uses like more soda bottles, water bottles, beer bottles. Inside the recycling plant's extruder, water is removed from ground up plastic. Then, the plastic is melted and chemically broken down -- in a process called depolymerization. The breakthrough in this process is to be able to go from chips of this plastic to the recycled material in about five minutes.
August 01, 2007
Scientists gives us a sneak peek into the world of wave pools, and explain how these huge pools make constant waves. Waves are made by a huge compressor that feeds four gigantic air blowers. Then a computer controls chambers that generate the waves. When the chamber lids are closed, air from the blowers pushes the water out and makes a wave. When the valve is open, the balance tank fills with water, getting ready to make the next wave. It works just like a toddler pushing a cup upside-down onto water in a bathtub.
June 01, 2007
Carbonados, black carbon formations that resemble diamonds, have been show to have a chemical spectrum that indicates they originated before the formation of the Earth; their high hydrogen content suggests they are from a star-like environment. Since this carbon is only found in two locations on our planet, it may have arrived via an asteroid.
March 01, 2007
New and improved technology has now made growing diamonds cost-competitive with mining them. Diamond-making machines subject a graphite-carbon core and a diamond seed at a pressure of 850,000 PSI for four days, recreating conditions similar to those 100 miles below the earth's surface. The lab-grown diamonds that come out are optically, chemically and physically identical to those that occur in nature.
Ice, Ice, Baby!
February 01, 2007
When droplets of melted snow drip down an icicle, they release small amounts of heat as they freeze. Heated air travels upwards and helps slow down the growth of the icicle's top, while the tip is growing rapidly. Knowledge of the mathematical equations that govern icicle growth -- the same that apply to stalactites -- could help in the prevention of icicle formation on power lines.
Crime Alert! Molding Fingerprints
January 01, 2007
Photonic crystals -- materials with precise patterns of gaps that make them reflect only selected wavelengths of light -- could soon replace the traditional ink-based fingerprinting. In a new silica-based, photonic-crystal material, the spacing of the gaps changes in response to pressure applied. Corresponding changes in its color reveal fingerprints with high precision -- not only the ridges in the skin, but also the depth of the ridges, the shape of the finger, and the mechanical properties of the skin.
Liquid Body Armor
August 01, 2006
Rheologists have created a new way of bullet-proofing clothes using shear-thickening fluids. Fabric treated with shear-thickening granular suspensions can turn soft material into solid protective gear when struck by a projectile. The treatment can strengthen Kevlar to produce lighter, more comfortable bullet-proof vests, or it can be used to turn extend the bullet-proof protection to ordinary fabric.
Rip Current Secrets Revealed
August 01, 2006
Rip currents flow in very erratic patterns, not in steady courses as previously believed -- which may help explain why they can be so dangerous even for experienced swimmers. Oceanographers have discovered the behavior by tracking the motion of colored dye added to a wave pool generating rip currents.
The Mysterious Gravity Hill
June 01, 2006
At several hilly locations around the U.S., know as "gravity hills," objects such as cars left on neutral supposedly roll uphill, driven by unknown forces and against the force of gravity. Physicists say -- and GPS measurements confirm -- that the effects are illusions caused by the landscape. The position of trees and slopes of nearby scenery, or a curvy horizon line, can blend to trick the eye so that what looks uphill is actually downhill.
Lightning: Fact or Fiction?
April 01, 2006
To study lightning, scientists use rockets connected to the ground by wires. They fire the rockets into clouds, triggering electrical discharges, and storing their power. They have found that lightning doesn't come straight down to the ground, but it instead takes a series of steps.
April 01, 2006
Images from the Hubble telescope reveal eight new Einstein rings, joining only three others previously known. Einstein rings are pairs of galaxies, with a foreground galaxy bending the light of a background galaxy into a ring by gravitational effects. The ring helps astronomers precisely estimate the mass of the foreground galaxy.
Sun Darkens Electronics
March 01, 2006
Solar activity can wreak havoc in communications systems -- particularly during coronal mass ejections, when plumes of electrically charged particles hit earth's atmosphere. Scientists can now track the plumes down to the single affected cities, helping to predict disruptions.
Lights of the Future
February 01, 2006
Thanks to advances in physics, light-emitting diodes (LEDs) will soon move from traffic lights and electronics panels to home lighting, bringing dramatic energy savings, adjustable colors for ambiance, and light-shining furnishings.
January 01, 2006
When moisture condenses on a cool surface, droplets can form that are the right size to scatter light, fogging up glass. A new polymer coating draws droplets into nanopores and transforms them into a transparent sheet, improving vision.
Firefighting with Fog
January 01, 2006
Firefighters usually don't aim hydrants at smoke, to avoid producing steam that can come back and burn them. But smoke sometimes contains dangerous, flammable gases. Some U.S. fire departments are now experimenting with brief bursts of water on the hot gasses, to cool them down and reduce the risk of explosion. Since it was adopted in Sweden, the technique has cut firefighter fatalities in half.
The Mystery of Black Holes
December 01, 2005
A satellite called Swift is revealing that black holes have a messier birth than previously thought. Instead of being created in one instant, astrophysicists now believe after a star dies and collapses -- ultimately forming a black hole -- it continues to cause havoc. The baby black hole devours material while at the same time spewing it back out, a process that is revealed in multiple outbursts of gamma rays.
September 01, 2005
Sponges are the homes of colonies of tiny marine animals, and wonders of miniaturized engineering. They employ complex structural arrangements, the strongest glasses known to man, and even microscopic fiber optics that glow in the dark. Scientists are trying to figure how to reproduce some of their tricks, such as producing glass at low temperatures.
Flying and Radiation Risk
September 01, 2005
At the high altitudes and latitudes commercial airlines fly, crews are subjected to higher-than-normal radiation levels from the sun and cosmic rays. Physicist Robert Barish believes airline crew members are exposing themselves to more radiation than almost any other occupation and is calling for the airline industry to better educate workers about radiation.
September 01, 2005
Preventing hospital infections -- from such stubborn bugs as Staphylococcus aureus -- could get a little easier with a new non-toxic, silver-based material. Used in coating, it helps keep hospital air ducts bacterium- and fungus-free. The material is also used in a number of products including athletic footwear, door hardware, pens and business supplies.
Sonic Golf Club
July 01, 2005
A new golf club uses motion-detection sensors and wireless technology to coach players through the use of sound. A golfer can "hear" the speed of the swing in wireless headphones, and adjust swings accordingly. Professional golfers generate the loudest, highest-pitch sounds. Most golfers say they see improvements within 15 minutes.
Screens of the Future
July 01, 2005
Organic Light-Emitting Diodes (OLEDs) are plastic-based materials that are able to emit light. Engineers are beginning to make displays out of OLEDs by spraying the materials on a surface, the way an ink-jet printer works. The new OLED displays promise to provide a cheaper, brighter, less power-hungry alternative to liquid-crystal displays -- the ones commonly used in laptop computers and cell phones.
Portrait of America
July 01, 2005
One lone physicist hopes to create an ultra-high-resolution portrait of America by taking a series of gigapixel images with his own custom camera, created from parts of old spy planes and nuclear reactors. Each image fills an entire DVD with data.
New Combat Helmet
July 01, 2005
Wearing a helmet can make it hard to figure which direction sounds -- such as gunfire -- is coming from. Soldiers in Iraq are using a new helmet, called the Advanced Combat Helmet, which is padded internally to prevent sound from reverberating and masking its direction of origin.
Back Pain Relief
July 01, 2005
Up to 40 million American suffer from sciatica pains, but the condition is often not diagnosed correctly. A new imaging technique uses a specially tuned MRI scan to image nerves and highlight them deep inside tissues. Called Magnetic Resonance Neurography, the new technique promises to diagnose conditions such as sciatica -- in which a compressed nerve in the buttock causes persistent lower-back and leg pain -- in up to 95 percent of cases that were previously undiagnosed.
Inside the Brain
July 01, 2005
Children who have speech-impairing strokes often learn to talk again, while adult stroke victims can lose their verbal abilities for good. By giving reading and verbal tests inside the MRI, researchers are comparing the inner workings of both children's and adults' brains that suffered from strokes, as well as of healthy subjects'. The researchers hope to develop therapies to help the adult patients talk again.
Frostless Heat Pump
February 01, 2005
A new invention, the "frostless" heat pump, produces warmer air than a conventional heat pump by raising the temperature on the device's outer coils. This prevents frost on the coils while heat is suctioned more efficiently into the home.
February 01, 2005
To make bridges last longer and less expensive to maintain, engineers are working to incorporate glass into bridge design. Researchers say these longer-lasting glass-based bridges can withstand earthquakes better, and are faster to build, in addition to having high strength and durability.
Einstein At Home
February 01, 2005
In a new project called "Einstein@Home," members of the general public can use their computers' downtime to analyze data that physicists are collecting from space. The data searches for gravitational waves, ripples of gravity predicted by Einstein but never directly observed.
Underwater Weather Watchers
January 01, 2005
Researchers are now collecting valuable information about ocean weather from a fleet of cost-effective instruments called Argo floats. Using hydraulic fluid in internal and external sacs, each float sinks about a mile and a half underwater. Every ten days, the float rises to the surface and transmits information on the ocean temperature and salt content. Researchers hope Argo will improve the ability to forecast the paths of hurricanes and where they will make their landfall.
A Better Golf Game
January 01, 2005
Researchers have designed a golf ball that tends to fly straighter even when a putter unintentionally "slices" it which ordinarily causes it to curve to one side. The new ball has a hollow, metal core that shifts the ball's mass -- or weight -- to the outside. This helps the ball spin less and fly straighter as it sails through the air.
Surviving Hard Hits
January 01, 2005
Engineers have developed more protective padding for football players. Unlike traditional padding, the new putty-like material can be molded into protective gear to fit a player's body and better guard against injury. The squashy material redistributes the force from a hit evenly through the material to lessen the impact on a player's body.
Samples From The Sun
January 01, 2004
A new NASA program called the Genesis Mission is launching a spacecraft to collect particles from the sun's solar wind to obtain information on the origin of earth and other bodies in the solar system.