Applied Physics


Serotonin is a major signaling chemical in the brain, and it has long been thought to be involved in aggressive behavior in a wide variety of animals as well as in humans. Another brain chemical signal, neuropeptide Y (known as neuropeptide F in invertebrates), is also known to affect an array of behaviors in many species, including territoriality in mice. A new study by Drs. Herman Dierick and Ralph Greenspan of The Neurosciences Institute in San Diego shows that these two chemicals also regulate aggression in the fruit fly, Drosophila melanogaster.


Scientists are questioning whether peer review, the internationally accepted form of scientific critique, is able to meet the challenges posed by the rapid changes in the research landscape. A report published by the European Science Foundation (ESF) has showcased a number of options that could lead to a greater openness to innovative research.

The report "Peer review: its present and future states", which draws on ideas from an international conference in Prague in October 2006, reflects some concern on the shortcomings of peer review while outlines some possible measures to cope with them.


University of Colorado at Boulder researchers are forecasting a one in three chance that the 2007 minimum extent of sea ice across the Arctic region will set an all-time record low.

The researchers at CU-Boulder's Colorado Center for Astrodynamics Research also say there is a 57 percent chance the 2007 sea-ice minimum will be lower than the 2006 minimum of 2.27 million square miles, now the second lowest on record. There is a 70 percent chance the 2007 sea-ice minimum will rank within the lowest five years on record, according to Research Associate Sheldon Drobot of CCAR's Arctic Regional Ice Forecasting System group in CU-Boulder's aerospace engineering sciences department.


Raven, the mobile surgical robot developed by the University of Washington, is going into the Atlantic Ocean to participate in NASA's mission to submerge a surgeon and robotic gear in a simulated spaceship.

For 12 days the surgical robotic system will be put through its paces in an underwater capsule that mimics conditions in a space shuttle. Surgeons back in Seattle will guide its movements.

Raven, the mobile surgical robot developed in the UW's BioRobotics Lab, weighs about 50 pounds. Its nimble appendages can suture wounds and perform minimally invasive surgeries. Credit: David Clugston



Ethanol is widely touted as an eco-friendly, clean-burning fuel. But if every vehicle in the United States ran on fuel made primarily from ethanol instead of pure gasoline, the number of respiratory-related deaths and hospitalizations would likely increase, according to a new study by Stanford University atmospheric scientist Mark Z. Jacobson.


Are you ready for "X-ray glasses" that see through fog - and even clothing? With their new world record in high-frequency submillimeter waves, researchers at the UCLA Henry Samueli School of Engineering and Applied Science are bringing that kind of imaging technology closer to reality.

The record-setting 324-gigahertz frequency was accomplished using a voltage-controlled oscillator in a 90-nanometer complementary metal-oxide semiconductor (CMOS) integrated circuit, a technology used in chips such as microprocessors.




An earthquake engineer at Washington University in St. Louis has successfully performed the first test of wireless sensors in the simulated structural control of a model laboratory building.

Shirley J. Dyke, Ph.D., the Edward C. Dicke Professor of Civil Engineering and director of the Washington University Structural Control and Earthquake Engineering Laboratory, combined the wireless sensors with special controls called magnetorheological dampers to limit damage from a simulated earthquake load.




Her demonstration is the first step toward implementing wireless sensors for structural control in real buildings and structures, enabling less manpower requirements and far less remodeling of existing structures.


Chemists at UCLA have designed new organic structures for the storage of voluminous amounts of gases for use in alternative energy technologies.

The research, to be published on April 13 in the journal Science, demonstrates how the design principles of reticular chemistry have been used to create three-dimensional covalent organic frameworks, which are entirely constructed from strong covalent bonds and have high thermal stability, high surface areas and extremely low densities.

The image shows the crystal structure of COF-108. Synthesized only from light elements (H,B,C,O) COF-108 is the lowest-density crystal ever produced (0.17 g/cubic cm). (Credit: José L. Mendoza-Cortés)



John Hauptman stood before an international gathering of particle physicists and announced he had another idea.

One that was different. One that was simpler. And best of all, one that he was sure would work.

The 4th Concept detector would eliminate the iron surrounding most particle detectors and would be about one-tenth the mass of other detectors. Credit: Iowa State University



The powerful earthquake struck suddenly, shaking the seven-story building so hard it bent, cracked and swayed in response.

But this was no ordinary earthquake. In a groundbreaking series of tests, engineering researchers from UC San Diego's Jacobs School of Engineering jarred a full-size 275-ton building erected on a shake table, duplicating ground motions recorded during the January 17, 1994 1994 Northridge earthquake in Los Angeles, California.