Two of the world's worst natural disasters in recent years stemmed from different causes on opposite sides of the globe, but actually had much in common, according to researchers who are part of a large National Science Foundation-funded research initiative that has been studying both the Indian Ocean Tsunami of 2004 and the Hurricane Katrina of 2005.
As a storm surge recedes, the sudden decrease in downward pressure on the saturated soil causes the sand to liquefy and to flow out like a heavy slurry. This can result in giant potholes like this 6 foot-deep one on the coastal highway. Credit: Princeton University School of Engineering and Applied Science
Female stem cells derived from muscle have a greater ability to regenerate skeletal muscle tissue than male cells, according to a study at Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh of UPMC.
The study, which is being published in the April 9 issue of the Journal of Cell Biology, is the first ever to report a difference in regenerative capabilities of muscle stem cells based on sex.
Flexible electronic membranes may overcome a longstanding dilemma faced by brain researchers: How to replicate injuries in the lab without destroying the electrodes that monitor how brain cells respond to physical trauma.
Developed by a team of engineers at Princeton University, Columbia University and the University of Cambridge, the membranes feature microelectrodes that are able to withstand the sudden stretching that is used to simulate severe head trauma. The systems could allow far more nuanced studies of brain injury than previously possible and may lead to better treatments in the minutes and hours immediately following the injury.
Synovial fluid is slime with a serious purpose: Protecting shoulders, hips and other joints from wear, reducing the likelihood of injuries and arthritis.
Scientists have long believed that synovial fluid gets its surface-slicking, shock-absorbing properties from the "goo molecule" hyaluronate. But new research led by Brown University physician and engineer Gregory Jay, M.D., shows that the protein lubricin is also a player, not only lubricating cartilage but also giving synovial fluid its spring.
Researchers at Johns Hopkins have discovered how cells fine-tune their oxygen use to make do with whatever amount is available at the moment.
Too little oxygen threatens life by compromising mitochondria that power it, so when oxygen is scarce, cells appear to adjust by replacing one protein with an energy-efficient substitute that "is specialized to keep the motor running smoothly even as it begins to run out of gas," says Gregg Semenza, M.D., Ph.D., a professor of pediatrics and director of the vascular biology program in the Institute for Cell Engineering at Hopkins. "This is one way that cells maintain energy production under less than ideal conditions." A report on the work is in the April 6 issue of Cell.
As the ancient Greeks were placing the last few stones on the magnificent theater at Epidaurus in the fourth century B.C., they couldn’t have known that they had unwittingly created a sophisticated acoustic filter. But when audiences in the back row were able to hear music and voices with amazing clarity (well before any theater had the luxury of a sound system), the Greeks must have known that they had done something very right because they made many attempts to duplicate Epidaurus’ design, but never with the same success.
The Theater at Epidaurus on the Peloponnese in Greece
On a Greek mountainside, sensors in the walls of a high-tech villa will record stresses and vibrations, temperature and humidity levels. Nothing out of the ordinary there.
A new molecular "fishing" technique developed by researchers at Duke University and Duke's Pratt School of Engineering lays the groundwork for future advances in hand-held sensing devices.
Hand-held devices used for medical testing or environmental and food-safety monitoring could quickly and precisely measure concentrations of virtually any chemical substance, including blood proteins, toxic pollutants and dangerous biological agents, in a test solution, according to the researchers.
Scientists at MIT have created an ocean model so realistic that the virtual forests of diverse microscopic plants they "sowed" have grown in population patterns that precisely mimic their real-world counterparts.
This model of the ocean is the first to reflect the vast diversity of the invisible forests living in our oceans-tiny, single-celled green plants that dominate the ocean and produce half the oxygen we breathe on Earth. And it does so in a way that is consistent with the way real-world ecosystems evolve according to the principles of natural selection.
Crumpled kitchen foil that lays flat for reuse. Bent bumpers that straighten overnight. Dents in car doors that disappear when heated with a hairdryer. These and other physical feats may become possible with a technique to make memory metals discovered by researchers at the University of Illinois.
Normally, when a piece of metal – such as a paperclip – is bent, the change in shape becomes permanent. But, when heat is added to bent metal films having the right microstructure, the researchers found, the films return to their original shapes. The higher the temperature, the sooner the metal films revert. "It’s as though the metal has a memory of where it came from," said Taher A.