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The Lead

Mollusks Produce Optical Displays

February 27, 2015 | by MIT, Jennifer Chu | Comments

Scientists have identified two optical structures within the limpet’s shell that give its blue-striped appearance. The structures are configured to reflect blue light while absorbing all other wavelengths of incoming light. The findings represent the first evidence of an organism using mineralized structural components to produce optical displays.


Microscopy Takes Giant Leap

March 2, 2015 7:00 am | by Univ. of Cambridge | Comments

There is a resolution revolution underway. Building powerful instruments that shatter the physical limits of optical microscopy, scientists are beginning to watch molecular processes as they happen, and in three dimensions.  


Plumbing Loops Cause Geyser Eruptions

February 26, 2015 7:00 am | by UC Berkeley | Comments

The key to geysers is an underground bend or loop that traps steam and then bubbles it out slowly to heat the water column above until it is just short of boiling. Eventually, the steam bubbles trigger sudden boiling from the top of the column, releasing pressure on the water below and allowing it to boil as well.


Love Can Sober You Up

February 25, 2015 7:00 am | by Univ. of Sydney | Comments

Oxytocin, sometimes referred to as the “love” or “cuddle” hormone, has a legendary status in popular culture because of its vital role in social and sexual behavior and long-term bonding. Now, researchers have discovered it also has a remarkable influence on the intoxicating effect of alcohol.  


Physicists See Antiferromagnetic Order in Superconductor Analog

February 24, 2015 7:00 am | by Rice Univ. | Comments

Using ultracold atoms as a stand-in for electrons, a team of physicists has simulated superconducting materials and made headway on a problem that’s vexed physicists for nearly three decades.


Heat Causes Groups of Nanorods to Change Shapes

February 23, 2015 7:00 am | by Argonne National Laboratory | Comments

Research has revealed previously unobserved behaviors that show how details of the transfer of heat at the nanoscale cause nanoparticles to change shape in ensembles. The new finds depict three distinct stages of evolution in groups of gold nanorods, from the initial rod shape to the intermediate shape to a sphere-shaped nanoparticle.


'Robot Garden' to Teach Basic Coding Concepts

February 20, 2015 7:00 am | by MIT, Adam Conner-Simons | Comments

Here’s one way to get kids excited about programming: a "robot garden" with dozens of fast-changing LED lights and more than 100 origami robots that can crawl, swim and blossom like flowers. A team has developed a system that illustrates their research on distributed algorithms via robotic sheep, origami flowers that can open and change colors and robotic ducks that fold into shape by being heated in an oven.


The Chemistry of Big Screen Explosions

February 19, 2015 7:00 am | by ACS | Comments

Blockbuster action movies probably won't win any Oscars this Sunday, but the science behind these films' spectacular explosions is worthy of recognition.  


‘Tree’ Harvests Solar Power

February 18, 2015 7:00 am | by VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland | Comments

Scientists have developed a prototype of a “tree” that harvests solar energy from its surroundings— whether indoors or outdoors— stores it and turns it into electricity to power small devices such as mobile phones, humidifiers, thermometers and LED light bulbs.  


Humans, Sea Anemones Linked by Nerve Signaling

February 17, 2015 8:53 am | by Penn State | Comments

A burst of evolutionary innovation in the genes responsible for electrical communication among nerve cells in our brains occurred over 600 million years ago in a common ancestor of humans and the sea anemone.


X-ray Reveals Chemical Bond Being Born

February 16, 2015 7:00 am | by SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory | Comments

Scientists have used an X-ray laser to get the first glimpse of the transition state where two atoms begin to form a weak bond on the way to becoming a molecule. This fundamental advance will have a profound impact on the understanding of how chemical reactions take place and on efforts to design reactions that generate energy, create new products and fertilize crops more efficiently.


Big Data Shows What Works When Seeking Love Online

February 13, 2015 3:00 pm | by Univ. of Michigan | Comments

Online dating has revolutionized the way people look for love. About a third of all people who were single at some point in the last 10 years have used dating websites, and a quarter of those have married or entered long-term relationships. Research breaks new ground on how people make romantic choices by analyzing troves of data from a major online dating site.


Do Pheromones Control the Heart?

February 13, 2015 7:00 am | by ACS | Comments

Is there such a thing as love at first smell? There are hundreds of spray-on pheromone products that claim to put you on the fast track to romance.  


Robotic Garden Seeks Light to Grow Soybeans

February 12, 2015 7:00 am | by Purdue Univ. | Comments

Professors have designed a robotic platform, soybot, which allows indoor plants to search for light to sustain nourishment. As each soybot moves, the robot transmits both sensor data and positional coordinates to a visualization window in its gallery space.  


Skeletons Indicate Major Roman Cemetery

February 11, 2015 7:00 am | by Univ. of Exeter | Comments

Fifteen ancient skeletons have been discovered on an archaeological dig in Ipplepen, a major Romano-British settlement in Devon and now the best preserved Roman cemetery. Archaeologists uncovered the human remains during an excavation of a Roman Road and found a roadside cemetery, the like of which has never been seen in the region.


Rescue Drone Wins Prize

February 10, 2015 7:00 am | by EPFL | Comments

An aircraft developed by the start-up Flyability conquered the jury of “Drones for Good.” Capable of entering tight spaces and flying safely near humans, it won the competition launched by the government of the United Arab Emirates. The competition recognizes social applications of new technologies with an award of one million dollars.



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