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Science/Technology

  • Cobalt could replace precious metals as industrial catalyst

    Cobalt, a relatively common mineral, may hold promise as an industrial catalyst with potential applications in such energy-related technologies as the production of biofuels and the reduction of carbon dioxide.

    That is, provided the cobalt is captured in a complex molecule so it mimics the precious metals that normally serve this industrial role.

    In work published Nov. 26 in the international edition of the chemistry journal Angewandte Chemie, Los Alamos National Laboratory scientists report the possibility of replacing the normally used noble metal catalysts with cobalt.

    Catalysts are the parallel of the Philosopher’s Stone for chemistry. They cannot change lead to gold, but they do transform one chemical substance into another while remaining unchanged themselves. Perhaps the most familiar example of catalysis comes from automobile exhaust systems that change toxic fumes into more benign gases, but catalysts are also integral to thousands of industrial, synthetic, and renewable energy processes where they accelerate or optimize a mind-boggling array of chemical reactions.

    It’s not an exaggeration to say that without catalysts, there would be no modern industry.

  • Manhattan Project 70th Anniversary

    August 13, 2012 marked the 70th anniversary of the establishment of the Manhattan Project. The communities of Tri-Cities, WA, Los Alamos, NM and Oak Ridge, TN took part in this day of remembrance.

  • Popular Science Names Top Innovations for 2012
  • Apple Targets Competition With IPad Mini
  • Windows 8 Could Pose Challenge for Users

    Consumers are in for a shock when Microsoft releases the Windows 8 operating system later this week. The interface changes are the most widespread the OS maker has undertaken since the release of Windows 95.

  • Art in Motion: Blending Science, Hi-tech and Art

    Robot flowers that flex and blossom are one of the highlights at the Kinetica Museum's exhibition in London. The show mixes technology, science and art.

  • 2 US Scientists Win Nobel Prize in Chemistry

    Two Americans won the Nobel Prize in chemistry Wednesday for studies of how the cells in our bodies pick up signals as diverse as hormones, smells, flavors and light. Scientists say the studies are key to developing better medicines.

  • Frenchman, American win Nobel for quantum physics

    STOCKHOLM (AP) — A French-American duo shared the 2012 Nobel Prize in physics Tuesday for inventing methods to observe the bizarre properties of the quantum world, research that has led to the construction of extremely precise clocks and helped scientists take the first steps toward building superfast computers.

    Serge Haroche of France and American David Wineland opened the door to new experiments in quantum physics by showing how to observe individual quantum particles without destroying them.

    A quantum particle is one that is isolated from everything else. In this situation, an atom or electron or photon takes on strange properties. It can be in two places at once, for example. It behaves in some ways like a wave. But these properties are instantly changed when it interacts with something else, such as when somebody observes it.

    Working separately, the two scientists, both 68, developed "ingenious laboratory methods" that allowed them to manage and measure and control fragile quantum states, the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences said.

  • Bizarre tumor case may lead to custom cancer care

    It's a medical nightmare: a 24-year-old man endures 350 surgeries since childhood to remove growths that keep coming back in his throat and have spread to his lungs, threatening his life. Now doctors have found a way to help him by way of a scientific coup that holds promise for millions of cancer patients.

    The bizarre case is the first use in a patient of a new discovery: how to keep ordinary and cancerous cells alive indefinitely in the lab.

    The discovery allows doctors to grow "mini tumors" from each patient's cancer in a lab dish, then test various drugs or combinations on them to see which works best. It takes only a few cells from a biopsy and less than two weeks to do, with materials and methods common in most hospitals.

    Although the approach needs much more testing against many different types of cancer, researchers think it could offer a cheap, simple way to personalize treatment without having to analyze each patient's genes.

  • NASA: Ancient Evidence of Mars Streambed Found