Tech

An independent study group, convened by AAAS’s Center for Science, Technology and Security Policy, has issued a report on the proposed Reliable Replacement Warhead (RRW) and its role in the future U.S. nuclear weapons program.

The panel concluded that most of the anticipated benefits of the proposed RRW program -- more easily maintained nuclear weapons with enhanced performance margins, improved safety and security properties, and greater ease of manufacture -- would occur in the long term subsequent to modernization of the weapons production complex.

Ultra-hard materials are used for everything from drills that bore for oil and build new roads to scratch-resistant coatings for precision instruments and the face of your watch.

Turning a greenhouse gas into a clean energy fuel is the Holy Grail of energy research. UC San Diego chemists have a prototype they think is an important milestone.

Their device captures energy from the sun, converts it to electrical energy and "splits" carbon dioxide into carbon monoxide (CO) and oxygen.

Obviously carbon monoxide in and of itself is not great either but millions of pounds of it are used each year to manufacture chemicals including detergents and plastics. It can also be converted into liquid fuel.

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.

Stretching a carbon nanotube composite like taffy, researchers at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) and the Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT) have made some of the first measurements* of how single-walled carbon nanotubes (SWNTs) both scatter and absorb polarized light, a key optical and electronic property.Biomedical applications could exploit the natural fluorescence of the carbon nanotubes. When light is polarized along a single-walled carbon nanotube (left), this fluorescent emission is strong.

ESA's Darwin mission aims to discover extrasolar planets and examine their atmospheres for signs of life, particularly for the presence of certain life-related chemicals such as oxygen and carbon dioxide. The major technical challenge lies in distinguishing, or resolving, the light from an extrasolar planet from the hugely overwhelming radiation emitted by the planet's nearby star.Darwin will combine light from four or five telescopes and send it down to Earth. Credits: ESA

Ever since 1887, when Norwegian mathematician Sophus Lie discovered the mathematical group called E8, researchers have been trying to understand the extraordinarily complex object described by a numerical matrix of more than 400,000 rows and columns.

Now, an international team of experts using powerful computers and programming techniques has mapped E8--a feat numerically akin to the mapping of the human genome--allowing for breakthroughs in a wide range of problems in geometry, number theory and the physics of string theory.

Researchers have demonstrated a prototype nanometer-scale generator that produces continuous direct-current electricity by harvesting mechanical energy from such environmental sources as ultrasonic waves, mechanical vibration or blood flow.

Geophysicists at the University of Rochester announce in today’s issue of Nature that the Earth’s magnetic field was nearly as strong 3.2 billion years ago as it is today.

The findings, which are contrary to previous studies, suggest that even in its earliest stages the Earth was already well protected from the solar wind, which can strip away a planet’s atmosphere and bathe its surface in lethal radiation.