A simple process would extract lipids used to make biodiesel from algae and transform them into usable fuel in one fell swoop. This could make biodiesel production from algae cheaper, faster and greener than current methods.
Caption: Algae, shown here growing in laboratory flasks, could become an economical source of biofuels thanks to new research presented at the American Chemical Society Green Chemistry Conference. Image: Lindsay Soh
The transformation of a fertilized egg into a functioning animal requires thousands of cell divisions and intricate rearrangements of those cells. That process is captured with unprecedented speed and precision by a new imaging technology developed at the Howard Hughes Medical Institute’s Janelia Farm Research Campus, which lets users track each cell in an embryo as it takes shape over hours or days.
In a single movie– a compilation of a million images captured over about 20 hours– viewers can see biological structures begin to emerge as a simple cluster of cells morphs into an elongated body with tens of thousands of densely packed cells. The movie concludes when the embryo begins to twitch, driven by contractions of its newly formed muscles—moments before the hatching of a fruit fly larva just half a millimeter long.
Innovation promises better biochemical weapons detection, body scanners and new instruments for studying dark energy and the structure of the universe.
Researchers at the Center for Nanophysics and Advanced Materials of the Univ. of Maryland have developed a new type of hot electron bolometer — a sensitive detector of infrared light — that can be used in a huge range of applications from detection of chemical and biochemical weapons from a distance and use in security imaging technologies such as airport body scanners, to chemical analysis in the laboratory and studying the structure of the universe through improved telescopes.
Isotope Measurement Rewrites Solar System’s History
The early days of the solar system might look quite different than previously thought, according to research at the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) Argonne National Laboratory published in Science. The study used more sensitive instruments to find a different half-life for samarium, one of the isotopes used to chart the evolution of the solar system.
“It shrinks the chronology of early events in the solar system, like the formation of planets, into a shorter time span,” says Argonne physicist Michael Paul. “It also means some of the oldest rocks on Earth would have formed even earlier — as early as 120 million years after the solar system formed, in one case of Greenland rocks.”
Mark the calendar. On Sunday, May 20th, the sun is going to turn into a ring of fire. It’s an annular solar eclipse—the first one in the USA in almost 18 years. An annular eclipse occurs when the Moon passes directly in front of the sun, but the lunar disk is not quite wide enough to cover the entire star. At maximum, the Moon forms a “black hole” in the center of the sun.