Tag Archives: phenomena

Q&A: What studying networks can tell us about the world and ourselves

There was an opening ceremony on Feb. 5 for the Yale Institute for Network Science (YINS), dedicated to exploring fundamental properties of networks as they appear throughout the biological, physical, and social sciences.

The interdisciplinary institute will be led by co-directors Nicholas Christakis, the Sol Goldman Family Professor of Social and Natural Science, and Daniel Spielman, the Henry Ford II Professor of Computer Science and Mathematics.

Christakis and Spielman recently met with YaleNews to discuss the nature of networks and the institute’s mission. The following is an edited version of the conversation. (more…)

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Opposing phenomena possible key to high-efficiency electricity delivery

The coexistence of two opposing phenomena might be the secret to understanding the enduring mystery in physics of how materials heralded as the future of powering our homes and communities actually work, according to Princeton University-led research. Such insight could help spur the further development of high-efficiency electric-power delivery.

Published in the journal Science, the findings provide a substantial clue for unraveling the inner workings of high-temperature superconductors (HTS) based on compounds containing copper and oxygen, or copper oxides. Copper-oxide high-temperature superconductors are prized as a material for making power lines because of their ability to conduct electricity with no resistance. It’s been shown that the material can be used to deliver electrical power like ordinary transmission lines, but with no loss of energy. In addition, typical superconductors need extremely low temperatures of roughly -243 degrees Celsius (-405 degrees Fahrenheit) to exhibit this 100-percent efficiency. A copper oxide HTS, however, can reach this level of efficiency at a comparatively toasty -135 degrees Celsius (-211 degrees Fahrenheit), which is achievable using liquid nitrogen. (more…)

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Hard rock life

Scientists are digging deep into the Earth’s surface collecting census data on the microbial denizens of the hardened rocks. What they’re finding is that, even miles deep and halfway across the globe, many of these communities are somehow quite similar.

The results, which were presented at the American Geophysical Union conference Dec. 8, suggest that these communities may be connected, said Matthew Schrenk, Michigan State University geomicrobiologist. (more…)

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Amount of dust blown across the West is increasing, says CU-Boulder study

The amount of dust being blown across the landscape has increased over the last 17 years in large swaths of the West, according to a new study led by the University of Colorado Boulder.

The escalation in dust emissions — which may be due to the interplay of several factors, including increased windstorm frequency, drought cycles and changing land-use patterns — has implications both for the areas where the dust is first picked up by the winds and for the places where the dust is put back down. (more…)

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A Boost for Analyzing Biological Sequences

UA computer scientists John Kececioglu and Dan DeBlasio are developing improved software that provides biologists with much more accurate results when analyzing sequence data.

Imagine trying to construct a brick building with fewer than the requisite number of bricks and without a detailed blueprint.

Welcome to the world of computational biologists.

When biologists study proteins, DNA, or other biological molecules that are represented in the computer as sequences, they rely on known information but also must predict missing data. Given that reality, major challenges exist to having accurate results. (more…)

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2013 Bollingen Poetry Prize Goes to Charles Wright

Charles Wright, hailed as one of the leading American poets of his generation, has been named the winner of Yale’s 2013 Bollingen Prize for American Poetry.

The Bollingen Prize in American Poetry is among the most prestigious prizes given to American writers. Established by Paul Mellon in 1949, it is awarded biennially by the Yale University Library to an American poet for the best book published during the previous two years or for lifetime achievement in poetry. The prize includes a cash award of $150,000. (more…)

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Flexing Fingers for Micro-Robotics: Berkeley Lab Scientists Create a Powerful, Microscale Actuator

Berkeley, Calif., Dec. 2012 — Researchers with the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE)’s Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab) and the University of California, Berkeley, have developed an elegant and powerful new microscale actuator that can flex like a tiny beckoning finger. Based on an oxide material that expands and contracts dramatically in response to a small temperature variation, the actuators are smaller than the width of a human hair and are promising for microfluidics, drug delivery, and artificial muscles.

“We believe our microactuator is more efficient and powerful than any current microscale actuation technology, including human muscle cells,” says Berkeley Lab and UC Berkeley scientist Junqiao Wu. “What’s more, it uses this very interesting material—vanadium dioxide—and tells us more about the fundamental materials science of phase transitions.” (more…)

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Next Scientific Fashion Could be Designer Nanocrystals

Three University of Chicago chemistry professors hope that their separate research trajectories will converge to create a new way of assembling what they call “designer atoms” into materials with a broad array of potentially useful properties and functions.

These “designer atoms” would be nanocrystals—crystalline arrays of atoms intended to be manipulated in ways that go beyond standard uses of atoms in the periodic table. Such arrays would be suited to address challenges in solar energy, quantum computing and functional materials. (more…)

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