April 13, 2010

Science in the Ivies

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Modern alchemy, mini-black holes, schizophrenia; research from around the ivies analyzes diverse scientific questions.

AT BROWN, by examining in nanoscale, scientists may have discovered a method to change the properties of a metal. The scientists used three-dimensional computer simulations of metals at the atomic level to determine their order. From these patterns, they determined the causes of the strengthes of the materials. The findings could be the first step toward producing stronger, more ductile metals.

AT PRINCETON, using “noise,” or rays of light that normally make an object difficult to identify, engineers created a method to improve imaging techniques, like radar and sonograms. The process involves amplifying the signal through interactions with energy from the noise. As a result, weak signals improve in quality. His technique could be applied to aid professions that rely on signaling technology, such as airplane pilots and doctors.

AT HARVARD, researchers devised a method to replicate certain properties of black holes at the atomic level using high-voltage carbon nanotubes. The tubes, typically used in nanotechnology and other types of material science, caused cold atoms to be pulled inward and disintegrate. This high-speed spiraling behavior is analogous to what scientists have observed in black holes at the cosmic level.

AT  COLUMBIA UNIVERSITY MEDICAL CENTER, a study suggests that schizophrenia is linked to a genetic defect that hinders brain connections. Mutations may predispose patients to schizophrenia. According to their research, these mutations disrupt communication between the hippocampus and the prefrontal cortex, increasing the risk of schizophrenia. Researchers believe these regions function in memory.

Original Author: Tim Gahr