File this one under “holy crap,” but scientists at MIT have discovered molecules that spontaneously assemble themselves into a pattern that can turn light into electricity — essentially a self-creating solar panel. In a petri dish.
The researchers set out to create a synthetic process that imitates photosynthesis. Certain molecules respond to light by releasing electrons; the trick was discovering a substance that sticks them together in a consistent structure. Phospholipids do just that, and they also attach themselves to carbon nanotubes, which conduct electricity. With the nanotubes holding the phospholipids in a uniform alignment, the photoreactive molecules are all exposed to light at once, and the tube acts as a wire that then collects the resulting electrical current.
The most interesting part is that the tiny solar array can be disassembled and reassembled just by adding chemicals. Spray on an additive and the molecular components break apart into a soup; remove it with a membrane, and the system spontaneously puts itself together.
After repeatedly having the system go through disassembly and reassembly, the scientists found the system had no loss in efficiency. That could prove to be the best development of all, since losing efficiency over time can be a big problem with some solar systems. It all makes sense: if you want to build better solar panels, why not look for inspiration from the most successful solar-energy generators of all: plants.
He had just made the final out in a city where his name is booed, his jersey is reviled, and his team had been swept.
His power had disappeared, his swing was spotty, and his season was a wreck.
Matt Kemp would have been excused for quickly disappearing through the dugout at San Francisco’s AT&T Park on Sunday night and forgetting all about an earlier promise to third base coach Tim Wallach.
“But that was the neat deal about it,” Wallach said. “He was standing there waiting for me.”
Kemp was waiting to cross the diamond to sign an autograph for a terminally ill Dodgers fan, waiting to summon the passion necessary to pass along the hope that he now found so precious.
Kemp didn’t know the kid’s name. Kemp didn’t know anybody was watching. When he reached the figure in the hooded blue sweatshirt sitting motionless in the front row, he thought the encounter would be quick and forgettable.
Then Kemp saw something. Maybe it was the kid’s lost stare. Maybe it was his painfully frozen limbs.
“I said hi to him, he just looked at me in kind of shock, and it almost got me,” Kemp said. “It almost got me.”
Oh, but it did get him. The moment stripped him of his self-pity, and then everything else started coming off.
Kemp handed the kid the autographed ball. He handed him his cap. He tore off his dusty No. 27 jersey with the buttons still fastened and put it on the kid’s lap. Then he bent over and removed his shoes and handed them over to complete the grand slam.
Watching it all, speechless, was the kid, Joshua Jones, a 19-year-old from Tracy, Calif., who is suffering from inoperable tumors in his spine and has been given 90 days to live.
“I was in shock,” Jones said in a phone interview Tuesday. “I was sitting there thinking, ‘I can’t believe he’s doing this.’”
Filming it all through his smartphone, creating a video that has created an Internet buzz, was his buddy Tommy Schultz.
“The shirt, the cap, wow. … Then he took off the cleats and I was blown away,” Schultz said.
Remembering it forever will be Joshua’s brother, Ryan, 20, who says Kemp dressed their entire family in wide-eyed amazement.
“I don’t think words can explain how great this was,” Ryan said. “If this is the last memory of his life, it was an incredible one.”
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The Government has announced a multimillion dollar investment into science and innovation to help combat the biggest science challenges facing New Zealand.
At the Auckland War Memorial Museum today Prime Minister John Key announced an extra $73.5 million in funding for the science and innovation sector.
It brought the total funding to $133.5m over four years for Budget 2013.
Key said the funding put science at the heart of much of the Government’s thinking.
Science and Innovation Minister Steven Joyce said the funding would go towards 10 “challenges” that scientist could tackle.
These included research around helping New Zealanders’ health at the beginning and end of their lives, research into natural disasters, helping promote and protect the country’s biodiversity including its marine reserve, and the southern ocean.
The advisory panel, led by chief science advisor Sir Peter Gluckman, received 200 submissions on the challenges.
Joyce said not all challenges would be solved overnight but some had refined research areas.
"It’s a very exciting day for New Zealand science," he said.
The funding was about making that research more relevant to average New Zealanders.
Gluckman said the process was “science-led” and it was clear science had a role in enhancing a much better future for New Zealand.
The 10 national science challenges announced today are:
+ Ageing well – harnessing science to sustain health and wellbeing into the later years of life;
+ A better start – improving the potential of young New Zealanders to have a healthy and successful life;
+ Healthier lives – research to reduce the burden of major New Zealand health problems;
+ High-value nutrition – developing high-value foods with validated health benefits;
+ New Zealand’s biological heritage – protecting and managing our biodiversity, improving our biosecurity, and enhancing our resilience to harmful organisms;
+ Our land and water – research to enhance primary-sector production and productivity while maintaining and improving our land and water quality for future generations;
+ Life in a changing ocean – understanding how we can exploit our marine resources within environmental and biological constraints;
+ The deep south – understanding the role of the Antarctic and the Southern Ocean in determining our climate and our future environment;
+ Science for technological innovation – enhancing the capacity of New Zealand to use physical and engineering sciences for economic growth;
+ Resilience to nature’s challenges – research into enhancing our resilience to natural disasters.
Source: Fairfax media