From eons to seconds, proteins exploit the same forces
Nature's artistic and engineering skills are evident in proteins, life's robust molecular machines. Scientists at Rice University have now employed their unique theories to show how the interplay between evolution and physics developed these skills.
(August 15, 2014)
Researchers uncover clues to flu’s mechanisms
HOUSTON - A flu virus acts like a Trojan horse as it attacks and infects host cells. Scientists at Rice University and Baylor College of Medicine have acquired a clearer view of the well-hidden mechanism involved.Their computer simulations may lead to new strategies to stop influenza, perhaps even a one-size-fits-all vaccine.
(August 4, 2014)
Tough foam from tiny sheets
HOUSTON - Tough, ultralight foam of atom-thick sheets can be made to any size and shape through a chemical process invented at Rice University.In microscopic images, the foam dubbed "GO-0.5BN" looks like a nanoscale building, with floors and walls that reinforce each other. The structure consists of a pair of two-dimensional materials: floors and walls of graphene oxide that self-assemble with the assistance of hexagonal boron nitride platelets.
(July 30, 2014)
Geophysicists prep for massive ‘ultrasound’ of Mount St. Helens
A small army of 75 geophysicists converged on Mount St. Helens the weekend of July 20 to begin final preparations for the equivalent of a combined ultrasound and CAT scan of the famous volcano’s internal plumbing. The ambitious project, a joint undertaking by Earth scientists at Rice University, the University of Washington, the University of Texas at El Paso and other institutions, requires placing more than 3,500 active seismological sensors and 23 seismic charges around the volcano over the next few days.
(July 28, 2014)
Bee-Inspired Bots Skitter and Swarm at NYC's Museum of Mathematics
Dr. James McLurkin has a swarm of robots. Individually, they're not that smart, but a crateful of them behaves in some very complex ways, like the bees that inspired them. Gizmodo got to see the wee machines in action, and while they're adorable, they represent some serious future bot capabilities.
(July 23, 2014)
Neal F. Lane: Investments in Basic Research Are Just That: Investments
On Thursday, July 17, four science experts served as witnesses at the U.S. Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation hearing, "The Federal Research Portfolio: Capitalizing on Investments in R&D." The hearing considered the federal government's role in research and development (R&D), and the nation's STEM education and outreach initiatives.
(July 23, 2014)
Carbyne morphs when stretched
HOUSTON - Applying just the right amount of tension to a chain of carbon atoms can turn it from a metallic conductor to an insulator, according to Rice University scientists.Stretching the material known as carbyne - a hard-to-make, one-dimensional chain of carbon atoms - by just 3 percent can begin to change its properties in ways that engineers might find useful for mechanically activated nanoscale electronics and optics.
(July 21, 2014)
A Robot Swarm descends on NYC's Museum of Math
Roboticist-in-residence James McLurkin offered an advanced preview of his Robot Swarm at NYC's Museum of Mathematics New Linkthis week. The presentation detailed the background and programming concepts of these sensor- and speaker-laden bots -- which have a habit of spitting out 8-bit-style tunes while they work. The digital creatures exhibit group behaviors much like ants and bees, working together to map out their surroundings and communicating with each other -- and there's a definite hierarchy to their organization.
(July 17, 2014)
Cell membrane proteins give up their secrets
HOUSTON - Rice University scientists have succeeded in analyzing transmembrane protein folding in the same way they study the proteins' free-floating, globular cousins.Rice theoretical biologist Peter Wolynes and his team at the university's Center for Theoretical Biological Physics (CTBP) have applied his energy landscape theory to proteins that are hard to view because they live and work primarily inside cell membranes.
(July 16, 2014)