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Heather Kulik: Innovative modeling for chemical discovery

Tue, 19 Sep 2017 11:05:00 EST

Without setting foot from her office, Heather Kulik, the Joseph R. Mares '24 Career Development Assistant Professor of Chemical Engineering, is charting unknown worlds. Her discoveries plumb “vast regions of chemical space,” she says, a domain comprised of combinations of chemical elements that do not yet exist. “Best estimates indicate that we have likely made or studied only about 1 part in 10 to the 50th of that chemical space,” she says.(image)



New Method for Identifying Carbon Compounds Derived from Fossil Fuels

Fri, 15 Sep 2017 13:54:00 EST

Scientists at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) have developed a laboratory instrument that can measure how much of the carbon in many carbon-containing materials was derived from fossil fuels. This will open the way for new methods in the biofuels and bioplastics industries, in scientific research, and environmental monitoring. Among other things, it will allow scientists to measure how much of the carbon dioxide (CO2) in the atmosphere came from burning fossil fuels, and to estimate fossil fuel emissions in an area as small as a city or as large as a continent.(image)



Virtual reality alleviates pain, anxiety for pediatric patients

Fri, 15 Sep 2017 12:46:00 EST

As patients at Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital Stanford undergo routine medical procedures, they are being whisked away to swim under the sea, zap flying cheeseburgers in outer space, catch basketballs using their heads and fly on paper airplanes through the sky, thanks to virtual-reality technology, which is being implemented throughout the hospital to help ease patients’ feelings of pain and anxiety.Packard Children’s is one of the first hospitals in the country to begin implementing distraction-based VR therapy within every patient unit.(image)



IU discovery could reduce nuclear waste with improved method to chemically engineer molecules

Fri, 15 Sep 2017 11:39:00 EST

A discovery by Indiana University researchers could advance the long-term storage of nuclear waste, an increasingly burdensome and costly task for the public and private agencies that protect people from these harmful chemicals.(image)



New climate risk classification created to account for potential 'existential' threats

Thu, 14 Sep 2017 16:44:00 EST

A new study evaluating models of future climate scenarios has led to the creation of the new risk categories “catastrophic” and “unknown” to characterize the range of threats posed by rapid global warming. Researchers propose that unknown risks imply existential threats to the survival of humanity.These categories describe two low-probability but statistically significant scenarios that could play out by century’s end, in a new study by Veerabhadran Ramanathan, a distinguished professor of climate and atmospheric sciences at Scripps Institution of Oceanography at the University of California San Diego, and his former Scripps graduate student Yangyang Xu, now an assistant professor at Texas A&M University.(image)



SLAC-Led Project Will Use Artificial Intelligence to Prevent or Minimize Electric Grid Failures

Thu, 14 Sep 2017 14:33:00 EST

A project led by the Department of Energy’s SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory will combine artificial intelligence with massive amounts of data and industry experience from a dozen U.S. partners to identify places where the electric grid is vulnerable to disruption, reinforce those spots in advance and recover faster when failures do occur.(image)



Cost of U.S. Solar Drops 75 percent in Six Years, Ahead of Federal Goal

Wed, 13 Sep 2017 16:41:00 EST

The Trump administration has announced that a federal goal to slash the cost of utility-scale solar energy to 6 cents per kilowatt-hour by 2020 has been met early. The goal, set by the Obama administration in 2011 and known as the SunShot Initiative, represents a 75 percent reduction in the cost of U.S. solar in just six years. It makes solar energy-cost competitive with electricity generated by fossil fuels.(image)