New Laser Created from Jellyfish’s Fluorescent Proteins

Fluorescent proteins from jellyfish that were grown in bacteria have been used to create a laser for the first time, according to a new study. The breakthrough represents a major advance in so-called polariton lasers, the researchers said. These lasers have the potential to be far more efficient and compact than conventional ones and could…

A robot stingray

Here’s a critter that would be a showstopper in your aquarium: By layering rat heart cells over a gold skeleton, scientists have built tiny swimming artificial stingrays that can be driven and guided by light. These little ray-bots, described in the journal Science, may offer insight into building soft robotics, studying the human heart — and…

Bacteria can see

Biologists say they have solved the riddle of how a tiny bacterium senses light and moves towards it: the entire organism acts like an eyeball. In a single-celled pond slime, they observed how incoming rays are bent by the bug’s spherical surface and focused in a spot on the far side of the cell. By…

Exploring New Worlds In The Stars And In Our Cells

When he first started working on space engineering, Jeroen Cappaert, 27, probably didn’t expect to fight pirates one day. But that’s just one of the applications the satellites he’s designed are being put to use for by the company he cofounded, Spire Global. The company was founded in 2012 and has launched eight satellites so…

Gut microbes give anticancer treatments a boost

Checkpoint inhibitors, which aim to unleash the power of the immune system on tumors, are some of the most impressive new cancer treatments. But most patients who receive them don’t benefit. Two new studies of mice suggest a surprising reason why—these people may not have the right mixture of bacteria in their guts. Both studies…

New light on brain science

Flip a switch and you can turn on or off lights, fans and all sorts of other things. Individual nerve cells in the brain are now the latest addition to this list. Over the past decade, scientists have found a way to use light to control the brain’s nerve cells, or neurons. This new field…

DNA sequencing improved by slowing down

EPFL scientists have developed a method that improves the accuracy of DNA sequencing up to a thousand times. The method, which uses nanopores to read individual nucleotides, paves the way for better – and cheaper – DNA sequencing. DNA sequencing is a technique that can determine exact sequence of a DNA molecule. One of the…

3-D printed guide helps regrow complex nerves after injury

A national team of researchers has developed a first-of-its-kind, 3D-printed guide that helps regrow both the sensory and motor functions of complex nerves after injury. The groundbreaking research has the potential to help more than 200,000 people annually who experience nerve injuries or disease. Collaborators on the project are from the University of Minnesota, Virginia…

The wonderful world of wonder materials

In July, scientists at the University of Darmstadt in Germany succeeded in stopping light completely inside a crystal. Some rays of light (in this case from a laser) were barreling along at the universal speed limit of 300 million meters per second — and then, when they entered the crystal, the waves simply stopped dead….

Feature: Saving Iran’s great salt lake

LAKE URMIA, IRAN—In a wetland dying of thirst, Hossein Akhani, a botanist at the University of Tehran, mourns a verdant past. “Fifteen years ago, the lake was here,” he says. “Every time I come back, the water is farther away.” Lake Urmia, in Iran’s northwestern corner, was once the planet’s sixth largest salt lake, covering…

The Springy Science Of Gecko Toe Stickiness

Geckos use dry adhesion, involving microscopic hairs on their toe pads, as well as other aspects of internal anatomy, to climb vertical walls and run across ceilings, a skill that has long fascinated scientists. It’s a particular mystery how some species as much as 100 times heavier than others can use adhesion so effectively. Geckos…

Brazilian Wasp Venom Kills Cancer Cells

A newly published study shows how Brazilian wasp venom selectively kills cancer cells without harming normal cells. The social wasp Polybia paulista protects itself against predators by producing venom known to contain a powerful cancer-fighting ingredient. A Biophysical Journal study published September 1 reveals exactly how the venom’s toxin–called MP1 (Polybia-MP1)–selectively kills cancer cells without…