Greenhouse Gas to Renewable Resources

May 21st, 2018 Brandon Duvall

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Image Credit: Laura Pedersen

A team of engineers at University of Toronto have developed a way to extract CO2 from the atmosphere and use the renewable resources of energy to transform this CO2 into Ethylene. Ethylene is a common precursor to many plastics. Precursors of common plastics themselves are said to be responsible for 1.4 percent of CO2 emissions. The hope is to use this process to create a more carbon-neutral future by lessening emissions of industrial plastic production. Innovations like this are important for combating climate change, we hope to see other great ideas to reduce greenhouse emissions.

Cao-Thang Dinh, Thomas Burdyny, Md Golam Kibria, Ali Seifitokaldani, Christine M. Gabardo, F. Pelayo García de Arquer, Amirreza Kiani, Jonathan P. Edwards, Phil De Luna, Oleksandr S. Bushuyev, Chengqin Zou, Rafael Quintero-Bermudez, Yuanjie Pang, David Sinton, Edward H. Sargent. CO2electroreduction to ethylene via hydroxide-mediated copper catalysis at an abrupt interface. Science, 2018


I Can’t Believe It’s Not a Hologram

Feb 5th, 2018 Brandon Duvall

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Credit: Dan Smalley Lab

 Unlike holograms, 3D volumetric images are what have been popularized by movies like the iconic Princess Leia from Star Wars. An image you can walk around and view as if it occupying the same plain of existence you are. Daniel Smalley and his team at Brigham Young University have created just that. The concept of projectors are soon to be a thing of the past with this new method of production. BYU researches say this method is comparable to a 3D printer more than a projector. Light particles are guided to display the image in 3 dimensional fixed space. This research is sure to lead to more science fiction like creations, we anticipate hearing more about it.

D. E. Smalley, E. Nygaard, K. Squire, J. Van Wagoner, J. Rasmussen, S. Gneiting, K. Qaderi, J. Goodsell, W. Rogers, M. Lindsey, K. Costner, A. Monk, M. Pearson, B. Haymore & J. Peatross. A photophoretic-trap volumetric display. Nature, 201

Ice Water on Our Red Neighbor?

Jan 14th, 2018 Brandon Duvall

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Credit: Nasa/JPL

  Using the spectrometers on NASA’s Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter Odyssey scientist analyzed 8 areas of thick ice deposits on our red neighbor. With the new data it is presumed that up to a third of the planet has ice just below its surface. This could have great use if human missions to Mars are ever going to persist. If there is liquid water below the surface, astronauts and future Mars colonizers will have a source of water and seemingly an abundant source.

Colin M. Dundas et al. Exposed subsurface ice sheets in the Martian mid-latitudes. Science, 2018

Titan’s Topography

Jan 6th, 2018 Brandon Duvall

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Credit: Cassini/Nasa/JPL

 Using the complete Cassini data set and interpolation algorithms, Paul Corlies in partnership with an amazing research team in the Astronomy department of Cornell University, was able to create a topographical map of Saturn’s moon Titan. Interestingly, a majority of the lakes formed on Titan, formed as those in the Florida Everglades do, where underlying material dissolves and the surface collapses, forming holes in the ground.

Titan has always been an interesting moon, Carl Sagan and Stanley F. Dermont wrote about the discovery of Titan’s Methane oceans back in 1982. This shows the importance and convenience of observing the full data set whilst having the proper technological aide.

P. Corlies, A. G. Hayes, S. P. D. Birch, R. Lorenz, B. W. Stiles, R. Kirk, V. Poggiali, H. Zebker, L. Iess. Titan's Topography and Shape at the End of the Cassini Mission. Geophysical Research Letters, 2017.

A. G. Hayes, S. P. D. Birch, W. E. Dietrich, A. D. Howard, R. L. Kirk, V. Poggiali, M. Mastrogiuseppe, R. J. Michaelides, P. M. Corlies, J. M. Moore, M. J. Malaska, K. L. Mitchell, R. D. Lorenz, C. A. Wood. Topographic Constraints on the Evolution and Connectivity of Titan's Lacustrine Basins. Geophysical Research Letters, 2017.

Carl Sagan, Stanley F. Dermont. The Tide in The Seas of Titan. Nature, 1982.

It’s Prime Time!

Jan 4th, 2018 Brandon Duvall

Credit: Copyright Dan Hogan, M7723917

 The Great Internet Mersenne Search (GIMPS) has discovered the largest known prime number. 277,232,917-1 has 23,249,423 digits and was found by a computer assisted by Jonathan Pace on December 26th, 2017. It is only the 50th Mersenne Prime ever discovered, each is more difficult to find than the last.

Mersenne primes were named for the French monk Marin Mersenne, who studied these numbers more than 350 years ago. The system GIMPS since its founding in 1996, has aided in the discovery of the last 16 prime numbers. “Just how big is a 23,249,425 digit number? Huge!! Big enough to fill an entire shelf of books totalling 9,000 pages! If every second you were to write five digits to an inch then 54 days later you'd have a number stretching over 73 miles (118 km) -- almost 3 miles (5 km) longer than the previous record prime.”

Materials provided by Great Internet Mersenne Prime Search (GIMPS). Note: Content may be edited for style and length.