Spittle-flecked invective? Pfui!

In yesterday’s response to Bob Ward, concerning his open letter to Martin Durkin, and the links between Durkin, the Science Media Centre and other extremist groups, I strongly criticised both the letter and the SMC, and praised George Monbiot for having condemned the SMC attacks on GM critics such as Ronan Bennett and Alan Rusbridger. […]

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Science advocacy and political lobbying

My reaction this morning to a contribution made to the Psi-com email discussion list for science communicators has stirred up a right hornets’ nest. Given that the list is closed, I cannot quote directly from other members’ contributions, but I will refer here to the discussion and, in the following words, draw heavily from my […]

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Nanoparticle thrusters to propel spacecraft

Space technology equates to rocket science in the public imagination, and up until fairly recently, the propulsion of spacecraft has relied exclusively on chemical rockets. But new propulsion technologies are now emerging, albeit restricted to in-orbit manoeuvres of Earth satellites, and the slow but steady acceleration of unmanned interplanetary probes. For example, the European Space […]

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Nanocomposites inspired by mussels and seashells

Materials scientists from Michigan and Northwestern Universities, US, have taken a leaf out of nature’s book, and developed a high-strength nanocomposite that combines the properties of nacre, or mother-of-pearl, and the marine adhesive of mussels. Nature has evolved complex bottom-up methods for fabricating functional materials that often display incredible mechanical strength, and nacre is a […]

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Fantastic future predicted for plastic electronics

Aimin Song, a professor of electronics engineering at the University of Manchester, is a man with a vision. Song, who is one of the eight recipients of the 2007 Brian Mercer Feasibility Award from the Royal Society, is looking to push the speed of plastic electronic components way beyond what has been achieved so far. […]

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Nanostrand looks at metrology needs in Europe

Nanostrand – a metrology project supported by the European Commission through the 6th Framework Programme (FP6) – is in business, and looking for input from those with an interest in nanotechnology measurement tools and standards. Funded to the tune of €500k over 18 months as a so-called Specific Support Action of FP6, Nanostrand brings together […]

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EPA on nanotechnology research and regulation

The United States Environmental Protection Agency’s Science Policy Council recently published a white paper on nanotechnology, the purpose of which is to inform EPA management of relevant science issues and needs, and communicate the issues to industry and the general public. Here we discuss with EPA representative Enesta Jones two aspects of the agency’s involvement […]

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Graphene and the post-silicon age

Researchers at the University of Manchester, UK, are using the world’s thinnest material to build novel electronics devices, in a move that should accelerate the development of electronics for a post-silicon age. Andre Geim, a world leading expert on graphene, together with his colleague Kostya Novoselov, had published recently in Nature Materials a review (subscription […]

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Self-assembling gold rings

Chemists from Rice University in Houston, US, have discovered that gold nanorods can self-assemble into ring structures that may one day form the basis of highly sensitive optical detectors and superlenses. Bishnu Khanal and Eugene Zubarev created their nanorings by first mixing polymer-coated gold nanorods with chloroform. “When a volatile solvent evaporates, its surface temperature […]

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