UK government on environmentally-beneficial nanotechnologies

The British government’s Department for environment, food and rural affairs (Defra) has published a report focusing on nanotechnologies that may prove to be environmentally beneficial. In the Defra study, five nanotechnology applications are looked at in detail. It is claimed that in these particular areas, the use of nanotechnology could contribute to a reduction in […]

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EPA should act now on nanotechnology

In a report commissioned by the Washington DC-based Project on Emerging Nanotechnologies, former Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) policy expert J Clarence Davies examines the agency’s role in nanotechnology oversight, considers various ways of dealing with nanotechnology, and puts forward an action plan for government, industry and other stakeholders. Developments in nanotechnology provide an opportunity for an […]

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Stretchable silicon for high-performance electronics

Materials scientists at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, US, have developed ultra-thin sheets of stretchable silicon that could be used to construct high-performance electronic devices with complex shapes. Silicon is normally rigid, which is fine for computer chips, but not so for wearable electronics and flexible displays. For this reason there is much interest […]

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Alcohol-proof fence

The following article was published on the Guardian’s Comment is Free website on 21 June 2007. The Australian prime minister’s approach to dealing with child abuse within Aboriginal communities is nothing short of jackbooted political opportunism. Apologies to Phillip Noyce for corrupting the title of his outstanding film on the human consequences of early 20th […]

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Reefer madness revisited

The following article was published on the Guardian’s Comment is Free website on 11 June 2007. On the BBC News website last Thursday there was a report that hospital admissions in England due to cannabis-induced psychosis have risen by 85% under Labour. The story was covered also by the Daily Telegraph and Scotsman newspapers, among […]

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The Brussels formula: coffee, croissants and dull speeches

The Economist magazine’s “Charlemagne” has an interesting article on the intellectual culture – or rather lack of it – in Brussels. It chimes with my experience of covering EU affairs as a science journalist. “Nobody seems able to change the default formula for Brussels policy seminars: good coffee and croissants, dull speeches and a brief […]

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Wireless power – nice physics, but what about the waste?

There is an interesting paper in the current issue of Science on the subject of transferring power wirelessly via strongly coupled magnetic resonances. The story is also reported today by the BBC. Wireless networking is now ubiquitous, and before long the majority of homes with broadband Internet connections will have wireless routers installed. These remove […]

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A new understanding of antiferromagnetism

Ferromagnetism is the form of magnetism with which we are all familiar in everyday life. It is the phenomenon by which materials such as iron, when placed in an external magnetic field, become magnetised and remain so for a period after the material is extracted from the field. The term ‘ferromagnet’ can be used for […]

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Template-free patterning of nanostructures

A discovery made some 250 years ago by physicist Johann Gottlob Leidenfrost has been exploited by researchers at the Christian-Albrechts-Universität zu Kiel in Germany as a template-free synthesis and patterning method for nanostructures. In a manuscript titled De Aquae Communis Nonnullis Qualitatibus Tractatus (A Tract About Some Qualities of Common Water), Leidenfrost described a phenomenon […]

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Nanocomposites for improved dental fillings

Scientists at the American Dental Association’s Paffenbarger Research Center have shown that nanotechnology can produce tooth fillings that are stronger than any currently available fillings, and more effective at preventing secondary decay. Standard fillings are made by mixing a liquid resin with a powder that contains colouring, reinforcement and other materials. The resulting paste is […]

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