Scent of a Comet

Image taken on 26 September from a distance of 26.3 km from Comet Chury. The image shows the spectacular region of activity at the «neck» of the comet with ices sublimating and gases escaping from inside the comet. Credit: ESA/Rosetta/NAVCAM

Image taken on 26 September from a distance of 26.3 km from Comet Chury. The image shows the spectacular region of activity at the «neck» of the comet with ices sublimating and gases escaping from inside the comet. Credit: ESA/Rosetta/NAVCAM

How does a comet smell and what can it teach us about the emergence of our solar system? Since early August, the Rosetta Orbiter Sensor for Ion and Neutral Analysis (ROSINA) has been “sniffing” the fumes of the comet Churyumov-Gerasimenko with its two mass spectrometers to answer these very questions. The detected chemistry in the coma of the comet is surprisingly rich at more than 400 million kilometers from the Sun.  Read More →

Vanadium Dioxide & Associative Processing


Vanadium dioxide has some unusual properties, and it’s actually able to transition between being a semiconductor and a full conductor. That has begun to open up some interesting possibilities as far as material engineers are concerned. Penn State engineers recently developed an oscillating switch that uses the compound. Due to its ability to fluctuate between the two states, the substance was perfect as far as making a switch was concerned. Read More →

Where humans, animals and robots meet

Swarm Tech

To meet our everyday needs in an increasingly multifaceted technological world is a challenge that pushes researchers to find innovative tools using a multidisciplinary approach. We inhabit a globalized planet, made up of complex systems, where domains such as communications, business, healthcare, energy or transportation converge, interact and integrate. Read More →

The Future of Molecular Electronics


The emerging field of molecular electronics could take our definition of portable to the next level, enabling the construction of tiny circuits from molecular components. In these highly efficient devices, individual molecules would take on the roles currently played by comparatively-bulky wires, resistors and transistors. Read More →

Nanoparticles In Rodents

Image Credit: Edward A. Sykes & Qin Dai

Image Credit: Edward A. Sykes & Qin Dai

When many people find stories reporting scientific research in animals, they typically assume that the content will somehow involve some aspect of genetic modification. Typically this is true, and generally these modifications are accompanied by heated ethical debates. Canadian researchers, however, have been looking into a completely different and promising technology that I thought I’d share with you today. Read More →

Evolution of Asteroid Study


On 13 April 2029, asteroid 99942 (heretofore known as Apophis) is estimated to come within 18,300 miles of the Earth. This alarming distance is even more shocking when one takes into consideration that modern geosynchronous satellites orbit the Earth at approximately 26,000 miles. Once the shock has cleared, there is another fact you need to take into consideration: astronomers across the globe are tracking Apophis every day. It is currently labeled as a “0” on the Torino Scale. The Torino Scale is used to categorize the likeness of an asteroid impact on Earth. Read More →

To See or Not to See


The brain is a complicated network of small units called neurons, all working to carry information from the outside world, create an internal model, and generate a response. Neurons sense a signal through branching dendrites, carry this signal to the cell body, and send it onwards through a long axon to signal the next neuron. However, neurons can function in many different ways; some of which researchers are still exploring. Read More →

On Digital and Analog Signals


Have you ever wondered why some people claim that music stored on vinyl discs sounds so much better?  Is digital music really worse than analog?  There are many differences between the two mediums- the heart of the distinction lies in the difference between digital (discrete) and analog (continuous) data. Read More →

Could Water Be Used to Charge a Cell Phone?

Research 2014

A research team from Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) recently found that water droplets can generate an electric charge when repelled from a superhydrophobic (ultra-waterproofed) metal surface. This technology may be used to develop portable devices that can harness the humidity from surrounding air, converting it into enough electricity to charge battery-powered electronics like cell phones. Read More →

Misidentification of Humans as Machines in Turing Tests

Image Credit: Bletchley Park Trust

Image Credit: Bletchley Park Trust

Alan Turing led a team of code breakers at Bletchley Park which cracked the German Enigma machine cypher during WWII – but that is far from being his only legacy. Read More →