Some of the most challenging problems in science concern the behaviour of the most commonplace compound on the planet's surface - water. But some of the mysteries are now being unravelled by the latest analysis and imaging techniques in an unfolding story that was presented at a recent conference organised by the European Science Foundation (ESF) focusing on interaction between water and other compounds at the molecular level.
The result: The 'Maroga' team won the New York City regional competition held this January. In February, team Maroga was sent to the national finals in Washington, D.C., which, this year, was won by students from Louisiana.
Today, the European Patent Office (EPO) and the European Commission announced the twelve nominees for the Inventor of the Year 2008 awards. An independent and high-profile international jury has nominated twelve outstanding researchers and their inventions which have had a significant impact on our everyday lives and were patented by the EPO between 1993 and 2002.
By using a popcorn-ball design - tiny kernels clumped into much larger porous spheres - researchers at the University of Washington are able to manipulate light and more than double the efficiency of converting solar energy to electricity.
The precise control over chemical transformations, both in terms of 'tuning' reaction products and allowing site specific chemical control is the subject of one of the most exciting and rapidly developing areas of modern science - introducing the potential for the creation of new materials and the development of new technologies with dramatic implications for advances in such fields as nanotechnology, quantum electronics and biophysics.
The NMP Finland Conference next week presents the cutting edge of Finnish nanotechnology, materials and new production technologies. The conference provides an opportunity to meet the leading companies and partners behind the new technologies.
Researchers at Northwestern University have used metallic nanotubes to make thin films that are semitransparent, highly conductive, flexible and come in a variety of colors, with an appearance similar to stained glass.