Thought for the month

“I’ve made my share of mistakes along the way, but if I have changed even one life for the better, I haven’t lived in vain.” Muhammad Ali, Boxer (1942 – 2016).

Monday, 25 July 2016

Green therapy

Dose of nature is just what the doctor ordered

Friday, 22 July 2016

Flower power

KIT scientists increase the efficiency of solar cells by replicating the structure of petals

Wednesday, 20 July 2016

Six of the best

SEMI and Solid State Technology Announce the 2016 “Best of West” Award Finalists

Monday, 18 July 2016

Eat like a Martian?

Four crops grown in simulated Martian soil are safe to eat. Dutch scientists are testing more crops to see if they can grow safely on Mars.

Friday, 15 July 2016

Be a Martian

Mars needs YOU! In the future, Mars will need all kinds of explorers, farmers, surveyors, teachers . . . but most of all YOU!

Wednesday, 13 July 2016

Weights are measured

As part of the project to redefine the kilogram the NIST-4 watt balance has completed new measurements of Planck’s constant. The value of h being 6.62606983 x 10–34 kg.m2/s with an uncertainty of plus or minus 22 on the last two digits.

Monday, 11 July 2016

Beam me up Houston

Researchers at the University of Houston have used surface-enhanced near-infrared absorption spectroscopy for chemical and refractive index sensing.

Friday, 8 July 2016

China retains lead

China has kept its number one ranking in the latest TOP500 list of the world’s top supercomputers. The new system is built entirely using processors designed and made in China it can perform at 93 petaflops/s with a peak power consumption of 15.37 MW.

Wednesday, 6 July 2016

Nano-watermark

Ever bought a fake Rolex or counterfeit Chopard? Probably not, but recent work by EPFL based start-up Nanoga may reduce the chances even further. The team has developed a deposition and photolithographic technique to put a nanoscopic watermark onto glass. The nano-watermark being visible under ultraviolet light. Initially developed for high-end sapphire crystal watches, the company has patented a system of photonic watermarks for glass, ceramic and metal.

Monday, 4 July 2016

Art non nouveau

Most organisations have a depressing hidden storeroom, the repository for the unloved and unwanted, the graveyard for no longer used equipment. We are grateful for Neil Davey (Thermo Fisher Scientific) for alerting us to Northwestern University’s brilliant solution; redefine old apparatus as artwork. Gate B11 at Chicago O’Hare airport has an interesting exhibit. The VG VG FIM100 atom-probe field-ion microscope was originally installed by our own Carl Richardson many years ago. I await seeing the diamond encrusted Escalab MkII on show at Heathrow.

Friday, 1 July 2016

We live in interesting times

Perhaps when musing on intra-European ideological differences it is fitting to reflect on the words of an American - Franklin D. Roosevelt once said: Democracy cannot succeed unless those who express their choice are prepared to choose wisely. The real safeguard of democracy, therefore, is education.

Monday, 27 June 2016

Something to think about

The impossible barber and other bizarre thought experiments. How inventing riddles has revealed the flaws in our grasp of reality

Friday, 24 June 2016

University of Surrey buys K-Alpha+ compact XPS system.

University of Surrey buys K-Alpha+ compact XPS system with MAGCIS cluster ion source.

Thursday, 23 June 2016

Cheesy science

Ensuring artisanal Parmigiano Reggiano cheese is the real deal.

Wednesday, 22 June 2016

ITRS reborn as ITRDS

The International Technology Roadmap for Semiconductors, first published in 1965, will start a new life as the International Roadmap for Devices and Systems. The new effort will address road map issues that include computer systems, architectures and software as well as the chips and the components used in them.

Tuesday, 21 June 2016

Bucket science?

ORNL demonstrates large-scale technique to produce quantum dots

Monday, 20 June 2016

Smartphone market shrinkage

According to Strategy Analytics global smartphone shipments fell 3 percent annually to reach 335 million units in Q1 2016. This is the first time that the smartphone market has shrunk on an annualised basis.

Friday, 17 June 2016

TFS to buy FEI

Thermo Fisher Scientific to buy FEI for $4.2 Billion - electron-microscope maker FEI to become part of Thermo Fisher’s analytical instruments segment.

Thursday, 16 June 2016

Pour encourager les autres

Organizational Misconduct Can Make Others in Group Work Harder.

Wednesday, 15 June 2016

IBM - now more than a 2 bit organisation

Scientists at IBM Research have demonstrated reliably storing 3 bits of data per cell using phase-change memory technology.

Tuesday, 14 June 2016

Mercedes Bonds?

Google patents pedestrian flypaper for self-driving cars

Monday, 13 June 2016

Patent trolls

Patents are one method that organisations use to protect their intellectual property, generate income and safeguard competitive advantage. An increase in patent litigation could be seen as a good thing as organisations appreciate this and act to enforce the protection of what is rightfully theirs. Unfortunately a recent US study has highlighted that some firms solely exist to amass patent portfolios with the aim of suing cash rich organisations seemingly irrespective of the actual patent infringement. Worryingly, the target organisations seem to react by reducing R&D spending following settling these wrangles.

Friday, 10 June 2016

Pop goes the weasel

The Large Hadron Collider at CERN recently had some performance issues that were categorised as severe electrical perturbation. Fortunately the technical fault was soon identified as a short circuit within a 66kV transformer. It was caused by a weasel. Sadly the animal did not survive the encounter, lost for the advancement of science. Not quite the same as leaves on the line or the wrong type of snow but perhaps mort de la fouine could be added to Network Rail’s lexicon of excuses.

Thursday, 9 June 2016

1284 more planets

NASA's Kepler Mission Announces Largest Collection of Planets Ever Discovered