Physical Sciences

Zeolite membranes for chemical separation

Petroleum is not just a fuel, it is a complex mixture of chemical species. This is why it is such a rich source of many essential chemicals for pharmaceutical and plastics manufacturing. However, the distillation process for separating these different chemical species are incredibly energy intensive. Dr Motomu Sakai at the Waseda University Nano Life Innovation Research Organization is developing […]

Read More…

Physical Sciences

The ELIDOSE Project: Dosimetry for laser accelerated charged particle beams

High-energy beams of protons have the potential to greatly improve the ways in which doses of radiation are delivered to the body. To further develop this technique, more knowledge about the relative biological effectiveness of these beams is needed. Dr Radu Vasilache of Canberra Packard Ltd in Bucharest is a lead researcher at the ELIDOSE Project: a collaboration of Romanian researchers who are […]

Read More…

Physical Sciences

Canonical quantisation: A solution to quantum gravity?

General Relativity and Quantum Mechanics are some of the most significant results in modern physics. Both theories appear to work seamlessly by themselves and have stood up to decades of scrutiny, but they also appear to be completely incompatible with each other. So far, no-one has managed to develop a theory which merges them together. Now, Dr Stuart Marongwe at the Botswana […]

Read More…

Physical Sciences

Graphene nanocomposites for new thermoplastic materials

Graphene has been the subject of intensive investigation, in view of its potential applications in a variety of technological fields, ranging from next-generation solar cells and hydrogen storage materials to super-capacitors and high-end composite materials. The peculiar two-dimensional structure of graphene can also be used to enhance and tailor the physical properties of existing materials through its incorporation in suitable matrices. Colloids […]

Read More…

Physical Sciences

Digital holography: Unlocking the mysteries of aerosols

Aerosols are diverse and complex particles in our atmosphere. Varying hugely in both size and shape, scientists have faced significant technical challenges in measuring how these particles scatter and absorb the sun’s light, making it difficult to accurately assess their influence on the Earth’s atmosphere. Dr Matthew J. Berg at Kansas State University and his colleagues are now combatting the issue through the cutting-edge […]

Read More…

Physical Sciences

NUMEN Project: Exploring key aspects of neutrinoless double beta decay by nuclear reactions

The Standard Model of particle physics may represent our most advanced understanding yet of the universe’s fundamental building blocks, but many physicists believe it is incomplete. One of the most enticing prospects for updating the model lies with ‘neutrino-less double beta decay’ – a process which has been theorised for many decades, but has yet to be observed. Professor Francesco Cappuzzello […]

Read More…

Physical Sciences

Refining the search for the largest gravitational waves

Ask many astronomers, and they will tell you that gravitational waves are the greatest scientific discovery of the 21st century so far. In his research, Miguel Holgado at the University of Illinois studies the clever astronomical techniques which can be used to observe the very largest of these elusive ripples, originating from supermassive black holes as they orbit around each […]

Read More…

Physical Sciences

The mathematics of life:
Metabolic control in living cells

Cellular metabolism is a complex network of chemical processes that convert nutrients into energy and molecules for survival. Advances in experimental and mathematical techniques are paving the way for quantitative descriptions of how metabolism regulates itself and of how it can be artificially controlled for biotechnology. Dr Diego A. Oyarzún (University of Edinburgh) uses computational models to understand metabolism, and to […]

Read More…

Physical Sciences

Reconstructing astronomical images with machine learning

Much of what we know about how our universe works has been learnt by analysing the astronomical signals captured from the sky. However, these signals will inevitably have some noise associated with them – so how can astronomers be sure that their observations of strange, unexpected signals reflect reality? Edward Higson at the University of Cambridge and his colleagues have […]

Read More…