Archive by date | July 2012

Basic energy physicists aim for the middle

Usually physicists aim for extremes. They want to understand the smallest building blocks of matter, or the biggest cosmological bang. So it might at first seem strange that physicists supported by the US Department of Energy (DOE) are issuing a rallying cry to study the middle.  Read more

Carnegie advances carbon mapping in Colombia

Carnegie advances carbon mapping in Colombia

Researchers at the Carnegie Institution for Science have rolled out their latest carbon-counting methodology in partnership with Colombian scientists, mapping carbon stocks across 40 percent of the Colombian Amazon using a new methodology that relies almost entirely on airborne and satellite observations.  Read more

US translational-research centre funds projects for human tissues on chips

The National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences (NCATS) has awarded 17 grants to create artificial organs for drug screening. These complex mini-machines are generally the size of a microscope slide or smaller, often connected to all sorts of tubes and wires to help mimic human physiology. A lung on a chip, for example, puts blood vessel cells on one side of a membrane and lung-tissue cells on another, and uses a tiny vacuum and pumps to model breathing and blood flow.  Read more

US Antarctic research needs funding boost and efficiency drive

Amundsen-Scott South Pole Station has been in continuous operation since 1956.

Like an iceberg, U.S.-funded science in Antarctica is bottom-heavy, and research is suffering as a result. According to a new report for the National Science Foundation, roughly 90% of the US Antarctic Program’s (USAP) total expenditures goes toward operations, rather than supporting actual scientific research. That must change in order for the United States to maintain a leadership role on the continent, but science will have to take another hit first.  Read more

World Bank debate on paying for AIDS

World Bank debate on paying for AIDS

 US$7.6 billion last year – unfair given various other health crises in the developing world. For example, in low-income countries in 2011, HIV/AIDS killed 72,000 people and ‘diarrheal diseases’ caused in part by unsanitary drinking water, led to 76,000 deaths. Yet more than half of US bilateral foreign assistance in health went to fighting the virus, compared with roughly an eighth to improvements in water and sanitation.  Read more