• Proposed EPA budget cuts funding from clean air and water grants

    President Obama’s latest proposed budget for fiscal year 2013 cuts $105 million from the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) budget, primarily from funds aimed at treating wastewater and drinking water

  • Faculty retention a major challenge for universities

    New study shows men and women faculty retained at same rate; but median retention rate for all university professors is only eleven years; if a university hires 100 assistant professors tomorrow, in eleven years only fifty of them will still be at the school

  • Nuclear waste recycling for better nuclear power generation

    Researchers aim to produce safe nuclear fuel that can be 80 percent recycled, compared to the current 1 percent; these fourth generation nuclear power systems can lead to a reduction of the amount of high-level, long-lived nuclear waste to a tenth of what it is today, while energy output can increase hundredfold

  • Invisibility cloak to protect buildings from earthquakes

    Scientists show that by cloaking components of structures with pressurized rubber, powerful waves such as those produced by an earthquake would not “see” the building — they would simply pass around the structure and thus prevent serious damage or destruction

  • Advances in the use of photocatalysts to help keep water clean safe

    Photocatalysis involves the acceleration of chemical reactions using the power of light; researchers experiment with different types of photocatalysts to reduce nitrates in water

  • Four-legged robot carries troops’ load

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    The increasing weight of military equipment has a negative impact on soldiers’ readiness and effectiveness; reducing the load on dismounted soldiers has thus become a major point of emphasis for defense research and development; the Legged Squad Support System (LS3) robot follows squad members through rugged terrain and interact with them in a natural way, similar to the way a trained animal and its handler interact, while carrying 400 lbs. of squad’s gear

  • Local officials oppose “unacceptable” levee ratings

    In recent years as part of an effort to bolster the nation’s flood protection infrastructure, the Army Corps of Engineers has analyzed and declared more than 200 levee systems across the country as “unacceptable,” resulting in a firestorm of criticism from local officials

  • New technology will allow miniaturization of chemical sensors

    A new measuring technology – based on measuring near-resonant nonlinear behaviors rather than measuring chemomechanically induced shifts in linear natural frequency – will allow a dramatic miniaturization of sensors; the miniaturization will make these sensors more suitable for first response, law enforcement, and military missions

  • Influx of ex-Soviet mathematicians changed mathematics in U.S.

    One of the little-noticed effects of the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1992 was the way in which math is studied and taught in the United States; Soviet mathematicians who came to the United States reduced the role of American mathematicians in certain specialties, and in some specialties the likelihood of a competing American mathematician producing a top research paper has declined

  • New methodology evaluates risk of scarce metals

    China produces more than 95 of the world’s rare Earth metals, making governments and businesses around the world uneasy; researchers develop a methodology ti answer two important questions: how do we know what is scarce? If we know a metal is scarce, how do we know whether we should worry about it?

  • Wireless underground robots for first responders

    First responders may have to look for victims in hostile or challenging environments, such as clandestine tunnels, subway systems, and underground structures; sending a wireless robot to look around and pull victims out would be safer

  • Electron beam reduces virus-related health risk in lettuce, spinach

    Current health-care costs in the United States associated with foodborne viruses are estimated at about $6 billion; scientists show that electron-beam irradiation can reduce the health risks in iceberg lettuce and spinach, but note that electron-beams are not meant to be used as a “stand-alone” or “clean-up” technology

  • Compressed natural gas as transportation fuel

    A number of different fuel sources — ethanol, biodiesel, electricity, and hydrogen — have each shown their promise as an alternative to petroleum; scientists at Argonne Lab want to add one more contender to the list of possible energy sources for light-duty cars and trucks: compressed natural gas (CNG)

  • The strength of a spider web depends on design, not only on silk

    New study shows that spider web’s durability depends not only on silk strength, but on how the overall web design compensates for damage and the response of individual strands to continuously varying stresses

  • Running robots for hard-to-reach places

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    A large fraction of the Earth’s surface remains inaccessible to conventional wheeled or tracked vehicles, while animals and humans traverse such terrain with ease and elegance; scientists are working to develop search-and-rescue robots which emulate animal or human walking, thus making them more capable of saving people in hard-to-reach places