Category Archives: Science News

How to Make Drugs – Without Patents Getting in Your Way

Some of the most closely guarded secrets in the world are also some of the most important. The formulas and synthesis methods for a variety of crucial medications are patented due to the billions of dollars companies make off of them. As prices of prescription medications skyrocket, stories abound of pill-cutting and other tactics to cope with inability to afford

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Thinking Small: A Historical Perspective on the Current Miniaturization of Fusion

  To many in the general public today, the concept of “nuclear fusion” evokes a sense of strange, distant, otherworldly awe. Even in recent pop culture, Marvel’s cinematic Iron Man franchise uses this property of fusion reactors to augment the sleek, futuristic feel of Tony Stark’s suit. Yet despite its long relegation to science fiction, a few small organizations–including one

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Designed To Interact: Humanoid Robots Show Promise

It’s official: Robots have come to the Smithsonian. As of this past spring,  humanoid robots (built to resemble the human body) can be found at a number of Smithsonian locations, including Smithsonian Castle, Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, National Museum of African American History and Culture, and Smithsonian Environmental Research Center. What prompted the arrival of these robots to the

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A Quantum Leap in Verification

On October 7th 2018, Urmila Mahadev, a graduate student in computer science at University of California, Berkeley, presented a breakthrough algorithm with the power to change quantum computing as we know it. Dr. Thomas Vidick, a professor at the California Institute of Technology and past collaborator with Mahadev on quantum computing, declared Mahadev’s discovery “one of the most outstanding ideas…

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Curiosity on Campus: Stanford Robotics Club’s Mission to Create a Mars Rover

“The time has come to go to Mars,” proclaims The Mars Society’s website, referring to the exploration and settlement of Mars as “the greatest cause of our generation.”[1] While humans on Mars may sound like a shocking prospect from science fiction, exploration of Mars has been a goal of 49 space missions over the last 58 years, many of which

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Should Utilities Care About Sustainability? Takeaways from PG&E CEO Geisha Williams at the Schneider Lecture

In February, I attended the Stephen H. Schneider Memorial Lecture, an event hosted annually at Stanford University honoring the renowned climate scientist and science communicator Stephen Schneider. This year, the event’s speaker was PG&E CEO Geisha Williams. PG&E, short for Pacific Gas and Electric Company, is one of the nation’s largest utilities, providing natural gas and electricity to most of

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DNA Synthesis in Space

Space is modern science’s largest laboratory, and the record of innovations and breakthroughs that have been made in space or through programs focused on space is incredible.  Technological development and scientific research have benefited immensely from out-of-this-world discoveries, but biology has a significant drawback compared to most disciplines. Synthesizing DNA, a molecule crucial to the existence of all organisms, is

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