Our friends at Argonne National Lab shared this stunning photo of the South Pole Telescope, which scientists aim at the night sky to track tiny bits of radiation that are still traveling across the universe from the period just after it was born.
“Basically, what we’re looking at is the afterglow light of the Big Bang,” said Clarence Chang, who helped design and operate part of the giant telescope.
Mapping the radiation signature from the beginning of time – called the Cosmic Microwave Background – will help us understand more about the mysterious dark energy and dark matter that make up almost 95% of the known universe.
A rotation of scientists travel for weeks at a time to the South Pole, which was chosen as the location for this telescope because you need a very dry, flat, and cold space to capture a snapshot of wavelengths of radiation just a millimeter in length.
Since 2000, the Center for Architecture Science and Ecology (CASE)—a collaboration between Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, in Troy, N.Y., and Skidmore, Owings & Merrill—has been trying to bring the fresh outdoor air inside. In 2009, CASE won an R+D Award from ARCHITECT for its Active Modular Phytoremediation System (AMPS), which uses plants to remove toxins—VOC, particulates, and pathogens—from mechanically supplied air before it is disseminated into occupied space.
Since the project’s win, the team has been evaluating different combinations of wall modules, plants, and growing media, as well as deepening its understanding of indoor air quality and the aerobiome—the ecosystem of airborne organisms—in preparation for AMPS’ debut installation this year at the Public Safety Answering Center II (PSAC II), a 200-foot concrete cube structure in the Bronx, N.Y., designed by SOM.
Working with the team are more than 50 researchers, doctors, and immunologists from several organizations, including Columbia University’s Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory, in Palisades, N.Y., Entertaining Health, a research and consulting company in New York, and the Argonne National Laboratory, in Illinois. “We’re studying the relationship between pathogens in the indoor environment and biodiversity,” says Anna Dyson, CASE’s founding director and AMPS’ principal investigator.
A gamma-ray physicist from Argonne National Labs (a U of Chicago-run laborator) is helping a Nat Geo photographer figure out if a lost Da Vinci fresco is actually hidden/protected behind a Vasari remodel of the Hall of Five Hundred with it’s own fresco.
They’ll be building a portable particle accelerator and germanium crystal detector to see if they can find evidence of pigments behind the existing fresco.
Researchers at Argonne National Laboratory are developing an acoustic levitator that can suspend droplets of liquid in mid-air. Speakers at the top and bottom of the device create sound waves that interfere with each other, causing a standing wave. Droplets can be suspended along this standing wave. Researchers are using the device to analyze and develop pharmaceuticals without the need for a container (a container can cause unwanted changes in pharmaceuticals).
Nuclear Engineer J'Tia Taylor on mixing hard science and pop culture
Nuclear engineer J'Tia Taylor talks about her work at Argonne National Laboratory, surviving Survivor and why scientists shouldn’t be afraid of pop culture. And ahead of Memorial Day, we get to know Rosie the Riveter.
Plastic Bags to Batteries: A Green Chemistry Solution
Vilas Pol has found a way to recycle plastic bags into lithium batteries!!! The plastic is converted into carbon nanotubes. Argonne National Laboratory is already producing lithium batteries for cell phones.
I wonder if they’re spun this off into a business. Definitely, the next billion dollar business!
AVIDAC, Argonne National Laboratory’s first digital computer, began operation in January 1953. It was built by the Physics Division for $250,000. Pictured is pioneer Argonne computer scientist Jean F. Hall.