Yvonne Carts-Powell

Nobels Make a Great Year for Light

In beautiful, Science, technology on November 25, 2014 at 8:17 pm

Wow, what an excellent year for researchers in light, with two Nobel Prizes firmly in the optics regime. In Physics, Isamu Akasaki, Hiroshi Amano and Shuji Nakamura won “for the invention of efficient blue light-emitting diodes which has enabled bright and energy-saving white light sources”. Those LED lightbulbs you are starting to see at reasonable prices at Home Depot? The ones that work even more efficiently than Compact Fluorescents (and without the wait to turn on in cold weather, or the ballast’s buzz, or the cold tint)? You can thank Nakamura for those, among other things.

And in Chemistry, Eric Betzig, Stefan W. Hell, and William E. Moerner all won “for the development of super-resolved fluorescence microscopy”. In other words, we can now see things the size of molecules, we can see things smaller than half the wavelength of light. (Besides the developments being astonishing and immediately useful, as a journalist I have had a lot of fun watching the horse race between the labs at the Max Planck Institute for Biophysical Chemistry and Stanford University.)

The editor of Applied Physics Letters explains a little more about both achievements: Editorial: Nobel Prizes honor ground-breaking innovations in applied science. The journal is also providing free copies of seminal and recent papers by the researchers: papers by the researchers in APL.

Advanced notice of shutdown

In Uncategorized on September 4, 2014 at 1:20 pm

Dear Readers,

Sometime in the next several months, this blog will cease posting new entries. I enjoy sharing the weird and wonderful snippets of science and technology (especially when they intersect with society, writing, and fart jokes) but my health is declining, and I can no longer devote time to blogging.

I hope you have enjoyed reading as much as I have enjoyed blogging.

Best,
Yvonne Carts-Powell
blogger and author of the book The Science of Heroes

Mariette DiChristina: “Science Is an Engine of Human Prosperity”

In beautiful, Science, writing on August 26, 2014 at 7:01 am

“Science is not a set of facts or received wisdom that’s been handed down.It’s a system for innovation and advancement—and humankind’s best invention yet for pursuing the truth and an understanding of how the world works.”

Read more of Scientific American editor Mariette DiChristina’s eloquent defense of science, and basic science funding, presented to the US Congress earlier this summer: Mariette DiChristina: "Science Is an Engine of Human Prosperity" – Scientific American.

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