Microwaves can transform a frozen pizza into hot, melted goodness in four minutes flat, but they can't rescue your melted ice-cream sundae. To cook food, a microwave oven converts voltage into high-frequency electromagnetic microwaves. The molecules in food—especially water and fat—absorb this energy and wiggle at high speeds, causing them to heat rapidly and warm the surrounding food. Although quickly turning leftovers cold would be handy, this is a one-way operation, explains David Pozar, a professor and microwave expert at the University of Massachusetts.
Last month, scientists confirmed the widespread presence of small amounts of water on the moon. This landmark finding was followed by NASA's crashing its LCROSS probe into a crater in the lunar south pole, generating data which is currently being analyzed to determine the extent of water present around the impact site. Water extracted from the lunar soil could be used to sustain life and to generate rocket propellant. PopSci.com spoke to Ed Ethridge of NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center, who has been studying how microwaves could be used to extract water from lunar soil.
Every year, a panel of judges at London's Wellcome Collection of medical photographs selects the best of the year's acquisitions. This striking collection, reproduced here, represents the best medical images of the year.
The 19 images cover a wide variety of subjects and techniques, from the above picture of aspirin crystals to a picture of a seed taken with an electron microscope.
NASA’s Messenger spacecraft recently made its third flyby of Mercury, in order to get a gravity boost that will enable it to enter into orbit around Mercury in 2011. Scientists used the close encounter to capture images of Mercury's surface that had never been seen before.
Patients with alcohol in their blood are less likely to die from head injuries, according to a new study in Archives of Surgery, a JAMA/Archives journal.
The researchers found that the patients who tested positive for alcohol were less likely to die than patients who had no alcohol in their bloodstream. They were also generally younger and had less severe injuries. But patients who had drunk alcohol did suffer more medical complications during their stay in the hospital.
A new kind of energy-efficient light bulb may provide an alternative to existing compact fluorescent (CFL) and Light Emitting Diode (LED) bulbs. The new bulbs, made by Seattle-based Vu1, use a technology called electron stimulated luminescence (ESL) to produce incandescent-quality light.
The ESL bulbs generate light by firing electrons to stimulate phosphor, and the whole setup is encased in normal light-bulb glass. The bulbs are estimated to last up to 6,000 hours, which is comparable to CFLs, and three to four times as long as incandescent bulbs.
Violins made by the Italian master craftsman Antonio Stradivarius are worth millions of dollars for their unparalleled sound. And that's great, for the handful of musicians who can afford these centuries-old instruments. This month, a new violin made from wood treated with a fungus actually trumped a Stradivarius in a blind listening test, offering hope for violinists who want high tonal quality at an affordable price.
Scientists have developed a gel that helps brains recover from traumatic injuries. It has the potential to treat head injuries suffered in combat, car accidents, falls, or gunshot wounds. Developed by Dr. Ning Zhang at Clemson University in South Carolina, the gel is injected in liquid form at the site of injury and stimulates the growth of stem cells there.