University of California at Berkeley
Where: Berkeley, Calif.
Department: Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence (SETI)
SETI@home taps the power of thousands of ordinary PCs over the Web to create, in effect, one of the most powerful supercomputers anywhere. It analyzes data from radio telescopes looking for signals from intelligent life. Berkeley students help improve the search algorithms and refine the software that ties all the computers together.
Where: Palo Alto, Calif.
Department: Stanford Linear Accelerator Center
Every summer, undergrads join Nobel Prize–winning scientists here to send electrons down the longest linear accelerator in the world at close to 670 million mph, producing superpowerful x-rays. One of the latest projects uses the x-ray beam to create 3-D images of individual molecules.
Utah State University
Where: Logan, Utah
Department: Center for Integrated BioSystems
In 2003, scientists at Utah State were the first in the world to clone a hybrid animal—a mule, the typically sterile offspring of a donkey and a horse. The research ultimately spawned commercial equine-cloning labs. Now students and faculty churn out up to 600 cloned embryos a week, primarily for genetics research.
Montana State University
Where: Bozeman, Mont.
Department: Subzero Science and Engineering Laboratory
This fall, students will step into a –80°F laboratory to study stuff in deep freeze. One project will look for life in 250,000-year-old ice cores taken from two miles underneath the Antarctic. Others will study the best way to keep winter roads ice-free, and research the flow of snow to better predict avalanches.
Five amazing, clean technologies that will set us free, in this month's energy-focused issue. Also: how to build a better bomb detector, the robotic toys that are raising your children, a human catapult, the world's smallest arcade, and much more.