March 2015

Science & Tech

Mystery solved: Why seashells’ mineral forms differently in seawater
For almost a century, scientists have been puzzled by a process that is crucial to much of the life in Earth’s oceans.  The riddle of aragonite formation is unraveled by MIT scientists’ atomistic simulation.
Read more at http://bit.ly/1IKiCsY

Energy & Environment

New detector sniffs out origins of methane
Methane is a potent greenhouse gas, second only to carbon dioxide in its capacity to trap heat in Earth’s atmosphere for a long time. Now a research team led by scientists at MIT has developed an instrument that can rapidly and precisely analyze samples of environmental methane to determine how the gas was formed.
Read more at http://bit.ly/1IKmeuQ

Analysis sees many promising pathways for solar photovoltaic power
Use of solar photovoltaics has been growing at a phenomenal rate: Worldwide installed capacity has seen sustained growth averaging 43 percent per year since 2000.  In a broad new assessment, MIT researchers identify the promise and challenges facing large-scale deployment of solar photovoltaics.
Read more at http://bit.ly/1IKmrOO


The rise and fall of cognitive skills
Scientists have long known that our ability to think quickly and recall information, also known as fluid intelligence, peaks around age 20 and then begins a slow decline. However, more recent findings, suggest that the real picture is much more complex. Neuroscientists find that different parts of the brain work best at different ages.
Read more at http://bit.ly/1xQ3Pfn


A second minor planet may possess Saturn-like rings
MIT Researchers detect features around Chiron that may signal rings, jets, or a shell of dust, indicating that the middle section of the solar system may be more active than originally thought.
Read more at http://bit.ly/1IKjePg