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Ancient jugs hold the secret to practical mathematics in Biblical times

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TechAndComputer (June 4, 2012) — Archaeologists in the eastern Mediterranean region have been unearthing spherical jugs, used by the ancients for storing and trading oil, wine, and other valuable commodities. Because we're used to the metric system, which defines units of volume based on the cube, modern archaeologists believed that the merchants of antiquity could only approximately assess the capacity of these round jugs, says Prof. Itzhak Benenson of Tel Aviv University's Department of Geography.

Now an interdisciplinary collaboration between Prof. Benensonand Prof. Israel Finkelstein of TAU's Department of Archaeology and Ancient Near Eastern Cultures has revealed that, far from relying on approximations, merchants...

Powerful new tool for research and drug development

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TechAndComputer (June 4, 2012) — A University of Saskatchewan research team led by Tony Kusalik and Scott Napper have harnessed bioinformatics and molecular biology to create powerful software that promises to become a "must have" tool in drug development research labs the world over.

The software is used to analyze kinases -- a type of enzyme involved in virtually every cellular function, from energy use and reproduction to modifying gene expression. Licensing of the patented...

Mathematicians can conjure matter waves inside an invisible hat

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TechAndComputer (May 29, 2012) — Invisibility, once the subject of magic or legend, is slowly becoming reality. Over the past five years mathematicians and other scientists have been working on devices that enable invisibility cloaks -- perhaps not yet concealing Harry Potter, but at least shielding small objects from detection by microwaves or sound waves.

A University of Washington mathematician is part of an international team working to understand invisibility and extend its...

Metamaterials, quantum dots show promise for new technologies

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TechAndComputer (May 24, 2012) — Researchers are edging toward the creation of new optical technologies using "nanostructured metamaterials" capable of ultra-efficient transmission of light, with potential applications including advanced solar cells and quantum computing.

The metamaterial -- layers of silver and titanium oxide and tiny components called quantum dots -- dramatically changes the properties of light. The light becomes "hyperbolic," which increases the output of...

Making microscopic machines using metallic glass

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TechAndComputer (May 22, 2012) — A new manufacturing technology allows researchers to mass produce components for use in next-generation computer storage devices and disposable medical and chemical test kits.

Researchers in Ireland have developed a new technology using materials called bulk metallic glasses to produce high-precision molds for making tiny plastic components. The components, with detailed microscopically patterned surfaces could be used in the next generation of...