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Latest Harvard School of Engineering and Applied Sciences Stories

2012-06-04 17:35:02

A pair of new studies by computer scientists, biologists, and cognitive psychologists at Harvard, Northwestern, Wellesley, and Tufts suggest that collaborative touch-screen games have value beyond just play. Two games, developed with the goal of teaching important evolutionary concepts, were tested on families in a busy museum environment and on pairs of college students. In both cases, the educational games succeeded at making the process of learning difficult material engaging and...

'Warming Holes' Delayed Global Warming In Some US Regions
2012-04-27 10:03:43

Certain areas of the United States were spared the effects of climate change thanks to the presence of tiny particles in the atmosphere, suggests new research from climate scientists at the Harvard School of Engineering and Applied Sciences (SEAS). Lead author Eric Leibensperger, a graduate student in applied physics at SEAS at the time of the study, and principal investigator Daniel Jacob, a professor of atmospheric chemistry and environmental engineering at SEAS and a professor of earth...

2012-03-09 00:24:10

"Lucky" combination of chemicals and laser pulses enables high-resolution, 3D patterning for futuristic optical materials Researchers in applied physics have cleared an important hurdle in the development of advanced materials, called metamaterials, that bend light in unusual ways. Working at a scale applicable to infrared light, the Harvard team has used extremely short and powerful laser pulses to create three-dimensional patterns of tiny silver dots within a material. Those suspended...

Image 1 - Mass-production Technique Brings Robotic Insects To Life
2012-02-17 04:32:42

[ Video 1 ] | [ Video 2 ] Production method inspired by children's pop-up books enables rapid fabrication of tiny, complex devices A new technique inspired by elegant pop-up books and origami will soon allow clones of robotic insects to be mass-produced by the sheet. Devised by engineers at Harvard, the ingenious layering and folding process enables the rapid fabrication of not just microrobots, but a broad range of electromechanical devices. In prototypes, 18 layers of carbon...

Extracellular Matrix Identified As Source Of Spreading In Biofilms
2012-01-24 03:39:59

New research at Harvard explains how bacterial biofilms expand to form slimy mats on teeth, pipes, surgical instruments, and crops. Through experiment and mathematical analysis, researchers have shown that the extracellular matrix (ECM), a mesh of proteins and sugars that can form outside bacterial cells, creates osmotic pressure that forces biofilms to swell and spread. The ECM mechanism is so powerful that it can increase the radius of some biofilms five-fold within 24 hours. The...

2011-12-10 01:57:20

Physical equilibrium, assumed to be almost instant, may take months or years for particles in oil-water mixtures By studying the behavior of tiny particles at an interface between oil and water, researchers at Harvard have discovered that stabilized emulsions may take longer to reach equilibrium than previously thought. Much longer, in fact. "We were looking at what we thought would be a very simple phenomenon, and we found something very strange," says principal investigator...

2011-12-01 10:31:24

Experts gather this week to discuss the efficient creation and delivery of nanoscale particles of drugs From targeted cancer chemotherapy to the guarantee of successful organ transplants, the 21st century may prove to be the age of big ideas in medicine. The drugs themselves, though, will be minuscule. Experts in chemistry, applied physics, materials science, and pharmaceutical science are gathering this week for the BASF Advanced Research Initiative at Harvard University's symposium...

Researchers Create Bizarre Optical Phenomena
2011-09-02 09:53:34

  Defying the laws of reflection and refraction Exploiting a novel technique called phase discontinuity, researchers at the Harvard School of Engineering and Applied Sciences (SEAS) have induced light rays to behave in a way that defies the centuries-old laws of reflection and refraction. The discovery, published this week in Science, has led to a reformulation of the mathematical laws that predict the path of a ray of light bouncing off a surface or traveling from one medium...

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2011-04-04 11:45:07

Surprising phenomenon may lead to greater sensitivity in image sensor devices Engineers may soon be singing, "I'm going to wash that gray right out of my nanowires," thanks to a colorful discovery by a team of researchers from Harvard University and Zena Technologies. In contrast to the somber gray hue of silicon wafers, Kenneth B. Crozier and colleagues demonstrated that individual, vertical silicon nanowires can shine in all colors of the spectrum. The vibrant display, dependent on the...

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2011-01-21 09:46:04

Microfluidics Lab at Harvard provides new core facility for undergraduate teaching With little more than a conventional photocopier and transparency film, anyone can build a functional microfluidic chip. A local Cambridge high school physics teacher invented the process; now, thanks to a new undergraduate teaching lab at Harvard's School of Engineering and Applied Sciences (SEAS), students will be able explore microfluidics and its applications. The Microfluidics Lab, developed by Dr. Anas...