Science News Feature

A new material structure developed at MIT generates steam by soaking up the sun. The structure — a layer of graphite flakes and an underlying carbon foam — is a porous, insulating material structure that floats on water. When sunlight hits the structure’s surface, it creates a hotspot in the graphite, drawing water up through the material’s pores, where it evaporates as steam. The brighter the light, the more steam...

The future health of the world’s coral reefs and the animals that depend on them relies in part on the ability of one tiny symbiotic sea creature to get fat—and to be flexible about the type of algae it cooperates with. In the first study of its kind, scientists at The Ohio State University discovered that corals—tiny reef-forming animals that live symbiotically with algae—are better able to recover from yearly...

Planet Mercury's unusual metal-rich composition has been a longstanding puzzle in planetary science. According to a study published online in Nature Geoscience July 6, Mercury and other unusually metal-rich objects in the solar system may be relics left behind by collisions in the early solar system that built the other planets.

 

For the last century, the concept of crystals has been a mainstay of solid-state physics. Crystals are paragons of order; crystalline materials are defined by the repeating patterns their constituent atoms and molecules make. Now physicists at the University of Pennsylvania and the University of Chicago have evidence that a new concept should undergird our understanding of most materials: the anticrystal, a theoretical solid that is...

New analysis of large-scale 'concentrating solar power' plants suggests they could meet 70-80% of electricity demand if they are linked together.