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Mathematical & Physical Sciences (MPS) Discoveries

NSF's public investment in science, engineering, education and technology helps to create knowledge and sustain prosperity. Read here about the Internet, microbursts, Web browsers, extrasolar planets, and more... a panoply of discoveries and innovations that began with NSF support.

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Photo of researchers Bret Flanders and Prem Thapa in their laboratory at Kansas State University. Electrical Nanowires Probe Individual Cells
Radically new technology for studying and controlling cells at the nanoscale
Released  February 20, 2009
Photomicrograph of biocompatible, bioactive glass. Reflecting on the Many Uses of Glass
The director of NSF's International Materials Institute for New Functionality in Glass at Lehigh University focuses on glass research and exciting students from underrepresented groups about glass science and engineering
Released  February 20, 2009
Illustration showing one sphere being repelled from a plate and the other sphere being attracted. Nanoscale Repulsion
Tiny quantum force, measured for the first time, could be an aid to nanodevice designers
Released  February 19, 2009
Image showing ball and stick model of two crossing carbon nanotubes on a graphite surface. Measuring Excitement for Carbon Nanotubes
Studying light pulses in nanoscale molecules brings scientists closer to understanding properties that may lead to a multitude of applications
Released  February 10, 2009
Photo of Cornell University researchers who are developing flexible electronics. Did You Say Flexible Electronics?
Organic electronic devices possible with supercritical carbon dioxide process
Released  February 2, 2009
Artist's conception of the Milky Way. New Galactic Distance Measurements Increase Milky Way's Mass and Rotation Speed
Galaxy is spinning faster and is 50 percent more massive than earlier studies indicated
Released  January 30, 2009
Image of transparent ceramic. Pore-free Ceramics Shine New Light on Lasers, Electronics and Biomedical Implants
Novel process for developing transparent ceramics from powder eliminates pores
Released  January 29, 2009
Illustration depicting the relative sizes of the sun and Earth. Cheaper Plastic Solar Cells in the Works
South Dakota State University’s Diane Hinkens describes her work in an interdisciplinary research collaboration that is trying to design, synthesize and eventually fabricate a more efficient and less costly solar cell
Released  January 13, 2009
Illustration of the inside of the vacum chamber showing the spectrometer. For the "Few-Body Problem," a Solution From Another Plane
Complex ionization collisions can be explained with a "simple" classical model
Released  December 29, 2008
Counterfeit (left) and genuine (right) samples of artesunate from Cameroon. Fake Drugs Exposed by Rapid Chemical Assay
Forensic chemistry leads to shut down of large-scale drug counterfeiting operation in Southeast Asia
Released  December 18, 2008
Photo of Ben Arend installing a detector during the reconfiguration of the NSCL's experimental area. Unlocking the Secrets of Atomic Nuclei
Rare isotope research at the National Superconducting Cyclotron Laboratory leads to important new applications in areas such as medical treatments and security technology
Released  November 13, 2008
Photo of the  Robert C. Byrd Green Bank Telescope in Green Bank, Pocahontas County, W. Va. Magnetic Fields in Far Away Galaxies Observed to be 10 Times Stronger than those in Milky Way
Conventional theories of star and galaxy formation challenged
Released  November 12, 2008
artist's rendition of polar gas molecules First Ultracold Polar Molecule Gas Ready for Research
Groundbreaking technique could lead to quantum computers, molecular clocks and super-efficient power plants
Released  October 29, 2008
Photo of a gecko, which has a unique ability to scamper across shear surfaces and vertical walls. How to Make Adhesive as Good as a Gecko
Materials scientist Ali Dhinojwala and his team use nanotechnology to develop adhesive tapes that stick better than a gecko’s foot
Released  October 16, 2008
Image of a two-dimensional representation of the Klein bottle topology. Klein Bottle is a Real Natural in the Zoo of Geometric Shapes
Discovery could advance understanding of human vision and lead to powerful data compression techniques
Released  October 7, 2008
Photo of Timothy Beers, professor of astronomy and physics at Michigan State University. Archaeology of the Stars
Michigan State researcher Timothy Beers studies the formation and evolution of stars born many billions of years before the Sun
Released  September 17, 2008
Photo of professors and graduate students. Students Give High Marks to First U.S.-Japan Glass Science School
Meeting brings U.S. university students and researchers together with their Japanese counterparts to talk about new developments and potential collaborations in glass research
Released  August 21, 2008
Photograph of the compact muon solenoid detector at CERN. Physicists Gear Up for Huge Data Flow
University of Nebraska researchers build a computer center to handle the flood of data expected from the world's next-generation particle accelerator
Released  August 7, 2008
Photo of hands holding conjugated polymers that change color and intensity when excited by light. The Choreography of Dancing Molecules
Photochemist Elizabeth Harbron and her students investigate the properties of conjugated polymers that can be activated by light
Released  August 5, 2008
Photo of a researcher in a lab. Math Could Aid in Curing Cancer
Scientists and medical doctors couple math and medicine for unusual, promising marriage
Released  August 4, 2008
Computer graphic showing quantum vortices formed when atoms expand for 50 thousandths of a second. Beyond Cold: How the World Works at Minus 459 Degrees
Graduate student David McKay describes how atoms are cooled to near absolute zero for research using an approach called quantum simulation
Released  July 25, 2008
Photo of Jessica Alba and recipients of 2008 A.M.P.A.S Scientific and Technical Achievement Awards. The Man Behind Amazing Movie Simulations
He may not be as famous as Johnny Depp or Jessica Alba, but Oscar-winner Ron Fedkiw creates 3-D models of liquids that have had a major impact on Hollywood and our lives
Released  July 24, 2008
Computer image of the CB[7] Ferrocene molecular container. Chemist 'Really Jazzed' About Creating New Molecules
Lyle Isaacs talks about cool things that chemists do, such as his work to build new molecular containers that are as good as what is found in nature
Released  July 18, 2008
A picture of the setting sun off the coast of Estonia and the letter "A." Cracking the Code of Images
New software easily detects pictures' hidden messages
Released  July 15, 2008
Illustration of a supernova explosion. Not a Quirk But a Quark ... a Quark Star!
Super-luminous stellar explosion observed via Caltech's Palomar Observatory, possibly resulting in a quark star
Released  June 26, 2008
Photo of theoretical mathematician Graeme Milton. Cloaking Device Concept Moves Beyond Theory
Applied mathematician Graeme Milton brings the dream of cloaking devices portrayed in "Star Trek" and "Harry Potter" closer to reality
Released  June 18, 2008
Illustration of photocathode gun. Brightest X-ray Vision at the Nano-scale
Superconducting 'universal toolkit' for scientists, engineers will conserve energy, too
Released  June 6, 2008
Photo of galaxy NGC 2770 showing location of star and lines from John Keats' poem. International Gemini Observatory Captures Birth of a Supernova
Stellar discovery marks a new epoc in astronomical research
Released  May 28, 2008
Photo of surgeon Jon Wagner holding plastic casts of fractured jaws. Engineers Create Better Fix for Broken Jaws
Computer finite element modeling program used by University of New Mexico engineers in designing smaller and lighter plates for jaw repair surgery
Released  May 13, 2008
Photo of the detector slice from the back, at the surface. Building a Machine to Search for Cosmic Secrets
Katherine McAlpine describes the intricate lowering into place of the last large piece of the Compact Muon Solenoid (CMS) detector, part of the Large Hadron Collider
Released  April 2, 2008

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