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‘A completely new life was beckoning’

May 8, 2015
Prof. Gerald Holton

Photo by Kris Snibbe

Gerald Holton, the Mallinckrodt Professor of Physics and Professor of the History of Science Emeritus, was born in Berlin in 1922.

He spent his boyhood in Vienna playing piano, reading Westerns, watching American films, and studying Latin, Greek, and the classics of Western literature in a rigorous Gymnasium. The turmoil of the Nazi era soon overturned his life and that of his Jewish family. In March 1938, as a boy of 16 during Anschluss, Holton watched from a balcony as Hitler passed by in an open car and German troops were feted by joyous mobs of Austrians...

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Altering Course: Why the United States may be on the cusp of an energy revolution

May 8, 2015
water pumping windmill in Iowa

An active water pumping windmill in Iowa; photograph by Ben Franske. [Published under the Creative Commons Attribution.]

Of the nearly 100 quadrillion British thermal units of energy (BTUs) used each year in the United States, 61 quads are wasted. That is not a moral judgment, or a commentary on insufficient conservation (poor insulation, idling cars, people failing to turn off lights when they leave a room). It is, as Mara Prentiss notes, predominantly fundamental physics: the fuel is burned, but less than 50 percent performs useful work...

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Anatomy of the Photochemical Reaction: Excited-State Dynamics Reveals the C–H Acidity Mechanism of Methoxy Photo-oxidation on Titania

April 27, 2015
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Fig. 1: Methoxy to formaldehyde excited-state reaction trajectory: evolution of lengths of the C–H bond being cleaved and the O–H bond being formed. [Copyright © 2015 American Chemical Society]

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New Method Allows Precise Measurement of Transcriptome in Single Cells

April 16, 2015
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Fig 1: MERFISH: a highly multiplexed smFISH approach enabled by combinatorial labeling and error-robust encoding. [Reprinted by permission from AAAS*]

Prof. Xiaowei Zhuang and members of her group have devised a method of visualizing RNA molecules inside cells so that the identity, location, and abundance of more than 1,000 different RNA species can be determined at the same time. The developers of the new technology say it should be possible to scale up the approach so that tens of thousands of RNA species can be imaged and identified in a single cell.

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