Science

Science
6:00 am
Wed July 30, 2014

To Learn More About Solar Power, Researchers Zap Spinach With Lasers

When the spinach is processed to harness a protein called Photosystem II, it becomes a deep green substance that's manipulated with a paintbrush in a test tube.
Credit Stan Jastrzebski / WBAA News

A Purdue University researcher and her students are using store-bought spinach leaves and lasers to try to better understand photosynthesis -- that’s the process by which many plants make their food.

But Yulia Pushkar and her students have a bigger goal in mind – understanding how the plants turn sunlight into energy so much more efficiently than solar panels.

Her study of a compound known as Photosystem II could help scientists learn how to better harness the sun’s power.

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Science
6:00 am
Wed July 23, 2014

Research Could Lead To Printing Drugs For Individuals, Not Populations

This is the sixth incarnation of the drug printing rig, which drops small amounts of a drug onto the concave surface of a pre-made placebo pill.
Credit Stan Jastrzebski / WBAA News

Rex Reklaitis thinks of his drug printing rig almost like a time machine.

The Purdue researcher is working to develop a commercially viable machine that can print small amounts of a drug which are tailored to an individual patient.

That would be a shift away from the current model used by large drug companies which can make hundreds of thousands of aspirin tablets in an hour.

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Science
6:00 am
Wed July 9, 2014

Video Games Could Identify, Train Better Vet Surgeons

A student participating in the study plays an archery game requiring the same sorts of dexterity and coordination used in laparoscopic surgery.
Credit courtesy Purdue Veterinary Medicine

Video games have long been known to improve hand-eye coordination. Now, a Purdue study shows that may be of particular use to veterinary surgeons.

The research suggests video games may be better tools than the so-called “box trainers” vets currently use to learn laparoscopic surgery.

A box trainer is usually made from PVC pipe that's covered by a cloth to hide what's inside (usually rings which students are told to put on posts). The catch is that has to be done using two arms with mechanical fingers on the end.

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Science
5:15 pm
Wed June 25, 2014

Daniels To Congress: Do You Want To Go To Mars Or Don't You?

Daniels had to look past some partisan in-fighting, but did find some support for a plan to increase NASA's budget and work with other nations to get humans to Mars.
Credit Wally Gobetz / https://www.flickr.com/photos/wallyg/3664385777

Purdue President Mitch Daniels testified Wednesday before a Congressional committee that wanted to grill him about a report arguing for manned spaceflight to Mars.

The House Committee on Science, Space and Technology questioned Daniels and Cornell University professor Jonathan Lunine about a report from a committee the two men co-chaired looking at the future of American space exploration.

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Science
4:26 pm
Thu June 5, 2014

Daniels And Committee: NASA Needs More Mars Money

A "self-portrait" of NASA's Opportunity rover from the surface of Mars.
Credit NASA / http://mars.jpl.nasa.gov/multimedia/images/?ImageID=6177

The United States needs to spend more – a lot more – on space flight if astronauts are ever going to land on Mars.

That’s the finding of a report issued by a committee co-chaired by Purdue President Mitch Daniels. Daniels says while the reasons to go to space have changed in the past 60 years, the need to go remains.

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