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How has California’s Shelter-in-Place Order due to COVID-19 and the Resulting Reduction in Human Activity Affected Air and Water Quality?

Everitt et al. | Feb 15, 2021

How has California’s Shelter-in-Place Order due to COVID-19 and the Resulting Reduction in Human Activity Affected Air and Water Quality?

As the world struggled to grapple with the emerging COVID-19 pandemic in 2020, many countries instated policies to help minimize the spread of the virus among residents. This inadvertently led to a decrease in travel, and in some cases, industrial output, two major sources of pollutants in today's world. Here, the authors investigate whether California's shelter-in-place policy was associated with a measurable decrease in water and air pollution in that state between June and July of 2020, compared to the preceeding five years. Their findings suggest that, by some metrics, air quality improved within certain areas while water quality was relatively unchanged. Overall, these findings suggest that changing human behavior can, indeed, help reduce the level of air pollutants that compromise air quality.

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Androgen Diffusion Patterns in Soil: Potential Watershed Impacts

Corson et al. | Jan 24, 2019

Androgen Diffusion Patterns in Soil: Potential Watershed Impacts

Androgens are natural or synthetic steroid hormones that control secondary male sex characteristics. Androgens are excreted in cattle urine and feces, and can run off or seep into nearby waters, negatively impacting aquatic life and potentially polluting human water sources. Here, the authors investigated the effectiveness of soil as a natural barrier against androgen flow into vulnerable waterways. Their results, obtained by testing diffusion patterns of luminol, an androgen chemical analog, indicated that soil is a poor barrier to androgen diffusion.

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Identifying Neural Networks that Implement a Simple Spatial Concept

Zirvi et al. | Sep 13, 2022

Identifying Neural Networks that Implement a Simple Spatial Concept

Modern artificial neural networks have been remarkably successful in various applications, from speech recognition to computer vision. However, it remains less clear whether they can implement abstract concepts, which are essential to generalization and understanding. To address this problem, the authors investigated the above vs. below task, a simple concept-based task that honeybees can solve, using a conventional neural network. They found that networks achieved 100% test accuracy when a visual target was presented below a black bar, however only 50% test accuracy when a visual target was presented below a reference shape.

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The Effect of Varying Training on Neural Network Weights and Visualizations

Fountain et al. | Dec 04, 2019

The Effect of Varying Training on Neural Network Weights and Visualizations

Neural networks are used throughout modern society to solve many problems commonly thought of as impossible for computers. Fountain and Rasmus designed a convolutional neural network and ran it with varying levels of training to see if consistent, accurate, and precise changes or patterns could be observed. They found that training introduced and strengthened patterns in the weights and visualizations, the patterns observed may not be consistent between all neural networks.

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The Effect of Various Liquid Mediums on the Transport of Photonic Energy and its Impact on the Quantum Efficiency of Photovoltaic Cells

Payra et al. | May 05, 2015

The Effect of Various Liquid Mediums on the Transport of Photonic Energy and its Impact on the Quantum Efficiency of Photovoltaic Cells

A photovoltaic cell (PV cell), or solar cell, converts the energy of light into electricity and is the basis for solar power. In order to increase the efficiency of PV cells, the authors in this study used common household items as photon transmissions mediums and measured their effects on the temperature and voltage output of the PV cells.

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Integrated Ocean Cleanup System for Sustainable and Healthy Aquatic Ecosystems

Anand et al. | Nov 14, 2020

Integrated Ocean Cleanup System for Sustainable and Healthy Aquatic Ecosystems

Oil spills are one of the most devastating events for marine life. Finding ways to clean up oil spills without the need for harsh chemicals could help decrease the negative impact of such spills. Here the authors demonstrate that using a combination of several biodegradable substances can effectively adsorb oil in seawater in a laboratory setting. They suggest further exploring the potential of such a combination as a possible alternative to commonly-used non-biodegradable substances in oil spill management.

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Inhibiting the ERK pathway and the TRPM7 ion channel in gastric and bladder cancer cells

Yang et al. | Oct 14, 2021

Inhibiting the ERK pathway and the TRPM7 ion channel in gastric and bladder cancer cells

In this work the authors investigate new possible treatment methods for gastric and bladder cancers. They specifically targeted the transient receptor potential cation subfamily M member 7 (TRPM7), an ion channel that plays an important role in the survival of both of these cancers, and extracellular regulated kinases (ERKs),which contributes to the carcinogenesis of many cancers including gastric cancer. As a result, the authors consider the effects of Ginsenoside Rd, NS8593, curcumin, and icariin , known to inhibit TRPM7 and ERK. The authors found that these treatments decrease proliferation and induce apoptosis in studies of gastric and bladder cancer cells.

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Changes for Development of Al2O3 Coated PVA (Polyvinyl Alcohol) Composite Nonwoven Separator For Improving Thermal and Electrochemical Properties

Kim et al. | Oct 16, 2019

Changes for Development of Al2O3 Coated PVA (Polyvinyl Alcohol) Composite Nonwoven Separator For Improving Thermal and Electrochemical Properties

Lithium-ion batteries, a breakthrough in chemistry that enabled the electronic revolution we live today have become an essential part of our day-to-day life. A phone battery running out after a heavy day of use with limited opportunities for recharging is a well-known and resented experience by almost everyone. How then can we make batteries more efficient? This paper proposes the use of a different type of separator, that improves the charging and discharging capacities of lithium ions compared to the classical separator. This and similar attempts to improve Lithium-ion battery function could facilitate the development of higher-performance batteries that work longer and withstand harsher use.

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Efficacy of Rotten and Fresh Fruit Extracts as the Photosensitive Dye for Dye-Sensitized Solar Cells

Jayasankar et al. | Jan 16, 2019

Efficacy of Rotten and Fresh Fruit Extracts as the Photosensitive Dye for Dye-Sensitized Solar Cells

Dye-sensitized solar cells (DSSC) use dye as the photoactive material, which capture the incoming photon of light and use the energy to excite electrons. Research in DSSCs has centered around improving the efficacy of photosensitive dyes. A fruit's color is defined by a unique set of molecules, known as a pigment profile, which changes as a fruit progresses from ripe to rotten. This project investigates the use of fresh and rotten fruit extracts as the photoactive dye in a DSSC.

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Testing Different Polymers and Boron Nitride Nanotube Properties in Fabrication of Ion-selective Membranes

Yi et al. | Sep 28, 2020

Testing Different Polymers and Boron Nitride Nanotube Properties in Fabrication of Ion-selective Membranes

One largely untapped source of clean energy is the use of osmotic gradients where freshwater and saltwater are mixed, for example at estuaries. To harness such energy, charge-selective membranes are needed to separate the anions and cations in saltwater, establishing an electric potential like a battery. The objective of this study was twofold: to investigate the creation of the polymer matrix and test the properties of boron nitride nanotubes, as both are essential in the creation of an ion-selective membrane. Out of three polymer samples tested in this study, the mixture known as Soltech 704 showed the best resistance to etching, as well as the highest UV cure rate.

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