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Professor Valerii Vinokur – Professor Anna Razumnaya – Professor Igor Lukyanchuk | Reinventing the Capacitor
Modern microelectronics is currently facing a profound challenge. The demand for even smaller and more closely packed electronics has hit a stumbling block: the power emitted in these devices releases more heat than can be efficiently removed. Now, the Terra Quantum team proposes a solution based on the seemingly counterintuitive phenomenon of ‘negative capacitance’.
From the hottest deserts to the deepest oceans, life on Earth has evolved to thrive in many harsh environments. Given these capabilities, some scientists are exploring the possibility for life to emerge in extreme environments found throughout the solar system.
Before the first living organisms were brought into being, molecules were already moving and changing. Many energy sources, including light and heat from the sun, were available to provide the energy needed to drive chemical reactions. Mechanical energy, which describes the energy of motion, was also readily available before life’s emergence. Dr Helen Greenwood Hansma from the University of California in Santa Barbara explores how mechanical energy could have driven the processes that gave rise to early life.
The first human mission to Mars may not be far away, but many preparations still need to be made to ensure the safety of crews once they arrive. One of the key requirements of these missions will be producing a steady supply of oxygen. This will allow crews to survive inside their habitats on the Martian surface, while also providing propellant for a Mars Ascent Vehicle, allowing them to return home.
It may be surprising to know, that you – and all other mammals – are technically cynodonts. The first cynodonts appeared approximately 260 million years ago as small creatures about the size of a house cat. A particular group of cynodonts evolved to become more ‘mammal-like’, eventually evolving into the first true mammals. Dr Jennifer Botha from the National Museum, Bloemfontein in South Africa studies the anatomy and life history of specimens along the cynodont–mammalian transition, to gain key insights into the origins and evolution of mammals.
Over the past few decades, astronomers have learnt more and more about the planets, moons, and asteroids of our Solar System – but we still have much to learn about the materials they are made from. For hundreds of years, we have used chemistry to study such materials on Earth, but there is no guarantee that they will behave in the same way in space – where they can exist in environments ranging from harsh, airless vacuums, to strange and exotic atmospheres.
Interstellar space may seem like the last place you would look when searching for the chemical origins of life. Yet on the surfaces of tiny dust grains within this vast expanse, complex chemical reactions are continually occurring, which likely played a key role in establishing the rich diversity of complex molecules we observe in the solar system today. In a new study, astrochemists in Spain and Italy, led by Albert Rimola at the Autonomous University of Barcelona, examine how advanced simulation techniques can be used to study these important processes on atomic scales.
About this episodeOver the past few years, the capabilities of quantum computers have reached the stage where they can be used to pursue research with widespread...
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