Physical Sciences

  • Optimizing operations for an unprecedented view of the universe

    Monday, Jun 17, 2019
    by Molly Sharlach, Office of Engineering Communications

    Under construction on a remote ridge in the Chilean Andes, the Large Synoptic Survey Telescope (LSST) will boast the world’s largest digital camera, helping researchers detect objects at the solar system’s edge and gain insights into the structure of our galaxy and the nature of dark energy.

  • Forensic engineering preserves art treasures by saving historic buildings

    Tuesday, May 21, 2019
    by Amelia Herb, Office of Engineering Communications

    Italian Renaissance frescos of the gods and goddesses of air, water, fire and earth enliven the ceiling and four walls of the Room of the Elements in Florence’s famed Palazzo Vecchio, but without structural engineers’ work to preserve such historic buildings, the world could eventually lose these masterpieces.

  • Salt takes a half step before falling out of solution as a crystal

    Thursday, May 2, 2019
    by Scott Lyon, Chemical and Biological Engineering

    When a drop of sea spray lands on a rock and starts to evaporate under the midday sun, the salt solidifies and falls out of the water as a crystal—helping to power the Earth's atmosphere and leaving a delicious kernel of spice for dinner.

    New computational research from a CBE team has shown that process to include an extra step, a finding that has implications for everything from climate models to the production of medicine.

  • Machine ready to see if magic metal – lithium – can help bring the fusion that lights the stars to Earth

    Wednesday, May 1, 2019
    by John Greenwald, Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory

    Lithium, the light silvery metal used in everything from pharmaceutical applications to batteries that power your smart phone or electric car, could also help harness on Earth the fusion energy that lights the sun and stars. Lithium can maintain the heat and protect the walls inside doughnut-shaped tokamaks that house fusion reactions, and will be used to produce tritium, the hydrogen isotope that will combine with its cousin deuterium to fuel fusion in future reactors.

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