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Current Commentary: Roman concrete for durable, eco-friendly construction – applications for tidal power generation, and protection against sea level rise

Posted on 9. May, 2018.

A recent study has provided further insight into the cause of the remarkable durability of Roman concrete. As is stressed in the paper, the Ancient Romans were well aware of the robustness of their concrete, which they named opus caementicium.


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Feeding and healing the world

Posted on 20. December, 2012.

The study of soil is a mature science, whereas related practical methods of regenerative agriculture and permaculture are not. In the latest issue of Science Progress, Chris Rhodes elucidates the scientific basis of these remarkable phenomena, and shows how we may solve some of the otherwise insurmountable problems confronting humanity, simply by observing, and working with, the patterns and forces of nature.


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Biochar, soils and carbon capture

Posted on 24. October, 2012.

Could the creation of artificial terra preta assist sustainable agriculture, and possibly avert global warming? In his latest Current Commentary, Chris Rhodes considers the advantages of adding charcoal – “biochar” – to soil with the aim of recreating the properties of the dark earth. Biochar binds the essential nutrients N, P and K, and impedes dramatically the rate at which they are washed away by rain. Minute pores form in the charcoal which can hold more nutrients on its larger surface area and act as "condominiums" for microorganisms to grow in and so increases their density in the soil. However, to be effective, the biochar production process must produce more energy overall than it consumes.


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DNA-binding transcription factors in prokaryotes

Posted on 24. October, 2012.

How organisms contend with environmental changes depend on their genes and ability to regulate their expression. DNA-binding transcription factors play a central role by regulating gene expression By considering the abundance of TFs in bacteria and archaea, the role of DNA-binding domains and their partner domains, and the effects of duplication events in the evolution of regulatory networks provides a comprehensive picture for how regulatory networks have evolved in prokaryotes.


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Lithium-ion batteries on micro and nano scales

Posted on 24. October, 2012.

Lithium-ion batteries offer high energy density, flexibility, lightness in weight, design and longer lifespan than comparable battery technologies. A brief historical review of the development of Li-ion rechargeable batteries highlights the research strategies and the challenges of the synthesis, characterisation, electrochemical performance and safety of these systems. Moving from bulk materials to the nanoscale can significantly change electrode and electrolyte properties and consequently their performance in devices for energy storage and conversion.


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Disruptive technology of additive manufacturing

Posted on 24. October, 2012.

Additive manufacturing could radically change the way in which many products are made and distributed. It fabricates components directly from 3D computer models by selectively depositing, curing, or consolidating materials one layer upon the next. It has state of the art applications. Additive manufacturing is already a valuable tool for surgeons to better understand unique, intricate anatomical relationships that are difficult to visualise using two-dimensional images.


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Robert Hooke, polymath and flights of fancy

Posted on 24. October, 2012.

Robin Rowbury, in his final article for Science Progress, paid tribute to Robert Hooke in a series of “thumbnail sketches”. A polymath, Hooke was a gifted artist and scientist whose ideas were often pirated or under-rated.


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Can Solar Fuels Avert A Petroleum Fuel Crisis?

Posted on 20. September, 2012.

The world population uses vast amounts of energy mainly obtained from fossil fuels. Renewable energy from all sources amounts to just above 1% of the total required. In his latest current commentary for Science Progress, Chris Rhodes shows how by capturing even a small amount of the solar radiation striking the top of the earth’s atmosphere, the imminent energy crisis could be averted and carbon emissions dramatically reduced.


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Muonium - the second radioisotope of hydrogen: a remarkable and unique radiotracer in the chemical, materials, biological and environmental science

Posted on 17. July, 2012.

Muonium, the second radioisotope of hydrogen, is a remarkable and unique radiotracer in the chemical, materials, biological and environmental sciences. Its use as a radioactive and magnetic probe of kinetic and structural properties is reviewed in the latest issue of Science Progress.


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