The Physics of Pizza Tossing

Interested in learning the art of a perfect pizza toss? Well, so are Monash University scientists who are studying the pizza toss in order to design the next generation of micro motors thinner than a single human hair. How does the dough travel through the air? How much does the dough rotate? How quickly does it spin?

The Monash's team of scientists are modeling the pizza toss mathematically, and have found that tossing pizza dough continuously without stopping to catch it requires your hands to move in circles. This model could help researchers design better ultrasonic motors, which operate on similar principles as pizza tossing. In the future, these tiny motors could be used in minimally invasive neuro-microsurgery procedures, giving surgeons more control and precision during brain surgery.

Source: EurekAlert!
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Harnessing the Power of Viruses

Researchers at MIT have genetically engineered viruses to build the positively and negatively charged ends of a lithium ion battery. With the same energy capacity and power performance as state-of-the-art rechargeable batteries, they could be used to power plug-in hybrid cars and a range of personal electronics.

For the cathode, these genetically engineered viruses are built to coat themselves with iron phosphate, then self-assemble onto carbon nanotbues to create a network of highly conductive material. These viruses are a common bacteriophage, which infect bacteria but art harmless to humans.

Part of a recent wave of clean-energy technologies, these battery prototypes are lightweight, flexible, and pending commercial production.

Source: Eurekaalert

Who dunnit?

One of the most important clues at a crime scene investigation are latent fingerprints left behind by the criminal. No two fingerprints are alike - every individual has unique fingerprint ridges that do not change throughout one's lifetime. Over the years, forensic scientists have developed many ways to look at these fingerprints. Today, the most commonly used method is still fingerprint dusting where powder is spread lightly over a fingerprint surface using a brush, and clear tape is placed over the latent print in order to transfer and preserve the fingerprint pattern.

Scientists have developed special polymer films to improve the transfer of the fingerprint from the crime scene surfaces to the laboratory. This new polymer is conjugated with highly fluorescent particles so that interaction with oil would cause swelling and increased fluoresence intensity. This allows fingerprints to show up more clearly. Below are two fluorescent images showing (a) a fingerprint transferred to a polymer film from a glass surface and (b) the same fingerprint image after digital contrast enhancement.

Source: Chemical Communications
Image Sources: Teachcops Chemical Communications