Taking a tip from the plants: Mimicking photosynthesis to produce fuels

By Lakshmi Chandrasekaran Nathan La Porte dreams of a field full of solar panels leading to a pump in the corner fueling station. The sun shines down on the panels collecting enough energy to power a process that produces a liquid fuel to fill up the gas tank of a car. If you think this falls in the […]

Exelon and Northwestern partner to kick up the energy from solar cells

By Lakshmi Chandrasekaran A Chinese solar energy company captured the imagination of the world and a younger generation of consumers by building a solar farm in the shape of a giant panda. That adds a bit of whimsy to China’s growing reputation as a world leader in solar energy production.  But the hottest competition is in the […]

NU climate change symposium stresses urgency and solutions

By Lakshmi Chandrasekaran Excuses that exonerate business-as-usual emission scenarios are not a luxury we can afford as climate change heats up the globe, said Chad Frischmann, vice president and research director of Project Drawdown, a climate change mitigation project envisioned by renowned environmentalist Paul Hawken. But do not despair, since opportunities and optimism can convert […]

Northwestern’s solar-powered house heads to the Solar Decathlon in Denver

By Lakshmi Chandrasekaran The house came down piece by numbered piece. In mid-September, the House by Northwestern (HBN) team dismantled the entire home they built over the summer, and FedEx-ed it off to Denver. The solar-powered sustainable house, Enable is an official entry in the eighth Solar Decathlon competition, sponsored by the United States Department of […]

NU symposium honors chemist Vladimir Nikolayevich Ipatieff who helped win World War II

By Lakshmi Chandrasekaran Chemists Vladimir Nikolayevich Ipatieff and Herman Pines, both immigrants to America, put their brilliant minds to work creating a special aviation fuel, a closely guarded secret that helped the Allied forces win World War II. Ipatieff developed the field of surface catalysis used extensively in refining petroleum by-products into fuel components. Ipatieff […]

Build a better planet one photo at a time – Add yours to the global view

By Lakshmi Chandrasekaran “Think of how it wraps completely around our planet, connecting us all as one global family – living and breathing under one shared sky,” says Wilmette artist and environmental activist Ben Whitehouse of the sky. “It only stands to reason we should take great care of it for each other,” he adds. And […]

Freeze-casting materials in space: Meeting the challenges of vacuums and microgravity

Northwestern University’s SpaceICE team, led by Northwestern Professor David Dunand, is preparing to test freeze-casting of materials in space, in collaboration with the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and Bradley University. Fabricating materials is essential for a journey to Mars or for future space colonies. The SpaceICE team is pioneering the freeze-casting instrumentation for the […]

U.S. innovation at risk: Science funding crunch clashes with a burgeoning Ph.D. workforce

By Lakshmi Chandrasekaran “A CR (continuing resolution) Attenuates Progress. That would be C-R-A-P in case you haven’t figured that out,” said National Institutes of Health Director Francis Collins last month, talking about how government funding affects research. Collins, quoted in Science magazine, referred to an amorphous continuing federal funding program that ends this Friday. Congress passed a […]

Tackling global warming by exploring the ebb and flow of the ice ages

George Denton talked about how ice age melts reveal important clues regarding abrupt climate change. (Abigail Foerstner/MEDILL)

By Lakshmi Chandrasekaran “Don’t get old if you can help it,” climatologist George Denton joked at the Comer Abrupt Climate Change Conference in Wisconsin this fall. But he must have been proud. As one of the earliest and premiere veterans of climate change research, the University of Maine professor had three generations of students in […]

It’s complicated: The unpredictability of predictions in elections

By Lakshmi Chandrasekaran In the end, it came down to will she or won’t she? What seemed like a comfortable 81 percent chance of winning the election for Hillary Clinton just a couple of weeks ago, morphed into a tight race to the finish after FBI director James Comey announced a new investigation of a […]