Princeton researchers explore how a carbon-fixing organelle forms via phase separation

A new study yields insights into how an organelle called the pyrenoid, which helps algae remove carbon dioxide from the atmosphere, forms inside the cell via a process similar to how oil separates from water. Continue Reading →

Mysterious Majorana quasiparticle is now closer to being controlled for quantum computing

As mysterious as the Italian scientist for which it is named, the Majorana particle is one of the most compelling quests in physics. Its fame stems from its strange properties – it is the only Continue Reading →

For infection-fighting cells, a guideline for expanding the troops

T cells are like the special ops forces of the immune system, detecting and killing infected cells. When a new threat is detected, the cells ramp up from just a few sentry cells to a Continue Reading →

Controllable electron flow in quantum wires

Princeton University researchers have demonstrated a new way of making controllable “quantum wires” in the presence of a magnetic field, according to a new study published online today in the journal Nature. The researchers detected channels Continue Reading →

Turning up the heat on the search for better plastics

By Scott Lyon If you have ever poured hot coffee into a cheap plastic cup, you may recall that sinking feeling as the cup seems to wilt. Not quite solid, not quite liquid, the cup Continue Reading →

Finding meaning among the junk

By Kevin McElwee Only about 10 percent of the human genome are actually genes. The other 90 percent? Once called “junk DNA,” researchers now know that this genetic material contains on-off switches that can activate Continue Reading →

Going green: What we can learn from a little alga

By Yasemin Saplakoglu WE ARE CONCERNED, rightly so, about the amount of carbon dioxide accumulating in the Earth’s atmosphere. But to most plants, which use carbon for photosynthesis, the amount we have is not enough. Continue Reading →

John Pardon on math’s power to distract and divert

By Yasemin Saplakoglu GETTING A TIRED and hungry 12-year-old to hike another mile up a steep mountain is a daunting task. But John Pardon’s parents quickly figured out a simple solution that saved many of Continue Reading →

Diamonds’ flaws hold promise for new technologies

By Yasemin Saplakoglu DESPITE THEIR CHARM AND ALLURE, diamonds are rarely perfect. They have tiny defects that, to assistant professor Nathalie de Leon, make them ever so appealing. These atom-sized mistakes have enormous potential in Continue Reading →

Self-powered system makes smart windows smarter

By Sharon Adarlo A new solar cell technology could make it inexpensive to create and install smart windows that automatically vary their tint to augment lighting, heating and cooling systems in buildings. The new transparent Continue Reading →

Probing the genetic basis for dog-human relationships

By Pooja Makhijani A new study has identified genetic changes that are linked to dogs’ human-directed social behaviors and suggests there is a common underlying genetic basis for hyper-social behavior in both dogs and humans. Continue Reading →

Better decision-making for the planet

By Yasemin Saplakoglu We might think we have control of the mix of decisions we make during the day. But it turns out that our brain gives us subconscious nudges, preferring some choices over others. Continue Reading →

Atom catcher: With lasers and magnets, Waseem Bakr traps atoms for study under the microscope

By Bennett McIntosh THE COLDEST SPOT on the Princeton campus is a cluster of a few thousand atoms suspended above a table in Waseem Bakr’s laboratory. When trapped in a lattice of intersecting lasers at Continue Reading →

Exploring collective interactions of matter and antimatter

STRIP AWAY ELECTRONS FROM THEIR ATOMS and you get a plasma — a collection of negatively charged electrons and positively charged ions. But at high energies around compact cosmic objects such as black holes, quasars Continue Reading →

CITIES: Resilient • Adaptable • Livable • Smart

Innovations in building materials, design, water systems and power grids are helping to make cities more livable, say researchers in Princeton’s School of Engineering and Applied Science By Bennett McIntosh Cities. They sprawl and tangle, Continue Reading →

Better living through behavioral science

How the psychology of human behavior is helping tackle society’s biggest problems By Wendy Plump SUPPOSE someone approaches you on the street with the following proposition: You can receive either cash on the spot or Continue Reading →

Tiny delivery capsules for new drugs

Some drugs cannot be delivered via a normal pill or injection because they cannot readily dissolve in water. About 40 percent of new pharmaceuticals have this hydrophobic (water-fearing) character, and like a globule of oil Continue Reading →

Cosmic background: 51 years ago, an accidental discovery sparked a big bang in astrophysics

ON NEW YEAR’S DAY 2015, A BALLOON-BORNE SPACECRAFT ascended above Antarctica and snapped crisp photos of space, unobscured by the humidity of Earth’s atmosphere. Meanwhile, a telescope located 4,000 miles to the north, in the Continue Reading →

Elusive particles found

IN THE PAST YEAR, PRINCETON PHYSICISTS have detected two particles that were predicted decades ago to exist but had not been found until now. Both particles were detected using a scanning-tunneling microscope to image the Continue Reading →

Bioengineering: Unlocking the secrets of human health

By Takim Williams RED-HOT RIVERS OF MOLTEN COPPER and aluminum alloys streamed from one receptacle to another. As an undergraduate watching the demonstration in a materials science class, Clifford Brangwynne was reminded of cells migrating Continue Reading →

COMPUTER SCIENCE: Internet traffic moves smoothly with Pyretic

AT 60 HUDSON ST. IN LOWER MANHATTAN, a fortress-like building houses one of the Internet’s busiest exchange points. Packets of data zip into the building, are routed to their next destination, and zip out again, Continue Reading →

COMPUTER SCIENCE: Security check: A strategy for verifying software that could prevent bugs

IN APRIL 2014, INTERNET USERS WERE SHOCKED to learn of the Heartbleed bug, a vulnerability in the open-source software used to encrypt Internet content and passwords. The bug existed for two years before it was Continue Reading →

Computer visions: A selection of research projects in Computer Science

Princeton’s Department of Computer Science has strong groups in theory, networks/systems, graphics/vision, programming languages, security/policy, machine learning, and computational biology. Find out what the researchers have been up to lately in these stories: Armchair victory: Computers Continue Reading →

Wetlands provide solutions for agricultural runoff

A PATCHWORK OF SMALL LAKES, forests and marshes surrounded by farms and suburbs, the Assunpink Wildlife Management Area in central New Jersey is an ideal place to track the effects of agricultural nitrogen runoff on Continue Reading →

Striking resemblance: A physical law may govern very different biological activities

FLOCKS OF BIRDS FLY ACROSS THE SKY in shifting configurations. In the retina of an eye, millions of neurons ignite in ever-changing combinations, translating light into meaningful images. Yet both of these seemingly random behaviors Continue Reading →

Africa’s poison ‘apple’ provides common ground for elephants and livestock

AFRICAN WILDLIFE OFTEN RUN AFOUL of ranchers securing food and water resources for their animals, but the interests of fauna and farmer might finally be unified by the “Sodom apple,” a toxic invasive plant that Continue Reading →

No more mirrors: a new way of making molecules for tracking disease

RADIOACTIVITY IS USUALLY ASSOCIATED with nuclear fallout or comic-book spider bites, but in very small amounts it can be a useful tool for diagnosing diseases. Small molecules containing a radioactive isotope of fluorine, called 18F, Continue Reading →

Light-splitting crystals from inexpensive ingredients

HIGHLY PURIFIED CRYSTALS that split light with uncanny precision are key parts of high-powered lenses, specialized optics and, potentially, computers that manipulate light instead of electricity. But producing these crystals by current techniques, such as Continue Reading →

Laser device may end pin pricks, improve health for diabetics

PRINCETON RESEARCHERS have developed a way to use a laser to measure people’s blood sugar, and, with more work to shrink the laser system to a portable size, the technique could allow diabetics to check Continue Reading →

Telescopes take the universe’s temperature

Two telescopes on a Chilean mountaintop are poised to tell us much about the universe in its infancy. They are surveying the faint temperature fluctuations left over from the explosive birth of the universe, with Continue Reading →

Collective behavior could help animals survive a changing environment

For social animals such as schooling fish, the loss of their numbers to human activity could eventually threaten entire populations, according to a finding that such animals rely heavily on grouping to effectively navigate their Continue Reading →

Far from random, evolution follows a predictable pattern

Evolution, often perceived as a series of random changes, might in fact be driven by a simple and repeated genetic solution to an environmental pressure, according to new research. “Is evolution predictable? To a surprising Continue Reading →