Brilliant Refraction Action by Soo Sunny Park

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Artist Soo Sunny Park leads us through real-life pearly gates with her large-scale installation Unwoven Light. Using twisting fragments of chain-link fence as massive frames, Park fills the common wire structure with hundreds of plexiglass squares, each piece taking almost ninety hours to complete. Like giant diamonds doused with light, the sinuous installations hung in Rice University‘s gallery space, transforming the blank white box into a luminous crystalline world sparkling with color and movement.

Lasers create slice of energy storage

Transforming graphite oxide (GO) into a full-fledged supercapacitor turns out to be a simple process, but until recently, was anything but obvious. Scientists already knew that the heat of a laser could convert GO—the oxidized form of graphite, or carbon-based pencil lead—into electrically conducting reduced graphite oxide (RGO).

Virus with sweet tooth makes kids sick

Scientists at Rice University have defined the structure, down to the atomic level, of a virus that is the second-leading cause of juvenile diarrhea. The findings could lead to the development of medications to block it before it becomes infectious.

Pollen fossils from Antarctic’s warmer days

By studying fossilized grains of pollen, researchers have reconstructed the climate history of the Antarctic Peninsula, which gave up its vegetation about 12 million years ago. Scientists are studying the region because it has warmed significantly in recent decades.

Coated sand filters dirty water

A bit of nanotech “magic” is turning sand into a super-effective water purifier. By coating coarse grains of sand with graphite oxide, researchers at Rice University have created a material that is several times more efficient at removing contaminants than sand alone. The breakthrough may benefit developing countries where more than a billion people lack clean drinking water.