The National Science Foundation is funding a collaborative effort between NASA and the University of Buffalo's Department of Physics to develop a new type of shock-absorbing system that may one day protect skyscrapers, bridges, shops, and automobile bumpers from powerful impacts. Surajit Sen, an associate professor of physics at the university, designed the new shock-absorbing system that consists of a long, cone-shaped chain of spheres. The sphere positioned closest to the expected source of a shock impulse is the largest. Each subsequent sphere is slightly smaller, with the smallest sphere positioned closest to the thing needing protection from shock. As mass is reduced, the energy of the impulse is distributed, according to Sen. He envisions a structural material embedded with chains of the spheres. For more information, call (716) 645-5000, send e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org, or visit www.buffalo.edu.
The amount of plastic clogging the ocean continues to grow. Some startling, not-so-good news has come out recently about the roles plastic is playing in the ocean, as well as more heartening news about efforts to collect and reuse it.
Some of our culture's most enduring robots appeared in the 80s. The Aliens series produced another evil android, and we saw light robot fare in the form of Short Circuit. Two of the great robots of all time also showed up: The Terminator and RoboCop.
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