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The Daily Cardinal Est. 1892
Tuesday, October 03, 2023

Science in brief

“Science in brief” is a new column featured in the Daily Cardinal. Highlighting other science stories not covered in full, “Science in brief” hopes to shed light on the plethora of research the University of Wisconsin-Madison offers.

A UW-Madison geoscientist released a new app to help rock enthusiasts and those simply curious learn more about their geologic surroundings. Rockd, available for free on the App Store, is a portable GPS-enabled field guide developed by Shanan Peters in collaboration with Patrick McLaughlin, formerly at the Wisconsin Geological & Natural History Survey. Running on user-uploaded observations and photos, the creators hope Rockd will expand geologic interest and knowledge. “The special sauce for Rockd,” Peters said in a UW-Madison press release, “is the rich data we draw on because we have instant access to data from thousands of digitized studies of geology and paleontology.”

The university is getting a new system that will benefit all involved in nanotechnology research, including physics, chemistry, biology, electrical engineering, materials and information technology and medical research. An electron beam lithography system, crucial for helping building devices on the nanometer scale, is valued at $1.1 million and will be funded through various sources included a National Science Foundation Major Research Instrumentation grant. The project is led by Mark Eriksson, a professor in the physics department, who says the EBL system has potential to develop computer chip prototypes, develop catalyst materials, scale carbon nanotube field-effect transistors and much more.

UW-Madison scientists are working to perfect the implementation of a stem cell heart patch in an animal model. Timothy Kamp, a UW-Madison cardiologist and the co-director of the UW-Madison Stem Cell and Regenerative Medicine Center, and his team worked to engineer tissue that is composed of various heart muscle materials to create the heart patches. The patches would then replace diseased or damaged tissue and help the heart maintain a normal beat. Although many hurdles await the team, noted by Kamp, testing the patches in animal hearts remains the last big step toward human patient trials.

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