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Sunday, May 09, 2021

Science

UW-Madison's Badgerloop placed high and won an innovation award Sunday at the SpaceX Hyperloop Pod Competition II in Hawthorne, Calif.
SCIENCE

Badgerloop reveals newest Hyperloop pod to public

The Badgerloop team unveiled their latest pod on June 17 in the Engineering Hall to the public. This coming August, they will take their pod and travel to Hawthorne, California to compete in the SpaceX Hyperloop Competition II. Sponsors and community members got up close to the pod and talked with Badgerloop members who worked on different aspects of the pod, including electrical systems, virtual reality, propulsion, feasibility and more. Badgerloop is a student organization at UW-Madison comprising of mostly undergraduate students.


Kevin Barnett works in a lab at the department of energy bioenergy technologies office at UW-Madison to better the procedure for deriving 1,5-pentanediol, a possible substitute for a petroleum-like chemical.
SCIENCE

Cheaper, more sustainable way to produce plastic precursors

Scientists and engineers at UW-Madison developed an economically feasible process to synthesize a possible substitute for petroleum-derived chemicals from non-edible biomass. This substitute, called 1,5-pentanediol, is a type of alpha, omega-diol that has two alcohol groups attached at the beginning and the end of a long carbon chain, which is mostly synthesized as a byproduct of other commercially produced diols. The research was published this April in the journal, ChemSusChem. “We hope to be able to make larger quantities and volumes and be able to put it in the applications that are currently used for other molecules,” said Zachary Brentzel, a graduate research assistant in college of engineering at UW-Madison and the first author of this paper.


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SCIENCE

UW botanist studies extraterrestrial life

How did we get here? This is one of the most deep-seated questions in the human race. It is also David Baum’s, exobiologist in the department of botany at UW Madison, research. Life must have started at some moment when the “soupy mixture” of chemicals and minerals stopped being random and became alive. But what does it mean to be alive?


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SCIENCE

UW progresses in Alexander disease research

Previous research explained the trademark protein accumulation by assuming an Alexander disease patient had a reduced ability to degrade and clear the protein. However, a recent study discovered the rate of GFAP protein degradation is actually increased in the pathology of the disease.


Newly found microfossils suggest life existed in the hostile, low-oxygen early earth conditions.
SCIENCE

Newly discovered fossils are oldest evidence of life

Four billion years ago, Earth was a hostile place with a thin atmosphere made mainly of carbon dioxide, volcanoes everywhere and oxygen levels too low to support air-breathing organisms. Nonetheless, a recent discovery of 4.28—3.75 billion-year-old microfossils suggests life existed under such conditions.


Listeria, stained green in this image, invades a monkey's uterus during the first trimester of pregnancy.
SCIENCE

Listeria poses risks in early pregnancy

Researchers at the UW-Madison recently found that listeriosis, the infection caused by the foodborne bacteria called Listeria, damages the placenta and results in miscarriages during the early stages of pregnancy in non-human primates.


SCIENCE

Dispelling the concerns, misconceptions of GMOs

Although genetically engineered foods made their first appearance on grocery store shelves back in 1994, they still remain a topic of contention in today’s society. While some believe GE foods are the key to feeding Earth’s growing population, others see them as a threat to human and environmental health. These attitudes are shaped by a myriad of different stakeholders. The consensus of a National Academy of Sciences committee, as noted in their recent report on GE crops, is that no GE food created to date poses a threat to environmental or human health.


Badgerloop revealed their pod last December at a public event. The 15-foot, 2,100-pound pod did not take an attempt at the test track, but the team received an innovation award for their years' long work.
SCIENCE

Badgerloop wins innovation award

Badgerloop, a team of mostly UW-Madison undergraduate engineering students, won an innovation award at last weekend’s SpaceX Hyperloop competition in California. Badgerloop began after SpaceX released a student Hyperloop competition with hopes to accelerate the implementation of Elon Musk’s idea of futuristic high-speed transportation.


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