The big, shiny black solar panels you're used to seeing bolted onto south-facing rooftops may soon be obsolete, if researchers at UCLA's California NanoSystems Institute continue to advance solar nanoscience at their current lightspeed pace. In fact, you not only won't recognize the new technology, you won't even be able to see it -- because it will be virtually transparent. And instead of being mounted to the roof, these thin plastic flexible sheets will cover your windows and skylights, as well as smaller surfaces like the face of your smartphone or tablet. What if the sun's not shining brightly? No problem, because these polymer solar cells (PSCs) absorb mostly ultra-violet and near-infrared (NIR) light, rather than the visible light that more traditional solar technology relies upon.
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The University of Utah has explored and expoited a number of successful strategies to commercialize its intellectual capital in recent years. Their tech commercialization office is tireless in promoting its proprietary scientific solutions (see last month's blog: Science "Speed Teching" Drives Rapid Commercialization in Utah). But now we're starting to hear about another seriously innovative and fast-moving "laboratory" for cultivating new Salt Lake businesses, and it's a fairly new entity from the U of U's David Eccles School of Business called The Foundry. Instead of creating companies or corporate leaders, the Foundry is a hands-on training program designed to produce entrepreneurs who can identify a successful startup product/business and put together a qualified team to launch and run it.
At the University of Pennsylvania, Steve Fluharty is the senior vice provost for research, as well as a professor and researcher himself in the School of Veterinary Medicine. Now he's got one more hat to wear, as a member of the selection committee for the newly-announced Golden Goose Awards, sponsored by a congressional committee and supported by the AAAS and a broad base of other organizations and industry. At a time when basic research in particular is hard-tasked to justify its continued funding, the point of the awards is to look positively at the sometimes-serendipitous nature of scientific progress so as not to "kill the golden goose" (that lays the golden eggs), which all variations on the ancient fable agree is a really bad idea. Wikipedia says of the phrase: It is generally used of a short-sighted action that destroys the profitability of an asset. Exactly.
On-campus life science vendor shows are an excellent way for researchers to discover, examine, and discuss the laboratory products they need with informed sales reps from the companies that sell those products. At Biotechnology Calendar, Inc., we work hard to make sure that the scientists who come to our vendor shows get the most out of their experience there. Our science-educated event managers understand the challenges faced by researchers in the lab --and how valuable their time is-- so we bring suppliers and their wares directly onto university campuses to demonstrate the latest and best equipment.