discovery

Illuminating a sea turtle mystery

North Pacific loggerhead turtles’ years-long oceanic journeys remain poorly understood. Using data from satellite tracking and other techniques, scientists reveal a unique phenomenon that may explain the endangered migrants’ pathway.

An artful study of cellular development in leaves

Researchers tracked 20,000 cells to find out what made each unique and to learn how the cells coordinate to build a leaf. Collaboration with a visual artist added dimension to the work.

New technique reveals genes underlying human evolution

In separate studies, researchers compared gene regulation related to brain and face development in humans and chimpanzees using a new technique. In both cases, they discovered new genetic differences between these species.

A rapid-response vaccine could stop pandemics

James Swartz has spent a dozen years refining an underappreciated biotech technique into a radical new vaccine approach that could quickly protect billions of people from the next COVID-19-level pandemic.

First self-cooling fiber laser made with silica

Stanford researchers and a team of collaborators develop the first self-cooling optical fiber made of silica for laser applications and have quickly developed it into a laser amplifier – a critical step toward use in the real world.

Injectable gels could release medicines over time

Injecting patients with a gel that would dissolve over several months could replace the need to administer daily or weekly shots. But to make this possible, researchers first had to create a Jello-like substance that could defy one of the fundamental laws of nature.

A new way to forecast beach water quality

Using water samples and environmental data gathered over 48 hours or less, Stanford engineers develop a new predictive technique for forecasting coastal water quality, a critical step in protecting public health and the ocean economy.

Controlling chemistry with sculpted light

Using state-of-the-art fabrication and imaging, researchers watched the consequences of adding sculpted light to a catalyst during a chemical transformation. This work could inform more efficient – and potentially new – forms of catalysis.

New state of matter in one-dimensional quantum gas

By adding some magnetic flair to an exotic quantum experiment, physicists produced an ultra-stable one-dimensional quantum gas with never-before-seen “scar” states – a feature that could someday be useful for securing quantum information.