Nanotech for hard drives licensed to local startup

Nanodyne Inc. of Dublin, Calif. has signed an exclusive option to license new technology developed at UC Davis called Metal Organic Silicon Thin Film (MOSTF) into a commercial prototype.

The technology is used to create thin films on surfaces, that can be used for a variety of purposes including biological measurements and silicon wafer processing, said Todd Armstrong, president and CEO of the company. Nanodyne plans to use MOSTF in the manufacturing of hard disk drives with dramatically increased disk capacity.

Armstrong said that the company is currently raising funds to complete a prototype using this early-stage technology, working with the UC Davis College of Engineering and its Northern California Nanotechnology Center.

NAS review gives a thumbs-up to the LSST

 This press release was issued by the Large Synoptic Survey Telescope consortium today. A committee of the National Academy of Sciences rated the telescope as a #1 priority for ground-based astronomy and astrophysics projects over the next ten years. Notable supporters of the telescope include Bill Gates, Google CEO Eric Schmidt, and philanthropist and space tourist Charles Simonyi. The project is lead by UC Davis physics professor Tony Tyson.

Large Synoptic Survey Telescope gets Top Ranking, “a Treasure Trove of Discovery”  

In a report released this morning, “New Worlds and New Horizons in Astronomy and Astrophysics,” a prestigious
committee convened by the National Research Council for the National Academy of Sciences ranked the Large Synoptic
Survey Telescope (LSST) as its top priority for the next large ground‐based astronomical facility.  The so‐called
“Astro2010” report states  “The committee recommends that LSST be submitted immediately for NSF’s Major Research
Equipment and Facilities Construction (MREFC) consideration with a view to achieving first light before the end of the
decade. …The top rank accorded to LSST is a result of (1) its compelling science case and capacity to address so many of
the science goals of this survey and (2) its readiness for submission to the MREFC process as informed by its technical
maturity, the survey’s assessment of risk, and appraised construction and operations costs. Having made considerable
progress in terms of its readiness since the 2001 survey, the committee judged that LSST was the most ready‐to‐go.”

Hot Microbes in the Frozen North

Is there anywhere UC Davis scientists will not go in search of weird microbes? In 2008, Bekah Shepard was piloting a miniature submarine in Pavilion Lake, British Columbia, in a NASA-supported expedition to study “living rocks” called microbialites. Last year, Shepard and geology professor Dawn Sumner spent several weeks camped out near a lake in Antarctica, again diving under feet of ice to study microbialites. Sumner is planning another trip south this Fall, according to her blog.

NYT: Breast milk, bacteria and babies

Much of human breast milk is indigestible to babies and goes instead to feed bacteria in their tiny guts, writes New York Times science correspondent Nicholas Wade in today’s Science Times. In what science blogger Charlie Petit calls a “nifty” story, Wade reports on work lead by three UC Davis scientists: Carlito Lebrilla, Bruce German and David Mills.

Complex sugars in milk provide a food source for a subspecies of Bifidobacterium longum or “bifido” in microbiology slang. Bifido coats the lining of the baby’s intestine, crowding out other, harmful bacteria. Other sugars in milk might bind directly to bacteria and cause them to clump up so that they are easily flushed out of the gut.