The more time you spend talking with smart people about the energy future, the more you hear about the holy grail: great batteries. To that end, a couple of recent developments in BatteryLand are encouraging news. The first battery of interest comes from MIT:
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A radically new approach to the design of batteries, developed by researchers at MIT, could provide a lightweight and inexpensive alternative to existing batteries for electric vehicles and the power grid. The technology could even make “refueling” such batteries as quick and easy as pumping gas into a conventional car. The new battery relies on an innovative architecture called a semi-solid flow cell, in which solid particles are suspended in a carrier liquid and pumped through the system. In this design, the battery’s active components — the positive and negative electrodes, or cathodes and anodes — are composed of particles suspended in a liquid electrolyte. These two different suspensions are pumped through systems separated by a filter, such as a thin porous membrane.
On his trip to Seattle, Stephen Dubner encounters the best coffee he’s ever tasted. The recipe comes straight from two former World Barista Champions. Read More »
As dangerous levels of radiation thwart emergency work at Japan’s damaged Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Station, Japanese military fire trucks have reportedly resorted to spraying spent fuel rods with water in an effort to cool them. Read More »
Last week, in Part 1 of our “Waiter, There’s a Physicist in My Soup!” podcast, we looked at the movement to bring more science into the kitchen, embodied by the efforts of physicist/chef/inventor Nathan Myhrvold and his forthcoming cookbook Modernist Cuisine: The Art and Science of Cooking. We also heard from Alice Waters, the champion of organic and slow food, who thinks we need to get back to basics, with less technology in our food.
In Part 2, we get out of the kitchen and take a broader look at the past, present and future of food science. Read More »
Our latest Freakonomics Radio podcast (you can download/subscribe at iTunes, get the RSS feed, listen live via the link in box at right or read a transcript here) is called “Waiter, There’s a Physicist in My Soup.” It’s the first segment of a two-parter about food and food science; it’s also about why we eat what we eat, and how that may change in the future. The first episode takes a look at the “molecular gastronomy” movement, which gets a big bump in visibility next month with the publication of a mammoth cookbook called Modernist Cuisine: The Art and Science of Cooking. Its principal author is Nathan Myhrvold, the former chief technology officer of Microsoft who now runs an invention company called Intellectual Ventures. Read More »
Molecular gastronomists are altering and reimagining our food: from flavored foams to dry ice for dessert. But you have to wonder, have the practical applications of science in the kitchen taken a back seat to all this whimsy? Read More »