This Light Bulb Will Get Its Glow From Bacteria, Not Electricity
Taking the fireflies-in-a-jar concept to an entirely new level, a team of undergraduates has made it to the finals of a scientific competition with their BioBulb project. The secret ingredient: Genetically-engineered E. coli.
Kecia Lynn has worked as a technical writer, editor, software developer, arts administrator, summer camp director, and television host. A graduate of Case Western Reserve University and the Iowa Writers' Workshop, she is currently living in Iowa City and working on her first novel.
What's the Latest Development?
University of Wisconsin-Madison students AnaElise Beckman, Alexandra Cohn, and Michael Zaiken recently launched a crowdfunding campaign to help them continue research and development for a light bulb that will get its glow not from electricity, but from bacteria -- E. coli, to be specific -- that's been genetically engineered to bioluminesce. In a video describing the project, Zaiken says the BioBulb is "essentially a closed ecosystem in a jar...[containing] several different species of microorganisms, and each organism plays a role in the recycling of vital nutrients that each of the other microbes need to survive." The project earned the team a spot in the finals of the RocketHub-Popular Science #CrowdGrant Challenge.
What's the Big Idea?
In the video, Beckman says that the BioBulb project will help call attention to the growing field of synthetic biology, which could potentially "advance the medical field, improve food production to end world hunger, and create energy-efficient products to fuel our futures." Eventually, they'd like the bulb to be available in kit form, but there are still a number of challenges to overcome before that happens, such as figuring out the best combination of genes and organisms to include.
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In a breakthrough for nuclear fusion research, scientists at China's Experimental Advanced Superconducting Tokamak (EAST) reactor have produced temperatures necessary for nuclear fusion on Earth.
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Military recruits are supposed to be assessed to see whether they're fit for service. What happens when they're not?
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- Project 100,000 recruits were killed in disproportionate numbers and fared worse after their military service than their civilian peers, making the program one of the biggest—and possibly cruelest—mistakes of the Vietnam War.
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- Women and nonwhite candidates made record gains in the 2018 midterms.
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