Science and Technology

Photo: Stanford water purification technology

Stanford researchers are tackling freshwater challenges around the globe

As the world's population grows, so does the demand for – and threat to – the planet's freshwater supply. Stanford researchers are developing a range of promising solutions to freshwater challenges around the globe.

Illustration of how the process works / Credit: Clemens Research Group

New Stanford manufacturing process could yield better solar cells, faster chips

Silicon isn't the only chip-making material under the sun, just the cheapest. But a new process could make the alternative material, gallium arsenide, more cost effective.  

hummingbird / Courtesy David Lentink

Stanford engineer helps crack mystery of bird flight

A team led by mechanical engineer David Lentink has identified the design qualities that make bird wings famously efficient over a wide range of flight styles. The research could lead to improved aircraft design.  

Computer science assistant professor Michael Bernstein and graduate student Niloufar Salehi / Rod Searcey

Stanford collaborates on research to help online groups organize themselves

Making decisions and taking actions require leadership tools to minimize infighting and focus the energy on action.

Battle of the basketball robots

Stanford students build basketball-shooting robots

This year's Mechanical Engineering 210 competition, held in front of a large, cheering crowd, featured bots that shoot and dunk as many "basketballs" as possible in under two minutes. The competition ends a quarter in which the students learn about mechanics, electronics and computer programming.  

Tatiana Engel

Stanford neuroscientists find that noisy neurons are critical for learning

A computer model of brain function helps explain a 20-year-old finding that the way a single noisy neuron fires in the brain can predict an animal's decisions. It turns out neurons without noise can't learn.

African cichlid fish

Stanford biologists show how the evolution of physical traits can influence behavior

African cichlid fish attract mates by building different types of small sand structures, called bowers. Stanford biology Professor Russell Fernald and others have shown how the rapid evolution of other physical traits has played a role in determining bower shape.  

K.C. Huang

Stanford researchers unravel secrets of shape-shifting bacteria

Working on observations of bacteria going undercover in ways that might trick the human immune system, Stanford bioengineers have created a time-lapse video that shows this process step by step.  

Drops of food coloring

Stanford researchers solve the mystery of the dancing droplets

Years of research satisfy a graduate student's curiosity about the molecular minuet he observed among drops of ordinary food coloring.  

Ant-Man / Marvel Entertainment LLC

Scientists shrink ants to study mechanisms that control DNA expression

By shrinking ants, biologists present a model for understanding how environmental factors can influence DNA expression.  

heart-shaped sketch of cardiac rhythm

Stanford launches smartphone app to study heart health

A free iPhone app allows users to contribute to a study of human heart health while learning about the health of their own hearts, and uses a new software framework developed by Apple.

Tiny device designed to deliver therapies inside human body

Stanford SystemX seeks to make information technologies even more pervasive

Stanford refocuses its 30-year-old industrial research partnership to invent hardware, software and systems capable of monitoring health, managing energy, sensing environmental conditions and controlling the Internet of Things.

Fran├žois R. Bouchet / Courtesy Fran├žois R. Bouchet

Bunyan Lecture at Stanford: We are children of the vacuum, says astrophysicist

French astrophysicist François R. Bouchet will tell the story of the beginning of the universe – with a plot twist recently revealed by the Planck satellite mission – when he delivers Stanford's Bunyan Lecture March 11.

Marine animals through time

Stanford researchers discover that animal functional diversity started out poor, became richer over time

The finding refutes a hypothesis by the famed evolutionary biologist Stephen J. Gould that marine creatures underwent an "early burst" of functional diversity during the dawn of animal life.

Image of  Lake McClure with a very low water level. Photo: Florence Low

Warming temperatures implicated in recent California droughts, Stanford scientists say

In California, warm, dry years are more likely to lead to severe drought than dry, cool years, and the probability of warm and dry conditions coinciding is likely to climb.