Science Highlights

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Each year, scientists with the Office of Science, at our national laboratories, and supported by the Office of Science at the nation’s colleges and universities, publish thousands of research findings in the scientific literature. About 200 of these are selected annually by their respective program areas in the Office of Science as publication highlights of special note.

For the archive of past publication highlights, click here.

January 22, 2019
Revealed: Structure of Proton in Liquid Water
Water is the universal solvent, important in biology, geology, and industrial processes. For some time, computational simulations suggested that
January 21, 2019
New Probe for the Secrets of Complex Interfaces
Understanding the detailed nature of complex interfaces has become a quest of profound significance, as it underlies urgently needed advances in
January 20, 2019
Community Matters When Using Algae to Produce Energy
The researchers observed mutualistic interactions between heterotrophic bacteria and two species of biofuels-relevant microalgae,
January 20, 2019
Uncovering the Microbial Food Web in Thawing Permafrost
Large amounts of soil carbon sequestered in permafrost are becoming available for microbial degradation as permafrost thaws. Its fate is unclear;
January 20, 2019
Getting To Know the Microbes that Drive Climate Change
Over the last two decades, scientists have learned a great deal about the impacts of ocean viruses on microbial mortality, carbon and nutrient
January 18, 2019
A Challenging Future for Tropical Forests
Tropical forests absorb a significant amount of atmospheric carbon dioxide. Tree death reverses this process by shutting off photosynthesis and
January 14, 2019
Observing Clouds in Four Dimensions
Shallow cumulus clouds play a large role in Earth's current energy balance, and their response to global warming makes a large and uncertain
January 14, 2019
Rapid Lake Draining on Ice Sheets Changes How Water Moves in Unexpected Ways
Moulins are holes that funnel water on the surface of a glacier or ice sheet to its base. There, the water acts like a lubricant and may cause the
January 14, 2019
New Historical Emissions Trends Estimated with the Community Emissions Data System
Country-to-country differences in compiling emissions data make it difficult to construct consistent time series of past emissions across regions.
January 11, 2019
Peering into the Mist: How Water Vapor Changes Metal at the Atomic Level
Scientists studied the effect of water vapor and elevated temperatures on a nickel-chromium alloy. They directly observed oxide growth on the alloy
January 11, 2019
Microbial Types May Prove Key to Gas Releases from Thawing Permafrost
Scientists collected soil samples from Stordalen Mire in northern Sweden, an Arctic peatland ecosystem that is undergoing permafrost thaw, to
January 11, 2019
New Method Knocks Out Yeast Genes with Single-Point Precision
Researchers developed a method called CRISPRCas9- and homology-directed-repair-assisted genome-scale engineering (CHAnGE) using libraries of
January 9, 2019
How Plants Regulate Sugar Deposition in Cell Walls
Mixed-linkage glucan (MLG) is an energy-rich polysaccharide found at high levels in some grass endosperm cell walls and at lower amounts in other
January 9, 2019
Scientists Identify Gene Cluster in Budding Yeasts with Major Implications for Renewable Energy
Despite the discovery of an iron-binding pigment known as pulcherrimin 65 years ago, the genes responsible for its biosynthesis remained
December 26, 2018
More Designer Peptides, More Possibilities
Scientists from the University of Washington, Stanford University, and the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL) created a computational
December 23, 2018
Deep Learning for Electron Microscopy
MENNDL, an artificial intelligence system, automatically designed an optimal deep learning network to extract structural information from raw
December 18, 2018
Clarifying Rates of Methylmercury Production
Mercury is a toxic element that occurs naturally and as an anthropogenic pollutant in the environment. The neurotoxin monomethylmercury (MMHg) is a
December 18, 2018
Small Particles Play Large Role in Tropical Thunderstorms
The biggest challenge in unraveling the effect of aerosols on clouds and climate is isolating their effects from changes due to other environmental
December 18, 2018
Drought Stress Changes Microbes Living at Sorghum’s Roots
Drought stress can greatly reduce the health and productivity of plants, including candidate bioenergy feedstocks such as sorghum. Microbial
December 12, 2018
How to Best Predict Chemical Reactions of Contaminants in Water
The availability of fresh water is a global issue that’s driving interest in ways to turn wastewater into clean water. Purifying wastewater
December 12, 2018
How to Get Nuanced Details at the Top of the World
Researchers designed a novel strategy that exploits measurements obtained four ways: 1) electrical resistivity tomography to monitor soil
December 12, 2018
Ice Formed by Contact Freezing: Pressure Matters, Not Just Temperature
In the atmosphere, droplets of liquid water are frequently found at temperatures below the freezing point of water (0 degrees Celsius) down to
December 12, 2018
Future Loss of Arctic Sea-Ice Cover Could Contribute to the Substantial Decrease in California’s Rainfall
The dramatic Arctic sea-ice loss observed over the satellite era has intensified debate into whether these high-latitude changes are affecting
December 11, 2018
During Droughts, Bacteria Help Sorghum Continue Growing
Researchers from the University of California at Berkeley, University of California at Davis, Agricultural Research Service of the U.S. Department
December 6, 2018
The Biermann Battery Effect: Spontaneous Generation of Magnetic Fields and Their Severing
Magnetic reconnection occurs when oppositely directed magnetic fields are forced together in plasmas, which are excellent electrical conductors. A