Berkeley, California - At first, it sounds ominous: Molten salts, heated to 600 or even 900 °C (about 1,700°F, pumped through the pipes surrounding a nuclear reactor. But a molten salt mixture may make a smart substitute for water to extract heat from nuclear reactors - or thermal solar power plants - and deliver it to turbines to generate electricity.

Washington, DC - Doors that are obviously meant to be pushed not pulled, footprints painted on the floor telling you where to stand at the airport - these are examples of good design and usability. You don’t have to think too hard about what to do because someone else put a lot of thought into how to get across the right way to open the door or where to form a line.

Cambridge, Massachusetts - Today, 21 percent of the air we breathe is made up of molecular oxygen. But this gas was not always in such ample, life-sustaining supply, and in fact was largely absent from the atmosphere for the first 2 billion years of Earth’s history. When, then, did oxygen first accumulate in the atmosphere?

Boulder, Colorado - Honeybees use their wings to cool down their hives when temperatures rise, but new University of Colorado Boulder research shows that this intriguing behavior may be linked to both the rate of heating and the size of a honeybee group.

Washington, DC - Six teams have been selected to advance their product ideas into prototypes to compete for $230,000 in the Open Science Prize (link is external), a global science competition to make both the outputs from science and the research process broadly accessible to the public. The finalists, announced at the 7th Health Datapalooza Conference in Washington, D.C., were selected out of 96 multinational, interdisciplinary teams representing 450 innovators from 45 countries.

San Diego, California - Since the 1980s, illicit use of androgenic and anabolic steroids has spread from elite athletes into the general population. Despite the high level of steroid use among amateur athletes, little is known about this population. Mayo Clinic researchers sought to identify and characterize patterns of anabolic-androgenic steroids (AAS) in a cohort of this population. “Current estimates are that 1 million to 3 million amateur athletes use steroids in the U.S.,” says the study’s lead author, Mary Westerman, M.D., a urology fellow at Mayo Clinic.