An unlikely route to ferroelectricity

( -- Ferroelectricity, which was first observed in the 1940s, is an interesting phenomenon involving the spontaneous (non-induced) formation of charge polarization (separation of charge) in certain materials. This ...

A salt-free primordial soup?

Most scientists who study the origin of life assume that it occurred in the ocean. But a minority view is that ions in seawater may interfere with prebiotic chemistry, making a freshwater environment more likely.

Rotation is key to understanding volcanic plumes

( -- A 200-year-old report by a sea captain and a stunning photograph of the 2008 eruption of Mount Chaiten are helping scientists at the University of Illinois better understand strong volcanic plumes.