Oxygen levels link to ancient explosion of life

A team of researchers, including a faculty member and postdoctoral fellow from Washington University, found that oxygen levels appear to increase at about the same time as a three-fold increase in biodiversity during the Ordovician Period, between 445 and 485 million years ago, according to a study published Nov. 20 in Nature Geoscience.

Advance hastens practicality of superconductivity

Nobody completely understands superconductors. So fathom how James S. Schilling, Ph.D., led a team that makes the phenomenon work better. Schilling, a professor of physics in Arts & Sciences at Washington University in St. Louis, collaborated with recent doctoral graduate Takahiro Tomita and scientists at Argonne (Ill.) National Laboratory to determine whether one region in superconductors, called grain boundaries (GB), are oxygen deficient. Such oxygen deficiency impairs superconductor performance. The group developed a technique that estimates how much oxygen is present in a critical region of superconductors called grain boundaries. More…