First up this week, News Intern Rodrigo Pérez-Ortega talks with host Meagan Cantwell about an oasis of biodiversity in the striking blue pools of Cuatro Ciénegas, a basin in northern Mexico. Researchers have published dozens of papers exploring the unique microorganisms that thrive in this area, while at the same time fighting large agricultural industries draining the precious water from the pools.
David Tatnell, a postgraduate researcher at the University of Exeter, talks with host Sarah Crespi about using heat to make sound, a phenomenon known as thermoacoustics. Just like the sound of fire or thunder, sudden changes in temperature can create sound waves. In his team’s paper in Science Advances, Tatnell and colleagues describe a thermoacoustic speaker that uses thin, heated films to make sound. This approach cuts out the crosstalk seen in mechanical speakers and allows for extreme miniaturization of sound production. In the ultrasound range, arrays of thermoacoustic speakers could improve acoustic levitation and ultrasound imaging. In the hearing range, the speakers could be made extremely small, flexible, and even transparent.