Correction, 7/1/2015: This article originally identified Dr Michael Brown as a professor of planetary astrology. He is a professor of planetary astronomy.
This episode of TechKnow continues the exploration of new technology and its impact on lives in a first ever on-the-road special.
Our contributors head to the California Institute of Technology (Caltech), one of the world's most recognisable and active science institutions, which has captured the imagination of popular culture, having been featured in television shows such as The Big Bang Theory, to check out some of the groundbreaking research and discoveries coming out of the labs.
The name of the game here is how you generate energy and how you consume it, and in biological systems whether it's a school of fish in the ocean, a flock of birds or just a plant growing in the field, they've come across ways to very efficiently generate energy and to consume it efficiently as well. And so our goal is to use concepts from physics to extract how they do that and apply it to systems like wind energy and underwater vehicles.
We speak to MacArthur 'Genius Grant' recipient and Caltech professor of aeronautics and bioengineering, Dr John Dabiri, about mimicking nature in the lab. Dabiri explains how he is studying nature to better understand how to make devices more energy efficient.
According to him, underwater patterns of schools of fish can be used to improve the efficiency of wind turbines, and "stealing ideas" from jellyfish movements to develop underwater vehicles - research that the US Navy is interested in.
At the crossroads of space and disease research is the work of Dr Gwen Owens who has been sending protein crystals up to the International Space Station in order to come up with a treatment for Huntington's disease.
We also meet Dr Michael Brown, the professor of plantary astrology who is better known as the man who "killed" Pluto, and speak to him about what happened when the planet was declassified.
And we dip into the work of graduate students who are looking at whether trees are responsible for smog and how water changes landscapes.
What can the ocean's jellyfish teach us about energy efficiency and climate change? Why are scientists sending their research into space to learn more about a human degenerative disease? And why does Dr Michael Brown say Pluto "really had it coming"?
Our TechKnow contributors Dr. Shini Somara, a mechanical engineer, Crystal Dilworth, a molecular neuroscientist, and entomologist Phil Torres delve into these questions and more at the one of the world's leading science and engineering universities.
Source: Al Jazeera