Exciting change is on the way! Please join us at nsf.gov for the latest news on NSF-funded research. While the NSF Science360 page and daily newsletter have now been retired, there’s much happening at nsf.gov. You’ll find current research news on the homepage and much more to explore throughout the site. Best of all, we’ve begun to build a brand-new website that will bring together news, social media, multimedia and more in a way that offers visitors a rich, rewarding, user-friendly experience.

Want to continue to receive email updates on the latest NSF research news and multimedia content? On September 23rd we’ll begin sending those updates via GovDelivery. If you’d prefer not to receive them, please unsubscribe now from Science360 News and your email address will not be moved into the new system.

Thanks so much for being part of the NSF Science360 News Service community. We hope you’ll stay with us during this transition so that we can continue to share the many ways NSF-funded research is advancing knowledge that transforms our future.

For additional information, please contact us at NewsTravels@nsf.gov

Top Story

Wriggling microtubules help explain coupling of 'active' defects and curvature

Imagine a tiny donut-shaped droplet, covered with wriggling worms. The worms are packed so tightly together that they must locally line up with respect to each other. In this situation, we would say the worms form a nematic liquid crystal, an ordered phase similar to the materials used in many flat panel displays. However, the nematic phase formed by the worms is filled with tiny regions where the local alignment is lost--defects in the otherwise aligned material. In addition, because the worms are constantly moving and changing their configuration, this nematic phase is active and far from equilibrium. Researchers have described the results of a combined theoretical and experimental examination of such an active nematic on the surface of donut-shaped--toroidal--droplets. However, the researchers didn’t use actual worms, but an active nematic composed of flexible filaments covered with microscopic engines that are constantly converting energy into motion.

Visit Website | Image credit: Perry Ellis/Georgia Tech