USA Science and Engineering Festival: The Blog

Archives for May, 2011

If there is one piece of advice that marine biologist and Nifty Fifty Speaker April Croxton would give young students aspiring to pursue a career in science it would be: Don’t narrow down your career choice in science too early. “Science is so vast an area, encompassing so many disciplines, some of them often intersecting…

Bees represent some of the most resilient, adaptable and enterprising insects on earth. Not only that, they pollinate about one-third of all the food we eat. So when honey bees began dying or disappearing at alarming rates in the U.S. and around the world more than four years ago, scientists such as Nifty Fifty Speaker…

It is well after 1 a.m. on May 11, 2010. Karen Kosiba, a post-doctoral scientist for the Center for Severe Weather Research (CSWR) in Boulder, CO, takes a breather in her Doppler on Wheels weather research vehicle in Perry, Oklahoma, a rural town 60 miles north of Oklahoma City. She and her fellow CSWR scientists…

Like the stars she studies, Nifty Fifty Speaker and astrophysicist Maura McLaughlin has reached some lofty heights in her young career as she works to shed further light on the Universe and the physical laws governing it, including Einstein’s theory of relativity. Maura is an assistant astrophysics professor at West Virginia University where her work…

Nifty Fifty Speaker Carl Zimmer is often called one of the nation’s most astute, informed and lyrical science writers. Specializing in communicating about the wonders and mysteries of evolution, biology and neuroscience, Carl Zimmer – in such books as The Tangled Bank, Parasite Rex, and Soul Made Flesh – writes with such grace, skill and…

Like a detective on the hunt, researcher and Nifty Fifty Speaker Sarah Fortune is trying to figure out how Mycobacterium tuberculosis – the bacterium that causes tuberculosis (TB) – is able to defend itself so well against drug treatment and the body’s immune system. The challenge is a daunting one. As much as one-third of…

What would you say if a group of primary school children achieved the unprecedented task of having their school research project accepted for publication in an internationally recognized peer-reviewed science journal? “Unbelievable,” you would probably retort. But that’s what happened when a cadre of 25 eight to ten year-old British students participated in an innovative…

Meet physicist Andrew Zwicker who is working to raise the status of plasmas in science education. A plasma physicist by training, Andrew is Head of Science Education at Princeton University’s Plasma Physics Laboratory (PPPL) where he spends much of his time introducing high school students, undergraduates and K-12 teachers to the glowing, ionized gases that…

Meet Nifty Fifty evolutionary biologist Beth Shapiro who spends her days peering into the past. Her work in the emerging research field of ancient DNA takes her on a fascinating journey through time – collecting and studying the genetic samples of giant mammoths, saber-toothed cats, mastodons, dodo birds and other extinct animals, and piecing together…