USA Science and Engineering Festival: The Blog

Archives for June, 2011

Karen Panetta sometimes has to laugh at the way engineers are portrayed in drawings by young students at the schools she visits. The children’s crayoned pictures usually depict boorish, geeky male stick figures wearing glasses; some of them have buck teeth and pimples, “and they’re most always carrying wrenches,” says Karen. Such are the musings…

As deputy administrator of NASA, Lori Garver is NASA’s second in command. She works closely with its administrator to provide leadership, planning, and policy direction for the agency. Together they represent NASA to the Executive Office of the President, Congress, heads of government agencies, international organizations and external organizations and communities. She also oversees the…

Metals have often been overlooked as a viable field for innovation, but materials scientist Ainissa Ramirez is helping to change that. Her groundbreaking research has resulted in new ways to control and shape metals into materials that can be put to practical everyday use – from producing stronger circuitry for cell phones to developing more…

Overseeing the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) – the country’s largest water, earth and biological scientific and civilian mapping agency — seems a natural fit for Marcia McNutt. She’s a Navy Seals-trained underwater demolition and explosives expert, earthquake scientist, avid lover of the ocean — and a leading geophysicist who brings vast academic and scientific background…

A new age is dawning in U.S. space exploration: Entrepreneurs such as Richard Branson, Elon Musk, and Jeff Bezos, are working to open up human spaceflight, once the domain only of governments, to the private sector and the public. Soon, anyone will be able to go to space just by purchasing a ticket on a…

In her laboratory, scientist Elizabeth “Liz” Cottrell uses sophisticated equipment to simulate the extreme conditions found deep below volcanoes – creating pressures equivalent to the center of the Earth and temperatures hotter than the sun. Her experiments at the micron scale are shedding light on the processes that have shaped our planet. Liz is a…

The humpback whale – 25 to 40 tons of pure majesty in motion. That’s how most of us would describe these compelling, formidable animals if we were lucky enough to observe them as they languidly follow their migration routes. Noted conservationist Nan Daeschler Hauser is indeed one of the lucky ones. Working from her remote…

The human hand – four fingers and a thumb. When we lose it due to injury, we’ve lost something that truly makes us human. That’s a key reason why the Pentagon’s “Revolutionizing Prosthetics” program, a $100 million multi-disciplinary effort in science and engineering is so important. It is working towards building a robotic arm with…