Nifty Fifty

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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…

Since leaving her native Saudi Arabia to pursue her dream in biotechnology, Hayat Sindi, a nanotechnology researcher and bio tech entrepreneur, has already reached some prodigious milestones in her young career, such as: –Overcoming formidable cultural and personal obstacles to become the first woman from the Gulf Region to earn a Ph.D. in biotechnology. –Becoming…

When Alan McCormack began his career in education several decades ago as a seventh-grade science teacher in Poughkeepsie, N.Y., he tried everything he could to enhance students’ interest in the concepts of science. “I first thought I could be successful automatically just by following techniques used by my college science professors — lecturing and writing…

The Space Shuttle lifting off and headed for the nether regions of space, although a majestic sight, is one of the most grueling and critical parts of the space mission because of all the raw power and energy expended by the craft. NASA astronaut John Mace Grunsfeld knows the experience well. He’s flown on five…

Pulitzer Prize-winning science writer Natalie Angier has spent her entire career translating complex scientific research information into engaging, stimulating prose that the average person can understand. In fact, says Marcela Valdes of Publisher’s Weekly: “She is the kind of woman you wish you’d had beside you in high school chemistry–tiny, ferociously intelligent, she’d eye you…

We’ve all seen (and used) them: seemingly endless amounts of plastic and Styrofoam material for shipping and packaging everything from televisions and computers to toys and mail parcels. But we often never think about the impact those reams of bubble wrap and blocks of foam will have on our landfills and other parts of the…

In her quest to study the fundamentals of climate change, prominent geochemist and climatologist Kim Cobb has sailed on six oceanographic research voyages and led five caving expeditions to the rainforests of Borneo. Her challenge: working out of her primary research base in the tropical Pacific, how to better understand and reconstruct climate variability of…

Meet Nifty Fifty speaker Ben Dubin-Thaler. With a refreshing measure of ingenuity, Ben Dubin-Thaler is proving that some of the most exciting lessons in science can occur outside the classroom – in a bus. That’s the Cell Motion BioBus, a self-powered, fully-equipped mobile microscopy lab that Ben developed and operates to bring hands-on science education…

As a young student growing up in the late 1940s and early 1950s, Charles (Chuck) Vest remembers taking endless aptitude tests in school – all of them indicating that he should become a journalist, a psychologist or a historian. Engineer was way down on the list, test results always revealed, strongly suggesting he had little…

How does the brain create and perceive music? More specifically, what goes on inside the heads of musicians when they’re in the groove composing a song or improvising with their instruments or voice? These questions have long intrigued researcher Charles Limb, and to find answers he’s turned to studying the brains of some likely individuals:…