Nifty Fifty

USA Science and Engineering Festival: The Blog

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If researcher Angela Belcher has her way, electric cars of the future will be equipped with lightweight, inexpensive batteries that can store enough electricity to make driving such vehicles even more practical. Also on her laboratory “to do” list: developing tougher electronic material so that you’ll never lose your computer again to an errant glass…

Microbes Rule the World

Watch a little about Microbes from the Fall 2010 USA Science and Engineering Festival. The average science student knows that microbiology is the study of bacteria and other microorganisms, especially those that cause disease and other threats to health. But what the public often does not realize is that the work of the microbiologist is…

For David Bolinsky – the co-creator, with his talented team, of the highly-acclaimed computer animated science film, The Inner Life of a Cell – the plunge into the wonders of medical animation began at age four when he went to see the movie Fantasia. From that moment, he was hooked. “That did it for me,”…

She has developed some of the world’s most famous robots – humanoid creatures like “Kismet” (a robotic head that has been widely featured in international media) and “Nexi,” a mobile dexterous social robot that learns from and interacts with people in an intelligent, life-like and sociable manner. But Cynthia Breazeal, associate professor of Media Arts…

Nominated by: Marine scientist and deep-sea explorer Edith (Edie) Widder sometimes can’t believe the beautiful, natural rewards of her job. Deep beneath the surface of the ocean in her submersible vehicle where the marine world is dark, quiet and peaceful, often all she has to do is sit back and be treated to a spectacular…

Nominated by The world deep beneath the surface of the ocean is a dark, mysterious, and fascinating place. Renowned oceanographer David Gallo should know — he’s been there numerous times. “Sea life at those depths — two to three miles down– is also bizarre, resilient, beautiful and shockingly abundant,” he adds. A pioneer in ocean…

Heather Knight is an engineer on a mission. Known as a social roboticist, she is constantly thinking about new ways to make robots charismatic, giving them the necessary personality and social skills to interact with humans in meaningful ways. Her work includes developing a cuddly robot called “Data” (named after the Star Trek character) who…

Confessions of an Original Storm Chaser

Meet Storm Chaser Josh Wurman and Discover first-hand from this original storm chaser what it’s like to track and study deadly tornadoes across the Kansas landscape and stare down wicked hurricanes off the Gulf of Mexico! You could say Josh Wurman was born to chase storms. Even as kid he was adventurous with a penchant…

Meet Nifty Fifty Speaker, Ben Gulak. Unique, amazing inventions – and the story behind how they came about – always inspire us. Such is the story of Benjamin Gulak, who, as a teenager growing up in Ontario, Canada had a special wish: that one day he be known for his inventions – inventions that would…

Re-engaging boys in learning

From lack of role models in the elementary classroom to a learning culture that isn’t engaging boys in the learning process, meet Nifty Fifty Speaker Ali Carr-Chellman who talks about how to change these things. –For every 100 girls suspended from school there are 250 boys suspended from school. –For every 200 girls expelled from…