Mathematics is about numbers, shapes, symmetry, chance, change and more. Much more! Math is not only the most rigorous mental discipline ever invented, it's among the richest, most wide-ranging and most useful. Mathematics is also central to the information revolution. Downloadable music files, DVD movies, digital special effects and secure online credit card transactions, essentially any software application you can think of, owes its existence not just to computers, but to the mathematical algorithms that run on computers.

Image modeling for biomedical organs

Professor Jessica Zhang discusses the interdisciplinary nature of the Bioengineered Organs Imitative and how her research in mechanical engineering can contribute to the initiative.

Peoples Choice: Primarily Math

Primarily Math is a professional development program for primary-grade teachers (K-3) in Nebraska, designed to educate and strengthen teachers in their teaching and development of mathematics

Women's History Makers: Talitha Washington

Women are making history today and every day at the National Science Foundation. NSF proudly recognizes its very own women in science, technology, engineering and mathematics, advancing science and providing a beacon of light for youth and adults alike.

Earthquakes: Separating fact from fiction

Scientists describe the advancements in scientifically based earthquake research, which today relies on detailed simulations of ground movements using some of the world's largest and most capable supercomputers

Battling wildfires with data-driven knowledge

San Diego Supercomputer Center's chief data science officer Ilkay Altintas describes a National Science Foundation-funded project that uses data-driven knowledge and predictive tools to battle wildfires, such as those that destroyed thousands of homes and businesses in 2017

Understanding the human brain

By applying a novel computer algorithm to mimic how the brain learns, a team of researchers -- with the aid of San Diego Supercomputer Center at the University of California, San Diego's Comet supercomputer and the center's Neuroscience Gateway -- has identified and replicated neural circuitry that resembles how an unimpaired brain controls limb movement

Holostream: Real-time 3-D streaming on your cellphone

By compressing the data at its source, researchers at Purdue University have developed a technology that allows real-time holographic image transmission, small enough to be streamed over existing consumer data networks and received by any cellphone or web browser

Ripples of gravity, flashes of light

On Aug. 17, 2017, the Laser Interferometer Gravitational-wave Observatory (LIGO) and Virgo detected, for the first time, gravitational waves from the collision of two neutron stars

Relief from Parkinson's

Researchers at Carnegie Mellon University have discovered two groups of neurons that can be turned on and off like a light switch to alleviate the movement-related symptoms of Parkinson's disease for longer periods of time

Can a supercomputer design a super material?

Howard University professor Steven Richardson tells the story of how he earned a scholarship to Columbia University and soon found deeper truths in the mathematical universe of quantum physics.

Creating safer, smarter homes

The University of Washington School of Nursing is harnessing the power of everyday items to turn houses into smart homes--and allowing older adults to live independently, thanks to modern technology

Researchers tackle tornadoes!

An NSF-funded research team at the University of Oklahoma's Advanced Radar Research Center hopes that their radar simulator can assist researchers and meteorologists in better understanding how debris interacts with deadly tornadoes.

Pulling drinkable water out of dry air

Imagine a future in which every home has an appliance that pulls all the water the household needs out of the air, even in dry or desert climates, using only the power of the sun

Math + water = strawberry growth

In the strawberry capital of California, the water source is a confined underground aquifer that is slowly being depleted. How can American growers meet the demand and maximize profits while using the least amount of water? Sounds like an agricultural math problem.

What's the difference between fermions and bosons?

In particle physics, there are many different types of particles, mostly ending with the phrase "-on." Don Lincoln a senior physicist at Fermilab talks about fermions and bosons and what is the key difference between these two particles.

Women engineers discuss ‘Hidden Figures’ and lingering challenges

The nonfiction book and its film counterpart "Hidden Figures" revealed the genius behind the American space race in the 1960s: a cohort of black women who, despite segregation and discrimination, applied their genius in math and engineering to help send our rockets and astronauts into space and bring them back safely.

The nanostructure problem

In order to see inside nanomaterials and learn how nanoparticles evolve, Simon Billinge applies the world's newest and brightest synchrotron light source -- the National Synchrotron Light Source II (NSLS-II) at Brookhaven National Laboratory. at Brookhaven

When protons collide

A proton collision is like a car accident--except when it isn't. Boston University physicist Kevin Black explains why. (Watch out for the kitchen sink!)

Are invisibility cloaks possible?

Have you ever wished you could hide under an invisibility cloak like Harry Potter or conceal your car with a Klingon cloaking device like in "Star Trek"?

The spectacular science of 2015

In episode 38, Charlie and Jordan highlight as many National Science Foundation-funded news stories as they can in one minute, including--but certainly not limited to--water on Mars, the woolly mammoth genome, smart band-aids and a new species of dinosaur.

Pingpong balls break the sound barrier

Mechanical engineering and technology students at Purdue University built a supersonic, air-powered cannon that shoots pingpong balls at speeds so fast they break the sound barrier.

The math of shark skin

The rough surface of shark skin helps sharks move faster through the water. Mathematicians have developed an equation for how this roughness translates into less viscosity for a swimming shark.

Super strings

The quest to find the ultimate building blocks of nature is one of the oldest in all of physics. While we are far from knowing the answer to that question, one intriguing proposed answer is that all matter is composed of tiny "strings." The known particles are simply different vibrational patterns of these strings. In this video, Fermilab's Dr. Don Lincoln explains this idea, using interesting and accessible examples of real-world vibrations.

What is a semiconductor?

Semiconductors are in everything from your cell phone to rockets. But what exactly are they, and what makes them so special? Find out from Jamie, a Ph.D. student in Electrical Engineering and Computer Science at MIT.

Go with your gut (microbes)

In Episode 8, Charlie and Jordan chat about the many different species of gut microbes, explore how math is helping ovarian cancer research and investigate the smell coming from water pipes in West Virginia's Elk River area.

What pennies reveal about randomness

Salvatore Torquato, professor of chemistry at Princeton University, explains his research on the theoretical packing of pennies and how it provides new insights on the nature of randomness.

The search for the origin of dark energy

Members of the Dark Energy Survey collaboration explain what they hope to learn by studying the southern sky with the world's most advanced digital camera, mounted on a telescope in Chile.

Could you love math?

Jere Confrey is an NSF-funded researcher at the College of Education at NC State University. Her work in mathematics education provides a valuable perspective on the challenges and opportunities around having a positive relationship with math. She is one of the #WomenInSTEM we are highlighting for Women's History Month.

Center for Computational Relativity and Gravitation

The Center for Computational Relativity and Gravitation at the Rochester Institute of Technology is dedicated to research the frontiers of numerical relativity and astrophysics and gravitational wave physics. The Center is funded in part by the National Science Foundation and integrates state-of-the-art science, performance computing and scientific visualization.

A glass conducter

A light bulb has the glass carefully removed, leaving the glass base and filament intact. The bulb is connected to AC electricity, and the filament quickly and dramatically burns out. This leaves the two wires that originally supported the filament separated by the glass in the base. Take a propane torch and heat the glass base (the bulb remnants are still connected to the electricity), a point is reached where the heated glass is no longer isolating the two wires from each other, but has become a conductor of electricity. As the electricity flows, the heat generated lights up the glass, the propane torch can be removed, and the glass continues to glow very brightly.

Reflecting in the bath

An internally frosted, large light bulb is dipped into a fish tank of water, and the total internal reflection effect produces 'other-worldly' consequences to how the bulb looks in the water. The bulb goes from white to a silvery orb. Turning the bulb on, produces a similar, but more alluring effect.

Math with a twist

Professor Aaron Lauda offers an introduction to knot theory, the study of mathematical knots.

Quantum knots animated

"The mysteries are just piling up." You can't split an electron, right? Wrong. Physicists Gil Refael and Jason Alicea explain the unique properties of electrons constrained to a 2-D world, and how they can be used to make noise-proof quantum computers.

Quantum foam

The laws of quantum mechanics and relativity are quite perplexing. However, it is when the two theories are merged that things get really confusing. This combined theory predicts that empty space isn't empty at all - it's a seething and bubbling cauldron of matter and antimatter particles springing into existence before disappearing back into nothingness. Scientists call this complicated state of affairs "quantum foam." In this video, Fermilab's Don Lincoln discusses this mind-bending idea and sketches some of the experiments that have convinced scientists that this crazy prediction is actually true.

Quantum entanglement

How do you make something that has never existed before? Physicists Jeff Kimble and Chen-Lung Hung take us on an exhilarating adventure of exploration.

Doing the impossible

Physicists Amir Safavi-Naeini and Oskar Painter describe how they were able to measure quantum motions of 1 femtometer (0.000000000000001 meters) in a micro-scale object.

The Higgs Boson explained

We visit particle physicist Daniel Whiteson at CERN, where he talks to us about what the mysterious Higgs Boson is and how the LHC Is going to find it.

A quantum entanglement

How do you make something that has never existed before? Physicists Jeff Kimble and Chen-Lung Hung take us on an exhilarating adventure of exploration.

A quantum experiment

Physicists Amir Safavi-Naeini and Oskar Painter describe how they were able to measure quantum motions of 1 femtometer (0.000000000000001 meters) in a micro-scale object.

The quantum inverted pendulum

In an experiment that could have implications for quantum computers and quantum simulators, researchers have used microwave pulses to control a quantum system composed of a cloud of approximately 40,000 rubidium atoms cooled nearly to absolute zero.

Why Science? Experimental Physics

Arthur Hebard, a University of Florida professor and experimental physicist, explains how his love for building and disassembling things influenced his interest in physics.

A Giant Magnet’s 3200-Mile Voyage

Muon g-2, the world's largest electromagnetic ring, is travelling in one piece from Brookhaven National Laboratory on New York's Long Island to Fermilab outside Chicago. Its arrival may lead scientists to the next big discoveries in particle physics.

Fragility, Robustness And Antifragility

Everything in life has nonlinear responses, from medical treatments to project management, for both benefits and harm (medical and economic iatrogenics). In this talk, Dr. Nasim Nicholas Taleb introduces the concept of fragility and antifragility, and maps them to nonlinearities in life and decision making.

Science Of Innovation: What Is Innovation?

Whether it happens among students in a classroom, or engineers in a laboratory, innovation is a process, a series of steps that begins with imagination, and results in the creation of something of value for society.

NSF Science Now 3

In this week's episode of NSF Science Now we explore NSF's Harvard Forest Long-Term Ecological Site, phytoplankton and climate change, how silver turns people blue and finally why math hurts.


Hockey is a game of chaos, but vectors are behind the scenes making sense of that chaos through mathematics

Statistics & Averages

Understanding the opposing team's stats and averages is one method of mentally preparing for a hockey game

Science Behind The News: Extrasolar Planets

Extrasolar planets, or exoplanets, are planets that orbit stars other than our sun. Astronomers like Dr. William Welsh at San Diego State University primarily use two methods to detect these distant planets: Doppler and Transit methods.


Kinematics helps describe a player's movement across the ice by defining his position, velocity and acceleration

Hockey Geometry

Players in every position of the game are constantly using geometry to make passes and take shots on goal

Science Behind The News: Opinion Polls & Random Sampling

During political elections, news organizations often use public opinion polls to help gauge which candidate is the front runner, and why. University of Michigan's Dr. Vincent Hutchings explains the science of random sampling that makes it possible to query a few hundred or thousand people and use that data to accurately determine how the general public might vote.

Work, Energy & Power

In hockey, the slapshot is one of the most dramatic demonstrations of the transference of force and energy

Force, Impulse & Collisions

During a game, every movement of the puck follows the laws of physics and illustrates the concepts of force, impulse and collisions