People & Society

Out of fascination and need, people have always studied other people. When scientific methods are applied to those observations, the studies help characterize and analyze our behavior, social and political institutions, family and community structures and our economies. Scientific studies of people and society help answer age-old human contemplations.

NSF Science Now: Episode 35

Hosted by NSF's Dena Headlee, Science Now is a weekly newscast covering some of the latest in NSF-funded innovation and advances across all areas and disciplines, from astronomy to zoology. This fast paced, news round-up reports many of the week's top stories.

Revolutionizing prosthesis prescription

Steve Collins of the Mechanical Engineering Department at Carnegie Mellon University discusses his lab's work in creating robots that are worn on the leg to help people get around.

Do social insects share brain power?

The society you live in can shape the complexity of your brain. For vertebrate animals like humans, and even birds and fish, there is a lot of support for the idea that our complex brains developed along with complex societies.

Internet insecurity

Sharon Goldberg, a Boston University College of Arts & Sciences assistant professor of computer science, breaks down Border Gateway Protocol, which she describes as "the glue that holds the Internet together."

SMART Shoes

It may look like an insole, but this Smart Shoe system developed at the Mechanical Systems Control Lab at the University of California, Berkeley, could help physical therapists get their patients walking better, faster.

Episode 14: Assembling water-free DNA

In this week's episode, Charlie and Jordan search underground caves for clues to prehistoric climate changes, explore the difference between mental maps and compasses, and look at water-free DNA assembly.

Walking assist clutch

Assistant professor for mechanical engineering at Carnegie Mellon University: Steve Collins, discusses his research published in Nature in which he and his colleague have developed an unpowered, untethered exoskeleton (the walking assist clutch) to help people walk with 7 percent less effort. This can be of tremendous help to people who walk for hours a day or who have disabilities.

A human climate

This video looks at the Hominin Sites and Paleolakes Drilling Project (HSPDP), a project aiming to provide a detailed, continuous and high resolution environmental context for human evolution in the areas where our early ancestors are known to have lived.

Forensics: Follow the science

Forensic science is an integral part of the American judicial process--essential to both prosecutions and defenses. However, the field has also come under scrutiny. A briefing on May 12 at the Rayburn House Office Building on Capitol Hill, sponsored by the National Science Foundation and the American Psychological Association, highlighted how the use of the scientific method can inform the field of forensics and ways to improve judicial system outcomes through evidence-based inquiry.

NSF Science Now: Episode 34

Hosted by NSF's Dena Headlee, Science Now is a weekly newscast covering some of the latest in NSF-funded innovation and advances across all areas and disciplines, from astronomy to zoology. This fast paced, news round-up reports many of the week's top stories.