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.
Technology & Engineering
Technology and Engineering bridge the gap between what the mind can imagine and what the laws of nature allow. While scientists seek to discover what is not yet known, engineers apply fundamental science to design and develop new devices and systems—technology—to solve societal problems. Technological and engineering innovations then return the favor by affecting human—as well as other animal species'—the ability to control and adapt to their natural environments.
The 9/11 attacks helped scientists discover that jet contrails can change the weather on the ground.
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.
It's taken millions of years for humans to perfect the art of walking. But researchers at NC State and Carnegie Mellon have discovered that we can get better "gas mileage" using an unpowered exoskeleton to modify the structure of our ankles.
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."
Repairing damaged hearts with pig parts
Through neural connections, called synapses, the brain can process and store enormous amounts of information. Neuroscientist Gary Lynch at the University of California-Irvine explains how this incredibly complex communication process allows animals to learn and remember.
Neuroengineer Rajesh Rao of the University of Washington is developing brain-computer interfaces or devices that can monitor and extract brain activity to enable a machine or computer to accomplish tasks, from playing video games to controlling a prosthetic arm.
Sabine Kastner, a professor of neuroscience and psychology at Princeton University, is studying how the brain weeds out important information from everyday scenes. Using functional magnetic resonance imaging, Kastner is able to peek inside the brain and see what areas are active when a person sees a face, place or object.
Carlos Aizenman, a neuroscientist at Brown University, is studying the brains of tadpoles to understand how neural circuits develop and absorb information from the surrounding environment.
Neurobiologist Orie Shafer at the University of Michigan is trying to understand how the brain's cells communicate in order to control sleep patterns. To help solve this mystery, Shafer is teaming up with mathematician Victoria Booth to study a tiny and unlikely specimen: the fruit fly.
For years, researchers have struggled to understand how emotions are formed and processed by the brain. Now, neuroscientist Kevin LaBar and his graduate students at Duke University are using a virtual reality room to study how the brain reacts to both negative and positive emotions.
Using amazing new technologies, evolutionary neuroscientist Melina Hale and her graduate students at the University of Chicago are discovering that the basic movements in one tiny fish can teach us big ideas about how the brain's circuitry works.
For centuries, scientists and engineers have studied the brain and yet, how it works largely remains a mystery. Understanding the brain means knowing the fundamental principles underlying brain structure and function. Explore the mysteries of the brain with investigators who span the spectrum of scientific and engineering disciplines. "Mysteries of the Brain" is produced by NBC Learn in partnership with the National Science Foundation. For more information, please visit: http://www.nsf.gov/brain/.
How can we mass-produce sophisticated products from materials too small to see?
In this week's episode, Charlie chats about insulin signaling, invasive algae and an improvement in the detection of fraudulent art
At the Beyond Today's Internet Summit, researchers from The University of Texas at Dallas showed a working prototype of a next generation communication system that uses 3D video and force feedback devices to virtually recreate a physical therapy session between a patient and a therapist.
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.
"WeHab" system helps stroke patients during physical rehabilitation
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.