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.

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.

NSF Science Now: Episode 50

In this week's episode, we learn how AI uncovers insights into cancer, how loops give toughness to spider silk, a newly released database of stars and finally, we investigate a novel water testing technique. Check it out!

A grassland bird’s changing world

Prairies are characterized by highly variable climate, yet we lack the theoretical knowledge to predict whether adaption to such conditions offers organisms greater resilience to additional change, or whether they already experience conditions near the limits of their physiological capabilities. This video describes a study that capitalizes on a 28-year dataset of avian abundances and the infrastructure and experimental manipulations made possible by the Long Term Ecological Research (LTER) program at the Konza Prairie in NE Kansas.

Women’s History Month: Engineer Erin Bell is designing ‘living’ bridges

Engineers at the University of New Hampshire are raising the bar on what 21st century infrastructure systems can do. With support from the National Science Foundation, they're outfitting the Memorial Bridge, which links Portsmouth, New Hampshire, to Kittery, Maine, with sensors to monitor everything from structural stability to traffic to environmental health. It will even be powered by tidal energy, a renewable energy source. They call it a 'living bridge,' and it exemplifies the future of smart, sustainable, user-centered transportation infrastructure.

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.

Vehicle electrification

Jeremy Michalek, a professor at Carnegie Mellon University, discusses several aspects of vehicle electrification: technology, life cycle, consumer behavior and public policy.

Water, food & energy

Scientists and engineers, including Greg Characklis at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, are studying the connections between water, food and energy in the human water cycle to develop new, sustainable ways of meeting our water needs.

NSF Science Now: Episode 49

In this week's episode we learn about a new app for bird watchers, girls and stereotypes, beluga whale migration and, finally, the discovery of a 250-million-year-old shark-like fish. Check it out!

Editors' pick: 'Go Baby Go!' Mobility for kids with disabilities

The exploration experiences that children have at an early age play an important role in cognitive development. A research team from the University of Delaware, led by physical therapy professor Cole Galloway, is working on ways to help infants with walking and crawling issues have those kinds of experiences.

Breaking summer records

In episode 60, Charlie and Jordan return from summer break to investigate the future of summers. According to NSF-funded research at NCAR, in 50 years, summers across most of the globe could be hotter than any other experienced by people, ever.