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.

Tiny solutions to big water problems

How do you take dirty water and make it clean? With support from the National Science Foundation (NSF), this team is hard at work designing nanometer-scale water filters that could soon make clean drinking water available and affordable for even the poorest of the poor around the world

Clean, green (and cheap!) plastics

The goal of researchers at the Center for Sustainable Polymers? Economically competitive and environmentally friendly polymers that outperform their traditional counterparts

Polyploidy

A team of three scientists from Kansas State University, Michigan State University and the Desert Botanical Garden are investigating polyploidy (the condition of having more than one set of chromosomes) and diversity in the plant genus Phlox (Polemoniaceae).

Dive Deeper: Donna Blackman looks at the future of Alvin

Marine geophysicist Donna Blackman from the Scripps Institution of Oceanography remembers Alvin's discovery of the Lost City hydrothermal vent field in 2000 and looks ahead to the people and tools that will take Alvin to even greater depths of discovery

SupraSensor: A super tool for precision agriculture

The SupraSensor device is designed to give farmers a highly accurate, virtually constant stream of data on nitrate levels. The device is an excellent example of highly applied science with roots in basic research -- in this case supramolecular chemistry at the University of Oregon.

Researchers assemble 5 new synthetic yeast chromosomes

A global research team has built five new synthetic yeast chromosomes, meaning that 30 percent of a key organism's genetic material has now been swapped out for engineered replacements. Jef Boeke discusses the importance of yeast as a research model and how new research may lead to synthetic genomes to address unmet needs in medicine and industry.

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!