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Engineering

Audio: Graphene Takes Flight

Katie L. BurkeOct 13, 2016

An interview with aerospace engineer Billy Beggs about the first ever graphene-coated airplane, built by his team.

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Fire’s Weird Behavior in Space

Fenella SaundersApr 13, 2016

In the microgravity environment of outer space, flames burn very differently than they do on Earth. Understanding those differences not only helps researchers grasp the properties of combustion and burning, but is also crucial for outer-space missions.

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Overcoming Barriers to Diversity in Science

Katie L. BurkeNov 5, 2015

[VIDEO] In this Google Hangout, associate editor Katie L. Burke discusses with sociologist Sandra Hanson what the barriers to diversity in science are, what solutions she has seen work to promote diversity, and what barriers remain to be addressed.

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Can Your Phone Tell You If Your Food Is Safe?

Fenella SaundersOct 10, 2015

[VIDEO] Determining whether your food is safe to eat could soon be as simple as activating an app and pointing your mobile phone at the meal on your plate. In the latest in our series of Google Hangouts with Sigma Xi Distinguished Lecturers, Omowunmi Sadik discusses biosensors—what they are, how they work, and how they can help us determine whether our food contains unsafe levels of pathogens. Along the way, Dr. Sadik also talks about electrochemical "fingerprints," nanotechnology ethics, regulatory processes, and the patenting process, as well as her early years of studying science in Lagos, Nigeria.

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A Space Suit that Squeezes

Vinita Marwaha MadillAug 18, 2015

A new space suit design uses advanced materials to combat muscle and bone loss for astronauts in outer space.

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Developing Duplicates: 3D Printing Replacement Body Parts

Katie-Leigh Corder, Fenella SaundersAug 16, 2015

Researchers in the regenerative medicine field are now amplifying their efforts with 3D-printing technology, which can now use organic materials to create scaffolds that cells need to grow into their final forms.

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12 Tips for Scientists Writing for the General Public

Katie L. BurkeJul 31, 2015

Learning the principles of journalistic nonfiction often requires scientist authors to step away from an academic writing style that has come to feel intuitive. Nevertheless, using these principles can make the scientist’s work more relatable, memorable, and trusted.

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When the Man in the Moon Met the Men on the Moon: Part 1

Dianne TimblinJul 20, 2015

When the Apollo 11 astronauts landed on the Moon, we knew what it meant for science. We also knew what it meant for Cold War–era politics. But what did it mean for the arts? Would poets ever look at the Moon in the same way again?

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The Power of the Little Guy

Fenella SaundersJul 14, 2015

Inventor Dean Kamen is resolved to engineer clean water for the entire world, and he might just do it. Included is a clip from the documentary SlingShot about Kamen's latest invention.

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Celebrating 25 Years in North Carolina

Katie-Leigh CorderJul 1, 2015

Sigma Xi, The Scientific Research Society moved from Connecticut to North Carolina in 1990 to be in the heart of the Research Triangle. We’re celebrating our 25-year anniversary of calling North Carolina home! Since then, we’ve experienced the state’s vibrant scientific research and diverse landscapes, from the mountains to the sea.

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The Cool Factor: Air Conditioning's History in Images

Dianne Timblin, Barbara AulicinoJun 27, 2015

In honor of the first week of summer, we’re revisiting the book Cool: How Air Conditioning Changed Everything, by Salvatore Basile, with a collection of images as well as some additional discussion of the book. We like to think of it as the summertime-release, extended dance version of our original review.

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Describing Applicants in Gendered Language Might Influence Academic Science Hiring

Wendy M. Williams, Stephen J. CeciMay 7, 2015

We recently published an article about the results of a 4.5-year program of research on gender’s influence on faculty hiring preferences for tenure-track STEM assistant professorships. Our methods brought up an interesting issue about the types of adjectives used to describe job applicants, one that we did not have space to address in the paper.

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5 Reasons to Teach Mathematical Modeling

Rachel LevyMay 5, 2015

A student in one of my daughter's high school math class stood up in disgust and exclaimed "Why do we have to learn math for 12 years when we are never going to use any of it?" You might think that as a mathematics educator I would find this statement upsetting. Instead, the student’s question got me thinking about the fact that she saw no connection between the mathematics and her future. How might mathematical modeling improve the experience of mathematics for students such as the one in my daughter’s class?

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Tuck In Your Kids with Science Bedtime Stories

Fenella SaundersMay 1, 2015

When I’m putting my 3.5-year-old to bed every night, we have some down time where we just hang out on her bed together. One night I looked at her and asked, “Want me to tell you a science story?” She said, “Yes!”

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Thirteen Ways of Looking at a Robotic Arm

Dianne TimblinFeb 16, 2015

An homage to the tireless, endlessly useful robotic arm. Patented in 1961 and first used in a GM manufacturing line, it has since been cast in countless roles. We’ve assembled a collection of videos intended to convey a broad cross-section of cultural touchpoints for this evolving technology.

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