Toy and Entertainment Engineering Camp

Posted on April 19, 2007  Comments (0)

via our post suggestion page, this Toy and Entertainment Engineering camp looks interesting (for students or a teacher) to me.

My name is Rebecca and I work for a Branded Camp Services. We design and operate residential academic summer camps for high school students.

This year, at Union College in Schenectady, we will be offering a course in Toy and Entertainment Engineering. I’m looking to hire an
energetic teacher for both two-week sessions in July. Most of our teachers are currently in graduate school or recent graduates. This
class is brand new and we’re having a harder time recruiting because of its specialized nature.

Thanks! You can apply by writing me at Rebecca at

Quantum Theory Fails Reality Checks

Posted on April 19, 2007  Comments (0)

Quantum Theory Fails Reality Checks

Reality just got a one-two punch. A new experiment has tried to suss out which of two counterintuitive ingredients is more basic to quantum theory, only to find that they go hand in hand.

Einstein was famously bugged by what are now well-established facts of quantum theory: the randomness of a particle’s choices and the possibility of instantaneous linkages between far-flung light or matter. Experimenters now conclude that Einstein cannot even pick his poison, because allowing for instant links kills any simple notion of reality, too.

$600 Million for Basic Biomedical Research

Posted on April 18, 2007  Comments (7)

Howard Hughes Medical Institute (HHMI) will hold a national competition for investigators that will result in an investment of at least $600 million in basic biomedical research. Up to 50 new researchers will be selected by spring 2008. HHMI Announces New Open Competition:

HHMI seeks applications from outstanding scientists studying biomedical problems in a broad array of disciplines, including not only biology and medicine, but related areas of chemistry, physics, engineering and computational biology. This competition is open to early career stage scientists at approximately 200 eligible institutions.

HHMI values innovation and encourages its investigators to extend the boundaries of science. By appointing scientists as Hughes investigators — rather than awarding research grants — HHMI is guided by the principle of “people, not projects.” HHMI investigators have the freedom to explore and, if necessary, to change direction in their research. Moreover, they have support to follow their ideas through to fruition — even if that process takes many years.

This new competition represents the first time that HHMI has opened up a general competition to the direct application process. In the past, faculty members had to be nominated by their institutions for HHMI investigator positions.

More details and apply via: 2008 HHMI Investigator Competition.

Innovative Alarm Clocks

Posted on April 17, 2007  Comments (2)

I heard about clocky last year on NPR and again last week. Gauri Nanda, designed clocky while a student at MIT – an alarm clock that runs and hides so you have to get out of bed to turn it off. She has since manufactured them and now you can buy your very own mobile clock.

There is also the April Fools joke, SnÅ«zNLÅ«z – Wifi Donation Alarm Clock, but I think people would really buy it. “Connects via WiFi to your online bank account, and donates YOUR real money to an organization you HATE when you decide to snooze!”

2007 National Science Board Public Service Award

Posted on April 16, 2007  Comments (0)

Chemist, Educator, Communicator Receives 2007 National Science Board Public Service Award

Bassam Z. Shakhashiri, a chemistry professor who pioneered new ways to encourage public understanding of science through his enthusiastic communications and visually exciting chemical demonstrations, will receive the 2007 National Science Board Public Service Award.

In 1983, Shakhashiri founded the Institute for Chemical Education at the University of Wisconsin. It has since become a national center for research and development, teaching and dissemination of information on chemistry at all educational levels. In the same year, he opened the first-of-its-kind interactive chemistry exhibit at Chicago’s Museum of Science and Industry, which has remained permanently on display there.

Science if Fun with University of Wisconsin-Madison Chemistry Professor Bassam Z. Shakhashiri.

Related: Public Service AwardScience Education in the 21st Century2006 Nobel Prize in Chemistry2006 MacArthur Fellows2006 Draper Prize for Engineering


Posted on April 15, 2007  Comments (0)

PhysicsQuest is a story-based activity that exposes middle school students to the fun and relevance of science. APS provides a free PhysicsQuest kit to registered 6-9th grade physical science classes, home school groups, science clubs, and after-school programs. The kit includes a user’s manual and materials for four physics experiments.

PhysicsQuest aims to teach middle school students physics concepts, but its overarching goal is to give them a positive experience with physics. APS is focusing this program on middle school students because these grades have been identified as the point when many students lose interest in math and science.

Register now, free kits are limited to the first 7500 United States classes to register.

Related: k-12 science education postsDirectory of science education sitesGetting Students Hooked on Engineeringprimary school science education podcast

Two Screens Are Better Than One

Posted on April 15, 2007  Comments (2)

3072x769 monitor

Two Screens Are Better Than One:

Microsoft researchers haven’t perfected the genie, but they’ve found a tool that can increase your productivity by 9 to 50 percent and make your work day easier. And you can begin using it right away. The researchers conducted user studies that proved the effectiveness of adding a second or even third monitor to your workstation, creating a wide-screen effect. In addition, they found out how the operating system needs to change to accommodate a larger screen area.

I must say when moving to two screens I was surprised how much of a difference it made. I look forward to my huge screen.

In the photo (from Photo from: Women Go With the (Optical) Flow – pdf) three projectors, show screens on a curved Plexiglas panel, resulting in a 3072 x768 resolution display. The display was curved to avoid distortion at the farthest fields of vision. Gary Starkweather, who also invented the laser printer, is the designer behind this effort.

Related: cool gadgetsCool Mechanical Simulation System (direct display interaction)Microsoft Wants More Engineering StudentsMicrosoft Visualization and Interaction for Business and Entertainment (VIBE) Research CenterHigh Tech Ice CreamOpen Source 3-D PrintingVideo Goggles

What do Engineers Need To Know?

Posted on April 15, 2007  Comments (1)

What do Engineers Need To Know? by Pradeep K. Khosla, dean of the College of Engineering, Carnegie Mellon:

In 1995, close to 40% of the world’s engineering work hours were based in the United States. By 2010, only 10% will be.

The change has been accelerated by other nations’ massive investments in engineering and science education, first in Taiwan, Singapore, and South Korea, and now in India and China. They all understand what America already knows: Knowledge creation drives future economic growth, and an educated labor force is essential for participation in the global economy.

So true, the economic benefit of science investment is a big theme in our economic posts.

We also are revamping the engineering curriculum. We still will emphasize depth in engineering knowledge, of course, but our graduates also must understand innovation, entrepreneurship, product development, and systems integration. Those skills will enable our graduates to lead organizations and manage effective teams. Graduates also will require greater knowledge of the world outside the United States and have experiences in working effectively with individuals from other cultures.

A good plan and one repeating what has been discussed here before: Benefits of Engineering and Innovation EducationMIT Undergraduate ChangesHarvard Elevates Engineering ProfileImproving Engineering Education. Also remember more S&P 500 CEOs majored in Engineering than anything else. Tour the Carnegie Mellon Robotics Lab.

Eco-Vehicle Student Competition

Posted on April 15, 2007  Comments (4)

photo of Los Altos High School's Academy of Engineering vehicle

Most miles, least fuel wins

Los Altos High School‘s Academy of Engineering was one of more than 20 high schools and colleges from across the U.S. and Canada whose engineering students came together Saturday to compete in the Shell Eco-Marathon Americas. The race is designed not to see which vehicle could go the fastest, but which one could travel the farthest on the least amount of fuel. The grand prize: $10,000 to the winning school.

Participating schools included Purdue University, UC Berkeley, UCLA, Grand Rapids Technical School, Cal Poly San Luis Obispo, the University of Massachusetts-Amherst, Rose- Hulman Institute of Technology and Mater Dei High School.

By the end of the day, it was Cal Poly San Luis Obispo that took the grand prize for combustion-engine vehicles. The team’s vehicle traveled 1,902.2 miles to the gallon. Rose-Hulman took second place with 1,637.2 miles to the gallon, and Mater Dei High School in Evansville, Ind., came in third at 1,596 miles per gallon. Los Altos High School took first place for the hydrogen-engine group. The group’s vehicle traveled 1,038 miles to the gallon.

Photo from Shell Eco-Marathon Americas site (see more photos, results, webcasts…).

Related: La Vida RobotStudent Algae Bio-fuel ProjectNASA Engineering ChallengesInternational Autonomous Underwater Vehicle Competition
Read more

Dark Cosmos

Posted on April 14, 2007  Comments (3)

I just finished reading Dark Cosmos: In Search of Our Universe’s Missing Mass and Energy by Dan Hooper. I found it an enjoyable read. The author writes well for a general audience, that like me, doesn’t have much of an knowledge of the topic. I think he did a good job of providing enough connection to the science but at a level that most interested in science could understand.

Some people think it is a bit too folksy, without enough science. I can see how some might feel this way, I think the balance is good but for those that want to dig into the details around dark matter and dark energy this is probably not the right book. For those that want to get a good idea of the basic concepts though I think this is a good choice. I like discussion of the process of scientific discovery – the uncertainly the adaption of ideas to new experimental results etc.. The tone is similar to Chaos and The Elegant Universe.

Related: science booksDan Hooper

T-rex Treasure

Posted on April 14, 2007  Comments (2)

T. rex remains yield new treasure

Already, the breakthrough has yielded a payoff. Schweitzer and the Harvard scientists found molecular similarities between the Tyrannosaurus rex and modern chickens. They say the finding strengthens a growing case that birds are living relatives of dinosaurs. More tests are needed to see whether the bits of dinosaur proteins match those in other living creatures — including alligators and crocodiles, which, by outward appearances, seem closely related to the ancient species. Molecular maps of proteins in those reptiles are not yet available.

The very existence of the molecular relics had been unimaginable. Until now, scientists thought such soft stuff survived no more than a million years in animal remains. Usually, tissue degrades and bone gets replaced by mineral, yielding fossils molded precisely like the originals. Although the fossils enable scientists to piece together a skeletal sketch of ancient life forms, they tell only so much.

The discovery of the protein fragments, detailed in the journal Science today, suggests that new molecular clues may be buried in other well-preserved fossils around the world. And those clues could help explain the biology of dinosaurs and other extinct animals. The newly discovered microscopic fragments are not DNA — the inherited code stored in billions of cells that defines every living creature. As a result, no one should expect any Jurassic Park-like replicas of dinosaurs to result from Schweitzer’s finding.

Related: Over 100 Dinosaur Eggs DiscoveredMost Dinosaurs Remain UndiscoveredFossils of Sea Monster