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Showing posts from July, 2019

Inspired by Electric Eels, Scientists Create Wearable Underwater Generators

Its been over three years since my first triathlon, but I still cringe thinking about that initial dive into the water. See, I can’t really swim. If you were to watch a race between me and a housecat, I’d strongly suggest putting your money on the cat. In spite of my poor technique, I came out on the other side, as excited as one can be when they’re facing miles of biking and running ahead of them. When the race was finally over, my internal science-nerd monologue resumed, and I thought, “Wouldn’t it be awesome if all that kinetic energy I just used could be converted into electricity?” Unbeknownst to me, researchers at the Beijing Institute of Nanoenergy and Nanosystems were working on just that, and they’ve invented flexible underwater nanogenerators (Bionic Stretchable Nanogenerator, BSNG) that can harness electricity, as you swim.

Searching for Ultralight Dark Matter with a Supermassive Black Hole

They say a picture’s worth a thousand words, but very few are worth 5 million gigabytes. In April 2019 the Event Horizon Telescope collaboration, an international team of over 200 scientists, unveiled the first-ever picture of a black hole (or more specifically–the event horizon around it). Capturing an image of M87* was a supermassive accomplishment in astrophysics, but research in Physical Review Letters shows how it could  change our perceptions of dark matter .

The Science of Ice Cream, Redux

Even though it's been a warm couple of months already, it's officially summer. A delicious, science-filled way to beat the heat? Making homemade ice cream. (We wrote this article a few years ago, but since then we've learned a LOT about ice cream, so we're re-releasing this article, with expanded ice cream science and a wider range of dairy-free options. Enjoy!)

50 Moon Facts to Celebrate the 50th Anniversary of the Apollo 11 Moon Landing

July 20th, 2019 marks the 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 mission, a small step for man, but a giant leap for humankind. In the past 50 years we’ve learned so much more about our planetary satellite neighbor, and to celebrate this anniversary, we’re sharing some OUT OF THIS WORLD facts about the moon:   1. Our moon is the 5th largest moon in the Solar System 2. The moon is not part of Mars.  3. The moon used to be part of the Earth, until a Mars-sized planetesimal hit our planet, sending a cloud of hot rock into space that eventually cooled, consolidated, and turned into our moon .  Image Credit: Joe Tucciarone (via NASA) 4. Earth’s tilted axis is likely a result of this collision.  5. Katherine Johnson , one of only a few black “human computers” employed by NASA for 33 years, calculated the Apollo 11’s trajectory to the moon and many other missions involving human space travel. Image Credit: NASA 6. The moon used to look much, much bigger, because it was c

Listening to the Sounds of the Sun

You could say that Tim Larson, Seth Shafer, and Elaine diFalco were brought together by the Sun. Now the three of them are sharing the sounds of the Sun with scientists, musicians, and the general public through a unique effort called the Sonification of Solar Harmonics (SoSH) Project.

LGBT STEM Day: Acknowledging the scientists in science

It’s okay to be who you are. Friday, June 5th, 2019 was the 2nd International LGBT STEM Day*, an observance designed to celebrate the contributions that LGBTQ+ people have made in STEM, and raise awareness of the issues that LGBTQ+ scientists still face in their daily life. While not always visible, LGBTQ+ scientists have existed throughout history, from the inventor of the computer Alan Turing, to astronaut Sally Ride. While significant progress has been made towards equality, significant barriers remain. To conclude pride month and celebrate the second annual LGBT STEM Day, we spoke with LGBTQ+ scientists to highlight the personal experiences of LGBTQ+ people in STEM, put a spotlight on the issues that scientists still face today, and share resources for the benefit of the LGBTQ+ community and allies. This information was gathered through social media, e-mails, phone interviews, and in-person conversations with scientists from a variety of career stages and professio

Now you're (Nu)tell(a)ing me, there's a scientific way to make great crepes?

A modern French take on a classic tragedy: You see a beautiful crêpe in a restaurant, soft, thin, perhaps full of Nutella. You think to yourself “Oh! It shouldn’t be too hard to make this at home, what’s the worst that could happen?” You go to the store, pick out your ingredients, and set out to make those crêpes. The result? It's okay, but it's just not perfect.