Calling all young explorers, researchers, SCIENTISTS, and builders of the world! #Science #GSF2015

What will you try? Announcing the Google Science Fair 2015!

For more details about prizes, the judges, and how to enter, visit www.googlesciencefair.com.

Advertisements

Nature articles highlight new study examining researcher’s age, creativity, and innovation! #science

This week’s edition of Nature has two articles, an editorial and a news piece, about the researcher age, creativity, and innovation! Both pieces are based on a new study by Mikko Packalen and Jay Bhattacharya published by the US National Bureau of Economic Research, “AGE AND THE TRYING OUT OF NEW IDEAS.”

…analysis of some 20 million biomedical papers published over the past 70 years suggests that younger researchers are more likely than older researchers to be working on innovative topics. Out with the old? Not so fast: if you are good enough then you are old enough, certainly. But the latest analysis also suggests that the most productive groups teamed a young researcher with an old(er) hand. There is an age-old problem here, but it is not necessarily old age.

While the study, and the methods it utilizes, are certainly interesting and seem to confirm an ageist dogma, they are perhaps not completely representative of reality. The analysis is based on some assumptions of scientists’ age, as well as how ‘innovation’ and ‘creativity’ are defined and calculated.

The method could not measure researchers’ creativity, only their willingness to embrace new ideas, which might have been proposed by others. But it showed that except for the newest scientists, young researchers far outpaced older scientists in citing new ideas in their papers, Packalen and Bhattacharya found (see ‘Cooling down’). Because the two had no way of measuring the actual age of a researcher, they calculated ‘career ages’ — the number of years after a scientist’s first publication.

Nonetheless, the study brings forward the interesting and timely discussion of aging scientists, as a number of countries are considering changing the way they deal with older researchers (pointed out in the editorial).

#Science Quotable: Carrie Wolinetz – President of @UMR4NIH… Again!!

UMR

We commend Senator Dick Durbin (D-IL) and Representatives Rosa DeLauro (D-CT), Brian Higgins (D-NY) and Peter King (R-NY) for introducing two new pieces of legislation this week that would boost federal funding for the National Institutes of Health (NIH) – the American Cures Act and the Advancing Biomedical Research Act. With stagnant funding levels surpassing a decade, our nation is falling deeper and deeper into a medical innovation deficit. These steadfast congressional leaders recognize our country’s dire position and the importance of making lifesaving and economy-fueling NIH funding a top priority in the 114th Congress. – Carrie Wolinetz, PhD, President, United for Medical Research

Again, because of this #Science Quotable posted yesterday…. also from Carrie Wolinetz!

Video: Sidewinder snakes teach Georgia Tech scientists how to make robot snakes! #science

Robots learn from sidewinder snakes

The amazing ability of sidewinder snakes to quickly climb sandy slopes was once something biologists only vaguely understood and roboticists only dreamed of replicating. By studying the snakes in a unique bed of inclined sand and using a snake-like robot to test ideas spawned by observing the real animals, both biologists and roboticists have now gained long-sought insights. Video shows research into how the snakes move.

2014 Nobel Prize in Physics Announced!!

nobel2

The 2014 Nobel Prize in Physics has been awarded to Isamu Akasaki, Hiroshi Amano and Shuji Nakamura for this invention of efficient blue light-emitting diodes that led to energy efficient LED bulbs!

When Isamu AkasakiHiroshi Amano and Shuji Nakamura produced bright blue light beams from their semi-conductors in the early 1990s, they triggered a funda-mental transformation of lighting technology. Red and green diodes had been around for a long time but without blue light, white lamps could not be created. Despite considerable efforts, both in the scientific community and in industry, the blue LED had remained a challenge for three decades.

They succeeded where everyone else had failed. Akasaki worked together with Amano at the University of Nagoya, while Nakamura was employed at Nichia Chemicals, a small company in Tokushima. Their inventions were revolutionary. Incandescent light bulbs lit the 20th century; the 21st century will be lit by LED lamps.

Watch the announcement of the award:

The Nobel Prize in Physics 2014 was awarded jointly to Isamu Akasaki, Hiroshi Amano and Shuji Nakamura “for the invention of efficient blue light-emitting diodes which has enabled bright and energy-saving white light sources”.

A big week for quantum science! Scientists discover what an atom sounds like and make solid light! #science

sciencephonon

While quantum physics is certainly not my specialty, two super cool studies were published this week demonstrating new phenomena in this field. The first, published in Science, examined the ‘sound’ of an atom by bouncing sound waves off an artificial atom and recording the sound that came back. A news article at Huffington Post describes the study in layman’s terms.

“According to the theory, the sound from the atom is divided into quantum particles,” study co-author Martin Gustafsson, a post-doctoral researcher at Columbia University, said in the statement. “Such a particle is the weakest sound that can be detected.”

That sound was a “D-note” about 20 octaves above the highest note on the piano, which is a pitch much higher than the human ear can detect.

Apparently, it may be possible to harness this quantal energy and apply it to the design of super-fast computers. photonic

The second article, published in Physical Review X, describes a method to turn light, or rather photons (the ‘particles’ of light), into s solid. Phys.org has a simplified explanation.

The researchers are not shining light through crystal – they are transforming light into crystal. As part of an effort to develop exotic materials such as room-temperature superconductors, the researchers have locked together , the basic element of light, so that they become fixed in place.

“It’s something that we have never seen before,” said Andrew Houck, an associate professor of electrical engineering and one of the researchers. “This is a new behavior for light.”

This technology also hopes to harness atomic energy in a new way, in this case developing materials ‘that we cannot yet create.’

While much of the actual science is over my head, these new studies are very cool!

Science Quotable: Representative Gus Bilirakis (R-Fla.)

bilirikis

There are over 7,000 known diseases. Treatments exist for 500 of them. Americans have always been an innovative and industrious people. Many breakthroughs across all industries throughout the 20th and 21st centuries were pioneered by Americans. Why then, is there a lack of innovation and movement in healthcare now?

 

That is the question the 21st Century Cures Initiative seeks to answer. The initiative examines the “discovery-development-delivery” cycle for treatments – the process of how better treatments can get to patients quicker.  Whether it is from medical devices or medicine, treatments for patients suffering from chronic and rare diseases must be discovered on the ground level through basic science, then developed into a practical, usable, and marketable product, and finally delivered to the patients so the treatment may be effectively utilized.

 

This is not a partisan issue. Getting better treatments to patients quicker is not political, because chronic and rare diseases do not discriminate based on political affiliation.

– Representative Gus Bilirakis (R-Fla.) writing for The Hill