Science Nation - Cooperative Robots

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Learning a language can be difficult for some, but for babies it seems quite easy. With support from the National Science Foundation, linguist Jeffrey Heinz and mechanical engineer Bert Tanner have taken some cues from the way humans learn to put words and thoughts together, and are teaching language to robots. This innovative collaboration began a few years ago at a meeting at the University of Delaware. One goal for this project is to design cooperative robots that can operate autonomously...

Science Nation - Marshes and Sea Level Rise

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With support from the National Science Foundation, Villanova University marine scientist Nathaniel Weston studies how both land use and climate change can impact habitat in tidal marshes, including how rising sea levels may affect microbes and other plants and animals. Rising sea levels can actually cause marshes to grow in very different ways. His experiments are already simulating different amounts of sea level rise in several tidal creeks in the Delaware River estuary. He studies how...

Science Nation - Silver Saver

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Conservation scientist Glen Gates at the Walters Art Museum in Baltimore is working on new ways to protect museum-quality silver from the ravages of time. Fine silverware and silver pieces on display at museums are exposed to air and tarnish just like our silver at home. Every time someone polishes the silver, even under the careful supervision of conservation experts, a little bit of the silver wears away. Gates and colleague, Physics professor Ray Phaneuf at the University of Maryland, are...

Science Nation - Babies and Learning

submitted by: nsf
Are we pre-wired to know right from wrong or are we blank slates who learn solely by our exposure to the environment? The question isn't new, but by studying the behavior of newborns, psychologist Karen Wynn of Yale University believes she can get us closer to the answer. With support from the National Science Foundation, she is investigating the role an infant's social preferences play in how they learn from other people. Wynn and her team put on puppet shows for infants, with characters...