Navy veteran studies genetic variation - Scientists & Engineers on Sofas (and other furnishings)

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Graduate Research Fellow Amy Battocletti is a Navy veteran who was awarded a Graduate Research Fellowship in 2014. She’s a doctoral candidate in biology at Georgetown University conducting research on the impact of genetic variation within plant species in salt marsh ecosystems.

Credit: National Science Foundation

Forensics: Follow the Science

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Forensic science is an integral part of the American judicial process--essential to both prosecutions and defenses. However, the field has also come under scrutiny. A briefing on May 12 at the Rayburn House Office Building on Capitol Hill, sponsored by the National Science Foundation and the American Psychological Association, highlighted how the use of the scientific method can inform the field of forensics and ways to improve judicial system outcomes through evidence-based inquiry....

Solving Crimes with DNA - "Scientists on Sofas"

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DNA Scientist and Mentor Bruce Jackson, PhD, traces ancestry and solves crimes with the powerful tool of DNA on this edition of "Scientist and Engineers on Sofas and other furnishings"!

Basic Research to Bridge Sensors

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Mehdi Kalantari Khandani at the University of Maryland has created a sensor system that constantly monitors different types of stresses on bridge structures and, when it detects anything unusual, alerts those who need to know. But Mehdi's initial research had nothing to do with bridges. This is the story of how Dr. Khandani's basic research on ultra-low-power sensor networks ultimately led to low-maintenance bridge sensors that can help keep an eye on the structural integrity of our...

Discovery made beneath Antarctica's McMurdo Dry Valleys

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Using a novel, helicopter-borne sensor to penetrate the surface of large swathes of terrain, a team of researchers supported by the National Science Foundation (NSF) has gathered compelling evidence that beneath Antarctica's ice-free McMurdo Dry Valleys lies a salty aquifer that may support previously unknown microbial ecosystems and retain evidence of ancient climate change. An airborne electromagnetic (AEM) sensor, called SkyTEM, mounted to the helicopter, allowed the team to discover...

Robots, soccer and the staying power of Short Circuit- Scientists and engineers on sofas

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Soccer aficionado and RoboCup champion DARwin-OP and robotics expert Alex Leonessa recently sat down with Thi Le in the NSF library to about robots of all kinds, and discuss how research in robotics could help do much more than just build better robots. DARwIn-OP, which stands for Dynamic Anthropomorphic Robot with Intelligence–Open Platform, and Leonessa, NSF program director for General & Age-Related Disabilities Engineering, both participated in local National Robotics Week...

A briefing about severe storms

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Hurricanes, tornadoes and solar eruptions can have profound effects on America's economy, public safety and well-being. A briefing at the Senate Visitor's Center on Capitol Hill, sponsored by the National Science Foundation and the American Association for the Advancement of Science, provided an overview of the current state of storm research.

Credits: NSF

What dead birds tell us about ecosystems

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Wonder why you should spend a glorious day in the summer or a cold, windy day in the winter collecting beach-cast seabird carcasses for a citizen science group? Julia K. Parrish, the Executive Director of COASST—a citizen science group that organizes volunteers to monitor beach-cast seabird carcasses—explains why it would all be worthwhile. Visit COASST's website: https://depts.washington.edu/coasst/ Credits at end of video

Do Actions Speak Louder Than Words? - Scientists & Engineers on Sofas (and other furnishings)

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Why do we gesture? What role do simple hand movements play in some of the most fundamental aspects of language? Susan Goldin-Meadow has dedicated her career to asking, and answering, those big questions. Her eponymous lab at the University of Chicago studies gesture’s role in cognition, development and the acquisition of verbal language. Goldin-Meadow visited the National Science Foundation to discuss some of her most exciting work – examining how gesture can change the way we think....

Computational biology of cancer

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Endometrial cancer affects 48,000 women per year in the United States. For patients with tumors greater than two centimeters in diameter, the effected organ(s) and lymph nodes may be surgically removed. Yet post-surgery analysis shows that only 22 percent of patients had metastasis, meaning 78 percent of these surgeries may have been unnecessary. How can doctors predict which patients need surgery? Mathukumalli Vidyasagar discusses how new computational algorithms from National Science...