Science Nation - Follow the Water

submitted by: nsf
Already parts of the world suffer from lack of water, and with increasing demand it's expected to get worse. To better understand and predict drought, 30 universities are collaborating in a multi-disciplinary effort called the Shale Hills Project. Among the studies, is field research following the life cycle of water along the Susquehanna River Basin, the main tributary to the Chesapeake Bay. With support from the National Science Foundation, civil engineer Chris Duffy and his team at Penn...

Science Nation - Antarctica Rocks

submitted by: nsf
Geologist John Goodge looks for clues about Antarctica's past in the two percent of the continent that is not covered in ice! The University of Minnesota, Duluth professor studies rocks that help provide evidence about how this desolate continent has formed and changed over time. He also hopes to get a better idea of what the Earth looked like long before the seven continents we have now. Goodge and his colleagues are supported by the U.S. Antarctic Program, which is managed by the National...

Science Nation - Brain Machine Interface

submitted by: nsf
Imagine living a life in which you are completely aware of the world around you but you're prevented from engaging in it because you are completely paralyzed. Even speaking is impossible. For an estimated 50,000 Americans this is a harsh reality. It's called locked-in syndrome, a condition in which people with normal cognitive brain activity suffer severe paralysis, often from injuries or an illness such as Lou Gehrig's disease. Boston University neuroscientist Frank Guenther works with the...

Science Nation - Dragonflies in Motion

submitted by: nsf
Next time you see a dragonfly, try to watch it catch its next meal on the go. Good luck! "Unless we film it in high speed, we can't see whether it caught the prey, but when it gets back to its perch, if we see it chewing, we know that it was successful," says Stacey Combes a biomechanist at Harvard University. With support from the National Science Foundation, she and her team are using high speed cameras to help them study how dragonflies pull off complicated aerial feats that include...

Science Nation - Purple Marsh Crabs

submitted by: nsf
If you take a quick glance at the marsh next to Saquatucket Harbor in Harwich Port, Massachusetts, you will notice right away that some of the grass is missing. The cordgrass there, and all around Cape Cod, has been slowly disappearing for decades. "The cordgrass that's being destroyed here is the foundation species that builds salt marshes," explains marine ecologist Mark Bertness of Brown University. With support from the National Science Foundation, Bertness studies this critical...

Science Nation - Invasion of the Earth Worms

submitted by: nsf
Invasive species of earth worms have made their way north in the United States and are doing their job too well! They've moved into formerly worm-free forests, which rely on undecayed leaf matter. When worms decompose that leaf layer, the ecology may shift, making it uninhabitable for certain species of trees, ferns and wildflowers. It's of particular concern in the Great Lakes region when anglers simply dump their bait worms back into the soil, creating a difficult environment for old...

Science Nation - Waste to Energy

submitted by: nsf
All of us use water and in the process, a lot of it goes to waste. Whether it goes down drains, sewers or toilets, much of it ends up at a wastewater treatment plant where it undergoes rigorous cleaning before it flows back to the environment. The process takes time, money and a lot of energy. What if that wastewater could be turned into energy? It almost sounds too good to be true, but environmental engineer Bruce Logan is working on ways to make it happen. Most treatment plants already use...

Science Nation - Science of Shopping

submitted by: nsf
Go into any grocery store and cameras may be watching you. These cameras are not looking for thieves, they're looking for shoppers! The cameras are focused on the tops of peoples' heads (so it's anonymous), but they don't have to see faces to track which store aisles get the most traffic and how long consumers spend looking over products. With support from the National Science Foundation, computer scientist and CEO of VideoMining Rajeev Sharma and his team have designed software that...

Science Nation - Mind Mappers

submitted by: nsf
Neuroanatomist Jacopo Annese is looking for 1,000 brains. The Director of the Brain Observatory at the University of California, San Diego is on a quest to collect, dissect, and digitize images of the human brain for the Digital Brain Library, which was launched with support from the National Science Foundation. Annese and his team look for connections, mapping brain structure and connecting it to human behavior. He believes that with a large enough catalog of brains preserved as virtual...

Science Nation - Decoding Disasters

submitted by: nsf
The Disaster Research Center at the University of Delaware aims to help communities become as prepared as possible for unplanned, sometimes unthinkable events. The Center's work and guidelines have been adopted by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), the American Red Cross, medical reserve groups, and the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. Following the 9/11 terrorist attacks, the Center's associate director, sociologist Tricia Wachtendorf, looked at specific events in lower...