Science Nation - Music and Creativity

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Georgia Tech's Parag Chordia believes music is a universal part of human culture, and his research shows music education can inspire greater interest in math, physics, and computer science. Chordia heads Georgia Tech's "Music Intelligence Group." With support from the National Science foundation, his goals are to program computers to understand music the way humans do naturally - anticipating what is coming next. He's also studying changes in the brains of professional musicians as they play...

Science Nation - Talk to the Animals

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Most pet owners talk to their animals at one time or another, and some do every day. But how much do our pets actually understand? Is their perception anything like ours? These are the questions that fascinate Irene Pepperberg and she's looking for answers from the animals themselves, specifically -- African Grey Parrots. The Harvard psychology professor is a bit like the character Dr. Doolittle because she's been talking to parrots for decades. With help from the National Science...

Science Nation - 3D Proteins - Getting the Big Picture

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Proteins are the workhorses of cells. With support from the National Science Foundation, University of Arkansas biochemist James Hinton has been researching their structure and function for decades. Back in the 1990's, he had a vision to study these huge protein structures in 3D and now, in cooperation with a company called Virtalis, his vision has become a reality. The new system allows researchers to enlarge the visual of a protein to room-size, so they can examine it from all angles, to...

Science Nation - Super Stars

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Who are the biggest super stars in the universe? For Adam Burrows, an astrophysics professor at Princeton University, it's not who, but "what," and they are far from Hollywood, or even earth, for that matter. Burrows would tell you biggest super stars are the stars that die in a massive explosion called a "supernova." With support from the National Science Foundation, Burrows investigates supernovae and he has recently created 3D computer simulations showing the actual moment of a star's...

Science Nation - If These Teeth Could Talk

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With funding from the National Science Foundation, Peter Ungar is revealing more details about the lives of our human ancestors, and he's doing it through dentistry - sort of! The University of Arkansas anthropologist uses high tech dental scans to find out more about the diets of hominids, a technique that sometimes leads to new and very different conclusions. While anthropologists traditionally determine the diets of our ancestors by examining the size and shape of teeth and jaws, Ungar's...

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 - Lord of the Tree Rings

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David Stahle travels to ancient forests around the world, collecting tree rings to learn more about major climate and historical events dating back hundreds and thousands of years. With help from the National Science Foundation, he uses Dendrochronology, or tree-ring dating, to get a snapshot of climate change over time. Stahle can also determine things like the socioeconomic impact of droughts. In fact, in 1998, he made the front page of the New York Times with his discovery that drought...

Science Nation - Babies and Learning

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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...

Science Nation - Ticket to Ride

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The National Science Foundation (NSF) has featured Professor Andrew Sweeting in a new video story in its online magazine Science Nation. Sweeting specializes in industrial organization and one line of his research focuses on perishable good markets. In the story "Ticket to Ride," Sweeting's work on price dynamics for sporting tickets is explained, using the example of Duke basketball tickets. Visit NSF's Science Nation web page:...

Science Nation - Robotic Arms

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Who do you call if you need a little help with some of life's more complicated tasks...like building a car, performing surgery, or even diffusing a bomb? The people at Barrett Technologies in Cambridge, Massachusetts are always glad to lend a hand, or an arm, or both, as long as they're robotic. Barrett Technologies is on the cutting edge of developing and implementing robotic technology. We'll head to Cambridge to rub elbows with some of the company's creations, and see how support from the...