All STEM Videos

NSF Science Now: Episode 65

In this week's episode, we examine e-tattoo technology for more accurate health monitoring; explore increased sliding of the Greenland Ice Sheet; and finally, we test ultrasound technology for prosthetics. Check it out!

Image modeling for biomedical organs

Professor Jessica Zhang discusses the interdisciplinary nature of the Bioengineered Organs Imitative and how her research in mechanical engineering can contribute to the initiative.

Cracked particles in lithium-ion batteries

A multi-institute team of researchers has developed the most comprehensive view yet of lithium-ion battery electrodes, where most damage typically occurs from charging them repeatedly

Early primate ancestor may have come from North America

New research by University of Florida doctoral graduate Paul Morse shows that Teilhardina brandti, a species found in Wyoming, is as old or older than its Asian and European relatives, upending the prevailing hypothesis that this early primate first appeared in China

New genomic resource is sweet science for tomatoes

Researchers from Boyce Thompson Institute and colleagues from partnering institutions have created a pan-genome, establishing a resource that promises to help breeders develop more flavorful and sustainable tomato varieties

New ice-shedding coating for large surfaces

A spray-on coating developed by University of Michigan researchers causes ice to fall away from large surfaces with just the force of a light breeze, or often from the weight of the ice itself

How bees recognize nest mates

New research shows that honey bees (Apis mellifera) develop different scent profiles as they age, and the gatekeeper bees at the hive's door respond differently to returning foragers than when they encounter younger bees who have never ventured out

Crops versus wild

This video describes a food chain that extends from consumers, producers, breeders and the wild crop relatives that breeders depend on for crop improvement.

Tomato crops hinge on adaptation and biodiversity

A team of researchers visits a seed bank, the Tomato Genetics Resource Center, where scientists try to preserve the genetic diversity available in wild tomato relatives and make it available for crop breeders

A new periodic table classifies droplet motions

Scientists have created a periodic table of droplet motions, inspired in part by parallels between the symmetries of atomic orbitals, which determine elements' positions on the classic periodic table, and the energies that determine droplet shapes

Delaying ice-frost formation using phase-switching liquids

Researchers from the University of Illinois at Chicago College of Engineering have described for the first time several unique properties of materials known as phase-switching liquids, or PSLs, that hold promise as next-generation anti-icing materials

The role of the hippocampus in discerning memory

Without an intact hippocampus, forming new memories is impossible. Researchers from Arizona State University and Stanford University have found an equally important role for the hippocampus: feeding information to brain areas responsible for learning

ROV Jason dives deep

ROV Jason is Woods Hole's state of the art Remotely Operated Vehicle. Supported by the National Science Foundation and equipped with sonars, video and still imaging systems and sampling capabilities, Jason can investigate the deep ocean and seafloor.

A whale of a ride

Barnacles are sticky little critters that hitch rides on the backs of humpback and gray whales. They hold a wealth of information that is helping scientists better understand how whales might respond to the current changes in Earth's climate

First smartphone app that can hear ear infections in children

With funding from the National Science Foundation's Directorate for Computer and Information Science and Engineering (CISE), researchers at the University of Washington have created a new smartphone app that can detect fluid behind the eardrum by simply using a piece of paper

What you see is what you know

National Science Foundation-funded cognitive neuroscientists at George Washington University have found that a person's knowledge about the size of everyday objects impacts how our brains process and interact with the visual environment

The sound of science

James Madison University hosts a summer program that pairs deaf and hard-of-hearing individuals with hearing individuals in a research setting

Chapter III: Soledad Fuica at ALMA Observatory

This video is based on a gathering between students and scientists organized last year by AUI/NRAO, SOCHIAS and Inspiring Girls, with the enthusiastic participation of scientists from the ALMA and ESO Observatories and three universities in Chile

NSF Science Now: Episode 64

In this week's episode, we examine barnacles and the wealth of information they hold; explore our brains and perception; and, finally, we test pseudo-LiDAR for self-driving cars. Check it out!

Peoples Choice: Primarily Math

Primarily Math is a professional development program for primary-grade teachers (K-3) in Nebraska, designed to educate and strengthen teachers in their teaching and development of mathematics

How to test for fake drugs

A new product, developed at the University of California, Riverside, could make access to detection technology a viable and inexpensive reality for these areas

How hard are these protein droplets?

University at Buffalo physicists are using innovative tools to study the properties of a bizarre class of molecules that may play a role in disease: proteins that cluster together to form spherical droplets inside human cells

Developable mechanisms bring science fiction to life

National Science Foundation-funded mechanical engineers at Brigham Young University have brought science fiction to life with a new technology, called developable mechanisms, that allows them to build complex mechanisms into the exterior of a structure without sacrificing space

NSF Science Now: Episode 63

In this week's episode, we learn about developable mechanisms that reside in curved surfaces of structures; explore wrist bone motion using 3D technology; and, finally, examine Adelie penguins' past and future. Check it out!

Here's what an Antarctic ice shelf sounds like

Winds blowing across snow dunes on Antarctica's Ross Ice Shelf cause the massive ice slab's surface to vibrate, producing a near-constant drumroll of seismic "tones" scientists could potentially use to monitor changes in the ice shelf from afar, according to new research

Using frequency combs to search for planets

The hunt for Earth-like planets, and perhaps extraterrestrial life, just got more precise, thanks to record-setting starlight measurements made possible by a National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) "astrocomb"

Event Horizon Telescope's monumental discovery, explained

The Event Horizon Telescope (EHT) -- a planet-scale array of eight ground-based radio telescopes forged through international collaboration -- was designed to capture images of a black hole. On April 10, in coordinated press conferences across the globe, EHT researchers revealed that they have succeeded, unveiling the first direct visual evidence of a supermassive black hole and its shadow

A Best-Kept Secret: STEM Research at Tribal Colleges and Universities

The National Science Foundation's Tribal Colleges and Universities Program (TCUP) presents a documentary showcasing examples of original research being conducted by students and faculty at tribal colleges and universities, as well as insights into the students' academic success and aspirations, and what STEM research means to them

What is a black hole?

What is a black hole? Hans Krimm, an observational astronomer at the National Science Foundation, answers the question on this edition of "Ask a Scientist."

Women's History Makers: Carmiña Londoño

Women are making history today and every day at the National Science Foundation. NSF proudly recognizes its very own women in science, technology, engineering and mathematics, advancing science and providing a beacon of light for youth and adults alike.

Women's History Makers: Talitha Washington

Women are making history today and every day at the National Science Foundation. NSF proudly recognizes its very own women in science, technology, engineering and mathematics, advancing science and providing a beacon of light for youth and adults alike.

Fires in the West may be changing the future of forests

Following the Yellowstone National Park wildfires of 1988, Monica Turner, University of Wisconsin-Madison professor of integrative biology, immediately got to work studying the recovery of the forests, and has continued to do so in the decades since

A new kind of thinking cap

A team led by Worcester Polytechnic Institute, with a $1-million grant from the National Science Foundation, is working to develop a system to help researchers better understand brain activity in an online tutoring environment that supports mathematics learning

Tanana, Alaska: Connecting food, energy and water

The Tanana community is one of four selected for participation in the National Science Foundation project, "Coupling infrastructure improvements to food-energy-water system dynamics in small cold region communities: MicroFEWs"

Cordova, Alaska: Connecting food, energy and water

The Cordova community is one of four selected for participation in the National Science Foundation project, "Coupling infrastructure improvements to food-energy-water system dynamics in small cold region communities: MicroFEWs"

Scoping out capillaries using 3D

National Science Foundation-funded researchers at Northwestern University have developed a 3D imaging tool that gives researchers a rare glimpse at the more than 40 billion, tiny, hair-like vessels called capillaries

The Changing Arctic 

Researchers funded by the National Science Foundation are helping understand changes in the Arctic, from incorporating the unique perspectives of indigenous communities in the Arctic and subarctic to developing new technologies that collect more data to assist with better modeling

NSF Science Now: Episode 62

In this week's episode, we explore 3D technology to look inside capillaries; learn about a new species of dinosaur with a heart-shaped tail; and, finally, we examine a new kind of thinking cap for online learning

Maine tends growing STEM collaborative

The Maine Center for Research in STEM Education, or RiSE Center, at the University of Maine connects with educators statewide, at all levels, to advance innovative and engaging hands-on teaching and learning

Streamlining ocean rescue

Using drones and dummies, an interdisciplinary team of National Science Foundation-funded mathematicians and engineers is tracking how objects move in real-world water environments

What is neuroethics?

What is neuroethics? Tim Brown, doctoral candidate and research assistant at University of Washington's Center for Neurotechnology, answers the question on this edition of "Ask a Scientist."

3D printed objects that can track and store information

Vikram Iyer, doctoral student in the University of Washington's Department of Electrical & Computer Engineering, demonstrates 3D printed devices that can track and store information about their use without using batteries or electronics

Trick neurons with the Stroop Test

Researchers in the Adolphs laboratory at Caltech have discovered that certain types of neurons called error neurons are more active when we make a mistake. Take the Stroop test and see how you fare

3D Bioprinting

National Science Foundation-funded researchers at the University of Colorado Boulder recently developed a 3D printing technique that could one day lead to the creation of blood vessels, artificial arteries and even organ tissues

Gecko's latest superpower revealed

Geckos are renowned for their acrobatic feats on land and in the air, but a new discovery that they can also run on water puts them in the superhero category, says a University of California, Berkeley, biologist

How the seeds of planets take shape

In theoretical research that could explain everything from planet formation to outflows from stars to even the settling of volcanic ash, Caltech researchers have discovered a new mechanism to explain how the act of dust moving through gas leads to clumps of dust

Polymer coating cools down buildings

Columbia engineers have made white paint whiter -- and cooler -- by removing white pigment and inventing a polymer coating, with nano- to microscale air voids, that acts as a spontaneous air cooler and can be fabricated, dyed and applied like paint

Why does group categorization matter?

Why does group categorization matter? Kristina Olson, associate professor of psychology at University of Washington and 2018 Alan T. Waterman Award recipient, answers the question on this edition of "Ask a Scientist."

Burst of morning gene activity tells plants when to flower

An international team of researchers has discovered that the gene FT -- the primary driver of the transition to flowering in plants each spring -- does something unexpected in Arabidopsis thaliana plants grown in natural environments, with implications for the artificial growing conditions scientists commonly used in the lab

Factory of the future shaped by augmented reality

Professor Karthik Ramani of Purdue University is joining forces with manufacturers to build virtual factories using augmented reality, so that they can test new labor-saving technologies in the virtual world before installing them in the real world

NSF Science Now: Episode 60

This week's episode examines an engineering breakthrough in Type 1 diabetes that could help dogs and humans alike; targeted reading programs that rewire the brains reading circuitry; and finally, explores hidden ice history discovered beneath the West Antarctic Ice Sheet

Why can it be so hard to decide on lunch?

A new study conducted at reveals new insights into choice overload, including the parts of the brain responsible for it and how many options the brain actually prefers when it is making a choice

Scientists determine 4 personality types based on new data

A new study led sifted through data from more than 1.5 million questionnaire respondents and found four distinct clusters of personality types exist -- average, reserved, self-centered and role model -- challenging existing paradigms in psychology

Mechanical adaptations of bee swarms

A team of Harvard University researchers spent months shaking and rattling swarms of thousands of honeybees to better understand how bees collectively collaborate to stabilize structures in the presence of external loads such as wind and rain

3D printed cement-based materials with bioinspired design

Purdue University researchers have 3D-printed cement paste, a key ingredient of the concrete and mortar used to build various elements of infrastructure, that gets tougher under pressure like the shells of arthropods such as lobsters and beetles

Restoring tropical forest by planting tree islands

Drs. Karen Holl and Rakan Zahawi, along with Mr. Juan Abel Rosales, talk about their 14-yr study comparing planting "islands" or patches of trees with natural forest regeneration and the more standard plantation-style planting approach

A time-lapse of the Vavilov Ice Cap's collapse

In the last few years, the Vavilov Ice Cap in the Russian High Arctic has dramatically accelerated, sliding as much as 82 feet a day in 2015, according to a new multi-national, multi-institute study

Life at the edge

What makes the shelf break front such a productive and diverse part of the Northwest Atlantic Ocean?

Printing with sound

Harvard University researchers have developed a new printing method that uses soundwaves to generate droplets from liquids with an unprecedented range of composition and viscosity. This technique could finally enable the manufacturing of many new biopharmaceuticals, cosmetics, and food and expand the possibilities of optical and conductive materials.

Climate change and the re-greening of Puerto Rico

Forest ecologist Maria Uriarte has been documenting the lives of thousands of individual trees in dozens of plots spread across the island, putting her in a unique position to study hurricanes' damage and the long-term implications.

Tracking drones with weather radar

With 4 million consumer and commercial drones expected in the U.S. by 2021, researchers at the University of Massachusetts Amherst Center for Collaborative Adaptive Sensing of the Atmosphere (CASA) are targeting safety by studying how to use weather radar to track the low-flying devices.

Unconventional membrane

A self-healing membrane that acts as a reverse filter, blocking small particles and letting large ones through, is the "straight out of science fiction" work of a team of Penn State mechanical engineers.

Making water recycling more effective

University of California, Riverside researchers are finding ways to make the process that turns wastewater back into pure drinking water even more effective. Water reuse will be very important to sustain a reliable water supply amidst drought and population growth.

Smart prosthetic ankle takes fear out of rough terrain

A new prosthetic ankle, developed by a team at Vanderbilt University, has a tiny motor, actuator, sensors and chip that work together to either conform to the surface that the foot is contacting or remain stationary, depending on what the user needs

Can scientists sequence DNA in 100 seconds?

Researchers are developing new methods for sequencing entire strands of DNA from humans or bacteria in just 100 seconds, which could lead to transformative advances in biology and medicine

Multi-messenger astrophysics neutrino breakthrough

On Sept. 22, 2017, the National Science Foundation's IceCube Neutrino Observatory alerted the international astronomy community that a high-energy neutrino had passed through the Earth. That notification set in motion follow-on observations from nearly two dozen observatories on Earth and in space, ultimately confirming the source of the neutrino, a first for science

New method makes weather forecasts right as rain

Researchers from the University of Missouri have developed a system that improves the precision of forecasts by accounting for evaporation in rainfall estimates, particularly for locations 30 miles or more from the nearest National Weather Service radar.

Nighttime heat stresses wheat

Kansas State University agronomists Krishna Jagadish and Allan Fritz talk about a research project they're conducting, which is testing the impact of high nighttime temperatures on a wheat stand's ability to produce good yields and quality grain

Earthquakes: Separating fact from fiction

Scientists describe the advancements in scientifically based earthquake research, which today relies on detailed simulations of ground movements using some of the world's largest and most capable supercomputers

Using the unused: Bottles to trees

Douglass Jacobs and Owen Burney have developed Bottles to Trees, a program to address the need for a nursery system that translates into reforestation in countries, such as Afghanistan and Haiti, where trees are desperately needed

This device can turn desert air into water

Last October, a University of California, Berkeley, team headed down to the Arizona desert, plopped their newest prototype water harvester into the backyard of a tract home and started sucking water out of the air without any power other than sunlight

Acidic oceans pose increased risk of reef loss

Scientists at Scripps Institution of Oceanography at the University of California, San Diego, along with study-lead Southern Cross University in Australia, have found that sands that provide material for the building and maintenance of some coral reef ecosystems face a decline

'Non-smoking' doesn't mean smoke-free

Despite decades of indoor smoking bans and restrictions, new research from Drexel University suggests the toxins we've been trying to keep out are still finding their way into the air inside

What will food production look like in the future?

Adam Wolf, founder and CEO of Arable Labs, describes the future of food production. Arable Labs, a National Science Foundation-funded small business, has developed a crop and weather sensor that delivers real-time, precision weather information straight to the hands of farmers in the field

Climate change might have made Harvey rainfall 15 percent more intense

Scientists from World Weather Attribution, including researchers from Rice University and other institutions in the United States and Europe, found that human-caused climate change might have made the record rainfall that fell over Houston during Hurricane Harvey roughly three times more likely and 15 percent more intense

The genetic path to biodiversity

With support from the National Science Foundation, developmental biologist Arnaud Martin and his team at George Washington University are using cutting-edge genomic techniques, such as CRISPR, to better understand how the rich stripes and swirls of a butterfly's wing take their shape

Rice scientists study ants in the Big Thicket after Hurricane Harvey

With support from the National Science Foundation's Rapid Response Research program, Rice ecologists Tom Miller, Sarah Bengston and Scott Solomon, along with their students, are evaluating whether Hurricane Harvey increased opportunities for invasion by exotic ants in southeast Texas

Butterfly cam catches cancer

National Science Foundation-funded researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and Washington University in St. Louis have developed a surgical camera inspired by the eye of the Morpho butterfly to more accurately find lurking cancer

How does an LED light work?

Shuji Nakamura, an electrical engineer at the University of California, Santa Barbara, who won The Nobel Prize in Physics in 2014, gave a 2018 Engineering Directorate Distinguished Lecture at the National Science Foundation

A cheaper, easier way to test for Malaria

For many in sub-saharan Africa, finding out if a fever is due to Malaria often means trekking long miles to a clinic for a relatively pricey blood test, and anxious hours of waiting before the results come in -- the Urine Malaria Test kit developed by Fyodor Biotechnologies has begun to change all that

Cellular shuffle

Researchers at the University of Washington and the Allen Institute for Brain Science have developed a new method to classify and track the multitude of cells in a tissue sample

Cheetah superpower

National Science Foundation-funded researchers at the American Museum of Natural History reveal how the world's fastest land animal keeps its head steady and gaze locked on prey while hunting at speeds of up to 65 mph

A robotic fish swims in the ocean

A team from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology's Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory has unveiled "SoFi," a soft robotic fish that can independently swim alongside real fish in the ocean

Robots that can go anywhere in the world

The Robomechanics Lab at Carnegie Mellon University is working to take robots out of the lab and factory and into challenging real world environments, such as rocky hills and cluttered houses

Understanding the gut microbiome

Larry Smarr and Rob Knight hope to help make the three P's of modern medicine - precision, predictive and personalized -- a reality with the aid of advanced computers to create high-resolution mapping and simulations like never before

Advancing the science of electron microscopy

Carnegie Mellon University professor Yoosuf Picard's research group develops and applies methods for using energetic beams -- electron, ion and photon beams -- in order to process and characterize materials at small length scales

Recreating Earth's largest extinction in a laboratory

Jeffrey Benca exposed dwarf pines to 13 times the level of dangerous UV-B radiation we get on a sunny day and found that the conditions, similar to what some think occured during Earth's largest extinction 252 million years ago, made the trees sterile

Why study mouse lemurs?

The Duke Lemur Center's non-invasive research on mouse lemurs, our tiny primate cousins, could help explain the initial stages of Alzheimer's and other neurodegenerative diseases

How babies retain information

It's no secret that reading to children is essential for their optimal brain development, but a National Science Foundation-funded research team, led by Lisa Scott at the University of Florida, has discovered that reading books that name and label people and objects are even better

Battling wildfires with data-driven knowledge

San Diego Supercomputer Center's chief data science officer Ilkay Altintas describes a National Science Foundation-funded project that uses data-driven knowledge and predictive tools to battle wildfires, such as those that destroyed thousands of homes and businesses in 2017

Marilyn Minus: From slime to super fiber

Northeastern Professor Marilyn Minus wants to make the strongest fibers the world has ever known -- at low cost -- for light-weight bullet-proof armor, wide-body jets, sports gear and more.

ScienCast: Learning to trust robots

Yue Wang at Clemson University is building robots that people can trust by teaching them how to learn and interpret human behaviors and react accordingly

Understanding the human brain

By applying a novel computer algorithm to mimic how the brain learns, a team of researchers -- with the aid of San Diego Supercomputer Center at the University of California, San Diego's Comet supercomputer and the center's Neuroscience Gateway -- has identified and replicated neural circuitry that resembles how an unimpaired brain controls limb movement

NSF Science Now: Episode 55

In this week's episode, we learn how infants retain information; how loud noise can affect birds; the underpinnings of snake locomotion and, finally, the existence of a hitherto unknown ancient Native American population

3-D printing wirelessly connected objects

With computer-aided design models that a team of researchers is making available to the public, 3-D printing enthusiasts will be able to create objects out of commercially available plastics that can wirelessly communicate with other smart devices

Holostream: Real-time 3-D streaming on your cellphone

By compressing the data at its source, researchers at Purdue University have developed a technology that allows real-time holographic image transmission, small enough to be streamed over existing consumer data networks and received by any cellphone or web browser

Heavy nitrogen molecules reveal planetary-scale tug-of-war

Rice University scientist Laurence Yeung, along with scientists at University of California Los Angeles, Michigan State University and the University of New Mexico, counted rare molecules in the atmosphere that contain only heavy isotopes of nitrogen, and discovered a planetary-scale tug-of-war between life, the deep Earth and the upper atmosphere

Engineering for Humanity: HEALTHY

The Robotics And Rehabilitation (RoAR) Lab develops innovative robots and methods to help humans relearn, restore, or improve functional movements.

Lights out!

Our cities are very congested, much of which stems from traffic lights. If we can reduce that congestion and harmonize traffic with lights, we can contribute to more efficient, cleaner cities.

A close-up look at a rare underwater eruption

In 2015, scientists from the University of Tasmania, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, the University of California Berkeley, the University of Otago in New Zealand and others traveled to the site of an underwater volcanic eruption, the Havre Volcano in the Southwest Pacific Ocean

Can tiny medical implants treat disease?

Tiny electronic devices, sometimes called electroceuticals, could be placed alongside vital organs in the human body to take sensor readings, deliver tiny amounts of drugs, provide remedial jolts of electricity or combinations of the above

STUDIO: Build Our World

STUDIO is an afterschool program for low income and immigrant youth that offers programming to build interest, motivation and identification with science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM), and to learn more about STEM college and career pathways

Building a quantum computer with atomic ions

Two independent teams of scientists, including one from the Joint Quantum Institute, have used more than 50 interacting atomic qubits to mimic magnetic quantum matter, surpassing the complexity of previous demonstrations

Secrets of butterfly wings revealed!

George Washington University evolutionary geneticist Arnaud Martin is using CRISPR Cas9, a gene editing technique, to determine how changes in the "painting gene" WntA result in different wing shapes and patterns in butterflies

The beginning of a new species

The direct observation of the origin of a new species occurred during field work carried out over the last four decades by a wife-and-husband team of scientists from Princeton University on the small island of Daphne Major in the Galápagos Islands in the Pacific Ocean

Oil mixes with water

The reluctance of oil and water to mix together and stay that way is so well-known that it has become a cliché for describing any two things that do not go together well

Bumblebees in peril!

Researchers have discovered that climate change, warmer temperatures and earlier snow melt are causing flowers to bloom earlier, affecting bumblebees

Fighting brain drain with a game

One of the two brain-training methods most scientists use in research is significantly better in improving memory and attention, Johns Hopkins University researchers found

NSF Science Now: Episode 54

In this week's episode, we discover why some bumblebees are in peril and that some of the earliest primates were adept leapers. We also explore a new technique that can print drugs, and learn about a new app capable of detecting concussions right on the sideline

How mosquitoes get away

Scientists have found the key to mosquitoes' stealth takeoffs: They barely push off when making a fast getaway, but instead rely on strong and rapid wing beats to quickly get aloft without anyone noticing

NSF Science Now: Episode 53

In this week's episode, we discover a new species of titanosaurian dinosaur and how airline boarding procedures might be making you sick; we explore a compact mass spectrometer for use in the field; and finally, we learn how vertebrate tails actually provide greater speed

Ripples of gravity, flashes of light

On Aug. 17, 2017, the Laser Interferometer Gravitational-wave Observatory (LIGO) and Virgo detected, for the first time, gravitational waves from the collision of two neutron stars

The robots are coming

In this interview, director of Georgia Tech's Institute for Robotics and Intelligent Machines (IRIM) Magnus Egerstedt outlines IRIM's strengths, the global future of robotics and his new project: the robotarium.

Walk this way!

National Science Foundation-funded researchers at Carnegie Mellon University developed a technique that can dramatically improve mobility for millions of people who currently use prosthetic limbs and exoskeletons to walk

Relief from Parkinson's

Researchers at Carnegie Mellon University have discovered two groups of neurons that can be turned on and off like a light switch to alleviate the movement-related symptoms of Parkinson's disease for longer periods of time

Cognitive and neural benefits of teaching spatial thinking

This behavioral and neuroimaging study investigates the effects of spatial education embedded in a science class on the core spatial abilities and science, technology, engineering and mathematics-relevant spatial thinking of high school students

What is convergence?

Through its Growing Convergent Research at NSF, one of the foundation's "10 Big Idea for Future NSF investments," the foundation seeks to highlight the value of convergence, the deep integration of multiple disciplines in order to advance scientific discovery and innovation

Can a supercomputer design a super material?

Howard University professor Steven Richardson tells the story of how he earned a scholarship to Columbia University and soon found deeper truths in the mathematical universe of quantum physics.

Bug battles

With support from the National Science Foundation, University of Florida entomologist Christine Miller and her team are researching mate selection and animal weapons as a key to better understanding animal behavior, diversity and evolution

Electromagnets unwire the framework of small, foldable robots

A team of researchers at the Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering and the John A. Paulson School of Engineering and Applied Sciences (SEAS) at Harvard University has created battery-free folding robots that are capable of complex, repeatable movements powered and controlled through a wireless magnetic field

Mobile city science: counter-mapping the neighborhood

This project is studying how two groups of urban youth collect data about and map their communities using mobile and location-aware technologies, and how these data support educators to better understand the places in which students live

The glass is greener

Researchers at the University of California, Riverside, Bourns College of Engineering have used waste glass bottles and a low-cost chemical process to create nanosilicon anodes for high-performance lithium-ion batteries

Digital eye in the sky

David Johnson, assistant professor of the practice of marine conservation ecology at Duke University, has found that drone technology allows his research team to collect huge volumes of data from remote or extreme locations

Sonic cyberattacks on MEMS accelerometers

New research at the University of Michigan calls into question the longstanding computer science tenet that software can automatically trust hardware sensors, which feed autonomous systems with fundamental data they need to make decisions

Why does diversity in schools matter?

Sandra Graham, University of California Presidential Chair in Education and Diversity and Distinguished Professor of Education at University of California-Los Angeles, answers your question on this episode of Ask a Scientist.

How does diversity benefit students?

Sandra Graham, University of California Presidential Chair in Education and Diversity and Distinguished Professor of Education at University of California-Los Angeles, answers your question on this episode of Ask a Scientist.

Creating safer, smarter homes

The University of Washington School of Nursing is harnessing the power of everyday items to turn houses into smart homes--and allowing older adults to live independently, thanks to modern technology

NSF Science Now: Episode 52

In this week's episode, we discover why freshwater lakes are becoming saltier and the role temperature plays in the spread of mosquito-borne diseases, explore a new device for combatting Parkinson's disease, and finally, learn how to excite girls about STEM

Why is Texas shaking?

The new TexNet Seismic Monitoring Network is helping to locate and determine the origins of earthquakes in Texas

Palau coral reefs have a global impact

Humans are adding carbon dioxide to the atmosphere by burning fossil fuels and deforestation. Through a process called ocean acidification, about a quarter to a third of this carbon dioxide is absorbed by the ocean, causing a decrease in the pH of ocean water

Confessions of a marine biologist

Mike Gil, a postdoctoral scholar at University of California-Davis, will be one of 20 international fellows who will give talks at TEDGlobal in Arusha, Tanzania, in August

Every last drop

Each year 12 competitively selected undergraduates fly to Australia to work alongside PIRE researchers as they conduct field work to look at engineering, ecological, and social science aspects of Melbourne's green storm water infrastructure

Humanexus

This multiple award-winning semi-documentary animation visualizes human communication from the Stone Age to today and beyond

Was this how dinosaurs began flying?

If a Pacific parrotlet needs to get to a nearby branch, it uses its legs to jump. If a target falls just outside of its jump range, however, it can add a "proto-wingbeat," a small flapping motion that allows it to travel farther without using as much energy as full flight.

Semiconductors for an energy efficient future

Lisa Porter, professor of materials science and engineering at Carnegie-Mellon University, discusses her research on semiconductor materials and devices, especially those that enable new technologies for a more energy-efficient future.

Researchers tackle tornadoes!

An NSF-funded research team at the University of Oklahoma's Advanced Radar Research Center hopes that their radar simulator can assist researchers and meteorologists in better understanding how debris interacts with deadly tornadoes.

Farming the sea

Maine's Sustainable Ecological Aquaculture Network (SEANET) helps support University of Maine research and educational outreach related to the farming of aquatic organisms

Tiny solutions to big water problems

How do you take dirty water and make it clean? With support from the National Science Foundation (NSF), this team is hard at work designing nanometer-scale water filters that could soon make clean drinking water available and affordable for even the poorest of the poor around the world

Pulling drinkable water out of dry air

Imagine a future in which every home has an appliance that pulls all the water the household needs out of the air, even in dry or desert climates, using only the power of the sun

Generation Robot

Robots are about to transform how we live. Decades of science and engineering research (and lab time) are behind it.

Polyploidy

A team of three scientists from Kansas State University, Michigan State University and the Desert Botanical Garden are investigating polyploidy (the condition of having more than one set of chromosomes) and diversity in the plant genus Phlox (Polemoniaceae).

NSF Science Now: Episode 51

In this week's episode, we learn about marine mammals' need for speed, magnify a new tool combating mosquito-borne disease, break down new materials inspired by kirigami, and finally, discover new hydrothermal vents. Check it out!

Dive Deeper: Donna Blackman looks at the future of Alvin

Marine geophysicist Donna Blackman from the Scripps Institution of Oceanography remembers Alvin's discovery of the Lost City hydrothermal vent field in 2000 and looks ahead to the people and tools that will take Alvin to even greater depths of discovery

SupraSensor: A super tool for precision agriculture

The SupraSensor device is designed to give farmers a highly accurate, virtually constant stream of data on nitrate levels. The device is an excellent example of highly applied science with roots in basic research -- in this case supramolecular chemistry at the University of Oregon.

Researchers assemble 5 new synthetic yeast chromosomes

A global research team has built five new synthetic yeast chromosomes, meaning that 30 percent of a key organism's genetic material has now been swapped out for engineered replacements. Jef Boeke discusses the importance of yeast as a research model and how new research may lead to synthetic genomes to address unmet needs in medicine and industry.

Physport

This video highlights development of a web-based, validated instrument to monitor, as the academic term progresses, student understanding of a wide range of introductory physics concepts.

Math + water = strawberry growth

In the strawberry capital of California, the water source is a confined underground aquifer that is slowly being depleted. How can American growers meet the demand and maximize profits while using the least amount of water? Sounds like an agricultural math problem.

LIGO Detection

LIGO Detection reveals what unfolded behind the scenes between the detection of merging black holes on 14 September 2015, and five months later when LIGO announced it to the world.

How do fish adapt to extreme environments?

Extreme environments allow for the investigation of life's capacity and limitations to cope with far-from-average environmental conditions. Springs rich in hydrogen sulfide (H2S) represent some of the most extreme freshwater environments because H2S halts energy production in animal cells.

Read between the lines

It's Brain Awareness Week! Researchers at the University of California, Davis, have come up with a way to observe brain activity during natural reading. This marks the first time researchers have been able to study the brain while reading actual texts, instead of individual words.

NSF Science Now: Episode 50

In this week's episode, we learn how AI uncovers insights into cancer, how loops give toughness to spider silk, a newly released database of stars and finally, we investigate a novel water testing technique. Check it out!

Cell migration

Cells move and migrate to new locations in the bodies of developing animals, an important step for the correct formation and function of organs. The research featured in this video uses a simple genetic model, the fruit fly, to investigate how cells move as organized groups within the animal. This video is part of a series produced by students at Kansas State University.

A grassland bird’s changing world

Prairies are characterized by highly variable climate, yet we lack the theoretical knowledge to predict whether adaption to such conditions offers organisms greater resilience to additional change, or whether they already experience conditions near the limits of their physiological capabilities. This video describes a study that capitalizes on a 28-year dataset of avian abundances and the infrastructure and experimental manipulations made possible by the Long Term Ecological Research (LTER) program at the Konza Prairie in NE Kansas.

Women’s History Month: Engineer Erin Bell is designing ‘living’ bridges

Engineers at the University of New Hampshire are raising the bar on what 21st century infrastructure systems can do. With support from the National Science Foundation, they're outfitting the Memorial Bridge, which links Portsmouth, New Hampshire, to Kittery, Maine, with sensors to monitor everything from structural stability to traffic to environmental health. It will even be powered by tidal energy, a renewable energy source. They call it a 'living bridge,' and it exemplifies the future of smart, sustainable, user-centered transportation infrastructure.

Mismatched eyes help squid survive the ocean’s twilight zone

By watching cockeyed Histioteuthis heteropsis squids glide and pirouette through over 150 undersea videos, biologists at Duke University and the Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute (MBARI) have gathered the first behavioral evidence that the squids' lopsided eyes evolved to spot two very different sources of light available in the ocean's "twilight zone."

What's the difference between fermions and bosons?

In particle physics, there are many different types of particles, mostly ending with the phrase "-on." Don Lincoln a senior physicist at Fermilab talks about fermions and bosons and what is the key difference between these two particles.

Reconfigurable materials

What if a material could contain within its structure, multiple functions and easily and autonomously switch between them?

Women engineers discuss ‘Hidden Figures’ and lingering challenges

The nonfiction book and its film counterpart "Hidden Figures" revealed the genius behind the American space race in the 1960s: a cohort of black women who, despite segregation and discrimination, applied their genius in math and engineering to help send our rockets and astronauts into space and bring them back safely.

Vehicle electrification

Jeremy Michalek, a professor at Carnegie Mellon University, discusses several aspects of vehicle electrification: technology, life cycle, consumer behavior and public policy.

Rapid analysis of disaster damage

Researchers are harnessing "deep learning" algorithms and powerful computer vision technology to dramatically reduce the time it takes for engineers to assess damage to buildings after disasters.

The Flint water crisis: Engineering researchers find answers for alarmed residents

In 2015, engineering researchers funded by the National Science Foundation (NSF) helped to uncover the dangerously high lead levels in Flint water, and listened to a community in distress. Through a NSF Rapid Response grant awarded to Virginia Tech civil engineering professor Marc Edwards, researchers received federal funding to collect data on the chemical content of residents' drinking water, providing vital insight into one of the worst human-made, engineering disasters in recent U.S. history.

Urban heat island: Improving data for sustainable cities

This video is part of "Changes and Choices in the Yahara," a mini-documentary series showcasing the major research implications from the University of Wisconsin-Madison Water Sustainability and Climate project, a five-year research endeavor funded by the National Science Foundation.

Making dreams come true

Northern Illinois University (NIU) engineering and technology student Oluseun Taiwo spent the summer printing prosthetics on a 3-D printer at NIU to help Sarah Valentiner, an eighth-grader born with one hand, have more range of motion while she plays the violin.

Groundwater and agriculture: tapping the hidden benefits

This video is part of "Changes and Choices in the Yahara," a mini-documentary series showcasing the major research implications from the University of Wisconsin-Madison Water Sustainability and Climate project, a five-year research endeavor funded by the National Science Foundation.

Water, food & energy

Scientists and engineers, including Greg Characklis at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, are studying the connections between water, food and energy in the human water cycle to develop new, sustainable ways of meeting our water needs.

Drinking water

Safe, clean drinking water is a fundamental human need. Orlando Coronell at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill is developing improved membrane technology to purify drinking water more effectively and efficiently.

Agriculture

Soil salinization prevents crops from taking up water and nutrients due to an excess of salt in the soil. Meagan Mauter at Carnegie Mellon University is developing technology to monitor salinity levels to allow farmers to make better watering decisions.

Wastewater

Wastewater is what gets flushed down the toilet, rinsed down the drain, and produced by places such as factories, workplaces, and homes. Kartik Chandran at Columbia University is changing the perception of wastewater by treating it more efficiently and creating energy from resources found in it.

Why fungi rule the world

Assistant professor of biology at Boston University, Jennifer Talbot, studies a group of organisms called mycorrhizal fungi, which infect the root tips of over 90 percent of plant families on Earth--in a good way.

Fuel cells for electric vehicles

Associate professor of mechanical engineering at Carnegie Mellon University, Shawn Litster, discusses his research on fuel cells and how they may be used for electric vehicles in the future.

It's a twister--of data!

In episode 75, Charlie and Jordan talk about visualizations developed by Amy McGovern at the University of Oklahoma, that may reduce the false alarm rate for tornado prediction.

NSF Science Now: Episode 49

In this week's episode we learn about a new app for bird watchers, girls and stereotypes, beluga whale migration and, finally, the discovery of a 250-million-year-old shark-like fish. Check it out!

Landscape analyses: Getting the most from our landscapes

This video is part of "Changes and Choices in the Yahara," a mini-documentary series showcasing the major research implications from the University of Wisconsin-Madison Water Sustainability and Climate (WSC) project, a five-year research endeavor funded by the National Science Foundation.

Are we a sixth extinction?

Stanford University Earth professor Jon Payne puts modern extinction in context by comparing them with Earth's five previous mass extinctions.

Scenarios: building resilience with long-term thinking

This video is part of "Changes and Choices in the Yahara," a mini-documentary series showcasing the major research implications from the University of Wisconsin-Madison Water Sustainability and Climate (WSC) project, a five-year research endeavor funded by the National Science Foundation.

The electroadhesive clutch

Associate professor of mechanical engineering at Carnegie Mellon, Steve Collins, discusses the electroadhesive clutch: a slim, lightweight, and energy-efficient alternative to conventional clutches in robotics.

Policy and governance: innovating for clean water results

This video is part of "Changes and Choices in the Yahara," a mini-documentary series showcasing the major research implications from the UW-Madison Water Sustainability and Climate project, a five-year research endeavor funded by the National Science Foundation.

Computing for sustainability

Electrical and computer engineering professor at Carnegie Mellon University, Diana Marculescu, talks about computing for sustainability

Nuclear CSI

In episode 73, Jordan and Charlie investigate a new procedure for identifying individuals exposed to uranium within the past year. Scientists and homeland security experts believe these procedures could identify individuals who may be smuggling nuclear materials for criminal purposes.

What is the Water Sustainability and Climate Project?

In this video, the research team explains the Water Sustainability and Climate Project, which was focused on how to achieve water sustainability for current and future generations, given ongoing changes in climate, land use, and human demands.

Saving Atlantis: Global Coral Microbiome Project, Mo’orea

As part of a feature film project Saving Atlantis, researchers at Oregon State University journeyed to Mo'orea, French Polynesia with scientists from the Global Coral Microbiome Project. This segment explains the interaction between coral reefs and humans.

Got a high schooler on winter break? Need a STEM project to keep ‘em busy? GenNano competition to the rescue!

The National Science Foundation and the National Nanotechnology Initiative's second annual "Generation Nano: Small Science, Superheroes" competition is underway! The competition challenges high school students to create a superhero that uses nanotechnology--science and technology on the scale of a nanometer, or one billionth of a meter--to solve crimes and meet today's challenges. And those high schoolers have got a ton of time during winter break, right?

Online security and privacy

Lorrie Cranor, Engineering & public policy and computer science professor at Carnegie Mellon University, discusses her work in human factors and public policy issues related to computer security and privacy.

Supercomputers solve case of missing galaxies

California Institute of Technology (Caltech) associate professor of theoretical astrophysics Phil Hopkins and Carnegie-Caltech Research Fellow Andrew Wetzel use massive supercomputers to build the most detailed and realistic simulation of galaxy formation ever created.

SALTO: Berkeley's leaping robot

Roboticists at the University of California, Berkeley have designed a small robot that can leap into the air and then spring off a wall, or perform multiple vertical jumps in a row, resulting in the highest robotic vertical jumping agility ever recorded.

Silk proteins for more stable vaccines

Almost all vaccines on the market require refrigeration to remain viable, including during transport. Continuous cooling is expensive and especially challenging in developing countries. To solve this problem, Vaxess Technologies Inc. has developed a technology that uses silk proteins to create more stable biological platform that keeps vaccines from degrading when exposed to higher temperatures.

NSF Science Now: Episode 48

In this week's episode, we learn about a new wall-jumping robot, using sensor-integrated blocks to better identify developmental disabilities, creatures with camouflage, a new procedure to detect exposure to dangerous nuclear materials and, finally, the discovery of the oldest known fossil tumor.

A color-based, disposable anemia test

Two billion people worldwide have iron deficiency anemia, a condition in which blood lacks adequate healthy red blood cells needed to carry oxygen to tissues. Left untreated, anemia can lead to severe health problems. To help people monitor their blood-iron levels more easily, Sanguina LLC, a small business funded by the National Science Foundation (NSF), has developed a color-based anemia test.

Swinging hips help turtles take greater strides

Turtles have a reputation. "They're slow, they're clumsy and the shell just gets in the way of everything," said Richard Blob, a biologist at Clemson University who specializes in studying how animals have evolved to move the way they do. But, Blob adds quickly, "I don't think that's the case anymore." Fueling the pokey reputation is a long-held belief that a turtle can't move its pelvis or hips. Until recently, however, nobody has been able to see under, or through, a turtle's shell to confirm that notion.