Science

Photo: Jim Rose, regional president of Yadkin Bank in Raleigh, speaks before a crowd at the launch of the Connect NC campaign
Jorge Valencia

Governor Pat McCrory made his first public speech for a bond referendum on Tuesday, urging North Carolina voters to approve $2 billion in borrowing for public service investments such as building new science education and research facilities on college campuses, new facilities for the National Guard, and sewage renovations in small towns.

The Man Who Stalked Einstein

Jun 4, 2015
Image of the cover for Bruce Hillman's new book, "The Man Who Stalked Einstein."
Bruce Hillman

By 1920, Albert Einstein had become the face of science and theoretical physics. Along the road to fame, Einstein made some powerful enemies including Nobel Prize winner Philipp Lenard.

Lenard was an “old school” scientist who had studied with some of the greatest minds in his era – Bunsen, Helmoltz and Hertz. Lenard found Einstein’s approach to science silly and took every opportunity to discredit him. 

The Man Who Touched His Own Heart, is a history of science and medical efforts to understand the heart.
Little, Brown & Co/2015

Biologist, writer and professor Rob Dunn was not always going to be a scientist, but he was probably born to be one. 

Mary-Dell Chilton is a pioneer in the field of agricultural biotechnology. As a young scientist at Washington University, she led the team of researchers that produced the first genetically-modified plant. Chilton moved to North Carolina in the early 1980s to begin her corporate career and has continued to conduct research that shapes the agricultural production of corn, cotton, and other crops.

Pat Nathan

  

As a chemist in the 1970s, Pat Nathan was quite often the only woman in the room.

She remained one of the only women in the room as she rose through the rankings at the Dell computer company during the dot-com bubble. She entered the industry at a time when it was grappling with how to dispose of computer waste responsibly.

Tonya Rush is an analyst at the crime lab. The NC General Assembly recently added funding for 30 more analysts to help with the backlog.
Eric Mennel / WUNC

We've been looking at the problems in the State Crime Lab this week, particularly the backlog in evidence testing. A group of judges, lawyers, and scientists came together in recent months to suggest solutions for clearing up the backlog, but inside the lab, some efforts are already under way.

Hundreds of millions of miles from Earth, a man-made object was flung at a comet Wednesday — and now it's sticking to the rock as it hurtles through space.

"We are on the comet," Stephan Ulamec, Philae Lander Manager, announced Wednesday, marking a historic achievement.

  

Much of what we know about autism is publicly disputed, from the definition of autism itself to the reasons behind the increase in diagnoses. 

Florida predatory stink bug nymph
Matt Bertone, 2014

  

Stink bugs, moths, fireflies, and caterpillars are just a few of the creepy crawlers featured at Bugfest, a showcase of more than 100 exhibits about an array of arthropods at the North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences.

A story that ran last Sunday on All Things Considered about a sixth-grader's science fair project has elicited not just criticism but controversy.

Since the student's project built on the work of scientists, she's been accused this week of being a "plagiarist" who "ripped off" earlier work.

The donosaur heist suspects
NC Dept. of Public Safety

Two suspects in the Monday theft of an expensive dinosaur model from the N.C. Museum of Natural Sciences voluntarily turned themselves in Thursday morning, officials say. The stolen property has been recovered. 

Logan Todd Ritchey, 21, of  Raleigh, and  Alyssa Ann Lavacca, 21, of Holly Springs are charged with two counts of theft or destruction of property of public libraries, museums, etc. 

This is an example of the style of graphic in the textbook
E.O. Wilson Biodiversity Foundation

Attention teachers and lifelong learners: noted naturalist and biologist Dr. Edward O. Wilson has a new product out that just might make you swoon. It's a gorgeous high-tech interactive textbook series with full-color photos, 3D animations and interviews with working scientists. It's aligned with educational standards and it's free.

Eric Mennel

My dog. Hands down - that's the picture I'm sending to Mars. No questions asked.

There's a group of students at Duke who are trying to give me the opportunity for about $1. Time Capsule To Mars is a several-years-long project that is crowdfunding to cover much of the cost of sending a satellite time capsule to the Red Planet.

For now, they're accepting picture uploads. But they plan to expand all sorts of media.

Reel to Reel book cover shows a galaxy
press.uchicago.edu

Poet Alan Shapiro says good science writing, like good poetry, asks questions and evokes a sense of wonder. His new book, "Reel to Reel" (University of Chicago Press/2014), takes inspiration from biology, astronomy and physics.

The poems move between the intimately familiar and the vastly unknowable, considering both the frustrations of political hypocrisy and the mysteries of human consciousness. 

Homeric Turns, Part 2

The gods laugh, that’s what they’re good at, laughing.They laugh at the crippled god, his shriveled legs,
His hobbling, and his mother, in a little
Shadow play of suffering at the sight of him,
Her crippled baby, laughs the loudest, and then
Laughs even louder when she hurls him out
Of heaven, and he falls, and while he falls
The laughter echoing around him is
The measure of the pure unbreathable cold
Height of the heaven he’s falling from and through,
Hilarity of light and air, delight’s
Effacement of everything but itself.
And the crippled baby tumbling to earth
In a charade of terror? Don’t let him
Deceive you—he’s a god—he’s laughing too.

A teen wearing an exoskeleton will kick off soccer's biggest event.
Walk Again Project / virtualreality.duke.edu

Earlier this year we brought you a story about the connection between a mind-controlled robotic suit and soccer's World Cup. We have updated the story at the bottom of the page.

Original story:

The upcoming World Cup is sure to go down in the history books even before the competition starts.  This year, a paralyzed teen will use a mind-controlled robotic suit to help stand, walk and make the opening kick to the 2014 World Cup in Brazil.

Michelle Lewis

In the last few years, Chase Lewis has patented two life-saving inventions, been a finalist in five national science competitions, and earned the Presidential Volunteer Service Silver Award. Oh, and he’s only 14 years old.

Lewis, who is homeschooled, has long been interested in science and inventions.

“My grandfather was an aeronautical physicist who worked on the Apollo program,” Lewis said. “I’ve gotten to spend some time with him, and we talk about science and inventions all the time.”

Bureau of IIP, flickr.com / Flickr/Creative Commons

When you go into a job interview, you’re being judged on so many different things - far more than your knowledge of the industry. Many employers asses how you dress, your body language, how enthusiastic you are. For some women a new Duke study shows that even your voice may play a factor. 

North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences

Rain forests are home to an incredible variety of species. From cute olinguitos to slimy spittlebugs, scientists are discovering creatures all the time. The exhibit "Rainforest Adventure" at the North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences educates kids on rain forest diversity and conservation.

Man Versus Science

May 15, 2014
Logo for ESPN. Sport Science is an ESPN TV series
Creative Commons

    

Can an NFL running back muster the same force as a running bull? Does a nine-foot python squeeze harder than a martial arts star?

lemur with white head and body, brown arms and dark facial markings
David Haring / http://lemur.duke.edu

Sixty-five million years ago, ancestors of lemurs journeyed from Africa to Madagascar on a raft of vegetation. This explanation for their arrival, now widely accepted, was the dissertation of Anne Yoder, director of the Duke Lemur Center. It is also the subject of a new IMAX movie, "Island of Lemurs: Madagascar." Many of the lemurs that star in the film are Durham residents who were trained locally by behavioral manager Meg Dye. 

A picture of the North Carolina School of Science and Mathematics team.
Dennis Brack / U.S. Department of Energy, Office of Science

A team from Durham's North Carolina School of Science and Mathematics joined 23 other schools over the weekend to compete in the 2014 National Science Bowl in Washington, D.C.  During the competition, students compete in a fast-paced Jeopardy-like forum. They must quickly solve technical problems and answer questions related to science and mathematics.

Team members include Michael An, Anne Feng, Kavi Jain, Sammy Luo, and Daniel Ren.  Their coach is Leslie Brinson.

SwitchPoint 2013
SwitchPoint

There's a fascinating conference happening Thursday and Friday at the Haw River Ballroom in Saxapahaw. It's called SwitchPoint. This is the conference for you if you're interested in things like using technology for good, social entrepreneurship and creativity/design.

The attendees are the kind of people who are doing the most interesting things in our society: printing 3-D organs, crowdsourcing crisis response via text, building medical devices out of broken toys.

Mary Roach is a writer known for asking taboo and wacky questions about the human body, and she continues this pursuit in her latest book, "Gulp: Adventures on the Alimentary Canal."(W.W. Norton & Company/2013)

Medical School Residency Match Day
Guillermo Cabrera-Rojo / Flickr/Creative Commons

Next Friday, over 17,000 U.S. medical students will find out exactly what kind of doctor they will become. The process is called ‘the match’, and it works more like high-stakes speed dating than a job application process. 

During the last year of medical school, much like in high school, medical students apply to residency programs across the country. The programs then send invitations to select applicants to interview at their institution.

For some residency fields such as family medicine, students may only have to interview at a handful of institutions because there are more spots than there are U.S. students applying for that field. But for many other fields, such as plastic surgery or ophthalmology, students often interview at 15 or more places in order to have a good chance at matching. The process takes up to 3 months and can cost thousands of dollars. (Students are expected to pay these costs themselves.) 

Dr. Anthony Atala
Screen Shot from his TED Talk

With the abundance of universities, industry and research companies, it's no surprise that North Carolina is a leader in innovation. Here are three cutting-edge medical and science advancements developed locally that may soon have global effects.

1. Printing Organs with Stem Cells

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