Researchers Turn a Smartphone into a Biosensor

University of Illinois researchers developed a cradle and app for the iPhone to make a handheld biosensor that uses the phone’s own camera and processing power to detect any kind of biological molecules or cells. | Photo by Brian T. Cunningham

University of Illinois researchers developed a cradle and app for the iPhone to make a handheld biosensor that uses the phone’s own camera and processing power to detect any kind of biological molecules or cells. | Photo by Brian T. Cunningham

University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign researchers have developed a cradle and app for the iPhone that uses the phone’s built-in camera and processing power as a biosensor to detect toxins, proteins, bacteria, viruses and other molecules. Read More →

Lawrence Henderson’s Views Examined

Professor Lawrence J. Henderson (1878-1942)

Professor Lawrence J. Henderson is a fairly well known scholar in some circles. This might have to do with the fact that his lecture on astronomy was included in the Harvard Classics (1909-14). That work has now passed into the public domain, which means that readers might start to explore his work once more. Read More →

U.S. Students Need New Way of Learning Science

American students need a dramatically new approach to improve how they learn science, says a noted group of scientists and educators led by Michigan State University professor William Schmidt.

After six years of work, the group has proposed a solution. The 8+1 Science concept calls for a radical overhaul in K-12 schools that moves away from memorizing scientific facts and focuses on helping students understand eight fundamental science concepts. The “plus one” is the importance of inquiry, the practice of asking why things happen around us – and a fundamental part of science. Read More →

Robosquirrels Versus Rattlesnakes

Admittedly this post has little to do with the cosmos and is being shared primarily because I find it pretty awesome. One could claim that the parallel is that robotics used to study planetary bodies (or reptilian-like aliens) is somewhat similar – something I write about frequently – so we’ll stick with that story for this one. Regardless, this is pretty fascinating and the video is a must-see. Let me know if you see the snake strike the robosquirrel (before they slow it down). I could have sworn the rattler missed the little fella! Read More →

Improving Access to STEM Education for Women

A panel of experts will meet this afternoon in Washington today to discuss ways to improve access to STEM education for women. The number of women pursuing associate’s degrees in the fields of science, engineering, technology, and math (STEM) has been declining. Meanwhile, the number of jobs in these typically higher-paying fields is expected to grow at nearly double the rate of others until 2018. A new report (click to download) from the Institute for Women’s Policy Research (IWPR)Increasing Opportunities for Low-Income Women and Student Parents in Science, Technology, Engineering and Math at Community Colleges, offers recommendations for improving access to STEM education for low-income women. Author of the report, Cindy Costello, will share findings at today’s meeting and provide recommendations on expanding women’s access to careers in STEM fields. Read More →

Nuclear Clock Powered by Single Thorium Ion

Ultra-high vacuum chamber housing an RF ion trap where single thorium atoms are suspended and laser-cooled to near absolute zero temperature.

A clock accurate to within a tenth of a second over 14 billion years – the age of the universe – is the goal of research being reported this week by scientists from three different institutions. To be published in the journal Physical Review Letters, the research provides the blueprint for a nuclear clock that would get its extreme accuracy from the nucleus of a single thorium ion. Read More →