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Posts Tagged "education"

Absolutely Maybe

Science: Add Humor and Stir – Wocka, Wocka, Wocka!

Cartoon of Angus doing stand-up PhD Defense

Laughter can be a joyous shortcut between people. It’s relaxing, and a playful way to engage our minds. Science, on the other hand, can be tough to explain and digest. Traditional methods can be hard-going. So many of us reach for humor when we talk science. Comedy makes things accessible. Except, of course, when it [...]

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Absolutely Maybe

Vulnerability as strength: Thoughts on changing medicine’s hidden curriculum (Guest Post)

Image of white lab coats

Guest post by Michelle Munyikwa I recently read this article in Health Affairs regarding the effects of the hidden curriculum on patient safety and, in my usual fashion, have been thinking about it ever since. Dr Joshua Liao describes an experience he had as a medical student on labor and delivery, when the dynamics of [...]

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Absolutely Maybe

“How is it that life gets under our skin?” Introducing Michelle Munyikwa

Picture of Michelle Munyikwa

There don’t seem to be all that many PhD anthropologists who are also physicians. It’s a long, daunting road to get there: 12 years of study to be exact. Counting her Bachelor of Science, Michelle Munyikwa has passed the halfway mark. Why she is deeply committed to this onerous dual track is as fascinating as [...]

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Absolutely Maybe

Motivated reasoning: Fuel for controversies, conspiracy theories and science denialism alike

Conspiracy cartoon

Pieces of information, disputed and not, can be woven very quickly into competing explanatory narratives. Press the right buttons, then it can be lightning fast to order them into a line leading to this or that logical conclusion. Those narratives can cause feuds that won’t quit and entrenched positions of extreme certitude from which people [...]

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Absolutely Maybe

“Trust me, I’m a professor!” Evidence, medical schools & students

Cartoon of professor

There are just so many young people here. I’m at the 21st birthday meeting of an organization I got to help build, the Cochrane Collaboration. More about that later. But the young people are the most striking phenomenon. They’re tweeting up a storm, of course. They’re bringing a blast of energy, enthusiasm, idealism and cutting [...]

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Anthropology in Practice

What will the future of education look like?

In the absence of a traditional classroom, learning goes on in Mexico. | Image by JIji Lee. Click for license and information.

Scientific American’s August supplement takes a look at the changing landscape of education in the face of emerging technology, and asks the question, how do we increase interest and engagement in STEM initiatives? Learning in the Digital Age tackles issues of using big data to better understand students, the validity of online courses, and the [...]

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Anthropology in Practice

Editor’s Selections: More on Syphilis, Education in India, and Classifying Things in Archaeology

Part of my online life includes editorial duties at ResearchBlogging.org, where I serve as the Social Sciences Editor. Each Thursday, I pick notable posts on research in anthropology, philosophy, social science, and research to share on the ResearchBlogging.org News site. To help highlight this writing, I also share my selections here on AiP. This week [...]

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Anthropology in Practice

AiP’s DonorsChoose Picks: George Orwell, Frederick Douglass, Jared Diamond, & Digital Recorders Needed

The Science Writers for Students DonorsChoose Drive is almost over! The drive ends on Saturday and I’m hoping that we can fund at least one of the social science requests for a classroom in need. Thanks so much to Janet, Kate, and Emily, who have contributed to projects so far! Your support is greatly appreciated. [...]

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Anthropology in Practice

Portrait of a Neighborhood Science Program

New York’s World Maker Faire helped spur a fantastic discussion on innovation in STEM education, highlighting the importance of partnerships that include educational institutions, communities, and private entities to ensure the broadest impact possible. I’m delighted to share that Cognizant’s Making the Future has been in touch with Teach2Learn in Boston and I’m hopeful that [...]

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Anthropology in Practice

#NYCSciTweetUp and The Story Collider Together—TOMORROW!

Tomorrow the #NYCSciTweetUp and The Story Collider will partner for an evening of science, stories, and beer! The Story Collider invites people to share the roles that science has played in their lives. From humble beginnings like the #NYCSciTweetUp, The Story Collider has grown immensely, attracting a diverse showing that highlights the broad, and sometimes [...]

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Anthropology in Practice

Reminder: #NYCSciTweetUp and The Story Collider Together Next Week

It’s almost time! Will you be there? Next Tuesday, the #NYCSciTweetUp and The Story Collider will partner for an evening of science, stories, and beer! The Story Collider invites people to share the roles that science has played in their lives. From humble beginnings like the #NYCSciTweetUp, The Story Collider has grown immensely, attracting a [...]

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Anthropology in Practice

Making, Education, and Innovation: Inspiring Makers in Underrepresented Communities

Maker Faire invites young Makers to enter a world of innovation and imagination. If you can dream it, you can build it—particularly as experienced Makers are on-hand and willing to share what they know. How can we better encourage a broader participation in this science and technology showcase by underrepresented groups—beginning in the very neighborhood [...]

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Anthropology in Practice

Crossing the Streams: #NYCSciTweetUp and The Story Collider Together!

Edit: The Story Collider is a ticketed event. The cost to attend is $8.00 and tickets can be purchased at The Story Collider website. At the door, the price to attend will be $10.00. There is no fee to attend the #NYCSciTweetUp.   Like science? Like stories? Well, hold on to your beakers and field [...]

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Anthropology in Practice

Picturing Science: Secrets of the Museum Revealed

To the public, museums are mysterious, magical places. Science, history, and context are carefully preserved and displayed—though the guy-wires are carefully hidden so as to not disturb the experience of the visitor. The work that goes into constructing the fancy dioramas and exhibits, the science that helps construct the scenes that we view as visitors [...]

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@ScientificAmerican

Scientific American Science in Action Winner Kenneth Shinozuka

Kenneth Shinozuka, 2014 winner of the Scientific American Science in Action award, powered by the Google Science Fair. Credit: Google Science Fair

It’s no secret to Scientific American readers that we feel a special obligation to support the next generation of science enthusiasts, whom we hope to inspire both with our science coverage and our education initiatives, including the Scientific American Science in Action Award, powered by the Google Science Fair. The awards event was held a [...]

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@ScientificAmerican

Putting Science in Action in Swaziland

T.H. Culhane and Scientific American Science in Action winners and Google Science Fair finalists during a Hangout in Swaziland.

In 2012, the Scientific American Science in Action award became part of Google Science Fair. Last month, one of the judges for both, T.H. Culhane, traveled to Swaziland to work with our 2012 winners as well as another finalist and more; we had a Swaziland Hangout during the visit. Now I’m thrilled to bring to [...]

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@ScientificAmerican

A Hangout with Google Science Fair in Swaziland

Left to right: Sakhiwe Shongwe, TH Culhane, Bonkhe Mahlalela, Rohit Fenn, Bayinda, Amit Fenn in Swaziland. Credit: YouTube

You know what’s awesome? Seeing a bunch of young people at work on changing the world to make it a better place for all. Today, I hosted a Google Science Fair Hangout On Air on Sustainability in Swaziland, and I got to have that privilege. Now I want to share it with you. My fellow [...]

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@ScientificAmerican

A Hangout IN Air–Off a Cliff Face–for Science

Jason Osborne rappelling, running Hangout On Air with phone, and looking for fossils. Credit: Aaron Alford.

When I last did a Google Science Fair Hangout On Air with Jason Osborne and Aaron Alford, founders of Paleo Quest, they were diving in a swamp looking for fossils. Yesterday, they took their fossil quest to new heights, rather literally: this time, they hung on ropes off the side of a cliff for a [...]

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@ScientificAmerican

Hangout with Canopy Researcher Margaret Lowman

Margaret Lowman of the California Academy of Sciences. Credit: Google Hangout On Air

Margaret Lowman, who also goes by the nickname “Canopy Meg,” is chief of science and sustainability at the California Academy of Sciences. Her research focuses on life and ecosystems at the top of the forest canopy in far-flung places, including the Amazon and Ethiopia. In a Google Science Fair Hangout On Air conversation with me, [...]

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@ScientificAmerican

Scientific American Editor Testifies at U.S. Senate

Mariette DiChristina

At a hearing on the future of federal research investment, a science magazine editor and three noted scientists asked the U.S. Senate to support basic research

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@ScientificAmerican

Thank You, Guest Editor LeVar Burton

Image credit: Reading Rainbow

We at Scientific American share several passions with the actor, producer and educator LeVar Burton: fostering children’s literacy, science, social good and education. And, of course, Star Trek. So perhaps it’s only natural that this past Wednesday we welcomed Burton as our Guest Editor for the day. Burton conducted a “site takeover”—making story assignments, deciding [...]

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@ScientificAmerican

Star Trek’s LeVar Burton to Be Scientific American Guest Web Editor June 11

LeVar Burton

NuqneH! Buy’ ngop! That’s “greetings” and “good news” in Klingon. These otherworldly tidings seem like a fitting way to let you know that LeVar Burton, who played the U.S.S. Enterprise’s chief engineer Geordi La Forge on Star Trek: The Next Generation, will be guest editor of Scientific American’s Web site on Wednesday, June 11. Burton [...]

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@ScientificAmerican

Kid Scientists Make Real Fossil Finds at the USA Science & Engineering Festival

Kids searching for fossils using SharkFinder kits at Scientific American's booth at the USA Science & Engineering Festival.

Kids searching for fossils using SharkFinder kits at Scientific American’s booth at the USA Science & Engineering Festival. Credit: Jason Osborne Jason Osborne was trying to grab a quick lunch away from the crowds when his wife called his cellphone. “Jason, you’ve got to come see this boy at the booth. He’s amazing!” When Osborne, [...]

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@ScientificAmerican

Scientific American at the USA Science & Engineering Festival

I’ll write a fuller post about the amazing things that kids are doing at Scientific American’s booth 1311 at the USA Science & Engineering Festival, but I wanted to share the short video below. In it, you’ll meet the festival’s co-founders, Larry Bock and Ray O. Johnson of Lockheed Martin (which itself has a booth [...]

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Beautiful Minds

Talent on the Sidelines: The Widening Gap in Excellence

Reserved sign

An alarming report on the current state of excellence in the United States has been released today. The conclusion of the report “Talent on the Sidelines: Excellence Gaps and the Persistence of America’s Permanent Talent Underclass” is that the United States is relying on less than half of its talent, with large percentages of our brightest students [...]

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Beautiful Minds

Why Education Needs More Radioactive Spiders

andrew-garfield-the-amazing-spider-man-image-4

Education needs more radioactive spiders. Stay with me. Remember Peter Parker? His childhood wasn’t easy. Both of his parents– Richard and Mary– were killed on a mission as double agents. Raised by his Uncle Ben and Aunt May in Queens, Peter spent most of his childhood without an identity. Now, Peter was a good student. [...]

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Budding Scientist

Why Math Teachers Feel Poorly Prepared

When William Schmidt, an expert on math education at Michigan State University, moved his family from East Lansing to Charlottesville, Virginia for a year’s research leave, his work took a personal turn.  He noticed that the public school his daughters would be attending outside Charlottesville was academically behind the one they had attended in Michigan. [...]

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Budding Scientist

School Turns Engineering Faculty into Superheroes

A recent survey by Intel found that only 28 percent of teenagers had ever considered becoming engineers and that only 5 percent associated engineering with the word “cool.” That’s not terribly surprising given that engineering ranks in the bottom half of professions with which teens are familiar, falling below teacher, doctor, nurse, police officer, chef, [...]

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Budding Scientist

Evolution and Climate Change Should Be Taught in Schools, Say States

One day after new test results showed that only 32 percent of U.S. 8th graders are proficient in science, a group of 26 states has helped draft a document that may bring about a major overhaul of science education in this country.  Known as the Next Generation Science Standards, the draft sets ambitious new expectations for [...]

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Budding Scientist

Earth Day Science for Kids: How Rain Drops Form

  Two graduate students from the City University of New York’s  NOAA-CREST program showed me this simple experiment, above, for young kids. The three of us volunteered at an Earth Day fair at a New York City elementary school on Friday, and kids were mesmerized by it. It illustrates the concepts of accretion — when [...]

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Budding Scientist

Spring Science Festivals Mix Stars from Sky and Screen

Earlier this week The New York Times profiled the director of the M.I.T. Museum and founder of the Cambridge Science Festival, John Durant. The piece mentioned that science festivals have been multiplying across the country; last year there were more than 20. According to the Times: “A science festival has more in common with a film, [...]

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Budding Scientist

Food Safety: A Job for 10-Year-Olds?

Earlier this month, I watched groups of kids ages 9 to 16 present their own original ideas for solving major food safety problems. They were participating in the annual  First Lego League challenge, the robotics competition founded by inventor Dean Kamen and Lego. We heard ideas for better ways of monitoring the pH level of [...]

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Budding Scientist

U.S. State Science Standards Are “Mediocre to Awful”

A new report from the Thomas B. Fordham Institute paints a grim picture of state science standards across the United States. But it also reveals some intriguing details about exactly what’s going wrong with the way many American students are learning science. Standards are the foundation upon which educators build curricula, write textbooks and train [...]

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Budding Scientist

Science Education Experts Respond to Obama’s Speech

In his State of the Union address last night, President Barack Obama spent less time than in years past discussing his ambitions to reform science education. He referred to his administration’s offer to let states opt out of  No Child Left Behind (” … grant schools flexibility to teach with creativity and passion; to stop teaching [...]

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Budding Scientist

Museum Plans to Put Scientists on Display

Nature Research Center rendering

Imagine walking through a science museum and, among the usual displays of dinosaur bones, butterflies, and amphibians you come upon a series of windows into state-of-the-art research labs. Inside, scientists from nearby universities and veterinary schools work on projects related to biodiversity, genetics, nanoparticles, and animal health and welfare.  In front of each window is [...]

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Budding Scientist

Ask Brian Greene Anything–Really

Tonight PBS airs the second of its four part series “Fabric of the Cosmos,” (9 pm ET/PT) based on the bestselling book by Columbia physicist and mathematician Brian Greene. He spoke with Budding Scientist about the NOVA series, which aims to demystify such concepts as multiple universes and bring viewers up to date on the [...]

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But Seriously...

Cosmos: The Second Coming

Cosmos Trailer Neil deGrasse Tyson

I’ve been waiting a long time for this. Fresh from its debut at San Diego Comic-Con, the first official trailer for the reboot of Carl Sagan’s Cosmos: In August of 2008, I attended the third annual SciFoo conference at the Googleplex in Mountain View, CA.  That’s a whole other subject, which I’ve touched on here [...]

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But Seriously...

20 Questions with the Space Station

SECU Daily Planet

I’ve been a freelancer for over 20 years. It’s not quite accurate to say there aren’t benefits. There are; they just don’t include health care and employer-matched IRAs. The benefits are such things as not having to use an alarm clock or wear pants everyday, if you don’t feel like it. You can.  But you don’t [...]

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Culturing Science

It only takes one day: bringing scientists into the classroom

“I have an idea,” my brother said to me last winter. Jacob is an elementary science teacher at a neighborhood charter school in Northeast Philadelphia and, at the time, I was working as a lab technician in the same city. “How would you like to come into my classroom and talk to my students about [...]

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Guest Blog

Play, Informal Learning Cultivate Kids’ Interest in STEM

A visitor learns to solder and connect a circuit in a workshop at the New York Hall of Science's Maker Space.

When I was eight years old I couldn’t speak English. I’d been born in another country and came to the U.S. because my father’s postdoctoral medical research brought us here. Frustrated with my inability to communicate with others, I stopped trying. I didn’t want to play with the other kids anyway – at least that’s [...]

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Guest Blog

Teaching Kids to Love Science, and Falling in Love with the Kids

  Put a science writer in a classroom with two-dozen ten-year-olds and I promise you this: the writer will learn more than the kids. I’ve just had that experience, not for the first time but in an especially fulfilling way, while talking about science to a group of fourth and fifth graders at Public School [...]

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Guest Blog

A Universe Made of Stories: Why We Need a Science and Technology Dialogue

In quantum mechanics, Heisenberg’s Uncertainty Principle holds that it is impossible to determine both the position and momentum of a particle. Heisenberg’s breakthrough relates to a subject of vital importance to America: the need for better communications practices in the science and technology fields. Communications is my profession, and I am concerned by what I [...]

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Guest Blog

The Outdoors as a “World of Wonder” for Children

How a local program is changing the way families experience nature. Ten families hiked into Davidson College Ecological Preserve on a bright Saturday morning to get a glimpse of the kudzu-eating goats, usually off-limits to the public. The outing was part of an environmental education program, World of Wonder (WOW!), a partnership of the Davidson [...]

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Guest Blog

Deselection of the Bottom 8%: Lessons from Eugenics for Modern School Reform

We have seen more than once that the public welfare may call upon the best citizens for their lives. It would be strange if it could not call upon those who already sap the strength of the State for these lesser sacrifices, often not felt to be such by those concerned, to prevent our being [...]

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Guest Blog

The educational value of creative disobedience

  “The principle goal of education is to create men who are capable of doing new things, not simply of repeating what other generations have done – men who are creative, inventive and discoverers” –Jean Piaget   Looking back on my childhood, the times I remember most fondly were spent with my father, learning how to [...]

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Guest Blog

Education Reform in the Wrong Direction: High-Stake Consequences for New York State Teachers and Their Students

June was the busiest month of the academic year for New York State high school teachers and their students.   In addition to getting their students to hand in any last minute assignments, NYS high school teachers had to make sure that their students were fully prepared to take required standardized tests, called Regents examinations, [...]

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Guest Blog

Girls’ science, TIME magazine and the American Association of University Women report

"I’m from Britain, and when I first moved here I couldn’t believe that American kids got three whole months of summer vacation. Back in England our children only get six weeks. But here…it’s…bleech!" This rather unkind comment was uttered by a woman sitting next to me at Mathnasium, a math tutoring center located in Chatham, [...]

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The Network Central

What is: ScienceOnlineTEEN

This is a group post written by the teens on the ScienceOnlineTeen planning committee. Naseem, 16 years old: What is ScienceOnlineTeen? Imagine a bunch of people from all walks of life with one interest in common -science- all in one place at the same time. These people are not ordinary; they each offer unique experience [...]

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Observations

Building Africa’s Scientific Infrastructure

Panelists

Africa has the lowest scientific output of any continent, despite being the second most populous. Combined, its 54 nations generate approximately the same amount of scientific research as the Netherlands. On Tuesday, the Planet Earth Institute, an international NGO and charity working for the scientific independence of Africa, sponsored a panel discussion at the office [...]

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Observations

Firstborn Girls Most Likely to Succeed

Hillary Clinton

Bossy, know-it-all older sisters everywhere now have something else to lord over their younger siblings: Researchers have found that firstborn girls are the most ambitious and successful children in their families. A slew of real life examples appear to back this up: Beyonce, Hillary Clinton, Oprah Winfrey and Sheryl Sandberg are all firstborns. Oldest children [...]

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Observations

Brainy Watson Computer to Tackle Cancer and Other Medical Research

IBM,Watson,computer,cognition

After vanquishing humans on Jeopardy!, IBM says its Watson computer is ready to help save human lives. The company on Thursday announced it has created a new business unit specifically to advance Watson and deliver its artificially intelligent wisdom to research organizations, medical institutions and businesses so that they can process “big data” for detailed [...]

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Observations

Global STEM Alliance Adds SUNY and Buenos Aires to Education Network

277

The future of tomorrow’s global economy relies on the education of children today and the technology they will be able to produce, which is why the New York Academy of Sciences (NYAS) and Cisco established a partnership earlier this year to encourage children to take on professions in science, technology, engineering and mathematics, also known [...]

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Observations

Global STEM Outreach Effort to Target Middle Schoolers in Barcelona and Malaysia

Credit: ThinkStock

A global alliance aimed at educating and empowering youth to become the next generation to enter the information and communication technologies (ICT) workforce was announced today in Barcelona, Spain, at Cisco’s Internet of Things World Forum.. Established in response to a growing demand for workers in this field, the Global STEM Alliance will be modeled [...]

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Observations

Socioeconomic Gender Gap Is Closing Worldwide, but Far from Eliminated

An image promoting gender equality, a man and woman holding hands, in Denmark

The world’s gender gap along economic, political and other social dimensions continues to narrow, according to a new report released by the World Economic Forum, but lack of equality for women remains a major roadblock in most countries, including the U.S. The report quantified how close countries have come to gender parity and shows improvement [...]

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Observations

U.S. Falls Short in New Measure of Human Capital

A female worker adding protective coverings to new Pinot Noir plantings

Businesses in Switzerland, Finland and Singapore milk the most economic value out of their workers—and the U.S. lags pretty far behind them. According to the World Economic Forum’s new Human Capital Index, in which researchers attempt to quantify the factors that help a country unlock the capabilities of its workforce, the U.S. has a lot [...]

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Observations

Bell Labs Lead Researcher Discusses the Edge of the Internet [Video]

Bell Labs,network

Apple introduces the latest “i”-gadget; Samsung takes the reins as the world’s leading smartphone provider; Blackberry mounts an all-or-nothing comeback. Just a typical day of tech headlines, right? Dig deeper, however, and you have to wonder what impact all of these new multimedia devices will have on the networks that give them life. Short answer: [...]

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Observations

Can Children Teach Themselves?

ted.com/sugata

Sugata Mitra gave street kids in a slum in New Delhi access to a computer connected to the Internet, and found that they quickly taught themselves how to use it. This was the moment he says he discovered a new way of teaching. He calls it the grandmother technique, and it goes like this: expose [...]

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Observations

Qualcomm Kicks Off CES with Superfast Snapdragon Mobile Processors (Endorsed by NASCAR, Big Bird and Captain Kirk)

CES

LAS VEGAS—In a sign of how wireless technologies have moved to the fore in consumer electronics, Qualcomm CEO Paul Jacobs kicked off the 2013 Consumer Electronics Show (CES) here Monday night with a keynote spotlighting the impact of superfast processors on mobile apps, gaming and even ultra high-definition television (Ultra HDTV). Smart phones, tablets and [...]

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Plugged In

Still Bringing the Science Crazy in NC

So you thought the nuttiest thing we did in North Carolina this week was appoint a director of child development and early education who was against … um, early education. What’s wrong with you: have you never heard of North Carolina before? This is the NEW North Carolina, with a new governor and bulletproof majorities [...]

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The Primate Diaries

Does Nature Need to be Nurtured?

"Boys will by boys" by Nathaniel Gold

Some say that the differences between boys and girls are just aping nature, but studies of primates tell a more complex story “Boys will be boys” is a popular refrain in schools. A bit of rough and tumble at break time? That’s natural. Likewise, “girls will be girls” is accepted without question. Some feel justified [...]

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PsiVid

HHMI, with Sean B. Carroll, Premieres New Films for Teachers

Screen Shot 2013-11-20 at 9.38.07 AM

“Film is a powerful way to tell stories. … The right story, told well, can be engaging, informative, and memorable.” —Sean B. Carroll The Howard Hughes Medical Institute (HHMI) is adding four new films to its award-winning catalog of short science documentaries for the classroom. Click below to watch a composite sample of the four [...]

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PsiVid

The Royal Institute’s Christmas Lectures Online Now

I’ve never had the pleasure of being in the UK at the time that the Royal Institute of Great Britain have aired their very famous Christmas Lectures, but I hear often from followers and friends in the UK on social media how many of them have been positively impacted by these lectures. The history of [...]

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PsiVid

Science Video Brainstorming, and Some YouTube Science

vclogo

Looks like I’m in for a great summer full of science video goodness! At the end of June, both Carin and I will be heading to an unconference (taking a clue from Bora from Science Online) called BrainSTEM at the Perimeter Institute for Theoretical Physics in Canada (maybe I’ll get to wave at Stephen Hawking!)  We will be [...]

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Roots of Unity

Blackboards Make You Stupid (Or Is It Just Me?)

It is unknown whether Einstein was subject to Blackboard Stupidity that plagues the rest of us. In this picture, he appears to be far enough from the blackboard that BS effects should be minimal. Image: public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

I just finished my first week teaching after a few years out of the classroom. Whenever I teach, I’m struck by how much detail I need to put in my notes to make sure I don’t say something absolutely ridiculous when I’m in front of the class. Even with careful preparation, I sometimes arrive back [...]

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Streams of Consciousness

Neuroscientists Break into the Brain to Expose Its Workings

Courtesy of Saad Faruque via Flickr.

The brain is a dazzlingly complex web of somewhere around 100 billion neurons, each of which communicates with others through thousands of connections. The idea of manipulating such a complex system to figure out how it works seems, on the face of it, improbable. Yet a few intrepid explorers have set their sights on this [...]

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Streams of Consciousness

Multitask at Your Own Risk

unicycle_Elsie esq

        // Editor’s note: Brain Basics from Scientific American Mind is a series of short video primers on the brain and how we feel, think and act. Below is a synopsis of the eighth video in the series written by a guest on this blog, Roni Jacobson, a science journalist based in [...]

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Streams of Consciousness

Cultivate Your Character [Video]

The term “character” has numerous and widely varied meanings. It defines each of these letters and symbols I am typing. It can be used to refer to features of wines, and it captures fictional folks in movies in books. I often call funny or stand-out individuals “characters,” too. In psychology, however, “character” most often adheres [...]

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Streams of Consciousness

Who Needs Stimulants for ADHD?

Ritalin. Courtesy of en:User:Sponge via Wikimedia Commons.

In 1970, 150,000 U.S. children were taking stimulant medications. By 2007, that number had risen to 2.7 million, according to pediatrician Sanford Newmark of the University of California, San Francisco. In the video embedded in this post, titled “Do 2.5 Million Kids Really Need Ritalin?” Newmark analyzes the reasons behind the rise in prescriptions, which [...]

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Streams of Consciousness

Teen Builds Gateway to the Brain for Girls

Girls run on a brain maze

The Synapse Project “encourages young women to enter the field of neuroscience through information and mentorship,” according to its website. This endeavor, an amalgam of outlets for kids, information for teens and career advice for young women, turns out to be the brainchild of … a child, one keenly interested in the brain. Sixteen-year-old Grace [...]

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Streams of Consciousness

The Making of a Mathematical Mind: 1 Step at a Time

worksheet for times 5

One time when I was in the third grade, I got sick and missed a week of school. My dad wanted me to keep up with my schoolwork, so he brought my assignments and books home. I did the required work in the math workbook quickly, or so the story goes, and went on to [...]

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Streams of Consciousness

How to Avoid the Self-Esteem Trap

Courtesy of Key Foster via Flickr.

I have always assumed that having a strong sense of self-worth was important. I figured it made a person happier, healthier, more successful, and easier to be around. Turns out that these benefits of self-esteem are rather hard to prove. Having high self-esteem has some modest pluses, studies suggest. It makes you more persistent, for [...]

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Streams of Consciousness

Hear Me Talk about Social and Emotional Learning!

On Monday, May 13, at 7pm, I’ll be moderating a panel at The New York Academy of Sciences. If you are in the area, please attend! Here a description of the event: Social and Emotional Learning: Preparing Our Children to Excel Monday, May 13, 2013 | 7:00 PM – 8:30 PM The New York Academy [...]

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Streams of Consciousness

How to Make Kids Smarter—and Ease Existential Terror

A few months ago, I logged on to Lumosity.com to play my daily dose of brain games. The company had given me a free, temporary account so that I could try out their system as part of my research for an article I was writing on brain training. My then 11-year-old son wanted to play, [...]

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Streams of Consciousness

Do Music Lessons Make You Smarter?

Practice makes progress, if not perfection, for most things in life. Generally, practicing a skill—be it basketball, chess or the tuba—mostly makes you better at whatever it was you practiced. Even related areas do not benefit much. Doing intensive basketball drills does not usually make a person particularly good at football. Chess experts are not [...]

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Symbiartic

Build-A-Monster From the Inside Out

buildamonster1mini

Spongelab has taken their popular Build-a-Body educational anatomy app and given it a Halloween makeov- umm, makeover is the wrong word. Halloween skin?  No, that’s not it. Ew. Build-a-Monster! Learn more about the NSF and Science award-winning Build-a-Body here and see Spongelab’s newsletter for more science-ed and Hallowe’en goodness. Spongelab @Spongelab on Twitter and Ello [...]

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Symbiartic

Science on a Sphere & Falling in Love Again

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This week, the only dedicated science illustration conference in the country is taking place in Boulder, CO. The Guild of Natural Science Illustrators’ annual gathering is in full swing and there are fascinating developments to convey. First off, on Monday the keynote speakers addressed two sides of the same question: how can we engage more [...]

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Symbiartic

Speaking of Tax Dollars… Do You Like Yours Spent on Teaching Creationism?

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After the State of the Union address last night, everyone is talking about how best to spend tax dollars. So it seems appropriate to bring this into the conversation. Slate published a critical interactive map this week showing schools that allow the teaching of creationism in their science classrooms while receiving public funding. It’s a [...]

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Symbiartic

Iran’s Position on Evolution? Not What You Might Expect.

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If you had asked me before yesterday what the official Iranian position on evolution was, I would have shrugged my shoulders and said, “skewed?” As such you can imagine my surprise when I found out that Neil Shubin’s popular book, Your Inner Fish, has been translated into Persian: And here I must admit: I’m more [...]

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Symbiartic

The Promise and Perils of Pinterest

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The Promise – a bold credited, copyright future Initially, I was enamored by Pinterest, the image sharing and collecting site.  It’s like a visual scrapbook of all the things you love online, and does what Tumblr has neglected to do, and requires a link back to the source of each image. Amazing. A boon for artists, illustrators [...]

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Symbiartic

Spongelab: gaming the art of science education

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“What famous painting does this remind you of?” I was sitting in the offices of Spongelab Interactive about a month ago speaking with  Jeremy Friedberg, molecular genetics and biotechnology professor, now science education game-guru, and we were discussing the interactive opening image of History of Biology, an expansive mystery game. The image in question, above, contains [...]

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Talking back

2 Hydrogens and 1 Oxygen–a Recipe for Cognitive Enhancement?

Bioethicists have engaged in endless hand wringing in recent years about whether substances that purportedly allow us to remember and process information more efficiently should be available to everyone, not just kids with ADHD. If you can make your brain work better in some way that doesn’t entail poring over a pre-calculus text for hours, [...]

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Tetrapod Zoology

Alien Investigations and the Montauk Monster

Tonight, Channel 4 here in the UK screens a new TV show called Alien Investigations [adjacent screengrab from here on the Channel 4 site]. I believe that it has already been screened on the Science Channel in North America, where it was titled Alien Mummies. I haven’t yet seen the show so cannot comment on [...]

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Voices

For Female Physicists, Peer Mentoring Can Combat Isolation

Our mentoring network of senior physics faculty at liberal arts institutions. Clockwise from top right: Linda Fritz, Cindy Blaha, Barbara Whitten and Anne Cox.

Women physicists are often isolated at work. Just consider the numbers: 86 percent of American faculty physicists are male; 89 percent of PhD physicists working in the science and engineering industry are male; and it was just in 2012 that the number of physics PhDs earned by women reached even 20 percent. To increase the [...]

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Voices

Middle Schoolers Develop App to Help Visually Impaired

From left to right: Cassandra Baquero, Andres Salas, Janessa Leija and Caitlin Gonzales in front of the White House.

“We saw him struggling, trying to get around. What if we could create an app to help him?” Like many great ideas, Hello Navi started with a question. The app—invented by Cassandra Baquero, Grecia Cano, Caitlyn Gonzalez, Kayleen Gonzalez, Janessa Leija and Jacqueline Garcia Torres—helps visually challenged students navigate their school grounds. Hello Navi was [...]

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Voices

Latinas in STEM: Making Bright Futures a Reality

Members of the Latinas in STEM Board of Directors (from left to right): Madeline Salazar, Noramay Cadena, Jazlyn Carvajal, Veronica Garcia and Daiana Albarrán Chicas. (Credit: Latinas in STEM)

Editor’s note: During National Hispanic Heritage Month (September 15 to October 15), Ciencia Puerto Rico and Borinqueña are celebrating the work of organizations inspiring, supporting and empowering Latinas in STEM fields. You can read the following post in Spanish here. Latinas have a bright future in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM). Latina girls love [...]

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Voices

More and Better Science en Español: a Call to Action

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Para leer esta entrada en Español, presione aquí. Few communities encompass as many challenges and opportunities as the 53 million Hispanics living in the United States. Hispanics or Latinos have the second highest poverty rate and the overall lowest educational attainment[1] [2] in the nation. They also have some of the lowest levels of science [...]

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The White Noise

To Read: “Addiction Inbox” Anthology (Review)

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Addiction remains a topic riddled with bad science commentary and outdated beliefs, mainly because no one wants to talk about it. One of my favorite drug and addiction writers Dirk Hansen has tied his posts, those covered in his Addiction Inbox blog, together in an anthology — a fascinating and detailed one, about questions and [...]

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The White Noise

Guest Post: Coping with Addiction in STEM Education

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I’ve asked a scientist who has struggled with mental health issues and substance abuse through STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) graduate school to write about it, to highlight the pressures faced and the way problems are noticed, exacerbated and often, perhaps unintentionally, masked over the course of education. This as well as other recent [...]

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The White Noise

This is Our Society on Drugs: Top 5 Infographics

Drugs Infographic

Infographics are the internet’s current darling, which got me thinking if there are any good ones on drugs and addiction. Low and behold, they exist! Here are my favorite eye-openers, covering the gamut from prescription drugs to teen drug abuse: ++ Click to Enlarge Image ++Image Source: SpinaBifidaInfo.com ——————————————————————- Via Recovery Connection View More Addiction [...]

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The White Noise

What All Parents Need to Know, Zoe’s Story

Robin and Zoe

I asked a dear friend if she would share her story on my blog, and I’m honored that she agreed. I’m amazed to know her and to be involved with sharing her message. Please read, watch and share it with parents you know: Robin and Zoe My name is Robin Kellner. I live in New [...]

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The White Noise

Drugs, as seen from a 12-year-old

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To offer different insight, here’s a guest post written by a 12-year-old, illuminating the scarcity of drug knowledge kids have. Tomorrow, I’ll look into the drugs he discusses. Today, here are his thoughts on drugs and responses to questions posed by me. This is his unedited, typed draft: So I’m sitting in this school assembly [...]

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The White Noise

Excess by the numbers, on more than Wall Street

Occupy Wall Street Poster

The Occupy Wall Street movement may do wonders in fighting outlandish bouts of capitalism on the upper echelons of society, but it got me thinking about egregious waste on our own ground, right here within the 99%. Let’s consider, for a moment, the question of substance use and abuse. Alcohol Our U.S. consumer culture spends [...]

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The White Noise

Worst drug PSA videos and why we might still need them

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Continuing in my recent vein, I’m still wondering about the intricacies of drug education. I started perusing decades’ worth of drug education campaigns, only to be heartily amused by these videos…and wondering if we’ve advanced much. We can laugh at these and shelve them as vintage relics of yesteryear and ridiculous campaigns if used today [...]

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The White Noise

We’re failing kids in drug education. How can we fix it?

Zoe

Last week at an open and lush Midtown East coffee shop, I met a stranger, a chance Twitter connection. This well-dressed, petite, dark-haired woman somehow recognized me when I was still half a block away, her clasped hands in front of her glimpsing into a wave. “I knew it was you,” she began warmly. Then, [...]

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