September 2011

Students on front lines of public engagement

When the H1N1 outbreak occurred in 2009, Jeff Teigler was starting a graduate program in virology at Harvard Medical School, and he was surprised by how little his friends and family knew about the virus and its implications. Later that year, Teigler co-presented a public lecture at Harvard Medical School on swine flu, and today he helps to run a program that focuses on scientific literacy.


Experimentation hundreds of miles away

Picture this: You’re in your pajamas, sitting in front of a computer. After a cup of coffee, you turn on the computer, log in to a secure website, start your favorite instrument remotely and begin to collect data. You then turn your attention to analyzing the data you acquired and downloaded from your earlier experiments. Occasionally, you check the progress of your experiment and modify some of the instrument parameters accordingly. And voilà, several hours later, the new data is ready for your next round of analysis.


Celebrating postdocs

National Postdoctoral Appreciation Week runs from Sept. 19 through Sept. 23. Initiated by the National Postdoctoral Association in 2009, the observance is intended to highlight the contributions that postdoctoral scholars make to science and to spur institutions to show their appreciation in various ways. Here, Robert Barrett and Kate M. Sleeth of the NPA explain how the appreciation week came to be and how their organization can serve the postdocs you rely on every day.


Studying science while serving others

When students enroll in Jonathan Dattelbaum's biochemistry course at the University of Richmond, they expect to learn about the basics of the field. But Dattelbaum's course is about the unexpected, and that's on purpose.


Teaching K – 12 science in the absence of adequate classroom time and resources

How can the K – 12 science teacher initiate the inquiry-based learning phase when there is little classroom time left to teach science and no resources to purchase science teaching materials? One answer is that students don’t need lots of classroom time or resources to ask questions that reflect an innate need to know or natural curiosity.


Biotic games: playing with living organisms

It’s easy to imagine how computer games greatly improve verbal and mathematical proficiency, but can they be used to foster an interest in science? Stanford University’s Ingmar Riedel Kruse is convinced they can.

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