What is a protein? A biologist explains

A biologist explains where proteins come from and what role the 20,000 or so proteins in your body play in keeping you alive and kicking.

Nathan Ahlgren, Assistant Professor of Biology, Clark University • conversation
Jan. 13, 2021 ~5 min

biology proteins amino-acids curiosity-question

How does Wi-Fi work? An electrical engineer explains

Wi-Fi has become a fundamental part of modern digital life, but its foundation is the same as the technology that allowed your great-grandparents to listen to their favorite radio programs.

Bhaskar Krishnamachari, Professor of Electrical Engineering, University of Southern California • conversation
Jan. 12, 2021 ~5 min

internet electromagnetic-spectrum wi-fi radio-waves curiosity electromagnetic-waves

Nasa's Curiosity rover: 3,000 days on Mars

Three thousand days and counting: Nasa's Curiosity rover continues its extraordinary exploration of Mars.

Jan. 9, 2021 ~7 min

geology nasa mars space-exploration curiosity-rover nasa-perseverance-mars-rover

Why do smoke alarms keep going off even when there's no smoke?

An electrical engineer explains how smoke detectors work, and how to reduce the chances of a false positive.

MVS Chandrashekhar, Assistant professor of electrical engineering, University of South Carolina • conversation
Jan. 8, 2021 ~5 min

curiosity electrical-engineering curiosity-question multimedia fire-safety

What is a margin of error? This statistical tool can help you understand vaccine trials and political polling

Whether you are predicting the outcome of an election or studying how effective a new drug is, there will always be some uncertainty. A margin of error is how statisticians measure that uncertainty.

Ofer Harel, Professor of Statistics, University of Connecticut • conversation
Jan. 6, 2021 ~5 min

mathematics statistics predictions drug-development curiosity polls political-polling scientific-studies vaccine-efficacy

When working out makes you sick to your stomach: What to know about exercise-induced nausea

You're working out, feeling great – until your stomach starts to churn and you're sidelined with a bout of nausea. Here's what's happening in your body and how to avoid this common effect of exercise.

Anne R. Crecelius, Associate Professor of Health and Sport Science, University of Dayton • conversation
Dec. 29, 2020 ~7 min

exercise fight-or-flight nausea physiology digestive-system curiosity physical-exercise hydration blood-flow gastrointestinal-problems gastrointestinal-symptoms

Nasa's Mars rover and the 'seven minutes of terror'

The US space agency releases an animation to show how its Perseverance robot will land on Mars.

Dec. 23, 2020 ~4 min

nasa mars space-exploration curiosity-rover nasa-perseverance-mars-rover

Virgin births from parthenogenesis: How females from some species can reproduce without males

Parthenogenesis, a form of reproduction in which an egg develops into an embryo without being fertilized by sperm, might be more common than you realized.

Mercedes Burns, Assistant Professor of Biological Sciences, University of Maryland, Baltimore County • conversation
Dec. 15, 2020 ~6 min

 reproduction  biology  eggs  wasps  lizards  sexual-reproduction  embryo  crustaceans  aphids  egg  curiosity-question

How sensors monitor and measure our bodies and the world around us

Sensors are everywhere, from your phone to your medicine cabinet. Here's how they turn events in the physical world into words and numbers.

Nicole McFarlane, Associate Professor of Electrical Engineering, University of Tennessee • conversation
Dec. 7, 2020 ~4 min

engineering physics chemistry sensors biosensors curiosity electrical-engineering

How do archaeologists know where to dig?

Archaeologists used to dig primarily at sites that were easy to find thanks to obvious visual clues. But technology – and listening to local people – plays a much bigger role now.

Stacey Camp, Associate Professor of Anthropology, Michigan State University • conversation
Dec. 4, 2020 ~10 min

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