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

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

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

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

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

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

What makes the world's biggest surfable waves?

Some beaches in the world tend to consistently produce huge waves. Places like Nazaré Canyon in Portugal and Mavericks in California are famous for their waves because of the shape of the seafloor.

Sally Warner, Assistant Professor of Climate Science, Brandeis University • conversation
Dec. 3, 2020 ~7 min

Why do older people heal more slowly?

Healing is a complicated process. As people age, higher rates of disease and the fact that old cells lose the ability to divide slow this process down.

Matthew Steinhauser, Associate Professor of Medicine, University of Pittsburgh • conversation
Nov. 24, 2020 ~9 min

What is an algorithm? How computers know what to do with data

A close look at how you decide what clothes to put on in the morning can help you understand how computers work.

Jory Denny, Assistant Professor of Computer Science, University of Richmond • conversation
Oct. 16, 2020 ~5 min

Some bees are born curious while others are more single-minded – new research hints at how the hive picks which flowers to feast on

New research suggests individual bees are born with one of two learning styles – either curious or focused. Their genetic tendency has implications for how the hive works together.

Chelsea Cook, Assistant Professor in Biology, Marquette University • conversation
Oct. 5, 2020 ~7 min

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