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Science of TRON

Listen to audio from the "Science of TRON" panel, featuring director Joe Kosinski, producer Sean Bailey, and science consultants Sean Carroll & John Dick. Learn More

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Halloween Costumes for the Science Obsessed

It’s Halloween! You have probably already donned a costume this past weekend, but if you are in need of a quick, witty costume for tonight (or next year – it is never too early to plan a Halloween costume), we have some science-based suggestions for you. No, we will not be suggesting Einstein or Madame Curie – notable but clichéd science costumes. Check out our suggestions below, and if you have one to add, leave it in the comments!

1. Schrodinger’s cat

Is the cat alive or dead? Or is it both? The classic Schrodinger’s cat is an easy costume. Find a large cardboard box and cut out two holes to fit your body through. Slap on a pair of cat ears, drawn-on whiskers, and a tail for good measure. Bottle of poison, optional.

Eight Facts You Didn't Know About Fear

The only thing you have to fear is fear itself … in which case you are suffering from phobophobia, the fear of fear. Okay, phobophobia is probably not what Franklin D. Roosevelt was referring to in his famous speech but how odd is a phobia of fear? And what you might find even more peculiar is the science behind fear. Neurologists and psychologists are studying fear to determine how phobias and anxiety disorders form, how to treat them, and even how to predict them.

Laughing With Science

Comedy is a science. Or is it science is a comedy? It depends on who you ask, really. For Brian Malow or Tim Lee, the answer might be “both.” These two scientists-turned-comedians found their funny bones after their science educations and turned to stand-up comedy as new professions. Malow, a former astronomist, bases his standup on science history and facts, like Alfred Nobel’s dynamite connection to the Nobel Prize or a science flub in Star Wars. On a scale starting at “no science knowledge needed” to “need to be a scientist,” his comedy ranges toward the “need to be a scientist” side, as his material is sometimes based on very specific science knowledge. Lee, a former biologist, skews closer to the “no science knowledge needed” side through his combination of PowerPoint presentations full of science knowledge and hilarious charts.

Celebrate Science and Science-Fiction All Year Round

If you think the holidays are coming up soon, you may be surprised to know you missed months and months of holidays – science and science-fiction holidays, we mean. Scientists, engineers, mathematicians, and science-fiction fans appear to be party animals – look at all the holidays for science, math, biology, science fiction, and more! Earlier this week it was Read Comics in Public Day and later in September, it is International Observe the Moon Night. Plus, October 23 is one of the best holidays around: Mole Day. But there are so many before and after and in-between – check them out below (and let us know in the comments if we missed any)!

January

2 – Science Fiction Day

17 – Kid Inventors Day

February

2 – Create a Vacuum Day

11 – National Inventors Day

12 – Darwin Day

Breathe Easy: The Science of Artificial Lungs (and Other Organs)

According to the 1999 film Bicentennial Man, society is about 40 years away from fully-functioning artificial organs. But according to science, the timeline might be a little shorter. Bicentennial Man follows the journey of a robot intent on becoming human, so much so that he studies medicine to build artificial organs for himself (which are also used by humans). Researchers at Case Western Reserve University are hoping to have a human-scale version of an artificial lung in clinical trials within a decade, and did we mention the machine that can print out organs? That’s coming along as well. 

Intel Inspires Sci-fi Writers with “The Tomorrow Project”

Real science inspires science-fiction, and while we see this often in the consultations we provide, we have another great non-entertainment industry example for you. Last year, Intel Corporation’s The Tomorrow Project introduced four science-fiction writers to the latest research in photonics, robotics, telematics, dynamic physical rendering and intelligent sensors. Then, the writers let their imaginations run wild. The end results are four short science-fiction stories that imagine a future where this latest research is the old research. 

Science Online Film Festival

Take apart a copier. Win a prize. Okay, that isn’t exactly how it works but that is how Bill Hammack, the “Engineer Guy,” won the first film festival at the Science Online conference in Raleigh, North Carolina. Carin Bondar and Joanne Manaster hosted the festival, narrowing down the entries to 12 videos, which were then voted on by viewers. 

New Volcanoes to Worry About

Just when you thought you only had to worry about volcanoes under the West Antarctica ice sheets, scientists had to go and discover more volcanoes off Antarctica. The British Antarctica Survey (BAS) recently released its finding of undersea volcanoes near the South Sandwich Islands in the Southern Ocean.

Source: British Antarctica Survey

The volcanoes were discovered during research cruises through the use of ship-borne seismic mapping of the seafloor. The research cruises discovered 12 undersea volcanoes, along with craters left by collapsing volcanoes and 7 volcanoes visible above the sea. The volcanoes above the sea are active and some are up to 3,000 meters tall. 

Hungry, Hungry Universe

This is Supernova 1994D. The supernova is the bright point in the lower-left. It is a type Ia thermonuclear supernova like those described by Howell. The supernova is on the edge of galaxy NGC 4526, depicted in the center of the image. Credit: NASA/Hubble Space TelescopeYou’ve heard of zombie humans and you’ve probably heard of zombie ants… but what about zombie stars? “Zombie stars” are stars that explode like bombs, die and then come back to life by sucking matter out of another star. These stars, known as Type Ia Supernovae, are more than just cool eating machines though.

Science Sings the Blues

 When you hum to music from the radio, you probably aren’t thinking of mathematics. Equations aren’t forming in your mind and you aren’t solving for x as the tunes hit your ears. But according to Jason I. Brown, professor in the Department of Mathematics and Statistics at Dalhousie University, human physiology, for some reason, is particularly suited to discovering the mathematics inherently in music. “Our bodies, our ears, and our minds are built to recognize the mathematics that lies here,” he said during his Distinctive Voices @ The Beckman Center talk on May 25, 2011.

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