The winners from the PopSci/InnoCentive challenge--check out these amazing classes any middle-school kid would love to take
By Popular Science EditorsPosted 08.14.2012 at 11:54 am 4 Comments
A year ago, our Popular Science/InnoCentive challenge here on PopSci asked for lesson plans that could be used at the middle-school level in each of five areas of science that will be vital in the future. Materials couldn't cost more than $50, and the lesson needed to fit into no more than three 50-minute classes. Here, we proudly announce the winners and runners-up.
FIRST PLACE Name: Lisa Schmidt, Australia Lesson: Study models of animal bone to understand how to engineer stronger building materials
A new Popular Science/InnoCentive challenge is live, and if you can divine a better way to test the toughness of hermetically sealed, sterile containers, the "Seeker" for this challenge is willing to pay up to $7,000 for it. To sweeten the deal, the Seeker--the people looking for the answer to this question--will consider further collaboration with the winner. If you think you've got an idea, the deadline is August 20. Read more about it here.
A great new Popular Science/InnoCentive Challenge was recently posted. The "Seeker," by InnoCentive's terms, is looking to create a new process for reflective, mirrored glass. The idea seems to be for high-end sodas--the packaging would be a very shiny, metallic-looking finish, which is apparently only doable now in "low throughput," meaning, you know, it's hard. Might you be the savior of "premium"-feeling soda bottles? The award for a workable written proposal is $15,000, with a deadline of September 17th. Read about it at InnoCentive.
A great new challenge from InnoCentive, with a nice hefty prize, all centering around improving natural gas operations. Mercury, which as we all know is highly toxic, is present in low concentrations in natural gas. There are lots of methods to remove it, but they could definitely be better--and that's where you come in. If you can figure out a new idea for removing mercury, you'll win $10,000. But hurry up--there are already 54 solvers engaged with the challenge. The deadline for submission is August 19th. Read about it over at InnoCentive.
The latest InnoCentive challenge has just been announced, and it's a doozy. Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, also known as Lou Gehrig's Disease, usually progresses quickly. But sometimes, as in the case of Stephen Hawking, the disease gets delayed. Now, with help from Big Data, we're finding better ways of dealing with that. If you can be a part of that future by finding a way of accurately predicting the progression of the disease in patients, Prize4Life will present you with up to $25,000. The deadline is October 15. Read more about it over at InnoCentive.
A brand-new challenge from InnoCentive has a massive payday--a whopping $160,000 from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the Department of Health and Human Services for your ideas on ways to detect and help solve air pollution. It's open to any individual, team, or business in the United States with a killer idea about using new mobile tech to sense pollutants--it's an issue with huge public health implications, and we know that PopSci readers are just the people to help address it. Read more about it at InnoCentive.
One month from today--July 1st, 2012--is the deadline for the newest InnoCentive challenge. We're looking for suggestions for new applications of a brand-new, unique material, a cementitious calcium carbonate that is remarkably strong and easy to use. It's got some great potential in architecture, ceramics, physical sciences, life sciences, and pharmaceuticals. There's a guaranteed award on this one, which is great--the best suggestion will receive a prize of $7,000. It's a great challenge, and one really well-suited for you guys--we know there are some great brains out there reading this, and we'd love to see some killer PopSci entries. Read more about it over at InnoCentive.
Our latest featured challenge is a tough one. EMC is looking for a way to track electronics as they're disassembled and discarded. According to the company, "it is simply too difficult to measure the true destination of e-waste as it passes through the hands of downstream contractors who handle disposal and recycling." They don't know where it ends up or how, and they want to change that.
Monday, October 31, is the deadline to enter our education challenge. We're looking for fun, inexpensive lesson plans that teachers can use to teach cutting-edge concepts to students in grades 6 through 8. If you think you've got a great way to communicate the fundamental principles of next-gen research, enter now. You don't have to be a teacher — anyone can get involved, and if your lesson plan is chosen, you'll win $5000, and we'll use your lesson plan to create a teaching guide for use in school across the country.
It's time to get the next generation of scientists thinking about what's important, and you can help. Below are five education challenges chosen by the editors of Popular Science in partnership with InnoCentive, an open-innovation and crowdsourcing firm. We invite you to devise a simple lesson plan for one or more of them. Each plan should be directed at middle-school students, involve at most three 50-minute sessions, and require less than $50 in materials.