When I first saw this photograph of a man's hand submerged in liquid nitrogen at somewhere below -320° F, my immediate thought was, "That guy must be crazy! One second in that stuff, and you're shopping for new skin!" My shock was tempered only slightly by the fact that it was my hand, and we'd taken the picture just a minute earlier.
Why subject yourself to the dull buzz of fluorescent lights and endless data sets? Play with plastic explosives, dive with jellyfish, or make video games instead! These schools will make you wish class would never end.
Over the years, PopSci has pulled together annual lists of the coolest, funnest college labs, the places where we would like to have spent our youth tinkering, exploring, and learning. Here, we've collected the ultimate list of all the great labs we've ever covered.
By Mark WolvertonPosted 08.24.2010 at 10:08 am 13 Comments
Smuggling a nuclear weapon into the U.S. is distressingly simple—all someone needs is a truck full of watermelons. Regulations prohibit using high-power x-rays on perishables, and Geiger counters don’t beep alerts because the juicy fruit absorbs radiation. But a new drive-through detector takes advantage of cosmic rays to locate any nuclear material, no matter how cleverly hidden.
By Corey BinnsPosted 08.23.2010 at 10:21 am 36 Comments
Since last April, 19 cancer patients whose liver tumors hadn’t responded to chemotherapy have taken an experimental drug. Within weeks of the first dose, it appeared to work, by preventing tumors from making proteins they need to survive. The results are preliminary yet encouraging. With a slight redesign, the drug might work for hundreds of diseases, fulfilling the promise that wonder cures like stem cells and gene therapy have failed to deliver.
By Bjorn CareyPosted 08.20.2010 at 1:58 pm 6 Comments
Let’s ask Betsy Dresser, the senior vice president of research at the Audubon Center for Research of Endangered Species in New Orleans, who has raised several litters of small African wildcat clones. “Oh yes, the clones are very much wild animals with wild instincts,” she says. “They bite and scratch. You can’t handle them without gloves and nets.”
A floating crane prepares to raise from the depths a South Korean navy combat corvette that mysteriously split in two and sank on March 26. To allow military and civilian investigators from South Korea, the U.S., Australia, the U.K. and Sweden to examine the 1,322-ton ship, a tag team of cranes—one capable of lifting 2,200 tons, the other, 3,600—retrieved the two pieces from the ocean floor.
The Pentagon's classified "black" budget is bigger than it was during the Cold War, but the battlefield has changed completely. Popular Science reveals the secrets of America's 21st-century arsenal. By Sharon Weinberger
By Emily SchwartzPosted 08.04.2010 at 3:05 pm 1 Comment
With resumes that list achievements like "built wallpaper that turns noise into energy" and "devised a nuclear-fusion reactor," these 10 inventive teens are headed to America's best colleges. After that? It's off to save the world- or maybe invent a new one.
A car-lighter-powered shower for when you get a little too much of the Great Outdoors on you
By Calvin BrennanPosted 08.03.2010 at 1:05 pm 2 Comments
How to Build It
1. Attach a small piece of tubing to the outlet on a 12-volt output pump [A].
2. Add an elbow fitting to the tubing, and connect a length of hose [B]. Run the hose to another elbow fitting, and screw that to a piece of plastic pipe [C].
3. Attach an elbow fitting to the other end of the pipe, and screw a showerhead [D] to it.
4. Wire the pump to a 12-volt car lighter plug [E], and drop the pump in a bucket of water.
With practically everything going digital, it’s easy to run out of hard-drive space. You can keep track of how full your drive is with your computer’s default file manager: In Windows, go to Start, then My Computer; in OS X, look at the bottom of any Finder window. Most of us notice a problem only after the drive is already full, though.