By Dan KoeppelPosted 08.08.2011 at 2:02 pm 0 Comments
Seeing a movie outdoors used to be pretty simple. Drive a bit, pay at the entrance gate, find a parking space, and wait for the towering images to flicker into view. Some nights you'd even get a double feature. But finding a drive-in isn't easy these days. Just 370 remain in the U.S., down from a peak of nearly 5,000 in the 1950s. What to do if you yearn to experience the cinema outside? Create it yourself. For that, you need five elements: the power to drive the whole setup, a video source, a projector, a screen and a sound system.
By Andrew RosenblumPosted 08.04.2011 at 5:30 pm 0 Comments
During his final spring semester in college, while his classmates fought senioritis, biomedical-engineering major Craig Walters helped the Air Force study for the first time whether non-invasive brain stimulation might prolong vigilance in air-traffic controllers and drone operators. Walters, now 23, interviewed subjects, observed blood flow using an ultrasound machine called a transcranial Doppler, and maintained a helmet full of electrodes and sensors.
By Andrew RosenblumPosted 08.04.2011 at 3:48 pm 0 Comments
At the Creative Machines Lab, a division of Cornell's department of mechanical engineering, 3-D printers fabricate everything from cupcake frosting to chain mail to body parts. Associate professor Hod Lipson, the head of the lab (who we've interviewed in the past), says "fabbing" particularly suits undergrads, because it takes only basic training in mechanical engineering to get involved, and the field rewards messing around.
By Andrew RosenblumPosted 08.04.2011 at 3:19 pm 0 Comments
Reed College, a liberal-arts school in Portland, Oregon, has 1,447 students and no graduate schools. But it has its own nuclear reactor. Only 27 schools in the nation have such a thing, and they usually use grad students and pros to run it. Reed entrusts the power of fission to students as young as freshmen, licensing twice as many undergraduate operators as any other university.
By Andrew RosenblumPosted 08.04.2011 at 2:52 pm 0 Comments
Some of the students interning on the Micro-autonomous Systems Technology (MAST) project at the Army Research Lab in Maryland spend their summer trying to equip soldiers with dozens or even hundreds of “insect” robots that can swarm into a bunker or cave to provide a remote look inside. “Working in silicon at the fruit-fly scale, they’ll cost almost nothing,” says Chris Kroninger, an aeronautics researcher specializing in MAST’s wings, “and they can be equipped with limited sensor capability that can be a first warning for a soldier.”
By Andrew RosenblumPosted 08.04.2011 at 2:00 pm 0 Comments
The research cruise that 25-year-old Ellie Bors took in 2009 looked so appealing, she says, that she skipped her own Oberlin College graduation to be part of it. On board, the crew made garbage-bag robes and a fake diploma for her, and she made her graduation walk anyway.
By Andrew RosenblumPosted 08.03.2011 at 6:17 pm 0 Comments
Many students pass through the beer lab of Professor Charles Bamforth, who for eight years worked as a senior manager at Bass Brewers. But the ones he most enjoys instructing come from the University of California at Davis's distinguished department of viticulture. "I like to convert one winemaker into a brewer every year," he says. "I consider beer a superior beverage, and I know it's a lot harder to make."
By Andrew RosenblumPosted 08.03.2011 at 6:04 pm 0 Comments
It’s been about 50 million years since the Indian tectonic plate began colliding with Asia, and the Tien Shan mountain range in Western China is still shaking. The region compresses horizontally at a rate of about a quarter-inch per year, pushing the mountains ever higher and resulting in frequent magnitude-6 and -7 earthquakes. In 2006, Caltech’s Division of Geological and Planetary Sciences (GPS) dispatched a 21-person team, mostly students, to a barren region near Urumqui to figure out how faults in the foothills increased their seismic activity.
By Andrew RosenblumPosted 08.03.2011 at 5:39 pm 0 Comments
Of the 25 to 30 research assistants accepted at the National Radio Astronomy Observatory each year, some are stationed at the Charlottesville, Virginia, headquarters, some at the 27-antenna Very Large Array in Socorro, New Mexico, and some at the 361-foot Robert C. Byrd Green Bank Telescope (GBT) in Green Bank, West Virginia. For those at the GBT, the internship comes with an unusual requirement: no cellphones.
By Andrew RosenblumPosted 08.03.2011 at 4:23 pm 0 Comments
From the Explorer I satellite in 1958 to the new Mars Science Laboratory rover set to blast off at the end of the year, the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California, has built the country's most ambitious robotic space vessels. And every summer, about 280 undergraduates arrive there to participate in one of 16 internship programs for engineering or science students.