Science

image courtesy Ben Feringa

The Industrial Revolution of the 1800s ushered in a new era of large motors that continued for more than a century.  But for the last couple of decades, a revolution in nanotechnology has begun to supplant that earlier engineering work.

University of Wisconsin-Madison

Most people aren’t able to say that they work with data from the South Pole, but Justin Vandenbroucke is the exception.

Vandenbroucke is an assistant professor in the physics department at UW-Madison, and specializes in high-energy astrophysical neutrinos. He works with data from the IceCube South Pole Neutrino Observatory.

"Neutrinos are sub-atomic particles that have no charge, so they’re kind of like neutrons, but they also have very little mass so they’re even less massive than protons and electrons,” he explains.

NASA/COBE Science Team / Wikimedia

John Mather shared the Nobel Prize in Physics in 2006 for his work with the Cosmic Background Explorer, or COBE. Launched in 1989, the satellite was instrumental in developing our understanding of cosmic microwave background radiation.

So, what is that? 

"The cosmic background is the sort of light and heat that come to us from all directions, way out there from the distant universe. So not coming from objects, but from whatever is really, way farther beyond that," Mather explains. 

John Flannery / Flickr

If you walk near the lake at night, there’s a good chance you’ll see bats swooping through the air to feast on insects. What you might not see - or hear - is the aerial warfare at play dividing the weak and the strong in a battle for survival that has spanned 50 million years.

Tiger moths - also known as Arctiinae - are a diverse subfamily of moths with around 11,000 species, including more than two dozen species which make their home in Wisconsin. For millennia, their survival has been dependent on their ability to avoid and evade bats. 

NASA

Dr. Kathy Sullivan hadn’t planned to go to space. The former astronaut went to school to study earth sciences, later earned a doctorate in geology. She worked as an oceanographer, but decided to apply to be an astronaut for the chance to see Earth with her own eyes and not through lenses.

Award-winning science writer Mary Roach has taken on some delicate topics with both depth and a large dose of humor in her seven books.  She wrote about human cadavers in Stiff: The Curious Lives of Human Cadavers; the afterlife in Spook, Science Tackles the Afterlife, and even sexuality in Bonk: The Curious Coupling of Scien

Scientists have been tinkering with the DNA in humans and other living things for decades. But one thing has long been considered off-limits: modifying human DNA in any way that could be passed down for generations.

Image courtesy of Body Worlds

There are many animals at the Milwaukee County Zoo you wouldn't normally see in the wilds of Wisconsin.  Camels, for example, or bonobos or giraffes. But an exhibit there on display through Labor Day allows visitors to see those animals and many others in a unique way.

eggsinitiative.org

There is no question that a gender gap exists in the science and engineering fields in this country.  Despite survey data that shows almost three-quarters of girls in middle school have an interest in science, math or engineering, fewer than a third of women graduating from college seek careers in those fields.

Researchers in Southern California say they've uncovered evidence that humans lived there 130,000 years ago.

If it's true, it would be the oldest sign of humans in the Americas ever — predating the best evidence up to now by about 115,000 years. And the claim has scientists wondering whether to believe it.

Elizabeth Ferris

More than 1,300 people are expected to gather at Milwaukee’s Red Arrow Saturday afternoon to march for science. Organizers here drew inspiration from a march – also taking place on Earth Day – in Washington DC. Both marches, along with more than 600 others scheduled around the world, hope to draw attention to the role science plays in health, economies and governments.

vetre / Fotolia

Until recently, scientists didn't understand just how critical adolescence is for human development. And over the next decade, we will likely learn more than ever before about how young minds develop.

That’s because work is starting on a groundbreaking study of the subject. It's called the Adolescent Brain Cognitive Development, or ABCD, Study, and nearly two dozen institutions across the U.S. will be participating in the research.

LMspencer / Fotolia

Sean Carroll is the Alan Wilson Professor of Molecular Biology and Genetics at UW-Madison, and author of the new book, The Serengeti Rules: The Quest to Discover How Life Works and Why It Matters. His book uses true stories of scientific discovery to explain how scientists connected the dots and came to understand that all of life is interconnected. 

Tatiana Shepeleva / Fotolia

We all wish we had better powers of recollection. We have all experienced the momentary panic of forgetting where we dropped our keys or reading glasses, or having a thought – a word or a name or a concept - just out of reach.

New Research Shows Invasive Plants Can Feed Farms, Power Homes

Dec 2, 2016
Photo by Sam Corden / Great Lakes Today

Researchers who work in wetlands in Michigan are taking a new approach to invasive plants. Instead of removing plants like phragmites and switchgrass, they’re harvesting them. They say these plants are a threat to biodiversity, but they can benefit farmers and even power homes.

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