Posts Tagged ‘science’

Just a few days ago, a fascinating report was filed by Matt Connellan on SBS about a young Israeli student, Sarit Sternberg, who has made a significant scientific discovery – finding a virus that can kill anthrax.

Not bad for a 16 year old student!

Enrolled in the Alpha program for gifted high school students in Israel,  Sarit is currently visiting Australia and is talking about her discovery.

Have a listen to the SBS report aired last week and share the video with students to inspire them to greater heights.

As mentioned by Sarit, it is her generation who are more easily able to think outside the box and is perhaps a lesson for us as educators to steer students in such directions.



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A 1000 years is a mighty long time for an invention to have never had a modification, but apparently that’s the case with the good old umbrella~

So ….. at first glance ….. it seems far fetched to think that there could be any kind of connection between ladybirds and umbrellas.

It seems though, that Japanese scientists, who created a see-through forewing out of transparent resin and transplanted it onto the wings of a ladybird, may finally be able to discover just how the wings of a laydbird so elegantly open and close to enable flight.

Information gleaned from this research, it is thought, may well be the key to building an umbrella that does not blow inside out on a windy day!

Have a read of the original article  Ladybird wings could help change design of umbrellas for first time in 1,000 years  written by Sarah Knapton and published in The Telegraph (15th May, 2017).

Be sure to watch the video in this article. It’s fascinating!  The implications of this research could be quite profound.

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Very early this year, I wrote a very sad article about the passing of Aaron Swartz and the battle he forged against censorship on the Internet.   Aaron faced charges under the decades old Computer Fraud and Abuse Act for downloading large amounts of academic research articles from the JSTOR database at MIT in his quest to promote free access to taxpayer funded research.

So when I came across this video of Dr Francis Collins, Director of National Institutes of Health interviewing 16 year old Jack Andraka, a sophomore at North County High School, MD, the winner of the 2012 Intel International Science and Engineering Fair about his invention of a new way to detect pancreatic, ovarian and lung cancer and the incredible lengths Jack went to in researching and educating himself to get to the point of being able to achieve his goal, my mind flicked back to Aaron Swartz, a trailblazer in pursuit of Open Access.

Explaining the process adopted, Jack described how he would type keywords into Google, locate publications and read through their bibliographies to locate further research studies.  He then spoke of the frustration he faced when he would hit numerous paywalls which cost $40 per article to access.  Not having the finance to pursue this path, Jack said he would instead ‘cheat’ by copying the article title back into Google looking for pdf versions of the article.  These, he said, he often found on the NIH PubMed site.  Lamenting that not all articles he wanted to read were available on PubMed, Jack said it would be so much better if people could just go to Google or Wikipedia to access articles.   Unheeded by paywalls, Jack said, could result in great innovations.

Responding to Jack’s comments, the Director of National Institutes of Health, Dr Francis Collins, explained how NIH was leading by example.  Anyone funded by NIH who publishes an article is obliged to make that article available within 12 months to Open Access on PubMed.  With 830,000 people accessing PubMed daily and the download of 1.6 million articles – whole articles, not abstracts – Francis agrees with this young researcher on the significant value of Open Access.

In closing, Jack defines Open Access as opening the playing field from a few hundred thousand people to millions and millions of people across the world.

Powerful stuff.

Have a listen to the interview:

Watching Jack receive the INTEL ISEF 2012 Gordon E Moore Award is exhilarating.

And finally watching Jack’s TED Talk in June 2012 speaks volumes of where this young man is headed!

Update:  An ever so slightly older Jack speaking at TED in February 2013.  Very nice!

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