Computers use math, data and computer instructions to create representations of real-world events. They also can predict what’s happening — or what could happen — in complex situations, from climate systems to the spread of rumors throughout a town. And computers can spit out their results without people having to wait years or to take big risks.
The scientists who build computer models...Readability Score: 8.3
Thomas Snitch is no ordinary spy.
On a May night last year, Snitch gathered his surveillance team in a wild corner of South Africa. They waited until well after sunset before stealthily beginning their mission. Using a catapult powered by a bungee cord, the experts launched a small airplane over the deep and dark landscape, thick with acacia trees sporting 5-centimeter (2-inch) thorns....Readability Score: 6.8
You line up a football to kick a field goal. Will you make it?
Success will depend on lots of things. Your distance from the goal post, the strength of your kick, your focus, and even the angle of your foot — all will affect the outcome. Even the wind will make a difference.
Each of these factors is known as a variable. That means each can vary, or change. Some variables also can...Readability Score: 7.7
WASHINGTON — Following a weekend when most of the United States sprang forward to Daylight Savings Time, the nation’s top teen researchers sprang to the fore. The top 10 finishers in the 2014 Intel Science Talent Search all claimed big prizes. Their wins in the prestigious science competition were announced during a black-tie awards gala held here on Tuesday, March 11. The gala took place in...
When Lee-Ann Hayek got her first job at the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, D.C., she wasn’t expecting to spend her whole career there. She had just received her doctorate in statistics. She recalls thinking it would be fun to work at one of the Smithsonian’s famous museums or research centers. So, “I just wrote them a letter and said, ‘I’ll dust your elephants if you want!’”
...Readability Score: 7.9
For baseball players who want to increase their batting success, a new study offers this tip: Get on a team with a slugger. When one player experiences a hitting streak, his teammates do better as well, according to the new analysis of baseball stats. (In baseball, as in life, some people are improved by the company they keep!)
The scientists didn’t identify the reason for this link....
“I seem to specialize in the area of mayhem,” says Nafees Bin Zafar with a smile. This visual effects expert helps bring some of the most memorable smashes, crashes and dashes to the movie screen. The one in Madagascar 3 where the fearless heroes flee a casino, leaving all sorts of rubble in their wake? Check. The scene in 2012 where Los Angeles slides into the Pacific Ocean? Check. The light...Readability Score: 7.9
People may say that math is for the birds. A new study shows this may be true, at least for a giant seabird called an albatross.
A team of scientists in Europe recently studied the flights of these large birds as they hunted for food. The scientists did not observe the birds adding, subtracting, multiplying or dividing. But when the researchers looked at the shapes...
Going to school means learning new skills and facts in such subjects as reading, math, science, history, art or music. Teachers teach and students learn, and many scientists are interested in finding ways to improve both the teaching and learning processes.
Some researchers, such as Sian Beilock and Susan Levine, are trying to learn about learning. Beilock and Levine are...
When Persi Diaconis was a kid, his favorite hangout was the magic store. He and his friends goofed around, practiced their tricks and longed for the books and tools.
Then one day, in walked the world’s greatest living magician.
Diaconis, a thirteen-year-old whippersnapper, decided to show off his card tricks. The great magician, Dai Vernon, was so impressed that he...