Each year the Joint Policy Board for Mathematics (JPBM) sponsors Mathematics Awareness Month in April to recognize the importance of mathematics through a series of essays and an accompanying poster that highlight mathematical developments and applications in a particular area. This year’s theme is “Mathematics, Magic, and Mystery,” as chosen by the American Mathematical Society (AMS), the American...
Dr. Gordon Dahlby's insight:
Is Math getting enough attention in the STEM pendulum?
The new site is based on the address careers.amtrak.com (orjobs.amtrak.com): that’ll be the portal, or home page, of Amtrak careers content. Amtrak’s Kerry Noone, previously with Sodexo, worked on the Amtrak career-site front end with both SuccessFactors and a third party implementation partner, Deloitte. A larger team at Amtrak worked on the back-end improvements.
Amtrak was already a SuccessFactors customer — and is becoming more so. Amtrak is adding HR technologies like performance management systems, as well as this new recruiting system, as well as workforce analytics — more on that in a minute.
Percentages of top performing 15-year-old students (those scoring at level 5 or above) in mathematics literacy ranged from 55 percent in Shanghai-China to nearly 0 percent in Colombia and Argentina. In the United States, 9 percent of 15-year-old students scored at proficiency level 5 or above, which was lower than the OECD average of 13 percent. The U.S. percentage was lower than 27 education systems, higher than 22 education systems, and not measurably different than 13 education systems. The percentage of top performers in mathematics in the United States overall (9 percent) was higher than the state of Florida (6 percent), but lower than Massachusetts (19 percent) and Connecticut (16 percent) (figure M1a, table M1b).In mathematics literacy, the percentage of 15-year-old students performing below level 2, which is considered a baseline of proficiency by the OECD, ranged from 4 percent in Shanghai-China to 76 percent in Indonesia. In the United States, 26 percent of 15-year-old students scored below level 2, which was higher than the OECD average of 23 percent. The U.S. percentage was higher than 29 education systems, lower than 26 education systems, and not measurably different than 9 education systems. The percentage of low performers in mathematics in the United States overall (26 percent) was higher than the states of Connecticut (21 percent) and Massachusetts (18 percent), but not measurably different than Florida (30 percent) (figure M1a, table M1b).Average scores in mathematics literacy ranged from 613 in Shanghai-China to 368 in Peru. The U.S. average score was 481, which was lower than the OECD average of 494. The U.S. average was lower than 29 education systems, higher than 26 education systems, and not measurably different than 9 education systems. The U.S. average was lower than the states of Massachusetts (514) and Connecticut (506), but higher than Florida (467) (table M4).
U.S. Performance in Science Literacy
Percentages of top-performing 15-year-old students (those scoring at level 5 or above) in science literacy ranged from 27 percent in Shanghai-China and 23 percent in Singapore to nearly 0 percent in eight education systems. In the United States, 7 percent of 15-year-old students scored at proficiency level 5 or above, which was not measurably different from the OECD average of 8 percent. The U.S. percentage was lower than 167 education systems, higher than 27 education systems, and not measurably different than 165 education systems. The percentage of top performers in science in the United States overall (7 percent) was lower than the states of Massachusetts (14 percent) and Connecticut (13 percent), but not measurably different than Florida (5 percent) (figure S1a, table S1b).In science literacy, the percentage of 15-year-old students performing below level 2, which is considered a baseline of proficiency by the OECD, ranged from 3 percent in Shanghai-China and 5 percent in Estonia to 67 percent in Indonesia and 68 percent in Peru. In the United States, 18 percent of U.S. 15-year-old students scored below level 2, which was not measurably different from the OECD average of 18 percent. The U.S. percentage was higher than 21 education systems, lower than 29 education systems, and not measurably different than 14 education systems. The percentage of low performers in science in the United States overall (18 percent) was higher than the states of Connecticut (13 percent) and Massachusetts (11 percent), but not measurably different than Florida (21 percent) (figure S1a, table S1b).Average scores in science literacy ranged from 580 in Shanghai-China to 373 in Peru. The U.S. average score was 497, which was not measurably different from the OECD average of 501. The U.S. average was lower than 22 education systems, higher than 29 education systems, and not measurably different than 13 education systems. The U.S. average was lower than the states of Massachusetts (527) and Connecticut (521), but not measurably different than Florida (485) (table S2).
U.S. Performance in Reading Literacy
Percentages of top performing 15-year-old students (those scoring at level 5 or above) in reading literacy ranged from 25 percent in Shanghai-China and 21 percent in Singapore to nearly 0 percent in 3 education systems. In the United States, 8 percent of U.S. 15-year-old students scored at proficiency level 5 or above, which was not measurably different from the OECD average of 8 percent. The U.S. percentage was lower than 14 education systems, higher than 33 education systems, and not measurably different than 12 education systems. The percentage of top performers in reading in the United States overall (8 percent) was higher than the state of Florida (6 percent), but lower than Massachusetts (16 percent) and Connecticut (15 percent)(figure R1a, table R1b).In reading literacy, the percentage of 15-year-old students performing below level 2, which is considered a baseline of proficiency by the OECD, ranged from 3 percent in Shanghai-China to 60 percent in Peru. In the United States, 17 percent of U.S. 15-year-old students scored below level 2, which was not measurably different from the OECD average of 18 percent. The U.S. percentage was higher than 14 education systems, lower than 33 education systems, and not measurably different than 17 education systems. The percentage of low performers in reading in the United States overall (17 percent) was higher than the state of Massachusetts (11 percent), but not measurably different than Connecticut (13 percent) and Florida (17 percent) (figure R1a, table R1b).Average scores in reading literacy ranged from 570 in Shanghai-China to 384 in Peru. The U.S. average score was 498, which was not measurably different from the OECD average of 496. The U.S. average was lower than 19 education systems, higher than 34 education systems, and not measurably different than 11 education systems. The U.S. average was lower than the U.S. states Massachusetts (527) and Connecticut (521), but not measurably different than Florida (492) (table R2).
Eighteen education systems had higher average scores than the United States in all three subjects. The 18 education systems are: Australia, Canada, Chinese Taipei, Estonia, Finland, Germany, Hong Kong-China, Ireland, Japan, Liechtenstein, Macao-China, Netherlands, New Zealand, Poland, Republic of Korea, Shanghai-China, Singapore, and Switzerland. The U.S. states Massachusetts and Connecticut also had higher average scores than the United States in all three subjects (tables M4, S2, and R2).
U.S. Performance Over Time
The U.S. average mathematics, science, and reading literacy scores in 2012 were not measurably different from average scores in previous PISA assessment years with which comparisons can be made (2003, 2006 and 2009 for mathematics; 2006, and 2009 for science; and 2000, 2003, and 2009 for reading) (table T1).
U.S. Performance on Computer-Based Assessments
On the computer-based mathematics literacy assessment (administered in 32 education systems), average scores ranged from 566 in Singapore and 562 in Shanghai-China to 397 in Colombia. U.S. 15-year-old students had an average score of 498, which was not measurably different from the OECD average of 497. Twelve education systems had higher average scores, 8 had lower average scores, and 11 had average scores that were not measurably different than the United States (table CM2).On the computer-based reading literacy assessment (administered in 32 education systems), average scores ranged from 567 in Singapore to 396 in Colombia. U.S. 15-year-old students had an average score of 511, which was higher than the OECD average of 497. Seven education systems had higher average scores, 17 had lower average scores, and 7 had average scores that were not measurably different than the United States (table CR2).
Imagine America as a place where the percentage of students involved in STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) is higher than average. Imagine America as a place where students are motivated to pursue STEM-related degrees and careers. On December 3, 2013, Bill Chappell of NPRreported, “…only 50 percent [of] students agreed that they are interested in learning mathematics, slightly below the OECD (Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development ) average of 53 percent” (9). However, there are several steps that we can take to encourage more students to pursue the STEM-related fields of study. For example, we could encourage student to participate in extracurricular activities, such as robotics. In recent years robotics programs have been used as a way to increase more students’ involvement in science and engineering. These programs include:
· Vex Robotics:Funded by the Robotic Education & Competition Foundation located in Texas, the foundation offers competitions worldwide for students with the goal of increasing the area of students that pursue STEM through allowing students to create a robot that competes in a game.
· BEST (Boosting Engineering, Science, and Technology) Robotics:This program challenges students to create a robot using materials such as plywood, PVC, plastic and other electronics and miscellaneous materials. This program seeks students to be innovative and creative. BEST Robotics headquarters is in Texas and located in 18 different states.
· FIRST (For Inspiration and Recognition in Science and Technology): Founded by Dean Kaman, inventor of the Segway in 1992. This program has been reported to have reached over 350,000 students worldwide, and also helps students find millions of dollars in scholarship money.
During my freshman year of high school I joined a robotics team and that experience enabled me to learn programming, project management and time management. Robotics is an important tool in motivating students to pursue technology skills, because it challenges students to engage in critical thinking, problem-solving, as well as teamwork. I believe that robotics is just one platform that could be used in getting more students involved in the area of STEM.
KidWind, the international leader of clean energy education, invites all educators interested in renewable energy education to apply for numerous scholarships for the WindSenator teacher training to be held in St. Paul, MN on June 23-27, 2014. These scholarships are sponsored by the Department of Energy, the XCEL Energy Windsource Program and EDP Renewables and will provide training to help teachers implement renewable energy science instruction into the classroom and be a resource for their communities. The deadline to apply for the WindSenators training is April 1, 2014. For more information about scholarships, eligibility and to apply, go tohttp://learn.kidwind.org/workshops_events/windsenators/2014/funding.
KidWind’s mission is to equip educators with the knowledge necessary to bring the science behind renewable energy to the classroom and prepare students to become participants in a future focused on renewable energy. According to the United States Department of Energy, to be the world’s leader in renewable energy, the country needs to inform the public, create support for renewable energy and educate a workforce to “design, build, operate, maintain, and advance wind power equipment and technology.”
The KidWind WindSenators Network is a team of more than 100 teacher trainers and outreach coordinators in 31 states and four countries trained by KidWind to be renewable energy ambassadors for their schools, community, state and region. WindSenators are qualified to conduct teacher trainings, give valuable input toward the development of new renewable energy curriculum and materials and facilitate KidWind Challenge Events. The five-day training program provides hands-on instruction on wind energy science and technology through innovative curricula, tours and guest speakers.
“Having the most qualified ambassadors is important to any cause,” said Michael Arquin, founder of KidWind. “Through these expertly-trained WindSenators, KidWind is spreading awareness about the benefits and challenges of wind energy not only in the classroom, but also in their communities.”
These teacher training scholarships are part of the new Future of Renewables Initiative (FORI).
As with many things in nature, it helps to understand the past when trying to predict the future.
Ilya Bindeman, an associate professor of geological sciences at the University of Oregon, believes this is true of the Yellowstone supervolcano and the likelihood that it will produce an apocalyptic eruption as it has three times over the last the last 2 million years.
"Yellowstone is one of the biggest supervolcanos in the world," he says. "Sometimes it erupts quietly with lava flow, but once or twice every million years, it erupts very violently, forming large calderas," which are very large craters measuring tens of kilometers in diameter.
If it happens again, and he says most scientists think that it will, he predicts such an eruption will obliterate the surroundings within a radius of hundreds of kilometers, and cover the rest of the United States and Canada with multiple inches of ash. This, effectively, would shut down agriculture and cause global climate cooling for as long as a decade, or more, he says. A volcanic event of such magnitude "hasn't happened in modern civilization," he says.
However, the National Science Foundation (NSF)-funded scientist doesn't think it's going to happen anytime soon--at least not for another 1 million to 2 million years.
"Our research of the pattern of such volcanism in two older, 'complete' caldera clusters in the wake of Yellowstone allows a prognosis that Yellowstone is on a dying cycle, rather than on a ramping up cycle," he says.
By this, he is referring to an ongoing cycle that occurs within the so-called Yellowstone "hot spot," an upwelling plume of hot mantle beneath the Earth's surface, when magma chambers, which are large underground pools of liquid rock, reuse rocks, eject lava, melt again and prompt large eruptions many thousands of years later.
It is a complicated process that also involves the position of the North American plate, which is moving at the rate of two to four centimeters a year, and its relationship to the hot spot, as well as the continuing interaction of the Earth's crust with basalt, a common volcanic rock derived from the mantle.
President Obama’s 2015 budget request reflects his belief not only that education is a top priority, but that America’s public schools offer the clearest path to the middle class. Investing in education now will make us more competitive in the global economy tomorrow, and will help ensure equity of opportunity for every child.
The administration’s request for about $69 billion in discretionary appropriations represents an increase of nearly 2 percent over the previous year and slightly more than the 2012 discretionary level for education before the sequester.
Three-quarters of that $69 billion goes to financial aid to students in college, special education, and high-poverty schools (Title I). The remaining 23 percent targets specific areas designed to leverage major changes in the educational opportunity and excellence for all students, including expansion of access to high-quality preschool, data-driven instruction based on college- and career-ready standards, making college more affordable, and mitigating the effects of poverty on educational outcomes.
Education priorities for Fiscal Year (FY) 2015:
Increasing Equity and Opportunity for All Students
Despite major progress for America’s students, deep gaps of opportunity and achievement endure. The Obama administration is committed to driving new energy to solving those problems. Nearly every element of the federal education budget aims to ensure equity of opportunity, and a new proposed fund, Race to the Top-Equity and Opportunity would complement existing efforts by further supporting strong state and local efforts to improve equity.
Learn more about Race to the Top-Equity and Opportunity.
Making Quality Preschool Available for All 4-Year-Olds
In one of the boldest efforts to expand educational opportunity in the last 50 years, President Obama has committed to a historic new investment in preschool education that supports universal access to high-quality preschool for all 4-year olds from low- and moderate-income families and creates an incentive for states to serve additional middle-class children.
Learn more about support for early learning.
Strengthening Support for Teachers and School Leaders
All educators should have the resources and support they need to provide effective instruction and to personalize learning to students’ needs. Technology can help teachers do this. Teachers and school leaders must know how to make the best use of technology. The new ConnectEDucators proposal would provide funding to help educators leverage technology and data to provide high-quality college- and career-ready instruction that meets the needs of all students.
Learn more about the new ConnectEDucators proposal.
Improving Affordability, Quality, and Success in Postsecondary Education
Improving college access and completion is an economic necessity and a moral imperative. Few good career options exist for those whose education ends with high school. College has long represented the surest route to the middle class—but the middle class is increasingly being priced out of college. America once ranked first in the college completion rate of its young people; we now rank twelfth. Reclaiming the top spot in college completion is essential for maximizing both individual opportunity and our economic prosperity, which is why the President has made increasing college affordability and improving college completion a major focus of his 2015 budget.
Learn more about improving college affordability.
Making Schools Safer and Creating Positive Learning Environments
The President’s plan to increase school safety and to decrease gun violence includes investments not only to prepare schools for emergencies, but also to create positive school climates and help children recover from the effects of living in communities plagued by persistent violence.
Learn more about the fiscal year 2015 budget request.
Cameron Brenchley is director of digital strategy at the U.S. Department of Education
The Urban Waters Federal Partnership, a 13-agency initiative, aims to stimulate local economies, create jobs, improve quality of life, and protect health by revitalizing urban waterways and the communities around them, focusing on under-served urban communities.
Currently, the partnership has 18 locations across the nation. These locations have or will build partnerships among local, state and federal stakeholders – as well as schools. Here is just a sampling of how students are getting in on the Urban Waters action:
At Bladensburg Waterfront Park in Bladensburg, Md., the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Urban Waters team assists Neval Thomas Elementary school students, parents and teachers as they paddle along the Anacostia River during the Wilderness Inquiry Canoemobile on October 22, 2013.
During the visit, the students had an outdoor education experience learning about canoeing, stormwater pollution and nesting bird species. The Wilderness Inquiry Canoemobile spent the entire week in DC and explored the Anacostia River with approximately 500 of the area’s public school students.
In the New Orleans region, students and teachers have an opportunity to explore and learn about southeastern Louisiana’s coastal wetlands at the University of New Orleans Shea Penland Coastal Education and Research Facility (CERF).
These K-12 grade students engage in hands-on experience in the basic estuarine processes, coastal environmental science, and coastal restoration with a focus on the values of the wetlands and the issues that face them through field trips and workshops. In addition, the students meet and learn from the professionals at Louisiana’s State and Federal agencies and local partner organizations that protect coastal wetlands. For more information on CERF, visit their website athttp://pies.uno.edu/education/cerf_coastal_education_and_research_facility_louisiana.htm
Resources are also available to teachers, parents and others, including data on water quality and health aspects of the wetlands through another partner; the Coastal Wetlands, Planning, Protection, and Restoration Act program. View curricula and other activities, including an interactive educational and entertaining CD on Louisiana wetlands here. To learn more about how these partners and CERF engage local public schools and their students, view this YouTube video.
Along the South Platte River in Denver, Colo., the Greenway Foundation motivates young public school students to engage the outdoors through environmental education programs. The Greenway River Ranger Internship Program introduces high school students to natural resource careers through environmental education training, hands-on teaching experiences with elementary students, job-readiness workshops and outdoor learning such as water quality sampling at Denver public parks along the South Platte River and its tributaries. The program aims to inspire the next generation of environmental leaders equipped with the knowledge, skills and motivation to become stewards and informed decision makers.
The Greenway Foundation has been connecting tens of thousands of Denver youth and their families to urban waterways through school based field trips, summer camps and community events through its education arm, South Platte River Environmental Education (SPREE). For more information and videos, visit their website.
Through the Urban Waters Federal Partnership and the 18 local partnerships, federal agencies are engaging America’s students in order to improve environmental and outdoor education in urban communities, allowing students to reconnect to our nation’s treasured rivers and lakes.
What does it take to get clean water to those who need it? According to the cofounders of Water.org, actor Matt Damon and Gary White, less than you may think—and the payback is tremendous. A McKinsey & Company article.
Here you see 30 images, each representing a daily topic associated with this year's theme of Mathematics, Magic, and Mystery. Click on today’s topic or any of the previous ones to see that day’s video and activity.
Mathematics, Magic, and Mystery Revealed!
Visit each day in April as we reveal a new topic for that day. Prior days will remain on view, but the future will retain its mystery. You can either bookmark this page or follow on Twitter to link to each new activity. Follow @MathAware
Each topic is introduced with a short video where you can witness a mysterious or magical effect. Each page also includes activities for engaging with the underlying mathematical ideas at a variety of levels, with challenge questions, written explanations, and references. We hope you enjoy these activities, share them with friends and family, and return often to experience your personal "Aha!" moments.
Contributors to the calendar include professional mathematicians and magicians of the highest caliber. Mathematics departments at the secondary and college levels will find a month full of interesting activities to use in their programs.
Mathematics Awareness Month 2014: Mathematics, Magic, and Mystery
From magic squares and Möbius bands to magical card tricks and illusions, mysterious phenomena with elegant “Aha!” explanations have permeated mathematics for centuries. Such brain-teasing challenges promote creative and rational thinking, attract a wide range of people to the subject, and often inspire serious mathematical research.
The theme of Mathematics Awareness Month 2014 echoes the title of a 1956 book by renowned math popularizer Martin Gardner, whose extensive writings introduced the public to hexaflexagons, polyominoes, John Conway’s “Game of Life,” Penrose tiles, the Mandelbrot set, and much more. For more than half a century Gardner inspired enthusiasts of all ages to engage deeply with mathematics, and many of his readers chose to pursue it as a career. The year 2014 marks the centennial of Gardner’s birth.
The explosion of mobile options has led to almost limitless choices when it comes to screen size, resolution, and screen quality. For those designing mobile learning experiences and mobile performance support, screen design used to be easy—iPhone or iPad. However, as of this writing Android, not iOS, is the top operating system and there are now over 30 possible combinations of screen size and resolution.
In this tutorial I’ll address coding for multiple screen sizes using a technique known as responsive design. Responsive design is a combination of HTML and CSS used to plan for changes in the visual appearance of a document due to screen size limitations.
The author’s 60 Minutes interview on Sunday highlighted the book’s unequivocal attack on high-frequency trading
Dr. Gordon Dahlby's insight:
You might think this is all about money. It is also very much about STEM and about ethics. The "spool" of fiber optic cable to increase the time and 'level' the access time is an interesting non-traditional problem solving exercise.
Educators and entrepreneurs came together Friday to talk about how to create schools and communities focused on STEM — science, technology, engineering and math. One answer: robotics. Students showed off robots built from scratch over the past few months and will compete in the First Tech Challenge in Iowa City. The robots were part of the third annual Iowa Statewide STEM Conference at the Iowa Events Center in Des Moines. Speakers included Mary Andringa, CEO of equipment maker Vermeer; Ben Milne, founder and CEO of mobile payments system Dwolla; and Lt. Gov. Kim Reynolds.
Jordan, West Des Moines senior, is also interviewd. Video on the site.
Science and engineering jobs are growing exponentially faster than other occupations. Students who participate in STEM education environments will obtain 21st century learning skills which will come as a benefit when competing for employment and setting career paths in the future. STEM education encourages students to ask questions and engage in activities with their teachers and peers to create a more productive learning environment.
The Booker T. Washington STEM Academy is a 60,300 sf K-5, 3-strand magnet elementary school accommodating 425 students. The design of the building forms a living laboratory for the Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) magnet school curriculum and provides spaces throughout the school, specifically in the STEM lab, academic communities and outdoor-learning areas for hands-on learning experiences that focus on problem-solving projects and learner-centered education. The design of the school environment encourages students to ask questions and engage in activities with their teachers and peers to create a more productive learning environment. The design integrates the building and the STEM curriculum through the use of collaborative project-based learning configurations, flexibility, graphics and visible sustainable strategies.
New research by a Caltech professor could speed up the Internet backbone, which routes content to ISPs.
We've heard a lot about how Netflix wants to improve download speeds for viewers by partnering with Comcast and other Internet providers. The central issue is about how to carry large video streams efficiently from one part of the Internet to another. But someday, the technology behind that infrastructure could make those pipes much, much bigger, helping to alleviate those concerns.
Researchers from the California Institute of Technology say they've come up with a new kind of laser that's capable of quadrupling the bandwidth on today's fastest fiber optic networks. These networks make up what's known as the Internet "backbone," the behind-the-scenes network that delivers content to ISPs like Verizon — who in turn make that content available to you.
What do lasers have to do with the Internet? In today's most advanced networks, which rely on fiber optic technology, data is transmitted as light rather than electrical signals. On traditional copper-wire networks, those signals don't travel as fast and tend to degrade more easily over long distances. So light offers an inherent advantage.
Dr. Gordon Dahlby's insight:
Today's best backbone technology is capable of staggering bandwidth — in some cases up to 400 Gbps. For perspective, that's more than 40,000 times the speed of the average American's home connection. (Take that comparison with a grain of salt: Most Americans will never need the capacity of a backbone connection. Even the fastest consumer plans top out at 1 Gbps these days.)
But the new laser technology, developed in part by National Medal of Science-winner Amnon Yariv, promises to quadruple bandwidth in the existing Internet backbone, if not more.
"Our first run lasers, fabricated at Caltech, are capable of of a 4x increase in the number of bytes-per-second carried by each channel," Yariv, whose research waspublished recently in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, said in an e-mail. "This number will increase with our continuing work, but even at this level, the economic advantages are very big."
For close to two decades, Cornell scientists have developed processes for using polymers to self-assemble inorganic nanoparticles into porous structures that could revolutionize electronics, energy and more.
This process has now been driven to an unprecedented level of precision using metal nanoparticles, and is supported by rigorous analysis of the theoretical details behind why and how these particles assemble with polymers. Such a deep understanding of the complex interplay between the chemistry and physics that drive complex self-assembly paves the way for these new materials to enter many applications, from electrocatalysis in fuel cells to voltage conductance in circuits.
Ulrich Wiesner, the Spencer T. Olin Professor of Materials Science and Engineering, led what is probably the most comprehensive study to date of block copolymer nanoparticle self-assembly processes. The study was published online Feb. 21 in Nature Communications.
From the outside, the process looks simple enough. Begin with platinum and gold particles that grow from a precursor. A chemical called a ligand coats the particles and precisely controls their size. Add to this designed molecules called block copolymers – long chains of two or three organic materials. The polymers combine with the platinum and gold nanoparticles, all of which assemble into ordered, cubic, three-dimensional structures. Etch away the polymer, and what’s left are scores of nanoparticles forming porous 3-D cubic networks.
Each step – from the exact structure of the ligands, to the synthesis of the polymers – requires precise chemistry and detailed understanding of each material’s role. The Nature Communications analysis drew on the expertise of collaborators in electron tomography, energy dispersive microscopy and percolation theory. For example, collaborators from the Japan Science and Technology Agency used electron tomography to map the location of every single particle in the samples, which then could be compared with theoretical predictions. The result is a comprehensive set of design criteria that could lead to readying these particle networks for larger scale solution processing.
“Not only can we make these materials, but through electron tomography in particular, we can analyze these structures at a depth that just has not been done before,” Wiesner said. “The comparison with theory allows us to fully understand the physical mechanisms by which these structures are formed.”
Why pay such attention to these self-assembled nanoparticle networks? They’re made in a way that would never happen in nature or by conventional laboratory means. They are uniformly porous with high surface area and, therefore, are highly catalytic and potentially useful for energy applications.
Perhaps best of all, working with polymers means cost-effective, large-scale processing could be a snap.
Several decades of polymer science has given the world efficient scalability unsurpassed in the materials world – think plastics production. Wiesner and colleagues have proven the concept of self-assembled metal nanoparticles using block copolymer-based solution processing that goes beyond the “glass vial in a lab,” Wiesner said.
“Now that we understand how it all works, our process lends itself easily to larger-scale production of such materials,” he said.
The paper is called “Linking Experiment and Theory for Three-dimensional Networked Binary Metal Nanoparticle-Triblock Terpolymer Superstructures,” and its first author is Cornell graduate student Zihui Li. The work was supported by the National Science Foundation and King Abdullah University of Science and Technology.
Leaders in business, government, and academia assert that education in the STEM subjects (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) is vital not only to U.S. innovation capacity but also as a foundation for successful employment, including (but not limited to) work in the STEM fields. K-12 STEM education, including standards and assessments, has tended to focus on the individual subjects, most often science and mathematics. The T and E of STEM have received relatively little attention. However, recent reform efforts, like the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS), are stressing STEM connections - in the case of NGSS, between science and ...
Whatever you may have heard about hackers, the truth is they do something really, really well: discover. Hackers are motivated, resourceful, and creative. They get deeply into how things work, to the point that they know how to take control of them and change them into something else. This lets them re-think even big ideas because they can really dig to the bottom of how things function.
Furthermore, they aren't afraid to make the same mistake twice just out of a kind of scientific curiosity, to see if that mistake always has the same results. That's why hackers don't see failure as a mistake or a waste of time because every failure means something and something new to be learned. And these are all traits any society needs in order to make progress. Which is why we need to get it into schools.
Now, there is the expected resistance from school administrations and parents. Mostly because people don't know what hacking really is. Many people who have been called hackers, especially by the media, or who have gotten in trouble for "hacking" were not, in fact, hackers. Most all of them were just thieves and fraudsters. When you read in the news, Teen girl hacks Facebook to harass a classmate, what you're seeing is a sensationalized headline. What a hacker reads in that headline is: Mean girl watched classmate type in her Facebook password and then logged in as her. That mean people and criminals do bad things with communications medium is not a reason to fear the medium. Schools are there to educate and can embrace this distinction for real change.
Hacking is a type of methodology. It's a way to do research. Have you ever tried something again and again in different ways to get it to do what you wanted? Have you ever opened up a machine or a device to see how it works, read up on what the components are, and then make adjustments to see what now worked differently? That's hacking. You are hacking whenever you deeply examine how something really works in order to manipulate it, often creatively, into doing what you want.
A hacker is a type of hands-on, experimenting scientist, although perhaps sometimes the term "mad scientist" fits better, because unlike professional scientists they dive right in, following a feeling rather than a formal hypothesis. That's not necessarily a bad thing. Many interesting things have been designed or invented by people who didn't follow standard conventions of what was known or believed to be true at the time.
The mathematician, Georg Cantor, proposed new ideas about infinity and set theory that caused outrage amongst many fellow mathematicians to the point that one called his ideas a "grave disease" infecting mathematics.
Nikola Tesla is another person considered a "mad scientist" in his day, but he knew more about how electricity behaved than anyone else. He designed possibly the first brushless motor that ran on AC electricity but is mostly known for the Tesla effect and the Tesla coil.
Then there was Ignaz Philipp Semmelweis who figured out that doctors need to wash their hands between treating patients to keep diseases from spreading. He wondered if the diseases following him around between patients were his fault, so he decided to try washing hands between his patient visits and sure enough the transmissions disappeared. His ideas went against both the scientific conventions of what was known at the time about germs (nothing) as well as the convenience of the doctors who felt it was too much hassle to keep washing their hands.
It just so happens that the way the Internet is designed and the huge number of different applications, systems, devices, and processes it has makes it the most common place to find hackers. You could say it's a place where information can run free because it was built open and free by hackers so it's the best playground for hackers. But it's not the only place. You can find great hackers in almost every field and industry and they all have one thing in common: they spend time learning how things work so they can make them work in a new way. These hackers didn't look at something as the original designers did, but instead saw bigger or better potential for it and hacked it to be something new.