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Engineering highly adaptable robots requires new tools for new rules

Mon, 04/10/2017 - 00:00

NSF-funded research aiming to making it easier for humans to work directly with a robotic partner in applications such as physical therapy
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Statement from NSF director on Event Horizon Telescope

Thu, 04/06/2017 - 11:46

(Clarification:) This week, the Event Horizon Telescope (EHT) begins a 10-day attempt to capture the image of the supermassive black hole at the center of the Milky Way galaxy. The EHT derives its extreme magnifying power by connecting widely spaced radio dishes across the globe into an Earth-sized, virtual telescope. The National Science Foundation (NSF) has been a longtime supporter of the EHT program, which is receiving a considerable boost in sensitivity and resolution through ...
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156 early career engineering researchers to journey to frontiers of their fields, chart new paths

Wed, 04/05/2017 - 12:00

Today, 156 early career engineering faculty begin a five-year journey that will take them to the frontiers of fundamental engineering research.

Supported by grants from the National Science Foundation's (NSF) Engineering Directorate, each researcher will set out with at least a $500,000 award and a plan to make advances in engineering. Their work will cover fields ranging from smart materials and advanced robotics to secure communications.

"Resilient infrastructure, abundant ...
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Federally funded R&D center funding rebounded in FY 2015

Tue, 04/04/2017 - 08:50

The nation's 42 federally funded research and development centers (FFRDCs) reported spending $18.5 billion on research and development (R&D) in Fiscal Year (FY) 2015, their first rebound after several years of declining or flat expenditures, according to a new report from the National Center for Science and Engineering Statistics (NCSES).

The FFRDCs are privately operated R&D organizations that are exclusively or ...
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Researchers uncover clue about how tiny microbes self-mutate

Mon, 04/03/2017 - 14:41

Related stories on NSF's Dimensions of Biodiversity program are available online.

Researchers have discovered that previously unidentified microorganisms have a genetic element that enables them to self-mutate. What's more, these organisms are so plentiful they dramatically expand the diversity of the tree of life.

"This discovery reveals how rapid evolution happens in some of ...
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Smithsonian honors aircrews that flew 2016 medical-evacuation flight to NSF's South Pole station

Thu, 03/30/2017 - 12:32

The Smithsonian's National Air and Space Museum will award the 2017 Trophy for Current Achievement to aircrews that flew a mission last summer to evacuate patients from the National Science Foundation's (NSF) Amundsen-Scott South Pole Station in Antarctica.

The mission was unprecedented, taking place at a time of year when the sun had set for the six-month winter. The combination of darkness and extreme cold made flying more hazardous than previous Antarctic rescues.

Two ...
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NSF and Popular Science announce winners of 15th annual 'Vizzies'

Wed, 03/29/2017 - 10:17

Today, Popular Science magazine and the National Science Foundation (NSF) announce the winners of the 15th Annual Vizzies Challenge, celebrating the use of visual media to artfully and clearly communicate scientific data and research.

The competition recognizes the best photographs, videos, illustrations, interactive apps, and posters and graphics produced by academic researchers, artists or hobbyists.

"Congratulations to all of this year's winners, and for everyone ...
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Dust contributes valuable nutrients to Sierra Nevada forest ecosystems

Tue, 03/28/2017 - 12:28

More information on the National Science Foundation's Critical Zone Observatories is available online.

Collecting dust isn't usually considered a good thing.

But dust from as close as California's Central Valley and as far away as Asia's Gobi Desert provides nutrients, especially phosphorus, to vegetation in the Sierra Nevada Mountains, a team of scientists has found. Their ...
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World Water Day: Fog and dew keep Africa's Namib Desert ecosystem going

Wed, 03/22/2017 - 14:00

The ocean is not the sole source of the fog that sustains life for numerous plants and animals living in Africa's coastal Namib Desert. The fog also comes from groundwater and other sources, report ecohydrologists supported by the National Science Foundation (NSF) and affiliated with Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis (IUPUI).

The scientists conducted the research in one of the world's oldest and most biologically diverse deserts. Their results are published today in ...
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NSF awards 2017 Graduate Research Fellowships

Fri, 03/17/2017 - 11:57

The National Science Foundation (NSF) today named 2,000 individuals as this year's recipients of awards from its Graduate Research Fellowship Program (GRFP). GRFP offers fellowships to applicants selected through a national competition.

"This unique program has nurtured economic innovation and leadership in the U.S. continuously since 1952 -- by recruiting and supporting outstanding students with high potential in science, technology, engineering and mathematics very early in their ...
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Westernmost, low-lying region of Louisiana coast on track to drown under sea level rise

Tue, 03/14/2017 - 10:16

Without major efforts to rebuild Louisiana's wetlands, which serve as bulwarks against waves and rising seas, the state's coast has little chance of withstanding the accelerating rate of sea level rise, a new study concludes.

Results of the research, funded by the National Science Foundation (NSF) and conducted by scientists at Tulane University, are published in the journal Nature Communications. They show the rate of sea level rise in the region over the past six to 10 ...
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NSF awards $6.1 million to accelerate advanced wireless research, push beyond 5G

Wed, 03/08/2017 - 11:00

Today, the National Science Foundation (NSF) announced a $6.1 million, five-year award to accelerate fundamental research on wireless communication and networking technologies through the foundation's Platforms for Advanced Wireless Research (PAWR) program.

Through the PAWR Project Office (PPO), award recipients US Ignite, Inc. and Northeastern University will collaborate with NSF and industry partners to establish ...
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After the lecture: Physicist Anthony Leggett

Tue, 03/07/2017 - 01:00

University of Illinois physicist Anthony Leggett is known for his contributions to understanding helium-3, including why at low temperatures it becomes a superfluid, or a liquid that flows without apparent friction and conducts electricity without resistance.

The Nobel laureate's work on helium-3 -- a non-radioactive isotope found on Earth ...
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Paleontologists find fossil relative of Ginkgo biloba

Mon, 03/06/2017 - 16:00

A discovery of well-preserved fossil plants by paleontologists from the United States, China, Japan, Russia and Mongolia has allowed researchers to identify a distant relative of the living plant Ginkgo biloba.

The find helps scientists better understand the evolution and diversity of ancient seed plants.

The fossils, from the species Umaltolepis mongoliensis, date back to the early Cretaceous Period (some 100-125 million years ago). Scientists discovered ...
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Changes in precipitation patterns influence natural selection at global scale

Fri, 03/03/2017 - 11:48

What matters more for the evolution of plants and animals, precipitation or temperature? Scientists have found a surprising answer: rain and snow may play a more important role than how hot or cold it is.

Rainfall and snowfall patterns are changing with climate variation, which likely plays a key role in shaping natural selection, according to results published today by an international team of researchers.

Twenty scientists from the United States, Canada, Europe and ...
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A low-cost mechanical device for minimally invasive surgery

Thu, 03/02/2017 - 04:19

Surgeons can now use a new type of mechanical instrument to perform complex, minimally invasive procedures, also known as laparoscopic surgery, thanks to researchers and small business entrepreneurs funded by the National Science Foundation (NSF). The technology could lead to less trauma for patients and shorter recovery times after surgery.

According to its creators, the handheld instrument provides the ...
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NSF announces new Long-Term Ecological Research sites off Alaska, New England coasts

Wed, 03/01/2017 - 15:00

Find related stories on NSF's Long-Term Ecological Research Program at this link.

National Science Foundation (NSF) grants will support two new Long-Term Ecological Research (LTER) sites. Scientists will conduct research along the Northeast U.S. continental shelf and in the northern Gulf of Alaska, regions known for productive fisheries and abundant marine resources.

The new ...
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NSF works with New Zealand and Australian authorities to evacuate ailing cruise ship passenger from Antarctica

Mon, 02/27/2017 - 17:25

The National Science Foundation (NSF) is working with the Rescue Coordination Centre New Zealand, the Australian Antarctic Division (AAD) and Oceanwide Expeditions to evacuate an ailing cruise ship passenger from Antarctica.

The patient is a U.S. citizen, sailing aboard the motor vessel Ortelius. NSF is not releasing the patient's personal or medical details. NSF manages the U.S. Antarctic Program, through which it operates three year-round stations on the continent, ...
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What does Black History Month mean to some of the nation’s top educators?

Mon, 02/27/2017 - 04:03

Since 1983, the federal government has honored more than 4,700 teachers for their contributions in the classroom through the Presidential Awards for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching (PAEMST), administered by the National Science Foundation (NSF).

To mark Black History Month, past PAEMST awardees described to NSF how their heritage affects their drive to teach. For the next month, PAEMST is accepting nominations for 7th-12th grade educators in math ...
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NSF Law and Social Sciences program issues new awards

Fri, 02/24/2017 - 16:35

Critical societal issues ranging from violent crime to the operation of the U.S. legal system demand the best available data and analysis for effective policymaking and an informed citizenry. With that in mind, the National Science Foundation (NSF) awarded more than $5 million to fund 23 projects and four workshops through its Law and Social Sciences (LSS) program.

LSS focuses on scientific exploration of law and law-like systems of rules. The program funds research on a wide variety ...
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