Frontiers - Nature

  • November 2011

    Under Pressure

    Arjun Yodh and Andrea Liu tame the disordered solid.

    The lazy melody of a wind chime; the roar of a gong; the chirp of a bell—what do these sounds all have in common? Each is produced by the organized vibrations of atoms in an ordered solid, also known as a crystal. While all solids contain flaws, defects in crystals manifest in easily recognizable patterns.

  • October 2011

    Wear and Tear

    Senior Shirley Leung documents the consequences of soil erosion.

    We often attribute water pollution to trash or gasoline, waste that is irresponsibly discarded into natural habitats. Indeed this is a serious issue, but ironically enough, some of the decline in water quality can be pinned on nature itself—but that doesn’t mean humans get a pass.

  • September 2011

    Mutual Attraction

    Ivan Dmochowski and David Jacobson peer into radon’s binding preferences.

    It often hides in your basement and is most likely to strike while you’re asleep. This isn’t your ordinary assailant lurking in the dark, however—this is radon: a deadly, odorless, tasteless, colorless gas bred from the decay of radioactive materials. How then do you go about conducting research on such a deadly element?

  • September 2011

    Quarky Conversations

    The Cosmic Tenors bring physics to a lecture hall near you.

    You might expect singing when attending an event featuring the Cosmic Tenors. But that would be trite—after all, who has time for singing when you’re discussing the teleportation devices from Star Trek? It’s just one of the many questions the Tenors, a trio of physicists, have fielded during their far-reaching lectures.

  • July 2011

    Asleep at the Wheel

    Ted Abel investigates sleep deprivation’s effect on cognition.

    The next time you choose to pull an all-nighter, cramming for a test or preparing for a work presentation, think again—you’re likely damaging the exact neurological systems you hope to utilize for success. The negative effect of a lack of sleep on cognitive abilities like memory may not seem like news. In fact, it is anecdotally taught to us from a very young age.

  • June 2011

    Lending an Ear

    John Trueswell and Lila Gleitman use adults to mimic the language-learning process in infants.

    Parents, you might want to go easy on the flashcards.

  • June 2011

    A Sounder Sleep

    Video: Joshua Warren exposes the inner workings of sleep apnea.

    We all struggle to get our 8 hours. Whether it’s that last-minute work project, a test you’re cramming for, or a newborn, there are a myriad of roadblocks to a good night’s sleep.

  • May 2011

    The Learning Puzzle

    Angela Lee Duckworth explores motivation and self-control's impact on education.

    Gone are the days of using careful pen strokes to change “Ds” to “Bs” on report cards. Students now have access to far more advanced technology—Photoshop for instance, can work wonders. But what if all the effort that went into dodging academic accountability could instead be channeled into a hunger for learning?

  • April 2011

    Life in Motion

    Larry Rome and John MacDermott introduce students to cutting-edge motion analysis technology. Three biomechanics students share their eye-opening videos below.

    When the Matrix was first released, the slow motion shots of Neo, the hero, leaping mid-air through fields of bullets, quickly became iconic. Imagine having access to a camera, in class nonetheless, that could slow time to a fraction of those shots.

  • April 2011

    Hunting Games

    James Petersson uses customized amino acids to track the movements of proteins.

    Ever wondered what exactly is going on inside a cooking egg to change it from its clear goopy consistency to an edible white? Like the majority of cellular activity, a protein is front and center. In this case, however, the protein is actually behaving erroneously, misfolding, in order to go through its metamorphosis.