Engineering Design

  1. Brain

    A new ‘spin’ on concussions

    Scientists have suspected that rotational forces in the brain may underlie concussions. A new study used athletic mouthguards containing sensors. Data on head movements during collisions suggest that a twisting of the brain may underlie mild brain injuries, including concussion.

  2. Physics

    Machine simulates the sun’s core

    A machine heats iron atoms to temperatures that match the interior of the sun. This has helped solve a solar mystery.

  3. Health & Medicine

    New germ fighter turns up in dirt

    Scientists have found a compound in soil that can kill the microbes that cause anthrax, tuberculosis and other diseases.

  4. Computing

    Virtual wounds: Computers probe healing

    To better understand how the body heals wounds, scientists have begun creating computer programs that let virtual cells fight it out. These ‘computer games’ could lead to better medicines.

  5. Tech

    Rewritable paper: Prints with light, not ink

    Rewritable paper could save money, preserve forests and cut down on waste — and all without using any ink.

  6. Computing

    Explainer: What is a computer model?

    Computer models use data, math and computer instructions to predict events in the real world.

  7. Tech

    Make your own mini hovercraft

    Hovercraft aren’t just the cars of the future. You can make your own with just a few household items.

  8. Brain

    Magnets may make helmets safer

    Magnets in sports helmets could repel players’ heads as they move toward a collision. This should reduce the risk of the hard hits that lead to concussions.

  9. Genetics

    Why animals often ‘stand in’ for people

    Rats, birds, fish — even flies and worms — can stand in for people in laboratory testing. This allows scientists to safely evaluate harmful chemicals as well as to identify and test potential new drugs. But such tests will never be a foolproof gauge of effects in people.

  10. Tech

    Wind power is looking up — to the clouds

    Placing wind turbines high in the sky could let them harvest power from the faster, more reliable winds found at altitude.

  11. Planets

    Picture This: Falling to a comet

    After a more than decade-long ride, a robotic lander has left its spacecraft and floated down onto the surface of a comet. From there it should begin scouting for hints at how our solar system formed.

  12. Teachers launch weather balloons, and a passion for science

    Making science hands-on can help inspire students and show how interdisciplinary research can be. Here, two teachers share their experiences working with a high-altitude research-balloon kit.