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Science Borealis Featured Blog: Musings of a Clumsy Palaeontologist


By Sri Ray-Chauduri and Kathi Unglert, Earth & Environmental Sciences Editors After our Science Borealis Reader Survey, we randomly selected […]

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Being solid and liquid over a range of 1000 degrees Fahrenheit means it’s perpetual ice

Duke University researchers along with their international collaborators have made an extraordinary observation. From an Aug. 3, 2016 news item on ScienceDaily, Imagine pouring a glass of ice water and having the ice cubes remain unchanged hours later, even under a broiler’s heat or in the very back corner of the freezer. That’s fundamentally the surprising discovery recently made by an international group of researchers led by an electrical engineering professor at Duke University in a paper published online in Nature Matter on July 25, 2016. But instead of a refreshing mixture of H2O in a pint glass, the researchers were working with the chemical element gallium on a nanoscopic scale. This image shows a single gallium nanoparticle sitting on top of a sapphire base. The black sphere in the center reveals the presence of solid gallium within the liquid drop exterior. The sapphire base is important, as it is…

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Why two-stage exams? UBC-centric evidence

At the 2016 CTLT Summer Institute, I co-facilitated the session on Assessment and Evaluation. Using the opportunity to advertise two-stage exams, I provided evidence for three main points: Students learn from them Students participate meaningfully Students like them The research I used to back these is all home-grown at UBC (of course, this isn’t an exhaustive reference list on the subject). Two-stage exams: Students learn from them When students were tested in groups, they showed significantly greater improvement on subsequent individual testing then when tested only as individuals. Referenced as: Gilley and Clarkston (2014). Full reference: Gilley, Brett Hollis, and Bridgette Clarkston. “Collaborative testing: Evidence of learning in a controlled in-class study of undergraduate students.” Journal of College Science Teaching 43.3 (2014): 83-91. Two-stage exams: Students participate meaningfully Referenced as: Ives, Van Lier, Sumah, and Stang (2016). Full reference: Joss Ives, Matias de Jong Van Lier, Nutifafa Kwaku Sumah, Jared Stang. “Examining…

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Vitamin-driven lithium-ion battery from the University of Toronto

It seems vitamins aren’t just good for health, they’re also good for batteries. My Aug. 2, 2016 post on vitamins and batteries focused on work from Harvard, this time the work is from the University of Toronto (Canada). From an Aug. 3, 2016 news item on ScienceDaily, A team of University of Toronto chemists has created a battery that stores energy in a biologically derived unit, paving the way for cheaper consumer electronics that are easier on the environment. The battery is similar to many commercially-available high-energy lithium-ion batteries with one important difference. It uses flavin from vitamin B2 as the cathode: the part that stores the electricity that is released when connected to a device. “We’ve been looking to nature for a while to find complex molecules for use in a number of consumer electronics applications,” says Dwight Seferos, an associate professor in U of T’s Department of Chemistry…

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Cool linky stuff for science undergrads (15): What it’s like to understand advanced mathematics, How to write your first math paper and more

I have a son who will be finishing up his undergrad in physics this coming school year with an eye towards possible graduate work in math. As you can imagine, I occasionally see a link or two on the web that I think he might particularly interesting or useful. Thinking on that fact, I surmised that perhaps a) this kind of post might be more efficient and b) other undergrad students might find those links interesting or useful as well. Hence, this series of posts here on the blog. What is it like to understand advanced mathematics? How to Write Your First Paper How to write proofs: a quick guide Why Do We Pay Pure Mathematicians? On writing and Work hard (both by Terence Tao, with tons of good links) Helping Undergraduates Learn to Read Mathematics How to Read a Scientific Paper – Some Tips for the Mathematician There’s more…

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