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On a clear night you might easily see Jupiter, Mars or other planets from our solar system. This is how astronomers from thousands of years ago discovered the first planets. We cannot directly observe planets that are farther out in our solar system, as are Neptune and Uranus, so, of course, we cannot see planets that…

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Various industries rely on accurate detection and identification of bacterial species. For example, food-processing plants often have to test their products for bacterial contamination to ensure it is safe for human consumption. In hospitals, a quick and accurate method to identify bacteria can help doctors prescribe…

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Many marvel at the immense computing power available in modern day wearable devices. However, few appreciate the many sensors that work together in these devices. Wearable electronics contain many sensors that continually collect data. Picture a smartwatch or personal health monitor. It is the collaboration between…

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Creativity is no small task. We do our best to cultivate and cherish the imagination of young children, and struggle to maintain those senses as we get older. But what exactly is creativity? Can its rules be written down? Is there an algorithm for it? Can we teach a computer to be creative? As the maturing field of…

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You just came back from a romantic night out at your favorite restaurant. Unfortunately, as luck would have it, the meal tasted a little off. None of the ingredients had gone bad, but they tasted weird together. This feeling is difficult to describe in words.. The meal just didn’t come together the way all the…

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The airborne Stratospheric Observatory for Infrared Astronomy (SOFIA) is a flying observatory aboard a modified Boeing 747 that takes infrared astronomy readings at approximately 41,000 feet above the Earth’s surface. It recently observed a mini-eclipse of the extrasolar planet named “GJ 1214b”. Scientists wanted…

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When studying the origin of life on Earth, scientists must rely on past data, physical laws, and models  instead of direct observations. After all, we can’t know for sure what the world was like 4 billion years ago, when the first microscopic life was formed from a mixture of non-living molecules. But knowing about…

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What started out as a study of ethical decision making for self-driving cars turned into a study of human psychology. How do we decide, when a collision is inevitable, who or what to hit? No one wants to be confronted with a life and death decision, yet in driving scenarios, it is common. The invention of self driving…

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From chemistry to biology to social networks, specific shared principles should guide how information is organized and how it cycles through these stacks. If this theory of common principles can be demonstrated, we would gain a deeper understanding of the flow of information through life.