Scientific methods and techniques

Roots of the Langlands Program

A mathematics book, showing how to find the intersection of a parabola and a line.

The Langlands Program has been progressing for a long time, with many of the big names in mathematics involved. Dr. Matthias Strauch, an Associate Professor in the Indiana University Mathematics Department, and I discussed some of the history of the field. The story begins with linear equations, although the modern scope of research has flown… Read more »

Ordering Disordered Materials

Pictures of snowflakes, a flower, a beehive, and table salt are shown.

When we look around the world, we see order and symmetry. It’s evident in snowflakes, flowers, and beehives, just to name a few. Going beyond what the plain eye can see, we also know that several chemical structures consist of ordered atoms. For example, think of sodium chloride (more plainly known as table salt). Its… Read more »

Makerspaces and their growing role in STEM education

Dr. Maltese is working with two undergraduate students in the MILL. He is showing them some of the tools available so that they may work on their projects.

As a young child, years before the first Harry Potter book was published, I sat at my mother’s kitchen table mixing together anything I could find into a tall glass and calling it a potion. Now, this was just pure imagination and I’m sure that none of my concoctions were palatable, possibly even so bad… Read more »

Heritability: what it means and why it’s important

In a previous post, I briefly discussed something called genetic correlation and how this might be important for the evolution of a trait. Now, I hope to further clarify that concept and add to that a discussion of a very important concept in evolutionary biology—heritability—and tie it back to my initial discussion of the evolution… Read more »

Nanomaterials that Inhibit Bacterial Growth

Nanomaterials are fast becoming the materials of the future. Just this year three scientists were awarded the Nobel Prize in Chemistry for their work in understanding Molecular Machines. Each time period in human history has been defined by the materials that we are able to harness–the Stone Age, the Bronze Age, and now, the Nanomaterial… Read more »

“Freedom of thought is best promoted by the gradual illumination of men’s minds”[1]: Topic modeling Darwin’s reading at Indiana University.

In our December 27th post  “On On the Origin of Species: An ode to science writers”, Clara Boothby explored how clear, compelling science writing can increase circulation of scientists’ ideas among the general public. While our previous post saw the Origin of Species as a model for scientific writing, here we explore how researchers at IU… Read more »

Teaching an old dog new tricks: Neuroscience research at IU combines centuries-old methods with modern technology

A photograph of a neuron (left panel) is shown next to an illustration of the same neuron (right panel). Left panel: The image background is brown. A single neuron is shown. The cell body is black and ovular, and dendritic branches look like sinuous lines extending from the cell body. A single dendrite extends from the top of the cell body, and multiple dendrites extend from the base. Right panel: A multicolor illustration of the neuron pictured in the left panel. The image background is black. The cell body and each dendritic tree is shown in a different color (dark blue, light blue, pink, green, and yellow). Parts of the dendritic tree that were out of focus in the left panel are clearly reconstructed in the right panel; the size and shape of each dendrite is otherwise identical between the two panels.

This post is the second installment in a two part series. Check out last week’s post here. Thanks to modern technology, the field of cellular neuroscience has become illuminated with brightly colored images – tissue samples, cells, and individual molecules have been stained, photographed, colorized, and even reconstructed in three dimensions. A Google Image search… Read more »

On On the Origin of Species: An ode to scientist-writers

Sometimes, when we read about science in textbooks or newspaper articles, it can be easy to slip into thinking that after the scientists make their discovery, the writing is someone else’s job. Not so! In addition to being researchers and experimenters, scientists must also be writers if they wish to share their findings with the… Read more »

Branching Out with Interdisciplinary Science

A theoretical chemist and a biochemist walk into a bar.  They both speak the same language, yet it’s difficult for them to have a conversation about each other’s research.  They’re both intelligent, educated scientists who have at least a basic understanding of the other’s field, so what’s the problem? The first post from the ScIU… Read more »