Legislators and the public are often skeptical that higher-education tax dollars are being put to good use. Colleges see it as more important than ever, then, for academics to be able to explain their research in lively, accessible ways. ... Easier said than done, though. Many academics have spent their careers in the singular pursuit of an idea or topic that they’ve typically written about at length for clusters of like-minded peers in their field. They see communicating to a broad audience as rife with pitfalls. Some of those are real: It can be tricky to simplify complicated subject matter. Some are assumed, and damaging to academe: Talking to the public is a waste of time.
International Education Week, November 13-17, is an opportunity to celebrate the benefits of international education and exchange worldwide. This joint initiative of the U.S. Department of State and the U.S. Department of Education is part of our efforts to promote programs that prepare Americans for a global environment and attract future leaders from abroad to study, learn, and exchange experiences.
A panel of renowned scientists and dancers are scoring the finalists on their artistic and scientific merits. The winners of each of the four categories will receive cash prizes totaling $2,500. The overall winner will head to Austin to screen their dance at the annual AAAS meeting in February 2018. We also want to know what you think! Between now and 11:59 p.m. Eastern Daylight Time on 30 October, vote for the Audience Favorite award. Cancan you decide?
A new Pew Research Center report addresses questions about whether the next decade will bring a reduction in false and misleading narratives online.
An artificial intelligence (AI) program from Google-owned company DeepMind has reached superhuman level at the strategy game Go — without learning from any human moves. This ability to self-train without human input is a crucial step towards the dream of creating a general AI that can tackle any task. In the nearer-term, though, it could enable programs to take on scientific challenges such as protein folding or materials research, said DeepMind chief executive Demis Hassabis at a press briefing. “We’re quite excited because we think this is now good enough to make some real progress on some real problems.”
Researchers have caught their best glimpse yet into the origins of photosynthesis, one of nature’s most momentous innovations. By taking near-atomic, high-resolution X-ray images of proteins from primitive bacteria, investigators at Arizona State University and Pennsylvania State University have extrapolated what the earliest version of photosynthesis might have looked like nearly 3.5 billion years ago. If they are right, their findings could rewrite the evolutionary history of the process that life uses to convert sunlight into chemical energy.