By Jeffrey MervisJul. 13, 2018 , 2:45 PM Got an idea that could transform the world? The National Science Foundation (NSF) is all ears. The $7.8 billion research agency in Alexandria, Virginia, already gets way more good research proposals from scientists than it can fund. But NSF officials worry they still might be missing something important. So this fall they will give the public a chance to win glory—and some money—in a contest dubbed The NSF 2026 Idea Machine. “We don’t want [the idea] to be something NSF is already doing,” says Suzi Iacono, head of NSF’s Office of Integrative Activities. “We want it to be exciting, and original, and important in terms of the potential benefits to science and to society.” The contest grows out of an internal planning exercise in 2016 that produced 10 “big ideas.” Many are cross-disciplinary efforts that tackle important societal problems—such as harnessing the data revolution and … [Read more...] about NSF wants to know what you think it should fund
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By Jeffrey MervisMay. 21, 2018 , 2:50 PM The chairman of an influential congressional spending panel believes accelerating big engineering projects can save the government money. And last week Representative John Culberson (R–TX) applied that principle to a $680 million telescope the National Science Foundation (NSF) is building in Chile—although neither project scientists nor NSF asked for the additional money for the Large Synoptic Survey Telescope (LSST). “I learned from the Katy Freeway project that you can speed up completion of big engineering projects by front-loading the funding,” Culberson says, referring to a major expansion of Interstate 10 west of Houston, Texas, a decade ago. “That helps you to lock in costs and speed up the overall construction timeline.” Culberson chairs the U.S. House of Representatives appropriations subpanel on commerce, justice, and science. Last week, the committee adopted a $62.5 billion spending bill for … [Read more...] about Surprise! House spending panel gives NSF far more money for telescope than it requested
Advertising Feature By Chris TachibanaOct. 5, 2017 , 2:00 PM This Advertising Feature has been commissioned, edited, and produced by the Science/AAAS Custom Publishing Office Ali Salanti was studying malaria when an unexpected discovery led him into cancer research. Although a move this dramatic is unusual, many scientists reorient their research in ways that affect their students, collaborators, and institutions. This prompts the question, why deliberately move into a new field? What are the risks and benefits of taking such a step? And what factors are important to consider before doing so? Throughout his career, Ali Salanti was “100 percent dedicated to studying malaria.” Then his group at the Department of Immunology and Microbiology at the University of Copenhagen, Denmark made a discovery: The malarial protein VAR2CSA binds a modified carbohydrate that is abundant on cancerous but not normal cells. Knowing it would change his career to study VAR2CSA … [Read more...] about The scientific swerve: Changing your research focus
After working for two years on an enterprise version of its smart glasses -- Glass Enterprise Edition -- Google says its head-mounted display is now "fully available" for business use.There's still no way to buy the device online, and the question remains whether businesses can benefit from using Glass as a collaboration and workflow tool.Glass Project Lead Jay Kothari wrote in a blog post July 18 that Google Glass Enterprise Edition had evolved from a two-year limited program to being available now to more businesses through a network of development partners, such as EyeSucceed or Proceedix.Google's development partners create applications for specific industries, such as manufacturing, aerospace and healthcare.Google is pitching Glass as a tool that can ease workflows by helping employees remain engaged and focused on tasks by removing distractions. Saying "OK Glass," for example, can activate an application.Google partner Proceedix offers a software-as-a-service-based platform … [Read more...] about Is Google Glass really ready for the enterprise?
IRVINE, Calif. — Mary Voytek, NASA's senior scientist for astrobiology, likes to tell other researchers that "everyone is an astrobiologist; they just don't know it yet." What she means is that answering the question currently at the heart of astrobiology — Does life exist beyond Earth? — requires input from an incredibly wide range of disciplines, including astrophysics, geology, exoplanet science, planetary science, chemistry and various subfields of biology. On the plus side, that means astrobiologists have a lot of resources to draw on. But it also means that people like Voytek have to deal with a flood of relevant information coming in from all of those scientific fields and figure out how to get scientists from those disciplines to work together. Voytek and other NASA representatives discussed how they are dealing with that information influx, and the interdisciplinary nature of the field, at the Astrobiology Science Strategy for the Search for Life in the … [Read more...] about In the Search for Alien Life, ‘Everyone Is an Astrobiologist’