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frugal engineering can boost your space program

Trip to Mars Doesn’t Have to Break the Bank
Just days after the launch of India’s Mangalyaan satellite, NASA sent off its own Mars mission, five years in the making, named Maven. Its cost: $671 million. The budget of India’s Mars mission, by contrast, was just three-quarters of the $100 million that Hollywood spent on last year’s space-based hit, “Gravity.” “The mission is a triumph of low-cost Indian engineering,” said Roddam Narasimha, an aerospace scientist and a professor at Bangalore’s Jawaharlal Nehru Center for Advanced Scientific Research. “By excelling in getting so much out of so little, we are establishing ourselves as the most cost-effective center globewide for a variety of advanced technologies,” said Mr. Narasimha.
(NYTSL)
posted by infini on Feb 18, 2014 - 44 comments

“who’s managing our fisheries?”

Blood and Brains - can vampires survive a zombie apocalypse? [more inside]
posted by the man of twists and turns on Mar 9, 2013 - 7 comments

Ex Libris Houdini

Ehrich Weisz may not have had much formal education, but he grew up to be Harry Houdini, self-educated stunt performer, escape artist, and owner of "one of the largest libraries in the world on psychic phenomena, Spiritualism, magic, witchcraft, demonology, evil spirits, etc., some of the material going back as far as 1489." Houdini bequeathed much of his collection to the Library of Congress, which received 3,988 volumes from his collection in 1927, including a number of magic books inscribed or annotated by well-known magicians. Archive.org has more of the Harry Houdini Collection online. He also put a great deal of research into his tricks, as seen in his letter to Dr. W. J. McConnell, a physiologist at the U.S. Bureau of Mines, written up after Houdini's watery grave stunt in 1926.
posted by filthy light thief on Dec 3, 2012 - 5 comments

The Hamming Ambiguity (among other things)

Beyond the 10,000 Hour Rule: Richard Hamming and the Messy Art of Becoming Great
posted by infini on Sep 13, 2012 - 20 comments

"What's inexplicable to him is the ferocity of their conviction."

Dr. David Morrison is the senior scientist at NASA's Astrobiology Institute in the Ames Research Center in California. For the past eight years he's also run the Ask an Astrobiologist feature on the institute's website. "Started by a civic-minded intern, the column has become the go-to place for concerned citizens to write to NASA and ask if, as they'd heard on the internet, the world will truly end on December 21, 2012. Before he took the helm on Ask an Astrobiologist, Dr. Morrison hadn't heard anything about such theories. Now he can't escape them." Meet NASA's unofficial answerer of apocalypse emails -- at least until December 23rd. [more inside]
posted by zarq on Sep 5, 2012 - 31 comments

"The game I play is a very interesting one. It's imagination, in a tight straitjacket."

From 1981 - 1993, documentary producer Christopher Sykes created three films about Dr. Richard Feynman. All are now available in their entirety on YouTube: Richard Feynman: No Ordinary Genius, The Pleasure of Finding Things Out and Last Journey of a Genius (previously). [more inside]
posted by zarq on Jan 5, 2012 - 14 comments

for the budding Bene Tleilax

The quest for the $500 home molecular biology laboratory Molecular diagnostics and molecular biology in general are becoming more pervasive every day in a range of applications. For some time there have been attempts to build an affordable diy machine to explore this fascinating science. OpenPCR (polymerase chain reaction) received quite a bit of publicity with their $599 system. Each of these have had problems and were not quite suitable for students. Here is an attempt to get the price even lower and to simply the construction process. Previously on Metafilter
posted by 2manyusernames on Dec 5, 2011 - 27 comments

Famous in Belgium

After a record-breaking year-and-a-half of negotiations to form a Belgian government following the June 2010 general elections [previously], a six-party coalition has finally reached an agreement. While this is noteworthy enough, the character who has finally achieved the seemingly impossible and is set to become Belgium's first Francophone Prime Minister since 1974 is possibly even more interesting: meet Elio di Rupo. [more inside]
posted by Skeptic on Dec 1, 2011 - 35 comments

If You Pick Us, Do We Not Bleed?

In a room near Maida Vale, a journalist for The Nation wrote around 1914, an unfortunate creature is strapped to the table of an unlicensed vivisector. When the subject is pinched with a pair of forceps, it winces. It is so strapped that its electric shudder of pain pulls the long arm of a very delicate lever that actuates a tiny mirror. This casts a beam of light on the frieze at the other end of the room, and thus enormously exaggerates the tremor of the creature. A pinch near the right-hand tube sends the beam 7 or 8 feet to the right, and a stab near the other wire sends it as far to the left. "Thus," the journalist concluded, "can science reveal the feelings of even so stolid a vegetable as the carrot."
posted by vidur on Nov 28, 2011 - 29 comments

"[A scientist] is always asking questions and can be annoying."

Seventh graders describe and draw pictures of scientists before and after their visit to a physics lab. [more inside]
posted by emilyd22222 on Jun 23, 2010 - 83 comments

We could see such people - no longer as mythical figures, but alive - as alive as their work

"The people whose stories you watch on Peoples Archive are leaders of their field, whose work has influenced and changed our world as we know it." The archive includes talks by luminaries such as Hans Bethe, Benoit Mandelbrot, Donald Knuth, Quentin Blake, Stan Lee and many others.
posted by Blazecock Pileon on Mar 5, 2010 - 12 comments

Dad, are we, relatavistically speaking, there yet?

Project GREAT: General Relativity Einstein/Essen Anniversary Test
Clocks, Kids, and General Relativity on Mt Rainier
Think your dad was a nerd? A mad genius? Was he a Clark Griswold-esque cheerleader for outdoor family vacations? You ain't seen nothin' yet.
posted by zardoz on May 7, 2009 - 51 comments

First Extra Time

Super Mario / Scientist Dub
posted by generalist on Dec 28, 2008 - 9 comments

The music of things.

If you've ever thought that music can be an extremely intuitive and effective way to communicate things, then Stanford Professor Jonathan Berger (samples of his music) is doing some research that might interest you. (via)
posted by wander on Feb 6, 2007 - 8 comments

Genius Without a Beard

The scientist whom history forgot: Emilie du Châtelet. Lover of Voltaire, genius without a beard, female scientist, mathematician and philosopher.
posted by MetaMonkey on Aug 3, 2006 - 10 comments

"My name is Mona Lisa"

Mona Lisa's voice finally heard. Even if you can't read Japanese, you can still click the buttons underneath each portrait to get playback. Works with Internet Explorer. Suzuki — a co-winner of the Ig Nobel Peace Prize in 2002 for promoting harmony between species by inventing the Bow-Lingual, a dog-to-human interpretation device — undertook the project as part of activities promoting the Japan release of the movie "The Da Vinci Code."
posted by nickyskye on Jun 3, 2006 - 16 comments

Make me glad for everything I have

David Hart: L.A. Public Access TV Legend left me flabbergasted (video).
posted by Scoo on May 15, 2006 - 12 comments

Experiments in the Revival of Organisms

Experiments in the Revival of Organisms 'Of course technique is everything...' Introduced by renowned Marxist scientist and geneticist JBS Haldane, this Soviet film depicts the artificial maintenance of individual organs, a severed dog's head, and finally a dog in toto (excuse the pun).
posted by derangedlarid on Apr 25, 2005 - 8 comments

RIP Francis Crick

RIP Francis Crick. The man who helped discover the secret of life is dead.
posted by rushmc on Jul 29, 2004 - 31 comments

Robotic Scientist

Robotic Scientist - Scientists created a closed, automated system to conduct simple labor intensive scientific experiments in molecular genetics. The robot creates hypothesis and tests them. Supposedly it works more efficiently (picks less expensive experiments, and fewer of them) then its human counterparts (graduate students in biology and comp sci.). More detailed article in Nature here (institutional access / subscription required). I for one, welcome our new robot overlords.
posted by nads on Jan 15, 2004 - 5 comments

Just when you thought....

Seal kills scientist A British scientist has been killed by a leopard seal whilst snorkelling in Antarctica. I had no idea that a seal could (or would) attack a human. These things can grow to 23ft long! They are known to feed on penguins, but a human is a fair bit bigger than a penguin, so this is one nasty animal, not the doe-eyed creature we coo over in nature programmes...
posted by jontyjago on Jul 24, 2003 - 45 comments

Master Draughtsman

The Met Museum has an online gallery exploring the work of Da Vinci. It allows you to zoom in and out on specific parts of a work thus enabling minute exploration. It's stuff like this that makes the web indispensable.
posted by Fat Buddha on Jan 30, 2003 - 6 comments

The Nash equilibrium

The Nash equilibrium
So at the present time I seem to be thinking rationally again in the style that is characteristic of scientists. However this is not entirely a matter of joy as if someone returned from physical disability to good physical health. One aspect of this is that rationality of thought imposes a limit on a person's concept of his relation to the cosmos....from John F. Nash Jr.'s autobiography for the 1994 Nobel Prize for Economics.
posted by riley370 on Dec 12, 2001 - 8 comments

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