In President Barack Obama’s State of the Union speech in January, he emphasized the need for more scientists, mathematicians and engineers in the U.S. workforce. But the latest national assessment of science education in the U.S. appears to offer little hope for our next generation of scientists. Still, the results provide some insight on the state of science education in this country — information that we can use to improve our schools.
Before it happened, it was hard to imagine that a combined megaquake and tsunami in Japan could cascade to a nuclear disaster. Yet that’s exactly what happened at the Fukushima Daiichi (Number 1) nuclear power plant, 220 kilometers northeast of Tokyo, last month. This incident has put Japan’s nuclear policy in the spotlight, but its implications go far beyond a single country.
The Fukushima Daiichi power plant located in the port town of Okuma in the Fukushima Prefecture, northeast Japan, has six boiling-water-type nuclear reactors supplied by General Electric (units 1, 2 and 3), Toshiba (units 3 and 5) and Hitachi (unit 4) for
Thousand- and million-year-old microbes found living in salt crystals: Could they also exist on other planets?
In 1993, “Jurassic Park” thrilled the world with the idea that dinosaurs could be resurrected from bits of DNA preserved in mosquitoes trapped in ancient amber. In the 18 years since the movie came out, scientists have been finding that parts of this scenario are closer to reality than anyone ever imagined.
During the winter of 1811-1812, three strong earthquakes between magnitude 7 and 8 rocked the New Madrid seismic zone, which runs through parts of eastern Missouri and northeastern Arkansas. The quakes opened deep fissures, destroyed forests and lakes, and produced intense ground shaking that liquefied the soil, turning the land to the consistency of jelly across an area of 10,000 square kilometers.
The Inca Trail to Machu Picchu is one of the most popular hikes in the world. It’s so popular that in recent years, the Peruvian government has had to limit trail traffic by plastering the trek with a lot of red tape. You have to apply months ahead for a permit, hire a certified guide and show your passport at four different checkpoints along the way. Despite the hassle, each day hundreds of people sign up. And for good reason: The Inca knew how to lay out a scenic route.
EARTH’s Carolyn Gramling is in Vienna, Austria, at the European Geophysical Union meeting this week. One session in particular caught her attention this week — how geoscientists are creating new maps and tracking mechanisms to help law enforcement officials. For more from the meeting, see her first and second dispatches.
"This is our generation’s Sputnik moment,” declared President Barack Obama in the 2011 State of the Union address, challenging the nation to pursue a future of cleaner energy.
As we did a generation ago, we now face significant challenges — challenges that need to be met sooner rather than later to protect and grow our economy, build energy autonomy and preserve our resources for future generations. These challenges center on two resources: energy and water.
A report from the GEOTRACES cruise across the Atlantic
For decades, scientists have been trying to piece together the enormously complicated puzzle that is the ocean. They have collected many different kinds of information, from trace elements like iron to tritium isotopes, from many different parts of the ocean. Bringing together these disparate pieces to form a more complete picture is crucial to understanding how human activities, the marine food web, the global carbon cycle and the circulation of seawater are all interconnected.