By C2ST Staff
Hello! Here’s what’s happening in the world of STEM this week.
What we’re working on
Our upcoming slate of programming is made up of some eye-opening originals and some sequels to crowd-pleasers. Take a look.
Have you been missing events and discovering what Chicago has to offer? C2ST is excited to offer three unique behind-the-scenes experiences at Chicagoland’s top science institutions. Take a break from your digital meetings and schoolwork with this opportunity to explore unique collections from Chicago’s top institutions safely from home. Guests will meet guides and curators from Argonne, the Field Museum, and MSI and will be able to ask questions and further explore the exhibits at the end of the guided tours. These events are fully safe, fully online, and fully interactive.
Since 1970, the Alliance for the Great Lakes has been working to protect the Great Lakes, and now Anna-Lisa Castle and Tyrone Dobson play key roles in caring for–and helping others care for–these five lakes that span numerous states and provinces across the U.S. and Canada. As you might imagine, caring for 20% of the world’s entire surface freshwater is no small feat which is why the Alliance engages more than 15,000 volunteers across a number of programs throughout the region.
Sign up so you can hear firsthand about our Great Lakes, and learn about how you can help keep them that way.
Who knows? Maybe one day you’ll become Volunteer #15,001.
While looking to the future of transportation, it’s vitally important to consider how we arrived at the present. To that end, we’ve paired two Chicago transportation experts with two experts who are focused on the future of transportation!
How has transit changed over the years? How has the COVID-19 pandemic affected the way we use transit? How will emerging technologies allow us to modify and enhance the transit systems we have in place? Join us on a tour of Chicago’s transportation systems both past, present, and future to hear answers to these questions and many more.
In the news
C2ST intern Laura Tran is on blogging duty this week. The topic? Artificial wombs. She writes, “While the idea of growing babies outside of the body in artificial wombs sounds like something out of a work of science fiction, research has brought it much closer to becoming reality.” Read the rest of her article here.
Muons, or “fat electrons” as they are sometimes called, appear to not follow the “rules” of the Standard Model of physics, according to recent evidence gathered at Fermilab right here in Illinois. What exactly does this mean for the world of physics? Well, that’s the million muon question. Dennis Overbye talks about a big day for a little particle over at the New York Times.
If you’ve spent any time on the internet over the last few weeks (some of us live there now), you might’ve heard a bit about NFTs or “non-fungible tokens.” What exactly are these things and why are some people willing to shell out millions of dollars for them?
Simply put, NFTs are a form of cryptocurrency with a visual or sonic twist. Artists can upload digital assets in the form of paintings, songs, animations, or any form of digital work to something called a “blockchain” (a kind of decentralized digital spreadsheet) in a process known as “minting.” This process attaches a kind of artificial (or imagined) rarity to the artwork which in turn leads to collectors and speculators shelling out big bucks for what amounts to a JPEG or an MP3 file. If none of that makes sense to you, don’t worry about it–Vox has an explainer for it.
While there were certainly a few major success stories over the past few months, things seem to be changing rapidly in the NFT market. According to CNN the prices of NFTS “have plunged about 70% from their high point in February.” History tells us about booms and busts in all kinds of markets, but rarely do we see one follow the other so quickly.
Here are some other upcoming events and programs:
- Careers at the Intersection of STEM and Law — Wed, April 7, 2021
- SAVE THE DATE: 2021 Veterans Advanced Energy Week (August 2-6, 2021)
- Road to Zero: Low Carbon Energy Systems – The Role of Hydrogen (April 13, 2021)
- 2021 Distinguished Lectureship Series: Nanoengineered Materials and Thermal Engineering for Advanced Energy and Water Technologies (Wednesday, April 14 | 3:30 pm – 4:45 pm)
Bug of the Week
Every week, we will look into the hidden world of bacteria and learn how these microscopic critters affect humans and the world around us.
Egads! It’s E. coli!
As one of the most widely studied bacteria, Escherichia coli (E. coli, EE-kohl-eye) is no stranger to the spotlight!
E. coli is a bacterium that is both harmless (living happily in your gut) and harmful (causing several different infections). The most notable strain of E. coli is O157:H7, which commonly makes headlines associated with outbreaks that lead to food poisoning.
How can you protect yourself from E. coli? Practice good food safety measures such as: washing your hands when preparing food, thoroughly washing fruits and vegetables, avoid unpasteurized dairy or juice products, and thoroughly cooking meat.
What we’re reading/watching/playing
“Right now, I’m learning about emergent systems, specifically in the world of video games (or “interactive entertainment” if you’re one of those folks). Emergence springs forth from independent systems acting on one another in novel but logical ways, usually due to some form of player experimentation, but sometimes from the systems interacting independent of a player. It’s a strangely relevant topic, even for those with no interest in video games, because systems–both visible and unseen–have quite a bit of influence over our daily lives. I recently came across this video from two experts on emergence in games. Take a look if you’re interested in systems design.” — Jake, Marketing, Communication, Technology Associate
“Godzilla vs. Kong was by no means an excellent film and I certainly do not subscribe to Dr. Lind’s “Hollow Earth Theory.” That being said, watching two iconic titans like Kong and Godzilla duke it out across the vibrant Hong Kong skyline is entertaining enough to make it worth sitting through some remarkably suspect science. 2.5/5 Stars.” — Alex, Manager of Programs and Engagement