Research

Students Teach Professor a Thing or Two

While gazing at the Boston skyline from Tisch Library, some students may wish they could explore the city for the day instead of researching for that paper or thesis. History professor Ben Carp has a different take – being in the Boston area is perfect for research. He encourages students to take advantage of the historical resources around them, and was surprised by what they found. Check it out in the video below.

Last December, Professor Carp hosted of the annual Boston Tea Party reenactment at the Old South Meeting House. His most recent book, which incorporates student research, is called Defiance of the Patriots.

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Cuppow!

Who doesn’t love drinking out of a mason jar? Thanks to a Tufts graduate student, it’s been made easier. Engineering grad student Joshua Resnikoff co-designed the “Cuppow,” an affordable drinking lid for mason jars. Read the Cuppow blog to get the latest news on the product, and watch this short overview video.

CUPPOW! from Paper Fortress on Vimeo.

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Dethorning STEM

Max Goldstein, E14, writes a blog called “Dethroning STEM,” which he calls “a reminder that Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics won’t prick your finger.” In a recent post, he explored the use of technology in education:

I am little concerned with handing over our youth’s education to a machine. Isn’t the transfer of knowledge from generation to generation one of the core ideas that make us human?

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Post Grad Advice

If you’re thinking about going into scientific research post-graduation and need a little advice, fear not, Sackler School of Graduate Biomedical Sciences Phd. genetics student Sohini Mazumdar has your back. She recently blogged about the five things you should consider when looking for a lab to work in after college in Nature Network, a professional networking website for scientists around the world. Her post is colored by her experiences, which may give an invaluable voice for those struggling to find a lab.

4. Lab culture-
“Serious/hardcore” scientists dont like to consider this.. but it is critical. You are going to be spending the next 4-5 years of your life here, if you hate your lab you will be miserable. Lab culture comes in two flavors- 1: “is everyone in your lab a workaholic?, does your mentor monitor when you time stamp in and out? (eek!), is this going to take over your entire life? and 2: “Is your lab social? Are people friendly and collaborative?”.
I am all set on flavor one- I make my own schedule and do my own thing. I epic failed on flavor two- but I made up for it by having a social network at school outside of my own lab.

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Tufts Institute of the Environment

If you care about the environment and want to do graduate work in the subject area, look no further! Tufts Institute of the Environment (TIE), which emphasizes the importance of sustainability and environmental research and awareness through interdisciplinary initiatives, has two exciting opportunities for post-grads.

The TIE Graduate Fellows program allows Tufts graduate students of any discipline to add an environmental component to his or her research. From biology to works of literature, Tufts students have found unique ways to delve into the natural world. Take a look:

On a different note, TIE Tufts Environmental Literacy Institute (TELI) brings faculty, staff and graduates together for a week-long workshop every year to increase environmental literacy.  Here’s more about this year’s program and what it accomplished:

Be sure to like TIE on Facebook and to check out some cool photos!

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After Nollywood

This fall, Tufts Magazine featured Bic Leu, A07, a Fulbright Scholar and project manager for Del-York International, a communications company that is helping to set up a media production training program in Lagos, Nigeria. The feature contained a blog post detailing Leu’s experiences doing on-site research on the Nigerian film industry, known as “Nollywood.”

As my stay in Nigeria drew to a close, I became more and more grateful for the opportunity I had had to meet so many amazing individuals and accumulate so many eye-opening experiences. I found I had also amassed evidence showing that Nigerian society has, by and large, benefited from Nollywood. I observed that a standard movie employs fifty to a hundred people and indirectly provides work for many others, thanks to collateral industries, from the yam vendors who supply the set caterer to the DVD manufacturing plants. At that rate, modern Nigerian cinema supports hundreds of thousands of jobs annually. That’s significant in a country that the World Bank estimates to have a 25 percent youth unemployment rate.

Recently, she blogged about a visit to Brazil that added more perspective to her Nollywood knowledge:

I feel extremely fortunate that my Nollywood immersion has come full circle. After being introduced to Nigerian cinema in Jonathan Haynes’ Long Island University office, my education was cemented on the set of Tunde Kelani’s Ma’ami in Abeokuta in October 2010 – just two weeks after my arrival in Nigeria on the Fulbright grant. I am so honored to complete my Nollywood research with these two amazing individuals, as well as be joined by new friends who have supported me along the way – Alex Andrade, Jamiu Shoyode and Hakeem Adenekan.

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Tufts 4 the Cure

Tufts 4 the Cure works to advance the scientific research of organizations focused on combating AIDS, cancer, and other critical challenges. By downloading the World Community Grid screensaver, computers involved in scientific research can utilize your computer’s idle time to quicken their pace of research.

Tufts students recently shot a creative promotional video for the student body. Watch it below:

The official website can be found here. If you would like a more detailed description of how the Tufts 4 the Cure and the World Community Grid interact, you can also  watch this interesting explanatory video.

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Bioluminary

Dr. Edith “Edie” Widder, A73, “is a biologist and deep-sea explorer who is applying her expertise in oceanographic research and technological innovation to reversing the worldwide trend of marine ecosystem degradation.” On Sept. 23, 2011, she spoke about bioluminescence at TEDxThePineSchool in Hobe Sound, Fla.

Widder received a MacArthur Foundation Genius grant in 2006 (the same year as fellow Tufts graduate David Carroll, A65). You can read a profile of her in the 2005 Tufts magazine or see her essay and photographs about bioluminescence from the Fall 2007 edition of Tufts magazine.

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Tufts Research Questions False Memory Creation

Assistant Professor Ayanna Thomas, Ph.D., recently published her paper entitled, “Reducing the Burden of Stereotype Threat Eliminates Age Differences in Memory Distortion” in Psychological Science. Thomas, using her work from The Cognitive Aging and Memory Lab at Tufts, provides evidence that if the elderly are primed to think of themselves as old, they are more likely to create false memories than those who are not. Thomas explains,

Older adults are more likely to falsely recall these unrepresented words than younger adults. We investigated whether we could reduce this age-difference in false memory susceptibility by reducing the influence of negative stereotypes of aging

Stacy Dubois, a former Tufts  graduate student, co-authored the paper as well.

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The Very Robotic Caterpillar

Tufts Professor Barry Trimmer, Ph.D., is known for his neurobiology work with tobacco hornworm caterpillars. Trimmer is intensely interested in replicating the movements of caterpillars in order to  create soft-body robots.  In his interview with Science Nation, Trimmer explains the value in learning “how the nervous system and the body create those complex movements [made by caterpillars].”
Watch this intriguing explanation of Trimmer’s work below:

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