Blog:  iNSolution

Whoo-​​hoo! A Simpsons word-​​search tool

Ben Schmidt, an assis­tant pro­fessor of his­tory who spe­cial­izes in the dig­ital human­i­ties, has cre­ated a Book­worm that allows users to search ref­er­ences to spe­cific words used throughout The Simp­sons’ 25-​​season run by season, episode, and even time within each episode. Excellent.

The M.O. of MMOs

Celia Pearce, a newly appointed asso­ciate pro­fessor of game design, has spent the past three decades working in the inter­ac­tive media field. But she may not have become one of the world’s leading experts on vir­tual worlds and mul­ti­player gaming if not for a pre­scient phone call in 1983.

Virtual healthcare agents, at your service

North­eastern con­vened an inter­dis­ci­pli­nary group of researchers for the 2014 Inter­na­tional Con­fer­ence on Intel­li­gent Vir­tual Agents, where experts dis­cussed and show­cased avatars that could be used in a variety of health­care applications.

Where to put all the energy

North­eastern Uni­ver­sity con­vened experts from industry, gov­ern­ment, and acad­emia last week to dis­cuss advance­ments in next-​​generation energy storage and bat­tery technologies—both of which have major impli­ca­tions for global chal­lenges in energy con­sump­tion, mate­rials short­ages, and cli­mate change.

New grant supports co-​​ops in cancer nanomedicine

With sup­port from the National Insti­tutes of Health’s National Cancer Insti­tute, North­eastern Uni­ver­sity will partner with the Dana-​​Farber/​Harvard Cancer Center to pro­vide co-​​op expe­ri­ences to under­grad­uate stu­dents, who will receive training to study and con­duct cancer nanomed­i­cine research.

3Qs: Why time is now to link science, ocean policy

North­eastern pro­fessor Brian Hel­muth, an expert on cli­mate change and envi­ron­mental policy, has co-​​authored a paper in the journal Nature Cli­mate Change exam­ining the need to fur­ther inte­grate sci­ence into U.S. cli­mate and ocean policy.

3Qs: Big tobacco firm faces big payout

A $23.6 bil­lion ver­dict against tobacco com­pany R.J. Reynolds is set to change the land­scape of tobacco lit­i­ga­tion. Here, pro­fessor Richard Day­nard, the chair of the School of Law’s Tobacco Prod­ucts Lia­bility Project, lends his exper­tise to explain the con­se­quences of the case.

Blog:  iNSolution

Some scientists have all the fun

Some sci­en­tists get to have all the fun. Last week my col­league Joan Lynch and I made the trip up to Nahant to visit with a team of marine researchers based at […]

The future’s most pressing energy questions

Top researchers, entre­pre­neurs, scholars, and pol­i­cy­makers from Mass­a­chu­setts and Switzer­land con­vened at North­eastern Uni­ver­sity on Friday for an energy summit, where par­tic­i­pants dis­cussed inno­va­tions and strate­gies to address cli­mate change and a range of other global energy challenges.

From stronger Kevlar to better biology

With sup­port from the National Sci­ence Foun­da­tion, assis­tant pro­fessor Mar­ilyn Minus will apply her research into designing mate­rials stronger than Kevlar to create better syn­thetic col­lagen fibers and flame-​​retardant coatings.

The business of doing good

In May, some 30 North­eastern stu­dents began the Social Enter­prise Institute’s month­long field study pro­gram to Cuba and the Dominican Republic. In June, they returned with a deeper under­standing of life in Latin America.

Blog:  iNSolution

Probing for pollution at Mission 31

When North­eastern assis­tant pro­fessor Loretta Fer­nandez was a kid, she “wanted to be Jacques Cousteau” (her words, her emphasis). She wanted to live on The Calypso, the boat from which […]

3Qs: The power and press of black celebrity

Assis­tant pro­fessor of com­mu­ni­ca­tion studies Sarah Jackson’s new book exam­ines how the main­stream and black press have cov­ered con­tro­ver­sial polit­ical dis­sent by African-​​American celebri­ties. Her inspi­ra­tion came from an unlikely source: Kanye West.

Highway of dreams for microbiologists

A few years ago, biol­o­gists Slava Epstein and Yoshiteru Aoi fan­ta­sized about a device that would work like a highway lane clo­sure to iso­late pure bac­te­rial sam­ples from the envi­ron­ment. They teamed with assis­tant pro­fessor of chem­ical engi­neering Ed Goluch to make their dream a reality.

A simpler way to test for water pollution

Assis­tant pro­fessor Loretta Fer­nandez has devel­oped a straight­for­ward method for deter­mining the con­cen­tra­tion of con­t­a­m­i­nants likely to end up in the tis­sues of organ­isms living in pol­luted waterways.

Live from the seafloor, it’s Mission 31!

Last week, North­eastern researchers were joined by Provost and Senior Vice Pres­i­dent for Aca­d­emic Affairs Stephen W. Director to con­verse with audi­ence mem­bers at the Boston Museum of Sci­ence from a unique van­tage point: the bottom of the ocean at the Aquarius Reef Base off Florida’s coast.

Hot and bothered: climate change and the ecology of fear

When ani­mals must bal­ance the fear of being eaten with their own need to feed, their deci­sions affect the whole ecosystem. New research from North­eastern pro­fessor Geoff Trussell, who directs Northeastern’s Marine Sci­ence Center, sug­gests this effect is even more pro­nounced under future cli­mate change scenarios.

Take 5: A ‘Nor’Easter’ on Florida’s tropical shores?

North­eastern marine sci­ence pro­fes­sors Brian Hel­muth and Mark Pat­terson dis­cuss the deci­sion for North­eastern to join forces with Mis­sion 31, the month­long under­water expe­di­tion off the Florida coast and headed by Fabien Cousteau.

Brazil’s urban transformation ahead of the World Cup

Thomas Vicino, an asso­ciate pro­fessor of polit­ical sci­ence, has received a U.S. Ful­bright Schol­ar­ship to con­duct research on the process of rapid urban­iza­tion and eco­nomic devel­op­ment plan­ning in Brazil, the site of the 2014 World Cup and 2016 Summer Olympics.

Professor to lead U.S. biomaterials research society

Thomas Web­ster, pro­fessor and chair of Northeastern’s Depart­ment of Chem­ical Engi­neering, has been named pres­i­dent of the U.S. Society for Bio­ma­te­rials, a 3,000-plus-member orga­ni­za­tion ded­i­cated to enhancing human health and quality of life through bio­ma­te­rials research.

3Qs: Gender balance in biomedical research

A new policy from the National Insti­tutes of Health will require all bio­med­ical research funded by the NIH to be gender bal­anced. Here, Rebecca Shanksy, an assis­tant pro­fessor of psy­chology whose research is focused in this space, dis­cusses the impli­ca­tions of the decision.

Can current stimulate smarts?

North­eastern Uni­ver­sity researchers are part of an inter­na­tional, mul­ti­dis­ci­pli­nary
 team exploring a first-​​of-​​its-​​kind approach to improve human intel­li­gence by stim­u­lating the 
brain with low-​​level tran­scra­nial cur­rent applied to the scalp.