From the Atomic World of Nerves & Crystals to a Satellite Resurrection, in Our Picks of the Week

[26 – 30 May 2014] The editors’ note about your science week

This week we test drove U-Multirank, a different kind of tool for comparing universities. Meanwhile, a group of space enthusiasts got behind the wheel, so to speak, of an abandoned NASA satellite. Elsewhere, chemists were learning to control, very precisely, the growth of crystals for nanotech applications. These tools, and more, in our picks of the week.

This week we test drove U-Multirank, a different kind of tool for comparing universities. Meanwhile, a group of space enthusiasts got behind the wheel, so to speak, of an abandoned NASA satellite. Elsewhere, chemists were learning to control, very precisely, the growth of crystals for nanotech applications. These tools, and more, in our picks of the week.

Three-dimensional model of a neuron showing nerve terminals in pink.
(Image: Kieran Boyle/ University of Glasgow via Mo Costandi)

On the MyScienceWork Menu:

U-Multirank: An Ambitious Project to Compare Universities      

 

Some favorites from around the web:

MyScienceWork has always been interested in “ordinary” citizens carrying out science. This goes for the group of space enthusiasts who got NASA to pass off to them control of a satellite whose last mission ended in 1997. This week, they made contact!

We Are Now In Command of the ISEE-3 Spacecraft

 

More amateurs – specifically, at-risk youth enrolled in an archaeology course – have been doing cool stuff in South America:

Mummy Found In Chile By At-Risk Students Dates Back 7,000 Years

 

And while citizens were doing science in space and in the ground, two teams of scientists took us farther into the atomic world: one in the realm of the living, the other in chemistry, or nanocrystallometry, to be precise.

- 3D model of a nerve terminal in atomic detail

- Controlling the nano-world: Scientists unveil first method for controlling the growth of metal crystals

 

Moving up in scale, even the biggest names can still surprise us: This week, astrophysicist Stephen Hawking unveiled his formulae for…predicting the football World Cup. Pete Etchells, a biological psychologist and Guardian science blogger, was not amused. “Look, I know that this is all a bit of a laugh,” he acknowledged, but “There are better ways to engage people with science.”

Hawking's World Cup formulae and the fall of a childhood role model

 

Meanwhile, the design for a new spacecraft was released this week – one that could fly a new generation of role models to space: astronauts. SpaceX is one of several private space companies competing to provide the service to NASA.

SpaceX unveils sleek spaceship to fly U.S. astronauts