Monitoring Progress Toward Successful K-12 STEM Education: A Nation Advancing?

Monitoring Progress Toward Successful K-12 STEM Education: A Nation Advancing?

Report is available at:
http://www.nap.edu/catalog/13509/monitoring-progress-toward-successful-k-12-stem-education-a-nation

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY

Following a 2011 report by the National Research Council (NRC) on successful K-12 education in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM), Congress asked the National Science Foundation to identify methods for tracking progress toward the report’s recommendations. In response, the NRC convened the Committee on the Evaluation Framework for Successful K-12 STEM Education to take on this assignment.

The committee developed 14 indicators linked to the 2011 report’s recommendations, shown in the table. By providing a focused set of key indicators related to students’ access to quality learning, educators’ capacity, and policy and funding initiatives in STEM, the committee addresses the need for research and data that can be used to monitor progress in the K-12 STEM education system and make informed decisions about improving it.

DNA reveals the origins of modern Europeans

From http://phys.org/news/2015-03-dna-reveals-modern-europeans.html

DNA reveals the origins of modern Europeans

Europe is famously tesselated, with different cultural and language groups clustering in different regions. But how did they all get there? And how are they related?

One way of answering these questions comes from digging up relics of the past.Europe has a rich archaeological record, ranging from periods well before the famous metal ages (i.e. copper, bronze and iron) to the recent adventures of the Romans, Vandals, Huns and Vikings.

Distinctive types of pottery and cultural practices associated with burials and settlements have been used to group the ancient populations into individual “archaeological cultures”. However, it hasn’t been clear whether there is a genetic basis for these group boundaries or whether they’re just cultural.

Another line of evidence to illuminate how various groups are related comes from their languages. There is the well known Indo-European language tree – ranging from Hindi to Russian to Spanish. But it’s also quite unclear how the languages spread to their present regions.

Now we have another layer of information to help us reveal the history of European peoples: DNA sequencing.

We now have the technology to really test Einstein’s theory of relativity

From http://mashable.com/2015/03/15/einstein-relativity-theory-test/

We now have the technology to really test Einstein’s theory of relativity

A century ago this year, a young Swiss physicist, who had already revolutionized physics with discoveries about the relationship between space and time, developed a radical new understanding of gravity.

In 1915, Albert Einstein published his general theory of relativity, which described gravity as a fundamental property of space-time. He came up with a set of equations that relate the curvature of space-time to the energy and momentum of the matter and radiation that are present in a particular region.

Today, 100 years later, Einstein’s theory of gravitation remains a pillar of modern understanding, and has withstood all the tests that scientists could throw at it. But until recently, it wasn’t possible to do experiments to probe the theory under extreme conditions to see whether it breaks down.

Now, scientists have the technology to begin looking for evidence that could reveal physics beyond general relativity.

“To me, it is absolutely amazing how well general relativity has done after 100 years,” said Clifford Will, a theoretical physicist at the University of Florida in Gainesville. “What he wrote down is the same thing we use today,” Will told Live Science.

Mathematicians: An Outer View of the Inner World

Book:

Mathematicians: An Outer View of the Inner World

Mathematicians is a remarkable collection of ninety-two photographic portraits, featuring some of the most amazing mathematicians of our time. Acclaimed photographer Mariana Cook captures the exuberant and colorful personalities of these brilliant thinkers and the superb images are accompanied by brief autobiographical texts written by each mathematician. Together, the photographs and words illuminate a diverse group of men and women dedicated to the absorbing pursuit of mathematics.

The compelling black-and-white portraits introduce readers to mathematicians who are young and old, fathers and daughters, and husbands and wives. They include Fields Medal winners, those at the beginning of major careers, and those who are long-established celebrities in the discipline. Their candid personal essays reveal unique and wide-ranging thoughts, opinions, and humor, as the mathematicians discuss how they became interested in mathematics, why they love the subject, how they remain motivated in the face of mathematical challenges, and how their greatest contributions have paved new directions for future generations. Mathematicians in the book include David Blackwell, Henri Cartan, John Conway, Pierre Deligne, Timothy Gowers, Frances Kirwan, Peter Lax, William Massey, John Milnor, Cathleen Morawetz, John Nash, Karen Uhlenbeck, and many others.

Conveying the beauty and joy of mathematics to those both within and outside the field, this photographic collection is an inspirational tribute to mathematicians everywhere.

Mathematicians Who Died Under Unfortunate or Unfitting circumstances

From http://www.kellenmyers.org/deaths.html

This page features a collection of mathematicians who died under unfortunate or unfitting circumstances.

Évariste Galois

1811-1832 (20, killed) Presumably the youngest to qualify for inclusion on this list, Galois died at a meagre 20 years. He was shot in the stomach, and a full day later died, in hospital. The circumstances surrounding his death are not entirely known, only that he was killed in a duel. Speculation tends to indicate that the duel was motivated either by a matter related to his involvement with the radical Républicain movement, or by conflict arising from a romantic entanglement. The duel occurred only a month after his release from a six-month incarceration stemming from his disrutpive political activities. Having predicted defeat, Galois jotted down what would become his mathematical legacy, on the eve of the duel. Sadly, his last words were: “Ne pleure pas, Alfred! J’ai besoin de tout mon courage pour mourir à vingt ans!”

Turning the tables: researching gambling research

From http://erc.europa.eu/projects-and-results/erc-stories/turning-tables-researching-gambling-research

Turning the tables: researching gambling research

We normally think of anthropologists studying ‘exotic’ cultures – ancient tribes that live in faraway places. But how about cultures that are closer to home? Professor Rebecca Cassidy has devoted herself to anthropological studies of European cultures of gambling. In the ‘Gambling in Europe’ (GAMSOC) project – funded by the ERC – Prof. Cassidy and her team have taken this a step further, and conducted an anthropological study of the gambling research community itself.