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Articles by Debbie Mickle

Augmented Reality Revolutionizes Surgery and Data Visualization for VCU Researchers

The practical uses for augmented reality — which superimposes digital information onto real world surroundings — seem endless. Technologists have envisioned futuristic applications such as glasses that allow wearers to visualize turn-by-turn navigation in real time and immersive gaming headsets.

Doubt, Uncertainty, and Definitely a Good Time

With humor and insight, Neuroscientist Dr. Stuart Firestein gave a short talk in Richmond, Virginia on ignorance and uncertainty. He explored the essential role doubt has in the pursuit of knowledge. He examined how failure refines questions, creates paths forward, and that scientists’ communication of them would contribute to improving the public’s understanding of the scientific process which is less “scientific process” more like “farting around in the dark”.

Science of the Winter Olympics: For Biathletes, It’s All About Balance

Monika Hojnisz will be one to watch this year in the biathlon. A combination of cross-country skiing and rifle shooting, the biathlon requires athletes to go quickly from maximum intensity (fast skiing on rough terrain) to calm focus (shooting at multiple small targets 50 meters away). Many athletes are built for endurance, but biathletes also need plenty of strength to do the whole course of hills with an eight-pound rifle on their back.

Science of the Winter Olympics: Curling Up with a Good Rock

One of the oddest events on the schedule in Pyonchang, curling did not become an official Olympic sport until 2002. It reaches another milestone this year, when mixed doubles will be added to the event for the first time.

But the history of curling goes all the way back to 16th century Scotland, where the 42-pound stones are still mined from the same quarry for consistency. And while it may look nothing like other Olympic events, winning it relies on a force familiar to many winter sports: friction.

The Diversity Problem in Science

Why is it we know so little about the lived experiences of scientists of color and their responses to the claims made about them in the name of science? Dr. Evelyn Hammonds, a historian of science at Harvard University, uses W. E. B. DuBois' 1939 essay, “The Negro Scientist,” to address the question of the persistent under-representation of native-born U.S. African –Americans, Native Americans and Latino Americans in the U.S. scientific and technical workforce from the early 20th century to the present.

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