Ten-hundred Word Challenge: Part One


How many different words do you use in a day? Take a guess. A couple hundred? A couple thousand? I couldn’t find stats on how many different words people use every day, but I did find that adults know more than 17,000 words, whereas an average five year old knows about 1,500 words. Having so many words makes language complex and nuanced, and virtually anything can be explained. But not everything explained is understood, and science in particular suffers from an overuse of jargon.

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Two-color circularly polarized laser fields: A platform for observing the ultrafast and the ultrasmall?

Imagine you are an electron. You aren’t very heavy, so gravity doesn’t really affect you. Instead, your world is all about charge. The electric field surrounding you dictates the motion of charged particles; since you have a negative charge you move away from the direction the field points (yeah, you’re a rebel). Boringly, most of your time is spent hanging out close to a positively charged nucleus. But, if you find yourself in the lab with Chris Mancuso and Dan Hickstein, you might be in for the ride of your life.

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Hot Topics: Heat Transfer at Nanoscales

tiny heat sources

Remember that diagram of “The Scientific Process” from every high school science textbook? I’ll jog your memory: data is collected that may conflict with a previously held assumption, so a new hypothesis is devised. Experiments are done, the new data is analyzed, the hypothesis appears to hold true, and a conclusion is made. Science! Only later do many of us learn that the course of science doesn’t always run so smoothly.

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Running and injury prevention – it’s all in your head

Exercise is an important part of healthy living. Our Exercise Science series explores the science behind exercise, keeping you up to date on the latest findings from the experts. 


So perhaps I exaggerated with this title, but “it’s all in your nervous system” wasn’t quite as sexy. The truth is, your nervous system is the driver of your body. Most people forget this and just focus on the muscular system. As a yoga therapist and lifelong runner, I see plenty of people plagued with running injuries. I myself was slotted to undergo the knife twice (and twice declined) to treat my Iliotibial (IT) band syndrome and patellofemoral pain (more on what that means later).

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Graduate Student Snapshot: Clifford Bridges


Clifford Bridges is a force of nature. His unrelenting energy is tangible as he describes a long list of pursuits ranging from artistry to athletics—outside of his graduate studies in mathematics. “In all of life, I’m just going for it,” he says.

Clifford was a reluctant academic. Though he hated school when he was younger, this changed when he discovered geometry. Suddenly there were rules to follow and reasons to use them. “If I follow this rule, I’ll get the exact right answer every time.”

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Chic new wearable technology helps users “hear”

What’s the difference between Batman and your average Joe? Batman doesn’t actually have any super powers—arguably, all that separates Bruce Wayne from the rest of the population are a few handy, high-end pieces of wearable technology (including a sweet cape that can make him fly). In recent years, wearable technology has surpassed science fiction into the realm of reality, with the potential to greatly improve the human experience. While science has yet to perfect capes for human flight, CU researchers are optimizing garment-based assistive technology for people with disabilities.

Halley standing next to her creation in the Correll Robotics Lab.

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Graduate Student Snapshot: Joel Basken


To-do lists can plague graduate students. Experiments to complete, forms to fill out, papers to read, papers to write – these lists are filled with tasks that drag on (or are put off) for years. For one graduate student, the list literally goes on and on, but not in the way you’d expect. Joel Basken, a 6th year PhD candidate in Molecular, Cellular, and Developmental Biology (MCDB), is famous in his home department and beyond for many things, but his incomparable lists make him a grad student hero.

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Fashionable therapy brightens winter SADness

What if you could brighten your day with the push of a button? And if that shine came from your clothes? Your hat? Or even your glasses? From Google Glass and Recon’s heads-up display to FitBit and the Apple Watch, technology that you wear is no longer a thing of science fiction.

Halley Fiber optics scarf

There’s so much wearable technology out there, “why not use it to treat something?” asks Halley Profita, a PhD. student in the Correll Robotics and the Kane Superhuman Computing labs in the Computer Science department at the University of Colorado Boulder.

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