New tech monitors solar flares, space weather and keeps GPS accurate

satellite

It’s easy to forget that the sun isn’t the uniformly glowing orb it appears to be from Earth. In actuality, the sun is a tumultuous ball of nuclear explosions. Although those explosions don’t usually affect us in a physical way on Earth, they do affect the thousands of satellites orbiting our planet that control things like GPS and communications services we depend on everyday.

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A Climate Model: Nothing Like Heidi Klum

You often hear the term “climate model” thrown around in the news or in scientific reports but what does that even mean?

climate_model

Before we dive in, it’s useful to differentiate between climate and weather. Weather is all of the short-term (minutes to days) variations of the atmosphere including phenomena like wind, precipitation, cloudiness, and humidity, as well as more organized events like thunderstorms and hurricanes.

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No Paine, No Gain

Picture a scientist. If you don’t know many scientists, you might picture a man with glasses wearing a white coat, perhaps with grey hair in disarray, holding a microscope or a flask of green liquid, like most children do. But when introduced to real scientists, a child’s picture changes – now there are women, people of color, very few white coats, and more holey jeans and t-shirts. And if these kids met the aptly named Alex Paine, PhD candidate in Molecular, Cellular, and Developmental Biology, they’d draw another type of scientist – one with grapefruit sized calves and a back rippled with muscles: a body builder.

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