April 28, 2016 |
The most gut-clenching, psyche-rattling moment of Margee Kerr's 36 years on this planet came when she was 116 stories in the air above it, strapped into a harness so she could lean out from the top of Toronto's CN Tower. For Kerr, it was partly an academic experience. She studies fear for a living, and will speak about her work Wednesday night at the Franklin Institute, as part of Philadelphia's annual nine-day science festival. Thus far, attendees have been gazing at stars, digging up fossils, exploring colonial-era medicine, and solving murder mysteries.
April 23, 2016
By Larry Dubinski Until the Kepler space telescope was launched in 2009, planets beyond our solar system seemed to be few and far between. But since then, Kepler has disproved that belief in spectacular fashion, confirming over a thousand new worlds orbiting other stars in our galaxy - some of which may even be Earth-like planets harboring life. Much like Apollo 8's famous "Earth rise" photograph, showing a lonely, blue Earth rising above the stark lunar landscape, the Kepler instrument has profoundly changed our perspective of humanity's place in the universe.
April 22, 2016 |
The field of medicine has tried all manner of techniques to ensure that patients take their daily pills, from issuing gentle reminders to checking whether prescriptions have been refilled. Robert S. Langer wants to tackle the problem with technology: loading a computer chip with medicine and embedding it in the patient's body. Science fiction? Try fact. The concept already has been successfully tested in people with osteoporosis, with implanted circuitry that delivers daily drug doses for weeks on end, and now the Gates Foundation is funding the study of such chips to administer birth control drugs to women in developing countries.
April 16, 2016
ISSUE | DIGITAL SIGNS Assault on the senses Digital signs are jarringly out of place next to Philadelphia's classic architecture and are distracting to motorists and pedestrians ("Franklin Institute sign a lightning rod," Philly.com, April 7). When I drive west on Spruce Street, the super-bright digital sign on the Kimmel Center assaults my eyes. At least dial down the brightness. The same goes for the billboards on I-95 - they'll still be awful, but I'll be able to focus on the road.
April 8, 2016 |
IF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN came back to visit the science museum that bears his name, he'd find that a new digital sign along his Ben Franklin Parkway has become something of a lightning rod. After nearly four years of zoning and court battles, the Franklin Institute is expected - in a matter of weeks - to convert its traditional sign, at 20th Street and the parkway, into a digital sign that changes its message every 20 seconds. But if critics have their way, it won't happen. A flurry of emails between L&I Commissioner David Perri and longtime billboard critic Mary C. Tracy suggest that some city officials were exploring ways to stop the sign from going digital.
April 4, 2016
BUCKS | CHESCO | DELCO | MONTCO | PHILADELPHIA
April 4, 2016 |
James West, a bona fide rock star of science and technology, explained to the rapt group of young students assembled around his table that African drum communication was a model for the cellphone. Just as voices are transmitted from tower to tower before they reach their destinations, drum messages traveled from drummer to drummer, said West, 85, a professor of engineering at Johns Hopkins University. Rafi Mills, 12, was impressed. "I didn't know in Africa they had drum telephones," said Mills, an eighth grader at Masterman, a magnet school in Center City.
April 1, 2016
The notion of a pizza topped with Mexican ingredients is not new to Philadelphia, where pizzerias like Rosario's on Wharton Street have been topping pies with everything from chicken tinga to mole for several years. But few cooks are quite as well-prepared to deliver Mex-Italian fusion as Justino Jimenez, the Puebla-born chef who cooked for several years at Vetri, Osteria, and Amis. When Jimenez sold his Oregon Avenue taqueria in September and moved uptown to buy Logan Square Pizza (now Pizza & Cocina)
March 17, 2016 |
Ben Franklin Parkway and I-676 bridge construction has forced the Philadelphia Science Festival to move its signature Science Carnival to the Delaware waterfront. And nobody knows whether the festival's longtime lead sponsor, Dow Chemical, will still be so generous if its merger with DuPont goes through. Still, all parties were beaming in the noonday sun Tuesday at the Great Plaza at Penn's Landing - scene of this year's festival-capping Science Carnival - affirming that this celebration of all things STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math)
March 14, 2016 |
Mikey Krause had waited practically his whole life for this. The 3-year-old can recite every line spoken by Toy Story character Woody and he reenacts the movie with his toys. Now, wearing a yellow Woody T-shirt and a brown fabric holster on one hip, he stood awestruck, face-to-face with a Buzz Lightyear, several times taller than him at a Franklin Institute exhibit. But he couldn't stand still for long. "Come on!" he yelled, running between Buzz and the characters Mike and Sulley from Monsters Inc. His aunt, Jen Krause, 22, tried to keep up, pushing his stroller and carrying his cowboy hat and plush Woody doll.