How Captain America inspired new fuel efficient cars

Materials scientist Suveen Mathaudhu shows us how both our favorite superheroes and real-world scientists create materials to save the world every day. Some of Mathaudhu’s own research at UC Riverside has been inspired by Captain America’s shield: is it possible to make a material that is both incredibly strong and super lightweight? Advances in this … Read moreHow Captain America inspired new fuel efficient cars

The Science Behind Hollywood Explosions

Nobody blows things up like Hollywood. Frequently, those jaw-dropping pyrotechnics are digitally created in post-production. Now, with the help of a tool called Wavelet Turbulence, filmmakers can generate realistic swirling smoke and fiery explosions that are more detailed, easier to control and faster to create. UCSB researcher Theodore Kim (along with three collaborators) developed the … Read moreThe Science Behind Hollywood Explosions

Do spoilers really ruin stories?

Spoilers give away endings before stories begin and the conventional wisdom is that they diminish suspense and ruin a story, but here’s the twist… Research by UC San Diego psychologists find that spoilers make reading stories more enjoyable (Story spoilers don’t spoil stories). How they tested it: Participants in the study were given a series … Read moreDo spoilers really ruin stories?

The Beautiful Brain: Coping with MS

“Self Portrait of the Artist’s Brain” – Painting on Silk After being diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis (MS), Elizabeth Jameson began creating paintings based off of MRIs and other digital scans of her brain: “My diagnosis initiated a fascination with these eerie images, which I found frightening, yet mesmerizing. I felt a strong urge to reinterpret my brain … Read moreThe Beautiful Brain: Coping with MS

The visual linguistics of a comic book page

Inside Science recently wrote about the study by UCSD’s Neil Cohn, Navigating Comics, which looks at the underlying structure of the comics language: People who read the English written word scan text from left to right. Once our eyes hit the end of the page, we stop. Then ding!, like an old-time typewriter, our eyes … Read moreThe visual linguistics of a comic book page

The Science of Music and Algorithms

“I can understand why it’s an issue if you’ve got an extremely romanticized view of what art is,” he says. “But Bach peed, and he shat, and he had a lot of kids. We’re all just people.” – David Cope, UC Santa Cruz, emeritus professor “To some extent, this match is a defense of the … Read moreThe Science of Music and Algorithms

Ronald Fischer, Beekeeper by Richard Avedon, 1981

Ronald Fischer, Beekeeper by Richard Avedon, 1981. To get the bees to land on Fischer, photographer Richard Avedon enlisted the help of UC Davis entomologist (and professional bee wrangler) Dr. Norman Gary, who smeared the beekeeper with queen bee pheromone and a dash of plant extract similar to peppermint — a method he devised himself. … Read moreRonald Fischer, Beekeeper by Richard Avedon, 1981

The algorithm that won an Oscar

Hollywood likes a good explosion.  Now, with the help of an open source algorithm called Wavelet Turbulence, filmmakers can digitally create pyrotechnics that were formerly time-consuming and difficult to control. UCSB’s Theodore Kim (along with three collaborators) picked up the Academy Award in Technical Achievement for Wavelet Turbulence. So far, it has been used in over 26 … Read moreThe algorithm that won an Oscar

Artists & astrophysicists collaborate to create new visualizations

The OpenLab Network facilitates innovative, creative and collaborative research with art, community, design, technology, and science with the University of California Santa Cruz. “OpenLab is a collaboration between the arts and the sciences where scientists basically are looking for new and innovative ways to view and present their research in a way that is accessible … Read moreArtists & astrophysicists collaborate to create new visualizations