Science Education & Policy

Groundhogs and other hibernators take a very sensible approach to winter: They slip into a state of suspended animation and let the worst of the cold weather pass.

The cold prompts profound physiological changes in these animals, causing their normally fast metabolism to come almost to a stop during winter. With metabolism slowed to a crawl, the animal draws on its fat stores sparingly to make it through the winter.

Hibernation has become the focus of interesting physiological research. A hibernating squirrel's heart may fall from 300 beats per minute to just three per minute. Its oxygen consumption can drop to just 2% of normal.

An analysis of 123 schools participating in the National Science Foundation (NSF) Math and Science Partnership (MSP) program shows improvements in student proficiency in mathematics and science at the elementary, middle- and high-school levels over a 3-year period.

The most recent data, for 2004-2005, show continued increases since the MSP program was established in 2002. Students showed the most significant improvements in mathematics proficiency, with a 13.7 percent increase for elementary, 6.2 percent increase for middle-school, and 17.1 percent increase for high-school students.

A team of archaeologists and Earthwatch volunteers led by Dr. Mary Glowacki and Louis Tesar uncovered an elite Wari cemetery at Cotocotuyoc this past summer in Peru's Huaro Valley, near Cuzco. Among their finds was a "trophy skull," which offers insight into warfare in the Wari Empire based here from 1,500 to 1,000 years ago.


Cotocotuyoc trophy skull showing cut nasal area and gold alloy pins used to fasten the scalp back on for public desplay. This Wari warrior, excavated by Earthwatch volunteers working with Dr. Mary Glowacki, was approximately 30 years old and had survived several head injuries. (Courtesy of Mary Glowacki)

Contact: Jennifer Fitzenberger
jfitzen@uci.edu
949-824-3969
University of California - Irvine
Learning slows physical progression of Alzheimer's disease
Study suggests keeping brain active may have significant therapeutic value

Irvine, Calif. -- Learning appears to slow the development of two brain lesions that are the hallmarks of Alzheimer's disease, scientists at UC Irvine have discovered.

Can network interference be used to expand and enhance communication for wireless devices such as cell phones, computers and personal digital assistants?

Daniela Tuninetti, assistant professor of electrical and computer engineering, explained that this seemingly illogical concept is not all that strange if you take a closer look at what is going on. She has received a five-year, $400,000 National Science Foundation CAREER Award to establish a theoretical foundation for putting this idea into use through a concept called collaborative communications.

"Interference due to other communications devices is not just noise," Tuninetti said.

1) Exxon-Mobil = $16 million among 43 groups in the 8 years covering 1998 to 2005.