A game of soccer, volleyball or basketball may seem like an unconventional way to start a science lesson, but in the Lab of Tomorrow sports and other real-life activities merge with theory to create a new educational environment based on the premise that if playing is fun, learning can be too.
Lab of Tomorrow, a project funded under the European Commission’s IST Programme, developed a family of tiny, programmable devices that can be imbedded in clothing, footballs and other items to monitor the wearer’s heart rate, their running pace or the acceleration of a ball. This practical information can be translated into examples of science theory, raising interest and motivation among students, and improving the learning process.
“For students and teachers it represents a major qualitative upgrade to physics teaching, something that is particularly important at a time when studies show interest in science is declining among students of high school age,” explains project manager Sofoklis Sotiriou at Ellinogermaniki Agogi, a Greek school that is overseeing Lab of Tomorrow’s implementation. “We believe the use of advanced technology keeps the motivation of students high because it connects real-life situations with science. And such motivation would seem an evident result of teachers being able to tell students: ‘wear this, go play and then study what you have done’.”
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Researchers from the University of Hamburg in Germany, in collaboration with colleagues from the University of Aarhus in Denmark, have synthesized a new superconducting material by growing a few layers of an antiferromagnetic transition-metal chalcogenide on a bismuth-based topological insulator, both being non-superconducting materials.
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Among the general public, solar thermal energy is currently associated with dark blue, rectangular collectors on building roofs. Technologies are needed for aesthetically high quality architecture which offer the architect more room for manoeuvre when it comes to low- and plus-energy buildings. With the “ArKol” project, researchers at Fraunhofer ISE together with partners are currently developing two façade collectors for solar thermal energy generation, which permit a high degree of design flexibility: a strip collector for opaque façade sections and a solar thermal blind for transparent sections. The current state of the two developments will be presented at the BAU 2017 trade fair.
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At TU Wien, an alternative for resource intensive formwork for the construction of concrete domes was developed. It is now used in a test dome for the Austrian Federal Railways Infrastructure (ÖBB Infrastruktur).
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Many pathogens use certain sugar compounds from their host to help conceal themselves against the immune system. Scientists at the University of Bonn have now, in cooperation with researchers at the University of York in the United Kingdom, analyzed the dynamics of a bacterial molecule that is involved in this process. They demonstrate that the protein grabs onto the sugar molecule with a Pac Man-like chewing motion and holds it until it can be used. Their results could help design therapeutics that could make the protein poorer at grabbing and holding and hence compromise the pathogen in the host. The study has now been published in “Biophysical Journal”.
The cells of the mouth, nose and intestinal mucosa produce large quantities of a chemical called sialic acid. Many bacteria possess a special transport system...
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