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Press Release 13-032
National Science Foundation and NBC Learn Release New 'Science Behind The News' Videos

Five original videos explore science behind current events related to mathematical and physical sciences

strings of blue bubbles

A theoretical physicist explains the science behind quantum computing in new NSF-NBC Learn video.
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February 27, 2013

The National Science Foundation and NBC Learn, the educational arm of NBC News, released today five new videos in the Science Behind The News series.

Science Behind The News is a relatively new, fast-paced video series supported by NSF that explores the science, technology, engineering and mathematics behind current events. Each video features at least one interview with an NSF-funded scientist or researcher.

The five new videos highlight work funded by NSF's Directorate for Mathematical and Physical Sciences. The scope of scientific and educational activity supported in the directorate is enormous, ranging from phenomena at cosmological distances, to environmental science on the human scale, through quantum mechanical processes in atomic and subatomic physics, to phenomena of the unimaginably small.

There are 12 Science Behind The News episodes available to teachers and students at Science360: The Knowledge Network and for free at NBCLearn.com.

New videos released today include:

1. Predictive Policing

The LAPD is using a new tactic in their fight against crime called "predictive policing." It's a computer program that was originally developed by a team at UCLA, including mathematician Andrea Bertozzi and anthropologist Jeff Brantingham.

2. Impacts on Jupiter

The impacts of comets on the surface of Jupiter are a fairly common experience. At the University of Central Florida, astronomers Joseph Harrington and Csaba Palotai are leading a project that studies precisely how these impacts happen, and also provides valuable information about what might happen if such a comet struck Earth.

3. Drug-Resistant Bacteria

As disease-causing bacteria become increasingly resistant to antibiotics, scientists like Erin Carlson from Indiana University are turning to natural sources to find new medicines.

4. Bio-Inspired Materials

In the search for the next groundbreaking tough material, scientists like David Kisailus from the University of California, Riverside, are looking to nature for inspiration, including under the sea where one little crustacean packs a walloping punch--the peacock mantis shrimp.

5. Quantum Computers

Imagine if engineers could build a computer to be millions of times faster than anything that exists today, yet so small that it's microscopic. John Preskill, a theoretical physicist at the California Institute of Technology, explains the science behind quantum computing, the next great frontier in computer science.

For more videos from the NSF-NBC partnership, see: Science of the Winter Olympics, Science of NFL Football, Science of NHL Hockey, Science Behind The News, Changing Planet and Chemistry Now.

About NBC Learn

NBC Learn is the educational arm of NBC News dedicated to providing resources for students, teachers, and lifelong learners. The online resources NBC Learn has created for the education community leverages nearly 80 years of historic news coverage, documentary materials, and current news broadcasts. NBC Learn comes in two versions, "NBC LEARN K-12" and "NBC LEARN Higher Ed," and is available to librarians, media specialists, educators, students, and parents. The resource gives students and teachers access to thousands of video clips from the NBC News archives, including great historic moments-from the Great Depression, to the Space Race, to the latest political coverage. NBC Learn also offers primary source materials, lesson plans and classroom planning resources, and additional text and image resources from our content partners.

-NSF-

Media Contacts
Bobbie Mixon, NSF, (703) 292-8485, bmixon@nsf.gov
Meghan Pianta, NBC News, (212) 664-2364, meghan.pianta@nbcuni.com

The National Science Foundation (NSF) is an independent federal agency that supports fundamental research and education across all fields of science and engineering. In fiscal year (FY) 2014, its budget is $7.2 billion. NSF funds reach all 50 states through grants to nearly 2,000 colleges, universities and other institutions. Each year, NSF receives about 50,000 competitive requests for funding, and makes about 11,500 new funding awards. NSF also awards about $593 million in professional and service contracts yearly.

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Useful NSF Web Sites:
NSF Home Page: http://www.nsf.gov
NSF News: http://www.nsf.gov/news/
For the News Media: http://www.nsf.gov/news/newsroom.jsp
Science and Engineering Statistics: http://www.nsf.gov/statistics/
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