NYC students make STEM learning cool

Mayim Bialik's smarts aren't just for show on "The Big Bang Theory": the actress is also a neuroscientist who is working with STEM Hollywood.
Mayim Bialik’s smarts aren’t just for show on “The Big Bang Theory”: The actress is also a neuroscientist who is working with STEM Hollywood.

A number of New York City high school students have been busy getting a jump on the Silicon Valley scene this summer, attending workshops and competitions geared toward developing skills in science, technology, engineering and math, known as STEM.

Zombies on your iPad

If your kids aren’t old enough to design mobile apps or “MacGuyver” a Morse code transmitter, you can download a new series of science videos and lessons designed by Texas Instruments with the National Academy of Sciences’ Science & Entertainment Exchange Program.

The videos and lessons, available at Stemhollywood.com, cover topics like zombies, superheroes and space. They feature Mayim Bialik, neuroscientist and actress from “The Big Bang Theory.” Bialik is joined by several leading scientists and mathematicians, including Dr. Steve Schlozman, a Harvard medical professor and zombie expert.

STEM Hollywood’s videos and lessons can be downloaded to tablets, PCs and Macs, as well as Texas Instruments’ TI-Nspire CX graphing calculator (pictured above).

Studying zombies is a great way to learn about how the human brain functions and to think about the way that contagious diseases spread in terms of math, according to Schlozman. But don’t worry about an actual zombie apocalypse happening.

“It won’t,” Schlozman said, “I want to be absolutely clear about that.”

‘Burn Notice’ Science Challenge

Three rising sophomores attending Columbia Grammar and Preparatory School placed second in the first “Burn Notice” Science Challenge, a national competition inspired by USA network’s successful spy series.

According to Drew Tomback and twin brothers James and Hugh Savoldelli, friends and classmates are “kinda jealous.” The boys won $5,000 for their device: a set of garage door openers that they converted into Morse code transmitters and receivers. They designed a tool that “Burn Notice” characters could create using an everyday household item and that could be deployed quickly, they said.

“This allows spies to talk to each other through Morse code by using ordinary household products,” said Tomback. ”Obviously a portion of [the money] may be used towards college,” said Tomback, “and another will go to fund our future science projects.”

The competition was the brainchild of Matt Nix, creator and executive producer of “Burn Notice,” said Toby Graff, the senior vice president of public affairs at USA Network. The challenges were designed to be exciting and creative but also safe, she said. And the boys assured us that safety was the name of the game. “You can’t get your hand blown off doing this,” the boys said. See more of the challenge in their video:

BNSC DrewTomback&JamesSavoldelli&Hugh&Savoldelli from USA Network on Vimeo.

Samsung Mobile App Academy

Nomi Kaplan worked with 30 New York City high school students in a two-day workshop where they learned how to design and pitch ideas for mobile apps last week. Students learned how to create design briefs for apps that could improve the education system or streamline medical care.

“We have them work on projects exactly as we would in the real world,” said Kaplan, who works as a creative project manager in mobile app development. In addition to receiving their own own Samsung Galaxy Note tablets, attendees now have two weeks to pitch their own apps and win up to $20,000 in academic scholarships, Kaplan said.

Kaplan said the workshops were designed to generate an interest in careers in technology. ”There’s a lot of room to play and a lot of room to be very innovative,” she said.

Cool toy alert: LittleBits Exploration Kits

These kits give curious boys and girls all the tools they need to build their own flashlights, alarms, glow-in-the-dark iPhone cases and more. The kits come with simple color-coded electronic “bits” that fit together with other pieces to become objects that light up, rotate, pulse and perform other functions — no wiring required.

“Our mission is to make the world of electronics fun and accessible to everyone by breaking modern-day technology down to its most fundamental parts,” says LittleBits founder Ayah Bdeir, an MIT Media Lab alumna and TED senior fellow. New kits launch Sept. 14 at Littlebits.cc. — Meredith Engel



News
Entertainment
Sports
Lifestyle
National

Mutant worms stay sober, even on alcohol

U.S. researchers have developed "mutant worms" that do not get drunk by alcohol, a breakthrough that could lead to new treatment for people trying to quit drinking

Local

K-9 nose helps capture $150K in cocaine at…

A furry, four-legged security agent helped authorities stop an illegal cocaine shipment from sneaking past JFK customs.

National

Minnesota man asked to leave Southwest flight after…

A man and his two sons were asked to leave a Southwest Airlines flight after the man sent a tweet complaining about being treated rudely by a gate agent.

National

Man sues hospital after surprise penis amputation

An Alabama man who went in to a hospital last month for a circumcision awoke after surgery to find his penis had been amputated, his lawyer said on Thursday.

Movies

Review: Brett Ratner's big 'Hercules' movie is small…

The latest "Hercules," starring Dwayne Johnson as the half-god beefcake of Greek myth, strips its hero and tale of most of its fantastical elements.

Arts

Scientists recreate world's smallest Monet copy

Scientists have reproduced a famous Impressionist painting using nano-printing, to create what has been described as the world's smallest work of art. Reworked at the…

Television

Jerry Seinfeld is ambidextrous, and other Reddit AMA…

See some of the weirder highlights of Jerry Seinfeld's recent Reddit AMA.

Going Out

Grab a pedestrian and start dancing at What…

As a New Yorker, I’ve mastered the art of focusing my gaze straight ahead. Though it occasionally piques my interest, the absurdities that play out…

NFL

2014 NFL Fantasy Football Top 100 overall player…

2014 NFL Fantasy Football Top 100 overall player rankings

U.S. Soccer

NYCFC announce signing of Frank Lampard

The tease of a big signing Thursday by new MLS side NYCFC ended up being one rumored for weeks. England midfielder Frank Lampard agreed to…

NBA

NBA great LeBron James sends 800 cupcake apologies…

By Kim PalmerCLEVELAND (Reuters) - NBA star LeBron James, whose recent return to the Cleveland Cavaliers in his home state of Ohio sparked a frenzy…

NFL

Jerry Reese confident with Giants, skipping countdown clocks…

Last year, Giants GM Jerry Reese installed a countdown clock in the locker room to inspire Big Blue to play in their own stadium for Super Bowl XLVIII.

Tech

Forget Wi-Fi: Li-Fi could be the future

Li-Fi technology – developed by Mexican company Sisoft – is wireless internet connectivity using specialized LED light.

Tech

Weather app Climendo might be the most accurate…

The wait for a truly accurate weather forecast could finally be over thanks to a nifty new app called Climendo.

Tech

Napkin Table puts focus off the phone and…

Michael Jan, a design student at Tunghai University in Taiwan, has invented a serviette-picnic blanket hybrid called the Napkin Table.

Style

Essie's new Color Boutique

Essie launches high-tech kiosks at major airports and malls across the country.