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OSTIblog Articles in the cancer Topic

Where Do New Scientists Come From?

Photo of Jack Andraka from his Twitter feed

When we think of scientists, most of us picture professionals working in labs or in university settings.  But how did these people get to become scientists?  They were born into the world like everyone else and could have selected from a myriad different career paths.  The evidence does not suggest that scientists necessarily have children who become scientists.  Thus the reality is that “new” scientists come from the general public fortuitously, and this reality is often unappreciated.

Many researchers and institutions devoted to motivating the next generation, including for example, the Davidson Institute for Talent Development, a national non-profit concerned with supporting “profoundly gifted students”, stress the importance of exposing youngsters to the latest scientific thoughts and discoveries through the internet and other sources.  The public availability of current, up-to-date scientific and technical information is essential in this regard and the benefits of its availability are tremendous. 

For example, a few months ago, Jack Andraka, a 15-year-old high school freshman from Maryland developed a break-through dip-stick test to check for pancreatic cancer which has been shown to be incredibly effective (400 times more sensitive than previous tests), 90% accurate and extremely cheap ($0.03 per test). See the article detailing his discovery. Jack indicated in an interview with the BBC news service that the idea for his pancreatic cancer test came to him while he was in biology class during a lesson on antibodies and while he was independently reading an article on carbon nanotubes, a subject he was interested in at the time. He followed up with more research on...

Related Topics: antibodies, cancer, high school, labs, open access journals, pancreatic cancer, scientists, test


University of Tennessee Knoxville in DOE’s .EDUconnections Spotlight


University of Tennessee Knoxville in DOE’s .EDUconnections Spotlight

Science is always in the spotlight at the University of Tennessee Knoxville, a land-grant institution and the state's flagship research campus.  Recent research might include searching for potential habitats for life on Mars, developing an autotaxin  inhibitor to fight cancer, designing a car for the DOE EcoCAR 2 competition, determining  the boundaries of the nuclear chart or developing “Living Light”, a net-zero energy home for DOE’s Solar Decathlon. UTK is situated in an ideal environment for research. It has a 60-year-old partnership with DOE’s Oak Ridge National Laboratory, where young scientists have access to state-of-the-art research tools, the world’s leading center for neutron science and some of the world’s fastest supercomputers.  UT’s famous forensic research also benefits from a partnership with DOE’s  Y-12 National Security Complex.  Cross-disciplinary teams are nurtured by the UT-ORNL Science Alliance.

This is why DOE shines their spotlight on the University of...

Related Topics: .EDUconnections, cancer, DOE EcoCar 2, DOE's Solar Decathlon, Knoxville, Mars, University of Tennessee