This article describes research on systems made up of small granular pieces, such as sand piles or containers of grain. In these “Collective” systems, the interactions of each of the grains with a few neighbors determines the properties of large systems.
This lesson teaches students that scientific knowledge is fundamentally uncertain. Students manipulate sealed mystery boxes and attempt to determine the inner structure of the boxes which contain a moving ball and a fixed barrier or two. The nature and sources of uncertainty inherent in the process of problem-solving are experienced. The uncertainty of the conclusions is reduced by student collaboration.
When scientists looked inside the leg bone of a recently discovered Tyrannosaurus rex fossil, they found something they weren’t expecting. Typically, only the hard parts of an animal, like the bones, are preserved as fossils. This T. rex fossil, however, contained some beautifully preserved soft tissue inside the bone, where the marrow once was.
Kevin Lynch was a significant contributor to city planning and city design in the twentieth century. One of Lynch’s innovations was the concept of place legibility, which is essentially the ease with which people understand the layout of a place. By introducing this idea, Lynch was able to isolate distinct features of a city, and see what specifically is making it so vibrant, and attractive to people. To understand the layout of a city, people first and foremost create a mental map.