Category Archives: News

NASA Student Launch Competition

Vanderbilt took first place for the fourth time in five years.

The NASA Student Launch is an annual competition that challenges student teams from middle school through graduate school to propose, design, build and test a reusable rocket that flies to 1 mile in altitude, deploys a recovery system and returns safely to the ground, while carrying a payload of scientific or engineering value. “The Vanderbilt Aerospace Design Lab team from Vanderbilt University claims top honors. Vanderbilt’s first-place finish is the team’s fourth win in the last five years.” Read more here.
(Note: If you’re interested in participating, the 2019 Student Launch Handbook will be available in late August 2018.)
Pictured at top: Oregon State University claimed Rookie Award honors and took sixth place overall. All images courtesy of NASA.

High School Calculus Not a Predictor of Success

Mathematics and engineering formula

Contrary to popular belief, learning calculus in high school does not predict whether or not a student will succeed in college calculus. “According to a study of more than 6,000 college freshmen at 133 colleges carried out by the Science Education Department of the Harvard Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics, led by Sadler, the Frances W. Wright Senior Lecturer on Astronomy, and by Sonnert, a Research Associate. What’s more important,” they say, “is mastering the prerequisites, algebra, geometry, and trigonometry—that lead to calculus.” Read more.

STEM Women Face More Scrutiny

Internet Troll sitting at the computer

This may not come as a surprise, but according to a new study by Inoka Amarasekara and Will Grant, two  Australian science communication researchers, women who run STEM-related YouTube channels get more comments–both positive and negative–than men. “They found a tough environment for women who create YouTube videos centered on science, drawing both more comments per view than men and also a higher proportion of critical comments as well as remarks about their appearances.” Read more here.