Software architects like Erik Antelman, a software engineer, design large-scale systems of software. For instance, a social network like Facebook might have parts on a phone, other parts on computers, and others on a server. Each of those parts of a system has many layers behind it. Software architects work with all of these parts and their layers, helping build and maintain the system as a whole.
When did human beings first begin using numbers? Where and when did the number “zero” emerge? Who first came up with the idea of doing algebra? Geometry? Calculus? What events and which other discoveries inspired these ideas? And how did they shape the world we live in? People who study the history of mathematics explore just that: the history of math and the different ways it has developed in different places. Historian of Mathematics Amir Alexander finds “the interconnections between mathematics and the broader world of culture, religion, art, and politics” fascinating.
Nutrition epidemiologists like Alison Gustafson, a registered dietitian, look at the ways the food we eat affects our health and physical activity. They study biology, nutrition, and biostatistics as well as epidemiology, which examines diseases and how they spread. And they help develop ways of improving the diets of large groups of people.
Dietitians study human nutrition and advise people on healthy ways to eat. Nutrition Epidemiologist Alison Gustafson explores how the places people shop for food affect the choices they make for themselves and their families.
Electrical engineers design systems that use electricity, working with anything from a whole power grid to the microchip in a computer. Electrical Engineer Kevin Hurlock takes precise measurements and uses statistical analyses to make the electrical systems in cars safe and reliable. Michael Form designs tiny circuits with integrated processors to operate efficiently, preventing them from overheating and making them last a long time on battery power.
Physicists ask questions about matter (from tiny particles to the entire universe and its galaxies), energy, and the interactions between them. They run experiments and observe the ways things behave in order to find answers. The information physicists discover is used to build and power machines and to understand the ways natural materials (as well as the ones we make) behave here on Earth and in outer space. Physicist-turned-Diplomat Nicholas Carrera studied halide crystals (used in photography and medical technology) and flew a plane through clouds to help figure out whether crystals like those he had worked with could “seed”… Learn more
Ornithologists like Laura Gooch (trained as a Civil Engineer) study birds. Gooch helps collect data about the birds caught and released in Ohio. She also records the songs of birds that migrate over her home each night and shares information she gathers with the Macaulay Library, at the Cornell Lab of Ornithology.
Civil Engineers design, build, and help maintain public works (structures like bridges, dams, and buildings created for communities by the government). They create and improve systems to make sure modern societies have drinking water, reliable transportation, a clean environment, and energy. Civil and Water Resource Engineer Cynthia Clark helps design and maintain systems to distribute water among the people of Idaho. Civil Engineer Tysheina Robertson is helping build Denver’s first commuter rail. When Ornithologist Laura Gooch worked as a Civil Engineer, she helped provide Texans with the water they needed and helped clean up toxic waste in Ohio. And Civil Engineer Rachel Davidson studies ways to improve systems that help… Learn more
Software engineers create instructions for computers, making them do something entertaining (like a game) or useful (like an application that helps students and professionals get their work done). Their knowledge of engineering, computer science, and mathematical analysis helps them design, develop, and maintain software. Software Engineer Malik Coates develops programs to help users explore the universe, watch animated movies like How to Train Your Dragon 2, and play games. Software Engineer Erik Antelman, a software architect, works on programs that scan social media for hints of new outbreaks of disease and helps design operating systems for NASA rockets.
How does the place you live affect what you eat, the stories you tell, and your relationships with other people? Evolutionary anthropologists study the ways people relate to their environments. Ecologist and Evolutionary Biologist Georgina Cullman studies the ways people think about the conservation of nature.