SVConnections May 2016
July 2020
On June 24 bipartisan legislation was to authorize billions in funding to U.S. researchers who have been impacted by the pandemic. The Research Investment to Spark the Economy (RISE) Act authorizes approximately $26 billion in emergency relief for federal science agencies – such as the Department of Health and Human Services, Department of Agriculture, Department of Energy, Environmental Protection Agency, National Science Foundation and others – to award to research universities, independent institutions, and national laboratories to continue working on federally-funded research projects. 

SVC is endorsing the push t o generate significant social media attention in support of the bill. Here is sample text for social media posts and/or tweets:

  • Bipartisan lawmakers just introduced the #RISEAct to provide $26 billion in #ResearchRelief for projects that have been impacted by COVID-19.
  • Thank you @RepDianaDeGette, @RepFredUpton, @RepEBJ, @RepFrankLucas, @RepAnnaEshoo & @RepAGonzalez for your support of our researchers.

The Race for COVID-19 Solutions

By Abigail Malate, Inside Science

New tests, masks, and ventilators developed this month may help fight the pandemic. Around the world, people in medical and engineering laboratories are working tirelessly to address the COVID-19 pandemic. To alleviate widespread shortages of effective tests, masks and ventilators, researchers and engineers have rushed to develop novel technologies that healthcare professionals may be able to use. We feature some of the newest designs this month . READ FULL ARTICLE.

All Black Holes Should Sport Light Rings

 By Yuen Yiu, Inside Science

Theoretical astrophysicists predict that a glowing halo just outside the event horizon should surround all black holes. When the black hole Gargantuan first appeared onscreen in the 2014 blockbuster “ Interstellar ,” nobody had seen a black hole yet. Without a real-life image for reference, the visual effects artists who worked on the movie collaborated with astrophysicists to ensure their onscreen creation would look close to what the universe has in store for us. READ FULL ARTICLE.

Image credits: NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center / Jeremy Schnittman
A Sweaty Update to the Mood Ring

By Yuen Yiu, Inside Science

Testers who wore these devices that track sweatiness found the data useful for monitoring emotions and managing stress. Remember mood rings -- the beachfront gift shop trinkets that change their shimmering colors depending on your body temperature? Researchers presented an updated version at the virtual conference Human Factors in Computing Systems. Their  findings  were also previously published in Transactions in Computer-Human Interaction. READ FULL ARTICLE.

Image credits: Katie Ruiz
Why Training with Heavier or Lighter Baseballs Could Help Pitchers Throw Faster

 By Marcus Woo , Inside Science

Could using lighter-weight balls in practice be a safer way to speed up a pitcher's arm -- and the ball?   For today's baseball pitchers, velocity is king. The average speed of a major league fastball in 2019 was 93.4 mph, compared with 90.9 mph in 2008, according to  FanGraphs . Such unprecedented speed is  changing the game  -- and the drive to throw ever faster may also be risking the safety of younger players dreaming of the majors. . READ FULL ARTICLE.

Image credits: aceshot1/ Shutterstock
Upgraded LIGO Detector Could See Black Holes Being Thrown Out of Galaxies

By Meredith Fore, Inside Science

Scientists may soon be able to observe a dramatic, long-predicted consequence of Einstein’s theory of general relativity.   When a bullet is fired from a gun, the gun recoils to compensate for the bullet’s momentum. This conservation of momentum still applies when the most massive objects in the universe -- black holes -- collide and merge with each other. During these mergers, recoils can be powerful enough to send the merged black hole flying out of its home galaxy, at speeds of up to 10,000,000 miles per hour.  READ FULL ARTICLE.

Image credits : NASA
How a Strategy Based on Testing Helped Eradicate the Smallpox Virus

By Joel Shurkin, Inside Science

The ghost of an ancient disease could inform the fight against COVID-19.   "Testing, testing, testing" has become the mantra of the fight against the coronavirus. Scientific experts all seem to agree the virus cannot be controlled without adequate testing.
If you want to know why, think of Ali Maow Maalin.   READ FULL ARTICLE.

I mage credits: CDC/ Dr. Michael Schwartz
Rights information: Public Domain
Hummingbird Vision Hints at Compound Colors Outside the Normal Spectrum

By Charles Q. Choi , Inside Science

Hummingbirds can distinguish blends of color that we see as ordinary hues. Hummingbirds can see colors humans can only imagine, an ability that now sheds light on an extra dimension of animal vision, a new study finds. READ FULL ARTICLE.

Image credits: Ramona Edwards/ Shutterstock
Why Artificial Brains Need Sleep

By Charles Q. Choi, Inside Science

Like biological brains, artificial neural networks may depend on slow-wave sleep for learning.   Artificial brains may need deep sleep in order to keep stable, a new study finds, much as real brains do. READ FULL ARTICLE.

Image credits: welcomia/ Shutterstock
Getting Inside the Way Sports Teams Should Make Decisions -- And the Biases That Lead Them Astray

By Chris Gorski , Inside Science

A conversation with baseball writer Keith Law. The decisions made by baseball teams are prone to many biases. For example, teams may be too optimistic about how well a player will perform after signing a huge contract, or they may put too much emphasis on the most recent data about a player's performance. There are many ways that cognitive biases influence how decisions are made, in sports and our everyday lives. Senior baseball writer Keith Law of The Athletic discusses these topics in his new book " The Inside Game ." READ FULL ARTICLE.

Image credits: David Lee/Shutterstock
When Scientists Find Nothing: The Value of Null Results

 By Yuen Yiu, Inside Science

Science is an endeavor of trial and error. Can we find a better way to share the "erroneous" trials? How long would it have taken Edison to invent the lightbulb if he and his team of workers hadn’t keep track of all the failures? From platinum filaments to animal hair, his team built a library of thousands of materials before patenting carbonized bamboo as the best material. Decades more would pass before Hungarian Sándor Just and Croatian Franjo Hanaman identified tungsten, the type of filament still used in incandescent lightbulbs today, as an even better material. READ FULL ARTICLE.

Image credits: Yuen Yiu
Rights information: American Institute of Physics
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Smart Speakers Could Detect Cardiac Arrest

By Emilie Lorditch , Inside Science

A new skill for a smart speaker -- Google Home or Amazon’s Alexa may listen for signs of cardiac arrest.   A cardiac arrest can happen suddenly, and patients can become unresponsive and either stop breathing or gasp for air, making a sound known as agonal breathing. Researchers at the University of Washington have developed a way for a smart speaker, like the Google Home or Amazon’s Alexa, or even your smartphone, to detect the gasping sound of agonal breathing and call for help.   WATCH VIDEO.
Monkeys Don’t Trust Bad Avatars

By Joshua Learn, Inside Science

Monkeys’ reactions to computer-generated videos suggest they, like humans, suffer from the creepy “uncanny valley” effect. Whether it’s an android, computer graphics in a movie, or a  live Tupac hologram , animated representations of people can sometimes creep viewers out if the images don’t seem quite right. Now, new research suggests that monkeys may get creeped out by bad imitations, too . READ FULL ARTICLE.

Image credits : Stig Berge via  Flickr
Striving to MAKE A DIFFERENCE in the lives of our students.

One of the SVC’s long-term goals has always been to support charitable, educational, and scientific activities. As its first initiative, the Foundation created a scholarship program aimed at supporting enterprising students and practitioners who have an interest in furthering their education in the field of vacuum coating technology. 
The Foundation also grants travel awards to students to attend and present technical papers at the annual SVC Technical Symposium. Since its inception, both programs have awarded over $250,000 in scholarships to students from the United States, Canada, China, Lithuania and Spain.
Society of Vacuum Coaters | PO Box 10628, Albuquerque, NM 87184

 Phone 505/897-7743  | Fax 866/577-2407 | |