Discovery Outreach wants to demystify research for kids and adults

Imagine posing a choice of activities to a class of seventh-graders as a reward for getting to class on time: Would you rather go bowling, watch a movie or do some science?

Nineteen students from Cherokee Middle School voted overwhelmingly for a science field trip, says Travis Tangen, education and outreach manager at Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation Discovery Outreach. As a result, they visited the Wisconsin Institutes for Discovery on University Avenue last December, where they took a workshop on computer-assisted design, designed obstacle courses and even fabricated prototypes. Learn more >


Photo courtesy of Cellular Dynamics International
Photo courtesy of Cellular Dynamics International

Reluctant star of stem cell research

America’s most celebrated bioscientist around the turn of this century was James Thomson. He was the face of the new stem cell era, which he launched with a landmark experiment at the University of Wisconsin in 1998 – extracting from very early human embryos cells that had the potential to become any specialised tissue in the body.

Unlike some star scientists, Thomson did not enjoy his celebrity. All the media work – covering not only the science but also the ethics of embryonic stem cell research at a time when it was embroiled in controversy – was an unwelcome distraction from his lab experiments. So he has since withdrawn as far as possible from press attention.  Read more >