Virginia Tech® home

Science Corner

Featured Columns by Faculty in the Roanoke Times

  • Redirect Item
    Austin Gray: What should we know about plastics? , redirect

    As an aquatic toxicologist, I am asked regularly, “So what do you do exactly?” Simply put, I investigate how chemicals and hazardous materials impact aquatic habitats. Less than 1% of fresh surface water is available to us, making it an extremely valuable resource. Unfortunately, our investigations have also discovered a diversity of chemicals and plastic materials in our freshwater. Plastic pollution has garnered considerable attention. What are the misconceptions about plastic and do I use it?

  • Redirect Item
    Charles Calderwood: Complexities in commuting , redirect

    Imagine that you are walking to your car after a particularly stressful day at work. Or perhaps instead, your day got off to a bad start with a crowded bus ride into the office. Do the experiences that we have during our workday affect our behavior and perhaps even influence our safety when commuting home? Can a difficult commute to the office undermine our ability to have a happy, healthy, and productive day at work?

  • Redirect Item
    John Morris: Particles in the Air , redirect

    Take a deep breath … now consider, for a moment, the chemical compounds that have filled your lungs. Depending on where you live and your immediate surroundings, you may have inhaled more than 1,000 particles. Can we forecast air quality to guide industry, policy, or the best time of day to go for a drive along the Blue Ridge Parkway?

  • Redirect Item
    Kevin Pitts: Research is generating new knowledge , redirect

    The more we know, the better we do. This has been proven true throughout history. As humans have continued to gain knowledge at a remarkable rate, today we enjoy life expectancies and a standard of living that were unimaginable 100 years ago. But exactly how did these advances take place? How have we been able to continue to gain knowledge and develop new technologies and medical interventions?

  • Redirect Item
    Sujith Vijayan: To sleep, perchance to learn , redirect

    Most of us probably have been told at some point in our lives to “sleep on it” or to “get a good night’s sleep.” But have you ever wondered, perhaps a little annoyed: Why should I sleep on it? Or why do I need to sleep at all? It turns out that sleep is important for many different reasons — some of which you might never have dreamed of.

  • Redirect Item
    Meryl Mims: Are bullfrogs a sound of summer or sign of trouble? , redirect

    Summer in Southwest Virginia is full of sights, scents, and sounds we associate with our home. For example, you will likely hear the familiar, low, repetitive call of the American bullfrog. Unfortunately, the bullfrog songs that are a hallmark of our freshwater habitats in the eastern United States are a sign of trouble elsewhere.

  • Redirect Item
    Sudipta Sarangi: A little bit of game theory for decision-making , redirect

    Game theory, a branch of applied mathematics, has its origins in parlor games, but is widely used today in many disciplines such as economics and computer science. It is the systematic study of any rule-governed situation, where the outcome depends on the actions of multiple people. Examples range from simple games like Tic-Tac-Toe and Rock, Paper, Scissors all the way to mega-companies like Coke and Pepsi competing to sell their products.

  • Redirect Item
    Dimitrios Nikolopoulos: A way to democratize AI , redirect

    Doing AI in the small is valuable to many people who do not have the means to use and benefit from Big Tech AI. It might also be safer if people do not have to share their data with Big Tech companies for the sake of building new AI models that benefit only a few. Miniaturizing AI can be about rural communities that do not have good broadband internet access or the latest personal devices.

  • Redirect Item
    Tina Dura: Revealing clues of Earth's turbulent past , redirect

    The detective work required to reconstruct the history of past earthquakes is conducted by coastal paleoseismologists. Cascadia’s coastlines act as natural seismographs, recording the footprints of past earthquakes and tsunamis through various geological clues.