The sewer gnat is a common nuisance around kitchen and bathroom drains that’s no bigger than a pea. But magnified thousands of times, its compound eyes and bushy antennae resemble a first place winner in a Movember mustache contest.
The era of the lonely genius is over. These days, research success usually requires teams of scholars, often crossing over departments, disciplines or continents, who combine their unique tools and tactics to take on previously insurmountable problems.
Duke’s Office of the Vice Provost for Research recently invited data scientists from around the university to mine the vast Scholars@Duke database to create visualizations that show these teams and “capture the richness and dynamism” of scholarly networks at Duke.
A Duke University research team has applied mathematical modeling techniques to develop a novel, nonpartisan way to assess the fairness of congressional districts.
The team led by mathematics professor Jonathan Mattingly found that states with independent redistricting commissions, such as Iowa, had statistically fairer results than states with partisan redistricting systems, such as North Carolina and Maryland.
The fortified Toyota Land Cruiser slipped and bounced in the muddy hollows of the rain-drenched Mongolian steppe. The driver, a native Mongolian man named Inka who spoke little English, slowly engineered the vehicle along what just two days earlier was a dusty pair of dirt tracks.
In the back seat of the Cruiser, Duke master of science in global health students Laura Pulscher and Thomas Moore braced themselves during the ride as best they could, relaxing when Inka stopped the vehicle to ask a goat herder for directions.
This stunning 3D “snapshot” of Duke Chapel’s interior was built using digital cameras and a whole lot of computing power – no fancy scanners required. Back in May, a team led by CLIR post-doctoral fellow Edward Triplett captured more than 3000 photos of the chapel’s sanctuary.
Less than three months after devastating floods washed over parts of South Carolina, Duke’s ResearchMobile trundled down to Columbia, one of the hardest-hit areas, and set up shop in the parking lot of a shuttered Piggly Wiggly. Eight Duke students and two faculty spent part of their winter break to sit down with locals in a cubicle in the upfitted RV and say, “Tell us about what happened and how it affected you.”
This 3D scan of the fossilized hand of Australopithecus sediba, a human ancestor whose two-million-year-old remains were discovered in a South African cave, is one of nearly 9,000 fossil scans available for download at MorphoSource.org. Visitors to the site can zoom in or out and rotate the fossil scans, download them and even make their own physical copies to hold in their hands using 3-D printing.
Some people have thousands of Facebook friends, while most do not. The same popularity principle applies to websites, baby names and books, studies show. But restaurants may be different, finds Tony Tong of the Duke Network Analysis Center. Using the number of comments a restaurant receives as a measure of its popularity, Tong analyzed nearly 60,000 restaurants in New York City. The top 5,000 most popular restaurants appear in yellow.