Hartley Hoskins is a geophysicist and communications engineer who has worked for the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute since 1958. Last month, he gave me a behind-the-scenes tour of the places where WHOI's maker/scientists build the research equipment they use from scratch. In this short clip, aboard the research vessel Oceanus, he talks about the special steel cables Oceanus uses to raise and lower scientific equipment, and how ocean research can push even the best tools to their limits.
You can hear more from Hoskins at WHOI's oral history website. Read the rest
There are things you can't buy at Radioshack. There is not always an App for that. Sometimes, the only way to make something work is to build it yourself.
Nobody knows that better than scientists.
From physicists tracking a particle, to taxonomists identifying a new species of wasp, to chemists creating a useful molecule—nearly every discovery you read about in the paper began with the researchers creating the tools they needed to test their own hypotheses. In the lab, DIY isn't just a hobby. It's part of the job.
And Alvin, a research submersible owned by the U.S. Navy and operated by the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute, is one of the most successful scientist DIY projects ever. Launched in 1964, Alvin was part of a trend. At the time, everybody wanted their own deep-sea-worthy mini-submarine. But, almost 50 years later, Alvin is one of the few still in use. The little research vessel that could, Alvin was made—and is regularly re-made—by the very people who use it. Read the rest