Science, Technology, Engineering, Math – Which part of STEM are you?
Check back as more STEM studies and careers are posted at our Science Gallery!
With human population growth and limited supplies of food and water, the agricultural scientist and engineer will have numerous problems to solve in the future. Agricultural research involves biology and molecular genetics to study plants combined with engineering to develop systems that improve plant growth.
An archaeological dig provides answers to history questions but it takes the science behind archaeology and anthropology along with forensic science to carry out a thorough investigation at the dig and then describe how that history happened. Archaeology uses analytical techniques like Carbon-13 dating to determine the age of an artifact and DNA testing to determine ancestry. By uncovering species from the past, they piece together family trees and theories on evolution.
A telescope focused on the night sky captures the data an astronomer will study. Astronomy looks beyond our atmosphere at planets, comets, stars, black holes, galaxies and the dust and gasses that fill the universe. The astronomer uses the data collected to form theories about our universe, how it was formed, and how it is changing.
Dust particles in the atmosphere travel around the world and weather patterns developing in one area, impact another. The atmospheric scientist studies the air currents and they use physics to analyze the effects of temperature, humidity, and air flow and predict what might occur. Atmospheric scientists provide insight on common things like weather, unusual things like the outcome of a volcano eruption, and critical things like global warming.
The biochemist brings knowledge of biology and chemistry together to understand the chemical nature of living things. The study the molecular make-up of cells in plants, animals and humans. Biochemistry is used to help understand diseases and their causes and identify drugs that might aid or cure a person. In agriculture, the biochemist works with plants and looks at the effects of chemicals like herbicides and fertilizers.
The foundation of all Life Sciences, Biology focuses on understanding and describing living things. Biologists can be found working in parks and reserves where they study and protect plants and wildlife. Others work in medical or pharmaceutical labs to solve problems on human health issues.
Biomedical engineers help to advance medical technology. Working with medical doctors and researchers familiar with the human body, these engineers use their practical knowledge of physics, mechanics, electrical engineering, and computer science to turn challenges into solutions.
Living organisms contain a multitude of cells and each one is specialized. The cell biologist studies the role of the cell, whether in a plant or animal or human. Working with stem cells, the cell biologist hopes to use cell therapy to improve the outcome of people with challenging medical conditions.
A chemist works at the molecular level, and smaller. They understand the tiny atom and the subatomic particles it contains and putting atoms together, the chemist creates recipes to make new molecules. These compounds developed by chemists may one day have uses in your home or as a new medicine. They might be a new material to use in solar panels or batteries, or new plastic for construction or automobiles.
The manufacture of a chemical, whether one hundred pounds or one million pounds, requires the skills of a chemical engineer. They work at plants that produce tons of material a day and in pharmaceutical settings making drugs in sterile clean room environments. The chemical engineer understand the mechanical equipment needed, the mixing technology required, and how to maintain temperatures while chemical reactions occur in the process.
It takes great engineering to turn ideas into realities. Engineers play critical roles helping to build the largest structures to the smallest circuits. They manufacture new materials and composites, build with metals and plastics, they manipulate electricity, harness wind energy, and make it possible to travel underwater, through the sky, or into space.
A crime scene is full of secrets that the forensic scientist must unravel. They have to gather information to help piece together a hypothesis about what happened. They use biology and analytical chemistry to study and match DNA and identify materials at the crime scene. They use physics to under the path and impact of a bullet or to estimate the weight of an individual from the depth of a footprint.
Geology is the study of the earth and its structure and make-up, from the rocks to the rivers. The geologist studies the forces that act on the earth and change it. They understand the history that shaped this planet, how continents shifted, and how water and ice carved the landscape we see today. The geologist also looks at the living things that inhabit the earth (past and present) and their impact.
Beneath the ocean is another world of plants and animals that still holds unexplored wonders. This is the world of the marine biologist. The information brought back about the unique plants and animals the live underwater can provide new understanding and offer up ideas that can be used on dry land.
The satellite image shows a super storm. Meteorology is the study of the Earth's atmosphere and the weather patters that develop. Meteorology relies on the physics of air flow and the effects of temperature to determine and predict weather patterns.
DNA is a building block that carries with it the genetic information necessary for the cell. The molecular geneticist works on small genetic portions of the DNA strand that lead to disease or health in humans. They study ways to change a disease pathway with drug therapy.
The brain is the new frontier in human research. Neuroscientists are imaging the amazing organ and are developing a greater understanding of the human brain and how it changes from infancy to adulthood. Through medical research on the brain, issues like Alzheimer's may one day be eliminated.
The zoologist studies animals in the wild or in captivity and often works to help animals survive in a changing environments. Breeding programs at leading zoos aid animals on the brink of extinction and zoological research in the field has helped reintroduce native animal species where their population had dwindled.