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Many air pollution monitors require a long optical path for making accurate measurements. This usually dictates large fixed instruments that sometimes resort to folding optics like Herriott cells.
NASA has come up with a clever way to make a physically small but optically long path using a cylindrical cavity that could be precsion machined in an aluminum billet. A varity of pollution monitoring tools could be inexpensive and potentially accurate. This kind of precision maching isn't cheap, but Apple has the manufacturing chops to make these cavities at scale. Not that they'd do it, but it would make a wonderful addition to their phones and pads - imagine if every edu iPad came with one. The density of pollution measurements would could improve by several orders of magnitude.
Greg notes the Journal of Emerging Investigators - a science journal for middle and high school students. Students submit their work and receive feedback. With the appropriate mentorship this could be good.
from their about:
The Journal of Emerging Investigators is an open-access journal that publishes original research in the biological and physical sciences that is written by middle and high school students. JEI provides students, under the guidance of a teacher or advisor, the opportunity to submit and gain feedback on original research and to publish their findings in a peer-reviewed scientific journal. Because grade-school students often lack access to formal research institutions, we expect that the work submitted by students may come from classroom-based projects, science fair projects, or other forms of mentor-supervised research.
JEI is a non-profit group run and operated by graduate students at Harvard University. JEI also provides the opportunity for graduate students to participate in the editorial, review, and publication process. Our hope is that JEI will serve as an exciting new forum to engage young students in a novel kind of science education that nurtures the development and achievements of young scientists throughout the country.
"There are very, very few African-American astrophysics PhDs," Tyson toldAlcalde, an alumni magazine for the University of Texas, Austin, where he studied for a time during graduate school. "That's for a reason. I was doing something people of my skin color were not supposed to do. So people who believed in me, like Sagan, were important."
Tyson has talked a lot about the casual racism he experienced at UT. ("I was stopped and questioned seven times by University police on my way into the physics building," he said. "Seven times. Zero times was I stopped going into the gym — and I went to the gym a lot. That says all you need to know about how welcome I felt at Texas." But he said that race was only at the edges of why he didn't excel there.)