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Ainissa G. Ramirez, Ph.D.
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Ainissa G. Ramirez, Ph.D. is dedicated to making science understandable to the general public. Before taking on the call to popularize science, she was a mechanical engineering professor at Yale University for ten years. She is the author of Save Our Science (TED Books), which is based on her TED talk. She also co-wrote with Allen St. John the forthcoming title, Newton’s Football (Random House), which looks at the stealthy science behind the game. (

Entries by Ainissa G. Ramirez, Ph.D.

Deflated Footballs: Mother Nature Didn't Do It

(35) Comments | Posted January 25, 2015 | 10:57 AM

Unless you are Rip van Winkle, you are well aware that the footballs in the game in New England were underinflated. There is talk that the weather is to blame. If you run the numbers, the equation looks like this:


To do...

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What You Should Know about the SAT, But Were Afraid to Ask

(1) Comments | Posted March 7, 2014 | 12:14 PM

Robert Yerkes had a problem. It was the early 1910s and his beloved field of psychology was stuck. Psychology was considered a "soft" science and Yerkes wanted to show that this field was rigorous. To give psychology more legitimacy and gravitas as a "hard" science, Yerkes had to demonstrate that...

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Super Bowl, Super Cold

(0) Comments | Posted January 30, 2014 | 5:48 PM

The Super Bowl at the Meadowlands in February is not just a matchup between two teams, but a battle between humans and the elements. The cold temperatures for this Super Bowl might not be polar-vortex-like temperatures, but they will certainly change the dynamic of the game in several ways compared...

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Football's Paradigm Shift: Ban the Helmet

(19) Comments | Posted December 13, 2013 | 11:49 AM

Football needs an intervention. It's like our favorite uncle, who we know has a problem that the family has long ignored. But, now we've reached a crisis that we can't overlook -- an epidemic in concussions and a link to degenerative brain diseases caused by tackling with the head.

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Are There Genetic Markers for Concussions?

(6) Comments | Posted December 6, 2013 | 10:28 PM

In an age when talk shows like The Maury Povich Show use genetic testing to determine paternity, surely there must be ways to use genetic testing for more than day-time entertainment, no? Well, there are. For one, researchers have found links between certain genes and a football player's susceptibility to...

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Why Don't Woodpeckers Get Concussions?

(13) Comments | Posted November 25, 2013 | 6:35 PM

Woodpeckers peck about 12,000 times a day. They bang their heads into trees an amazing 20 times per second, which raises the question: Why don't they get concussions?

Looking at how animals mitigate head trauma was a question that my co-author, Allen St. John, and I asked while writing...

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What Henry Ford Can Teach Us About Nanotechnology

(0) Comments | Posted September 3, 2013 | 1:30 PM

We are embarking on the age of the very small--nanotechnology. By miniaturizing matter, science fact will look like science fiction. Very soon we will create human tissue, make super-fast computers, and invent new cures building them atom-by-atom. Despite how mind-boggling the future will be, there are many lessons it can...

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