Science Week: Dr. John DeTraglia & Mike Caleo
Power Words (Vocabulary)
Algorithm - A group of rules or procedures for solving a problem in a series of steps. Algorithms are used in mathematics and in computer programs for figuring out solutions.
Biometrics - A group of technologies used to identify people on the basis of measuring biological features that are unique to them. Fingerprints are a prime example of a biometric technology.
Vaccine - A biological mixture that resembles a disease-causing agent. It is given to help the body create immunity to a particular disease.
Wavelength - The distance between one peak and the next in a series of waves, or the distance between one trough and the next. Visible light — which, like all electromagnetic radiation, travels in waves — includes wavelengths between about 380 nanometers (violet) and about 740 nanometers (red). Radiation with wavelengths shorter than visible light includes gamma rays, X-rays and ultraviolet light. Longer-wavelength radiation includes infrared light, microwaves and radio waves.
Evolution - (v. to evolve) A process by which species undergo changes over time, usually through genetic variation and natural selection. These changes usually result in a new type of organism better suited for its environment than the earlier type. The newer type is not necessarily more “advanced,” just better adapted to the conditions in which it developed.
Extinct - An adjective that describes a species for which there are no living members.
Fossil - Any preserved remains or traces of ancient life. There are many different types of fossils: The bones and other body parts of dinosaurs are called “body fossils.” Things like footprints are called “trace fossils.” Even specimens of dinosaur poop are fossils. The process of forming fossils is called fossilization.
Genus - A group of closely related species. For example, the genus Canis — which is Latin for “dog” — includes all domestic breeds of dog and their closest wild relatives, including wolves, coyotes, jackals and dingoes.
Paleontologist - A scientist who specializes in studying fossils, the remains of ancient organisms.
Predator - (adjective: predatory) A creature that preys on other animals for most or all of its food.
Trait - A characteristic feature of something. (in genetics) A quality or characteristic that can be inherited.
Vertebrate - The group of animals with a brain, two eyes, and a stiff nerve cord or backbone running down the back. This group includes all fish, amphibians, reptiles, birds, and mammals.