The best answer to any question.

Aug. 13 2016 7:04 AM

What Are the Differences Between Teaching Undergraduate and Graduate Students?

Answer by Elizabeth H. Simmons, dean, professor, ACE fellow, physicist:

As a physics professor, I’ve taught students at every level in the university from freshman nonmajors through doctoral students.

The pedagogical tools are similar at all levels, in that active-learning methods are the most effective for promoting deep understanding and mastery. One should use pure lecture as sparingly as one can and do as much as possible to get the students talking and applying material right in the classroom. However, it is far easier to come up with classroom tabletop demonstrations for elementary courses than for advanced ones (those tend to get rather heavily mathematical), so the particular kinds of active learning one employs shift from the hand-on to the calculational and conceptual as one moves from freshmen through graduate students.

Aug. 12 2016 7:09 AM

How Does NASA Use Underwater Missions to Prepare for Space?

Answer by Robert Frost, instructor and flight controller in the flight operations directorate at NASA, on Quora:

The NASA Extreme Environment Mission Operations, or NEEMO, project has a charter to extend human presence across the solar system by the affordable and innovative use of spaceflight analogs.

Aug. 11 2016 7:04 AM

Does Clark Kent Become Superman, or Does Superman Become Clark Kent?

Answer by Elliot S. Maggin, principal writer of the comic book series, 1971–86:

Most of the latter-day Superman writers, and several of my own contemporaries, come down on the side of the notion that Clark is the real person and Superman is just what he can do. I don't agree with that at all, and here's why:

Aug. 10 2016 7:02 AM

What Is Jeff Bezos’ Biggest Mistake at Amazon?

Answer by Auren Hoffman, CEO of SafeGraph:

One big mistake that Amazon is making right now is that it is not giving anyone access to its data, customer relationships, and so on.

Amazon’s strategy has been to own 100 percent of the transaction—and that has worked out really well for them thus far. But it has an opportunity to power every e-commerce transaction by providing access to easy login, payments, authentication, and data on every buyer. It could make everyone’s e-commerce experience much, much better. Not only would that give Amazon more access to the pie, it will significantly grow the pie because it would provide a lubricant to make all e-commerce transactions (especially in mobile) better.

Aug. 9 2016 7:07 AM

How Has Elizabeth Holmes’ Gender Influenced the Coverage of Theranos?

Answer by Tirumalai Kamala, immunologist, Ph.D. mycobacteriology:

Theranos started in 2003, yet breathless news coverage about it and Elizabeth Holmes began 10 years later, around August or September 2013. This begs the question: What was happening at Theranos between 2003 and 2013? What had Holmes and Theranos done in those 10 years? We may never fully know, but we have ample media coverage to help outline what we've learned about Theranos since 2013. When the news media first introduced us to Holmes, Theranos had assembled a board of political heavyweights with heft among deep-pocketed people around the world and attracted steadily increasing investment. It also announced a partnership to open Theranos Wellness Centers inside Walgreens drug stores—the first one in Palo Alto, California, in September 2013, and it expanded to several more in the Phoenix area a month later.

Aug. 8 2016 7:11 AM

What’s It Like to Play Chess at the Grandmaster Level?

Answer by John Fernandez, 2133 FIDE:

It's really hard. Grandmasters are very good. I'm only going to speak to my “classical” tournament games (six-hour time control) versus GMs. I've been fortunate enough to have many of these games, including four draws with GMs in classical tournament games.

Aug. 6 2016 7:03 AM

Why Are Younger People More Creative Than Adults?

Answer by Paul King, director of data science at Quora, computational neuroscientist:

Children have a more active imagination than adults, and young adults are less constrained by their own prior patterns of thought.

As people become “good at life,” they develop habits of thought that serve them well. These habits are thought styles that “work” (get results, impress people, carry us through difficult situations). As we accumulate “thought techniques,” three things happen.

Aug. 5 2016 7:04 AM

How Should Students Who Want to Study Computer Science Prepare for College?

Answer by Ben Y. Zhao, professor of computer science, on Quora:

When in high school and preparing for a career in computer science, a few things come to mind that might be helpful.

First, you need to make sure that you can get into the major. That is an increasingly nontrivial challenge. If you get into elite schools such as the Ivies, Stanford, Duke, or MIT, you shouldn’t have a problem choosing your own major. But at many public universities, it is increasingly hard to get into CS because of the sheer demand by incoming undergrads. You need to make sure that your application is strong enough to get into the CS major if the school separates admission by major.

Aug. 4 2016 7:09 AM

How Is Wasting Water Bad for the Environment?

Answer by Ava Mohsenin, communications associate at WaterNow Alliance, onQuora:

Yes, wasting water is actually bad for the environment. There are anthropocentric, biocentric, and ecocentric reasons why wasting water is bad.

Anthropocentrically, fresh water is a vital resource for the survival of our population. Seeing as less than 1 percent of the world’s water is freshwater and available for us to consume (not trapped in glaciers), there are limitations that factor into our carrying capacity as a population on Earth, including the availability and distribution of freshwater. Different countries are endowed with different stocks of freshwater, and depending on their replenishment rate and usage rate, each has varying degrees of water scarcity that need to be addressed.

Aug. 3 2016 7:09 AM

Is Tesla Gearing Up to Compete With Uber?

Answer by Jeremy Arnold, business analyst:

Here’s the thing about Elon Musk: He doesn’t spend a lot of energy worrying about what others are up to. His focus is on evolution, on creating the future. I don’t suspect that Tesla’s market position vis-à-vis Uber was really a consideration when he wrote his blog post outlining his new master plan. He just came up with a blueprint he felt was the right solution for a significant problem. When you’re the one birthing the industry, competition is a healthy symptom of your own success.