Now that we’re all carrying tiny computers around in our pockets, we have a universe of data at our fingertips. Most people use the easily accessible sum total of human knowledge to keep up with the Kardashians, but not you. While everyone else is playing Bombcats, you’re reading Scientific American or boning up on your chemical equations.
Your Android device is not just a computer, but a super computer feeding your hungry mind. And what is your mind hungry for? Science. Let us help satisfy your cravings with our list of the 10 best Android apps for the science enthusiast, arranged in no particular order, so you can start learning something new or delve more deeply into your pet discipline.
1. arXiv mobile
You can thank the Cornell University Library for open access to over 800,000 scientific papers in the areas of Physics, Mathematics, Computer Science, Quantitative Biology, Quantitative Finance and Statistics. See what’s new in the world of science or search for papers by topic, title or author – you can even set alerts so you never miss a new submission in your favorite branch. (Free or buy the support edition for $1.99 to help keep arXiv running)
The Higgs Boson was briefly a hot topic in mainstream news, but real science enthusiasts never stopped loving it. This app puts you in the middle of the action happening in the Large Hadron Collider at CERN by beaming live collision events from Geneva right to your tablet so you can ooh and ahh over them in 3D. If you’ve ever wondered how the Hadron Collider does its thing, you can explore different parts of the detector, learn about special collisions, and even Hunt the Higgs yourself in a cool in-app game. (Free)
Love physics, but still learning? Or maybe you just need a handy on-the-go reference guide when Kepler’s Second Law comes up at pub trivia. In either case, Learn Physics is a compilation of snack-sized chapters that take you from angles of incidence to zero point energy – with a look at everything in between. Download it to brush up on the basics or start absorbing the “first science”. ($1.99)
If drawing chemical structures is your thing, you can take it to the next level on the go with this app. View your molecular creations in 3D, generate an empirical formula, calculate the monoisotopic mass, simulate NMR spectra and more. When you need a snapshot of a molecule in all its glory fast in the lab or just because, it’s at your fingertips. (Free with the purchase of ChemDoodle desktop or with Guest account)
5. 3D Brain
Part of what’s cool about the human brain is that it can think about itself. This interactive app is for anyone who has a fascination with the organ that makes us who we are. Rotate and zoom to discover everything you’ve ever wanted to know about your brain, from what different regions do to exactly what happens when those areas are injured. On top of that, you get access to case studies and links to modern research related to the brain’s myriad structures. (Free)
Tech and knowledge come together in this mobile learning app that lets you satisfy your curiosity about any scientific subject at the breakfast table, during your evening commute or anywhere else. Mobento serves up carefully curated content from TED, Yale, Stanford, Khan Academy, NASA, and other institutions so you can spend more time learning and less time wading through the clutter. (Free)
7. ISS Detector
When is a star not really a star? When it’s the International Space Station! If you download the ISS Detector you’ll always know when the ISS will be visible overhead and if weather conditions are right for space station spotting. This app can also predict the brilliant, but brief Iridium flares that occur when satellites in a low Earth orbit reflect the sun’s rays. (Free)
Now that NASA’s shuttle fleet has been grounded, downloading this app is probably the only way to try your hand at flying this iconic craft. You’re right in the cockpit, taking her in for a landing at Edwards Air Force Base or Kennedy Space Center. It’s a tough game, and it only gets harder – once you master shuttle landings in ideal conditions, it’s time to tackle night landings and rough weather. ($3.99)
9. The Night Sky
This is one of the best sky watching apps out there for tablets and other Android devices. Whenever you want to quickly ID a feature of the night sky, just point your phone or tablet at the star, planet, or unidentified object and the Night Sky app will tell you exactly what you’re looking at. An optional add-on info pack lets you find out more about natural and man-made celestial features. ($0.99 or free for the lite version)
And last, but certainly not least…
So much more than a search engine, this app puts the Wolfram|Alpha knowledge engine into the palm of your hand. From mathematics to data analysis to physics, chemistry, engineering and more, scientific knowledge is more accessible than ever. Results to queries and computations are curated from over 10 trillion pieces of data and over 50,000 algorithms and equations. Wow, right? This is as close as you’ll come in 2013 to the near-omniscient Star Trek computer. ($2.99)
By Jessica Oaks
Author Bio: Jessica is a freelance journalist and blogger who loves to write about technology news and the ways that technology makes life easier.