A step towards the primordial soup

How did life originate? This puzzle has been studied by scientists for hundreds of years. Authors of a new paper in Nature have made significant progress towards solving this enigma by using cyanide as a starting material. While cyanide may be poisonous to us, mixing it with a specific chemical solution and heat seems to give rise to many of the molecules of life. A … Continue reading A step towards the primordial soup

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The Air We Breathe: An assessment of urban air pollution

Presented by Jordan Wilkerson Whether we are in China or here in the United States, the air in major cities is infamous for its unpleasant haze and resulting health problems. There are many ways in which an unhealthy mixture of chemicals can make it into the atmosphere where humans live and breathe. This lecture will discuss some of the most famous of these pollutants, what … Continue reading The Air We Breathe: An assessment of urban air pollution

Crystallized Relief

Crystallized Relief

Image by Don W. Pottle This is an image of crystals of aspirin with caffeine.   An Excedrin tablet was crushed in water and allowed to dissolve.   Drops of the solution were placed on a glass microscope slide and allowed to dry.  Examining and photographing the resulting crystals using a  60X oil immersion lens and DIC  (Differential Interference Contrast) filters produced these spindle-like images.  The spindles … Continue reading Crystallized Relief

The Chemical Structure of DNA

New route to the origin of life? Probably not.

From Scientists recreate what may be life’s first spark How did life originate? This puzzle has been studied by scientists for hundreds of years. Authors of a >new paper in PNAS claim to have found a clue: they bombarded a chemical (formamide) found on the earth around the time life arose with high energy laser to simulate a meteor impact. They then looked for and … Continue reading New route to the origin of life? Probably not.

Cash register receipts. Photograph by Hey Paul Studios (Flickr).

Cash Register Receipts and Clean Hands

Bisphenol A (BPA) is a chemical compound that has been used in the production of plastics, including cell phones, contact lenses, and food storage containers, for over 50 years. Scientists have recently shown that the BPA found on cash register receipts (to help develop the printed text) may be a significant source of BPA exposure, thanks to our generous use of hand sanitizers and other skin care products. That’s because hand sanitizers contain ingredients that dissolve BPA, and also increase the skin’s ability to absorb the chemical. Although further studies and larger sample sizes will be necessary to conclude whether BPA is a true hazard, this finding suggests that certain populations, such as cashiers, may be exposed to higher than average amounts of BPA on a regular basis – and keeping hands clean may not be helping. Continue reading Cash Register Receipts and Clean Hands

AfricanInnovators_SeedingLabs

African Innovators: Scientists from the continent speak about their work changing the world

Click here for more information from Seeding Labs’ website, and click here to register. More about Seeding Labs: Seeding Labs invests in exceptional scientists in developing countries who have limited resources, but limitless potential. They provide reduced-cost lab equipment and training and foster professional networks in order to enhance higher education, support vital research and create a more connected global scientific community. Seeding Labs has … Continue reading African Innovators: Scientists from the continent speak about their work changing the world

Exploring the Quantum World: From Plants to Pulsars

Exploring the Quantum World: From Plants to Pulsars

Presented by Mike Goldman, Joey Goodknight, and Tansu Daylan What do the interior of an atom, the bottom of a volcanic caldera, and the center of the sun have in common? Mike will begin with an introduction to quantum mechanics, which explores its relationship with our everyday world. Some aspects of the quantum world seem perfectly sensible but other concepts, like superposition, are deeply counterintuitive. … Continue reading Exploring the Quantum World: From Plants to Pulsars