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Radio Waves from Outer Space Continue to Baffle Astronomers

Something in outer space is shouting at us, but astronomers are still trying to figure out the source of this cosmic “noise.” A telescope in Australia recently detected a flood of radio waves, akin to the waves that allow you to listen to the radio in your car, coming from an otherwise unremarkable area of the sky. These millisecond-long pulses of electromagnetic radiation are called fast radio bursts … Continue reading Radio Waves from Outer Space Continue to Baffle Astronomers

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The Multitude of Technologies Needed for Electricity Storage

by Nicolas P. D. Sawaya figures by Brad Wierbowski More renewable energy means more electricity storage When the National Academy of Engineering ranked the twentieth century’s greatest engineering achievements, first on the list was “electrification,” beating out more obvious technologies like computers and spaceflight. If this choice seems banal, it is only because our electricity supply is so remarkably reliable that it never enters our … Continue reading The Multitude of Technologies Needed for Electricity Storage

Spreading of Homo sapiens [Image: created by NordNordWest, release into the public domain]

When did the Americas encounter the first human?

It is widely believed that humans first arrived in the Americas around 13,000 to 15,000 years ago. Discoveries at archeological sites such as Mesa Verde in Chile and Meadowcroft, PA have long supported this view. At a dig in Southern California, possible traces of human activity from over 130,000 years ago have been discovered. Researchers at the site recovered the partial skeleton of a mastodon, an … Continue reading When did the Americas encounter the first human?

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A Millennia-Old Disease is in the Dock: Tuberculosis on trial for resisting arrest

by Karen J. Kieser figures by Karen J. Kieser Tuberculosis (TB) has been a disease of humankind for millennia, and rising rates of drug resistance threaten humanity’s ability to arrest its spread. Compared to common bacterial infections, such as strep throat, which can often be treated with one pill a day for ten days, TB treatment is an immense burden (Figure 1). Drug-sensitive TB demands 6-9 months … Continue reading A Millennia-Old Disease is in the Dock: Tuberculosis on trial for resisting arrest

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The Ghost of Climate Past: Lessons from a previous global warming

by Emma Bertran figures by Rebecca Clements Over the past few decades, our Earth has undergone global changes, a gradual reshaping that can be witnessed in real time. Since the Industrial Revolution, the global annual mean concentration of atmospheric carbon dioxide (CO2), a powerful greenhouse gas, has increased by more than 40%, rising from an average of 280 ppm (parts per million; 280 ppm can … Continue reading The Ghost of Climate Past: Lessons from a previous global warming

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Next Seminar – May 17 – One in a Million: The Battle Against Antibiotic Resistance

May 17, 7 pm Pfizer Hall (directions) and livestream Antibiotic resistance is an important public health problem. In this lecture, we will learn about what antibiotic resistance is and how it arises. Ultimately, antibiotic resistance occurs through a process of natural selection and evolution. In complex organisms such as humans, evolution takes place in thousands to millions of years. However, bacteria grow very quickly, have … Continue reading Next Seminar – May 17 – One in a Million: The Battle Against Antibiotic Resistance