Safety in the Chemistry Lab

September 1, 2014

Chemistry Safety

After a series of tragic accidents related to the “rainbow experiment” in high school chemistry labs, the United States Chemical Safety Board (CSB) took the unprecedented step of releasing a video safety message to warn educators...

Inside the science of sinkholes

August 25, 2014

Sinkhole downstream from Mosul Dam (Credit: Wikimedia Commons, US Army Corps of Engineers)

Sinkholes aren’t new, but they certainly make news, causing millions of dollars of damage, contaminating water supplies, and even claiming lives. This latest monster under the bed appears often without warning and with potentially catastrophic results, as...

Pieces of an Atmospheric Puzzle

August 17, 2014

Southern Ocean phytoplankton

Take two breaths. One came from the ocean. More specifically, it came from microscopic plant-like organisms known at phytoplankton, which produce half of Earth’s oxygen as they drift around the ocean (and other water bodies). Together...

Water Quality Concerns in the Great Lakes. Again.

August 5, 2014

"Toxic Algae Bloom in Lake Erie" by Jesse Allen and Robert Simmon - NASA Earth Observatory. Licensed under Public domain via Wikimedia Commons.

Since the 1970s, when limnologist David Schindler and his colleagues began actively publishing the results of their work in the Experimental Lakes Area, there has been conclusive evidence that a steady flow of excess phosphorus in...

Discovery of a new organelle: Introducing the tannosome

July 28, 2014

"An opened pomegranate" by Anton Croos - Own work. Licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons -

With all the advances in scientific technology over the last 50 years, sometimes it’s hard to believe there are still discoveries to be made. Particularly in areas that have already received a lot of study, like...

Peer review: New approaches to an old system

July 23, 2014

A reviewer at the National Institutes of evaluates a grant proposal. (Center for Scientific Review, National Institutes of Health)

A scientist’s reputation and funding for research can hinge on recommendations by other scientists in the centuries-old peer review process. To ensure a credible body of scientific knowledge, research papers and proposals are evaluated by other...

Studying Food and Culture with Chemistry

July 18, 2014

purple nut sedge

Earlier this week a team of researchers from the United Kingdom, Italy and Spain published a paper in the journal PLOS ONE with new details about the diets of ancient people who lived in what is...

Great Whites on the upswing

July 3, 2014


We all know the iconic tune: A single cello plays a deep ‘G’ and ‘A’, then a pause. It repeats the same two notes continually for many bars, each time the speed picking up until it...