February 6, 2014

West Virginia Chemical Spill; What Is MCHM?

Earlier in January, West Virginia experienced a large chemical spill in its capital city, Charleston. A large supply tank holding nearly 10,000 gallons of a chemical called 4-methylcyclohexanemethanol (MCHM) leaked into the Elk River, forcing a...

January 31, 2014

28 years ago this week: Christa McAuliffe and space disaster remembered

This week marks the 28th anniversary of the biggest tragedy in the history of the US space program, the explosion of space shuttle Challenger, taking the lives of its seven crewmembers. On January 28, 1986, a...

January 17, 2014

Video of the Week: Flying Robot Jellyfish?

It’s a not a bird and it most certainly isn’t a plane. The flapping object in our video of the week is a tiny robot that most closely resembles a jellyfish but that isn’t actually modeled...

January 6, 2014

Global Warming vs. Climate Change: What’s the difference?

The snow. The ice. The Arctic temperatures. For many people in the United States, this past week has been focused on digging out, deicing, and making sure the heating is working. That’s because large storms have...

January 2, 2014

New Strain of C. botulinum Produces the World’s Deadliest Poison

Poisons have long fascinated us both for their power and intrigue. For example, the story of the Egyptian ruler Cleopatra is told in a new exhibit at the American Museum of Natural History called “The Power...

December 24, 2013

Video of the Week: Marvelous Snowflakes

This week, those who live in the northern hemisphere will cross their fingers in hopes of a dusting of snow for the holidays. Everyone loves snow for making snowballs and snow forts, plus a blanket of...

December 18, 2013

Solving practical problems with basic physical chemistry: Ruth Benerito

This fall, science lost one of its great inventors, Ruth Benerito (January 12, 1916 – October 5, 2013), chemist at USDA’s Southern Regional Research Center in New Orleans. Benerito held more than 50 patents, but she...

December 12, 2013

Geology in your Kitchen: The Mystery of Super White

Any geologist will tell you, “geology is all around us.” One unlikely place that this is especially true is on your kitchen countertop. Once strictly the domain of luxury kitchens, natural stone countertops are becoming more...

December 2, 2013

On this Day in 1942: Initiating the World’s First Nuclear Chain Reaction

On this day 71 years ago, physicists Enrico Fermi and Léo Szilárd, along with Martin Whittaker, Walter Zinn, George Weil, and Arthur Compton, gathered together in a squash court under the west stands of the University...

An African Globe Lily Cell During Mitosis

November 27, 2013

From Tiny Cells, Mighty Organisms Grow

It’s hard to imagine that each of us–the millions of cells that make up our our bones, muscles, blood vessels, organs, and the rest of of our complex, living bodies–had such tiny, humble beginnings. But all...