Colorful gum drops

October 19, 2014

The Science of Sugar

With Halloween just around the corner, candy is on the brain. So it’s fitting that the American Chemical Society has chosen “The Sweet Side of Chemistry–Candy” as the theme for this year’s celebration of National Chemistry...

The iridescent blue leaves of Selaginella. Courtesy of The Royal Society.

October 10, 2014

It’s not easy being blue (for plants)

Scientists have found tropical plants that perform “delayed greening,” a process of postponing the development of chlorophyll to protect young leaves from predators and potential UV damage. Interestingly, researchers have also found a few trees with blue...

Pandoras DNA

October 3, 2014

Pandora’s DNA: Unpacking Scientific Discovery in “Women’s” Medicine

Sometimes it is hard to remember that science is not infallible. That it is a practice conducted by human beings – human beings who have ideologies, who have biases, who are doing the best they can...

The Aqua satellite detected hot spots where the King Fire burned through scrublands early last week. (Credit: NASA image courtesy Jeff Schmaltz, LANCE MODIS Rapid Response Team at NASA GSFC.)

September 26, 2014

Fighting fires with science

The King Fire blazed across headlines earlier this month when it morphed from a minor incident near the hamlet of Pollock Pines, California, into a massive wildfire that has since scorched more than 140 square miles of parched, rugged...


September 20, 2014

Modern Humans and Neanderthals co-existed in Europe for thousands of years

Cross-posted with the permission of Dr. Nathan Lents from his The Human Evolution Blog.   In the extended family tree of the modern human species, our closest relatives are the Neanderthals, officially called Homo neanderthalensis. Although it...


September 16, 2014

Good news on ozone layer should spur climate action

For the first time since 1980, the ozone layer that shields us from harmful radiation is repairing itself after being eaten away over decades by human-produced chemicals. The good news comes just in time to celebrate...

Researcher with skeleton of Dreadnoughtus schrani

September 14, 2014

Meet Dreadnoughtus and Dendrogramma, New Species Great and Small

Last week, scientists announced two incredible discoveries of new species, one an enormous land animal and the other a tiny marine creature. Researcher Kenneth Lacovara with the skeleton of Dreadnoughtus schrani. Image: Kenneth Lacovara Measuring nearly...

Chemistry Safety

September 1, 2014

Safety in the Chemistry Lab

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...

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

August 25, 2014

Inside the science of sinkholes

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...

Southern Ocean phytoplankton

August 17, 2014

Pieces of an Atmospheric Puzzle

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...