Stephen Crohn, an artist from New York, lost a lot to the AIDS epidemic of the 1980s. For more than a decade, he watched his boyfriend, Jerry Green, as well as nearly all of his friends slowly grow sicker and perish from this mysterious illness. His passion for his art dried up, and survivors’ guilt consumed him.
One weekend in early May, I endured one of the most confusing experiences in my life: a two-legged, 24-hour flight across 13 time zones. I took off from Chicago on Saturday evening, and 24 hours later, I arrived in Bali on Monday morning. In that 24 hour period, I ate two dinners and two breakfasts, while lunchtime didn’t exist. I couldn’t tell when I was supposed to be hungry or go to sleep, so I ate when food was placed in front of me and I tried to sleep when I got tired. Continue reading “Why Jet Lag Sucks: Your Body Clock and You”
Editor’s Note: This is Part II of Ben Marcus’ series on the science of sugar. For Part I, click here.
When was the last time you saw a processed food in the grocery store with real sugar in it? Odds are, its’ been a while. Over the past few decades, most food manufacturers have decided to forgo sugar for corn syrup to save costs. Continue reading “What is Corn Syrup, Anyways?”
Don’t be fooled – the calendar says the Spring equinox is on the March 20th, but in Chicago, we come closest to equal amounts of daylight and darkness on the 17th. I thought this oddity would have an easy explanation, but after a few hours or research, l learned there’s a lot to it.
Sugar is everywhere. Kids crave it, pastry chefs live by it, and dieters avoid it like the plague. It comes naturally in our fruits, it’s added to our drinks, and it’s found in some form in virtually every packaged item at the grocery store. Some of us live by it, and for many of us, it does not love us back. But no matter what you say about it, sugar and its relatives are important for our health and well-being. Continue reading “The Reason Sugar Tastes So Darn Good”
Since the 1960s, the United States government has been shooting lasers at the moon. No, this is not a covert government conspiracy or a relic of the Cold War. It is NASA’s attempt to prove Einstein’s theories right.
On December 3rd, 1942, under the stands at the University of Chicago’s Stagg Field, scientists produced a breakthrough that would change the course of history. There, on that day, physicist Enrico Fermi and his team from the university achieved the primary objective of the top secret Mahattan Project: they initiated the first controlled, self-sustaining nuclear reaction, bringing forth the dawn of the nuclear age.
Humans are wonderful research subjects. They can think pretty well, and they can speak, too. Our ability to speak is probably our most prized asset in research, as it is the only way scientists can find out directly how their research subjects are feeling. For all the good that humans provide in research, however, researchers can only do so much with their brethren. It would be unreasonably risky or unethical to perform certain experiments on their fellow humans. This is where animals come in. Continue reading “LSD and the Elephant”
2020 is a leap year. Don’t forget! In 2020, we will have 366 days instead of our usual 365, giving us the enigmatic February 29th. Didn’t we just have a leap year in 2016? Why do we have leap years at all?
The United States is facing a major health crisis, and you may not have heard much about this one in the national news: according to the National Institutes of Heath, about 1 in 12 Americans abuse illicit drugs.
Glass is a solid, right? Obviously. You touch it, your finger doesn’t go through. You stand it upright, it doesn’t collapse. You whack a baseball through it, and it shatters into a million pieces. Continue reading “Glass: Solid or Liquid?”
Science and art share a storied history, especially in the study of human anatomy. For centuries, practitioners of these two disciplines have borrowed skills, techniques, and knowledge from each other in an effort to enrich their own work. Continue reading “Finding Art in Human Anatomy”
Illinois is the United States’ top soybean-producing state. In 2014, Illinois farmers produced about 550,000 bushels of soybeans over almost 10 million acres – a swath of land almost the size of Switzerland! But, with a global health crisis, a growing population, and a changing climate threatening our land, our state’s soybean crops are under threat. Fortunately, the Agricultural Research Service (ARS) at the US Department of Agriculture (USDA), in partnership with several universities, is trying to find ways to increase the strength, nutritional value, and viability of our most valuable crops, including soybeans, so that they continue to prosper well into the future. Continue reading “Improving the Soybean, One Gene at a Time”