Conservationists. Nobel Peace Prize winners. College professors. All these roles have a distinctive honorable, humanistic atmosphere around them. When you consider this group, you probably don’t think of “racial purists.” But the truth is, many who held these titles were also supporters of the American Eugenics movement, a social and political movement that focused on advancing the human race through selective reproduction.Continue reading “The History of the American Eugenics Movement”
You smile 30 times a day, and normally, you don’t even think about doing it. It happens involuntarily when you hear a funny joke. While it is easy for many to smile, I saw firsthand that for children around the world who suffer from cleft lip and palate deformities, including one-year-old Matias, smiling is almost impossible, and other vital functions like eating and breathing can be just as hard.Continue reading “Smile! You’re on Camera: How Repairing a Smile Can Save a Life”
Our environment is facing a crisis. No, I’m not talking about the runaway carbon emissions that are ruining our climate. Rather, I’m talking about a threat that lives inside of our very own homes: the domestic house cat.
Vera Rubin sent ripples throughout the scientific community, as her work proposed a novel recipe for our universe. While we once believed our universe to be full of matter, Rubin led us to see a universe dominated by dark matter and dark energy. Today, we understand the universe to be made up of nearly 95% dark energy and dark matter, leaving only 5% of baryonic matter (protons, neutrons, tables, chairs, humans, dogs, etc.). Despite its dominating presence, dark matter properties remain mysterious! For example, dark matter does not emit light or energy. Though difficult to detect, Vera Rubin guided the field of cosmology to determine this mysterious source of matter must dominate in our universe. This is the story of Dr. Rubin’s journey from astronomer to queen of the cosmos.Continue reading “Queen of The Dark: Vera Rubin’s Voyage Through the Cosmos”
Soils have a PR problem. Think about it: Does dirt excite you? Are you energized by earth? For many of us, soil is just the musty medium our trees, flowers and food grow from. Perhaps you’ve been advised to rub dirt on a skinned knee (I did this once and received a nasty soil-borne infection, no joke).Continue reading “Playing Nice with Fungi: Using Crops to Build Healthy Soil”
Now more than ever, we’re bombarded with messaging like “7 Tips to Calm Your Mind During a Pandemic,” but that messaging– to calm down, to be present, has been around for a while. Being present is marketed as the solution for a troubled mind, to decrease distressing, negative thoughts that pop into our minds and increase happiness. But being present can be so elusive! What does science say about being present, and how to silence negative thoughts and refocus your mindset?Continue reading “Mindfulness Meditation: The Path to a Better Headspace”
Much has been made of the art of pizza making. But baking the perfect pie is more than an artform: from the oven temperature, to the composition of the crust, and even the flavor profile of your favored toppings, crafting the ultimate pizza can really be broken down into a science.Continue reading “The Science Behind the Perfect Deep Dish Pizza”
What do the drugs Percocet, Lipitor, and Wellbutrin have in common? It’s not what they do for you – one’s a pain med, another treats heart disease, and the third helps with depression. They’re not made by the same drug company, nor are they regulated the same way by the government. These drugs couldn’t be more different in the way they work, why they work, and how they’ve impacted our healthcare system. So what is it that they all have in common?
They, like many other drugs, can turn on you and cause you harm if you take them with grapefruit juice.
This is called the grapefruit effect.
You just stopped by the DMV to renew your license, and you see that you can sign up to be an organ donor. You are hesitant. You have questions. You have concerns. For instance, you may have heard from a neighbor that the process is unfair, and celebrities get priority when it comes to receiving organ transplants. Is this true? You may wonder many things about how the organ donor and transplant process works. In this article, we’ll explore the science behind it. Let’s see if this insight will convince you to sign up to be an organ donor!Continue reading “Organ Transplantation: How to Find Your Organs’ Doppelgangers”
Most people find being inside a hospital a bit uncomfortable, as a patient or otherwise. But I find hospitals familiar and comforting, which isn’t surprising considering how most of my early childhood was spent in one. When I was three years old, I was diagnosed with Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia, or ALL. My bone marrow had started to produce immature mutant versions of healthy white blood cells, crowding out my working immune system. Leaving me open to infections and so weak I couldn’t walk. Back then the standard treatment for pediatric ALL was high dose chemotherapy. These drugs killed off the cancerous cells by preventing them from dividing, but they also had the same effect on healthy cells, weakening and stressing my body even further. It took months of intensive chemo and years of recovery, but my ALL eventually went into remission. I don’t have many memories of the time, but my family and those with loved ones who have dealt with cancer know how much of a battle chemotherapy is.Continue reading “Cancer Immunotherapy: Living Drugs and Immune Catalysts”
This is a companion article to the feature Not so Basic After All: The Role of pH in Cancer Therapy.
Based on your reading of the article above, you may be wondering if an acidic diet can cause cancer, or if you can prevent cancer with a basic diet. While the results of the baking soda study might make it seem that way, science points to a more nuanced reality.Continue reading “Your Diet and Cancer: pHacts and pHiction”
Has your dentist ever warned you that “acidic” drinks are bad for your teeth? Have you ever heard a personal hygiene product advertised as “neutralizing”? These terms, while used somewhat frequently in everyday language, actually refer to a scientific concept called “power of hydrogen,” or pH.Continue reading “Not So Basic After All: The Role of pH in Cancer Therapy”
You got a call this morning telling you that you need to pick up Sir Isaac Newton from O’Hare airport. Continue reading “Taking a Drive with Sir Isaac Newton”
Walk down the health care aisles of your local Target (or Walgreens, Walmart, CVS Pharmacy, or Best Buy) and look through the shelves. You might come across a small white glossy box. It’ll have some rainbow-colored stripes at the bottom, a beckoning message written on the center, and a logo on the top corner: 23andMe.Continue reading “A Look Behind the Scenes of Your DNA Testing Kit”
Our genes control everything from our height and hair color to our chances of developing cancer, heart disease and any number of other conditions. Sometimes it can seem like our genes rule our lives, but what if we could turn the tables and edit our own genes?Continue reading “CRISPR-Cas9: How to Hack Your Genes”
Science Unsealed is thrilled with the success from our first poetry contest, so we’re coming at you with another. This time, it’s all about the rhymes. Show us your best science limerick!Continue reading “Science Limerick Contest”
Congratulations to the winners of Science Unsealed’s Sci-ku contest! We had a blast reading through all the entries, and are delighted to share these Sci-ku with the world.Continue reading “Sci-ku Contest Winners!”
When I tell people that I study chemistry, the response is usually some version of “You must be bright” or “I hated that class” or, put more simply, “Why?” I’ve grown used to defending my love for chemistry, and I’ve often pointed to its straightforward nature as the source of my affection. I liked that the elements on the periodic table are arranged according to trends in their chemical properties, and that we can infer things about an element’s behavior by its position. An element’s electronegativity (the tendency to attract electrons), for example, increases as you move from left to right and from bottom to top across the table. The size of the atom, meanwhile, increases from right to left and from top to bottom. In class, I labeled different chunks of the periodic table to signify alkali metals, transition metals, lanthanides, actinides, halogens and other categories of elements with neatly-defined criteria for membership. As a straight-A student and a type-A personality, I appreciated how chemistry was so orderly, how there was always a right answer.
You might be worried about the future of our planet. It may seem like there is no good news about climate change and that nothing is being done to stop it. Of course, you can contribute as an individual to lowering your carbon emissions; this can include all of the things we keep hearing about – recycle more, stop using plastic, eat less meat, drive less – but even if we all change the way we live to lower our individual carbon emissions, the dent we make in the world’s overall emissions will unfortunately be minuscule compared to reduction we need to make a true difference. So, what can we do beyond this? And how are other people dealing with this?Continue reading “Who Cares About Climate Change Anyway?”
Last week, the CDC told us that we should wear face masks to prevent the spread of SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19. But we’ve noticed that some people are wearing them improperly, where they’re not actually protecting themselves and the people around them. We wanted to provide some guidance on how to wear face masks (and gloves) in the right way to keep you safe:Continue reading “How to Properly Wear a Face Mask and Gloves”