On December 16, 2017 at about 5:00 PM CST, the asteroid 3200 Phaethon passed within 64 million miles of Earth. That’s about 27 times the distance to our Moon. While this may sound like a long distance (indeed, it would take on the order of one million hours to drive that distance in a car!), this particular approach will be our closest encounter with the asteroid for another 75 years. Continue reading “Are We Prepared for a Large Asteroid Impact?”
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”
What does this… Continue reading “Making Cheese Taste Gouda”
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.
Let me explain.
Animals are pretty remarkable – we can find them in virtually every environment on Earth, from the perpetually frozen hallows of Antarctica to the pressurized, pitch black depths of the ocean. Continue reading “Deep Ocean or Deep Freeze: How Animals Have Evolved to Survive”
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.Continue reading “How a Pile of Uranium Changed the World”
Imagine a young family taking a stroll along a sun-speckled forest path. They take their time, admiring the scenery and taking in the fresh air. Continue reading “If You Go Down to the Woods Today: Conservation Genetics in a Nutshell”
The age-old question, “how did life begin?” has baffled humans for centuries. Many scholars have theorized about how life began, but in almost every case, they have agreed on one thing: in some way, the creation of life involved water. Continue reading “Did Life Begin in the Oceans?”
If you head outside and you walk to a freshwater river, stream, or lake, you will probably find some rocks covered in what looks like a slimy, green film. Continue reading “Diatoms: The Cheat Sheet for Studying Our Waterways”
You’re sitting in a room at your doctor’s office. Today, you might be visiting for a checkup. Or perhaps you simply need a prescription refill. Continue reading “The Flu Shot: A Police Raid on Influenza”
How do you study light from the beginning of the universe? What happened right after the Big Bang? Continue reading “Spotted from Antarctica: the Oldest Light in the Universe”
Long before humans, dinosaurs, or plants, some of the first creatures on Earth were primitive single-celled organisms that survived exclusively from the energy of light. You might call them living fossils. Continue reading “Living Fossils Inspire Cures for Disease”
By pure volume, America has become one of the largest consumers of wine in the world. Twenty years ago, Americans produced about 440 million gallons of wine, and the average person in the US drank about two gallons of it a year. Continue reading “Where Wine Gets its Kick”
Continue reading “How Candles Work”
“I PURPOSE, in return for the honor you do us by coming to see what are our proceedings here, to bring before you, in the course of these lectures, the Chemical History of a Candle.”-Michael Faraday
Despite the snow and wind, 364 (π × 10 + 50) runners and walkers participated in the Illinois Science Council’s fifth annual Pi Day Fun Run on 3-14-17. Continue reading “Pi Day Run 2017: Embracing Snow, Math and Pie”
Are you wondering where your running knee pain is coming from? Let’s say you’re 5’8”, 150lbs, and you run a 10-minute mile. Over the course of a 3-mile run, your knees will experience a compressive load of nearly 3 million pounds. Continue reading “The Cause of that Running Knee Pain”
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”
If man with a diabetic grandfather and a woman with a family history of cancer decide that they want to have a child, but they are unsure of whether their families’ health problems may reappear in their children, where can they turn to get answers? A genetic counselor. What is genetic counseling, you ask?
Continue reading “Decoding Your Genetic History”
Dogs and their human family members have always shared a special bond. It’s no mystery to a dog owner where the phrase “man’s best friend” came from. While it’s tough to know exactly what your pet is thinking, it is possible to train them and communicate with them to foster a loving relationship. Lynn Meador is an expert dog trainer who works for Constant Companion Dog Training. Lynn’s goal is to work with dogs and their human family members to teach the two species how to communicate with each other and cohabitate in a supportive, loving manner. Continue reading “Training your Dog with Science”
The world is preparing to send humans to Mars. This will probably be the most technologically challenging undertaking the world has ever known. Continue reading “Voyager 1 and the Depths of Interstellar Space”