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Showing posts from July, 2019

50 Moon Facts to Celebrate the 50th Anniversary of the Apollo 11 Moon Landing

July 20th, 2019 marks the 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 mission, a small step for man, but a giant leap for humankind. In the past 50 years we’ve learned so much more about our planetary satellite neighbor, and to celebrate this anniversary, we’re sharing some OUT OF THIS WORLD facts about the moon:

1. Our moon is the 5th largest moon in the Solar System

2. The moon is not part of Mars. 

3. The moon used to be part of the Earth, until a Mars-sized planetesimal hit our planet, sending a cloud of hot rock into space that eventually cooled, consolidated, and turned into our moon



4. Earth’s tilted axis is likely a result of this collision. 

5. Katherine Johnson, one of only a few black “human computers” employed by NASA for 33 years, calculated the Apollo 11’s trajectory to the moon and many other missions involving human space travel.



6. The moon used to look much, much bigger, because it was closer to Earth. Research suggests the moon could have been up to 12 times closer to Earth than …

Self-Propelling Particles May Hold Clue to Life

Ramin Golestanian, a researcher at the Max Planck Institute for Dynamics and Self-Organization, occupies himself with the big questions: How is the thing we call life possible? In particular, he wonders, how can complex subcellular structures so critical for life as we know it form from a soup of enzymes?

“This is basically the Lego-like ingredients [of life],” he says, referring to the fundamental nature of these structures.

Listening to the Sounds of the Sun

You could say that Tim Larson, Seth Shafer, and Elaine diFalco were brought together by the Sun. Now the three of them are sharing the sounds of the Sun with scientists, musicians, and the general public through a unique effort called the Sonification of Solar Harmonics (SoSH) Project.

LGBT STEM Day: Acknowledging the scientists in science

It’s okay to be who you are.

Friday, June 5th, 2019 was the 2nd International LGBT STEM Day*, an observance designed to celebrate the contributions that LGBTQ+ people have made in STEM, and raise awareness of the issues that LGBTQ+ scientists still face in their daily life. While not always visible, LGBTQ+ scientists have existed throughout history, from the inventor of the computer Alan Turing, to astronaut Sally Ride. While significant progress has been made towards equality, significant barriers remain.


To conclude pride month and celebrate the second annual LGBT STEM Day, we spoke with LGBTQ+ scientists to highlight the personal experiences of LGBTQ+ people in STEM, put a spotlight on the issues that scientists still face today, and share resources for the benefit of the LGBTQ+ community and allies.

This information was gathered through social media, e-mails, phone interviews, and in-person conversations with scientists from a variety of career stages and professional areas with …

Science of: Slurpees, or Sugary Science

Nine million. That’s how many icy-cold, sugary-sweet Slurpees the convenience store 7-Eleven will give away to US customers today. The annual Free Slurpee Day tradition began in 2002, a brilliant marketing move that has made July 11th (7-11 in US notation) the store’s busiest day of the year. In honor of the brain-freezing drink, today we’re highlighting some of the science behind this treat.

As the story goes, Slurpees are so named because of the slurping sound consumers make while eagerly sucking up the drink through a straw. But its name is surprisingly similar to the technical name for a mixture of water and ice crystals—ice slurry. So, let’s start there.

Ice slurry, also known as slurry ice, is the subject of a lot of research. It comes up frequently in the context of refrigeration, forming the basis of energy efficient technologies found in grocery store meat displays and air conditioners. It also has medical applications. Scientists at Argonne National Laboratory developed a mac…

Nope, earthquakes in California won’t trigger eruptions at Yellowstone (and other debunked earthquake myths)

Especially if you live under a rock, you’ve likely heard of the series of earthquakes that have hit Southern California outside the town of Ridgecrest this past week. So far no deaths or major injuries have been reported, but magnitude 6.4 and 7.1 quakes have caused extensive damage. The quake was felt widespread, with residents as far away as Sacramento and Phoenix feeling the tremors. It's a fantastic example that our planet is dynamic, but a sobering reminder our infrastructure is not.

The Sands of Spacetime: Researchers investigate two of physics’ greatest problems

Each year, nearly one million visitors are left breathless by the sand dunes of Death Valley in California, stunning structures that curve gracefully, rippling upwards to an impossibly crisp ridge winding its way down the length of each dune. To a distant observer, they could be a single solid mass that morphs and grows imperceptibly over the course of time. To a physicist, though, they could be a model of spacetime itself.

Now you're (Nu)tell(a)ing me, there's a scientific way to make great crepes?

A modern French take on a classic tragedy: You see a beautiful crêpe in a restaurant, soft, thin, perhaps full of Nutella. You think to yourself “Oh! It shouldn’t be too hard to make this at home, what’s the worst that could happen?” You go to the store, pick out your ingredients, and set out to make those crêpes. The result? It's okay, but it's just not perfect.