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Tag archives for chemistry

Plastic: The big breakup

Co-authored by Erica Cirino My dog Foosa and I step onto the beach, and in the first few steps I find—as usual—something made of plastic. This beach is strewn with everything from fiberglass buoys to crumbling Styrofoam cups to poorly disposed “disposable” lighters to plastic bags (use once, throw away, except that “away” is here).…

Exploring Toxic Ice Caves in an Active Volcano

National Geographic grantee Eduardo Cartaya and his team descend into a volcano’s toxic ice caves on a mission to protect climbers and learn about microbial life in this eerie, otherworldly environment.

Scientists Discover How Bacteria Changes Ions Into Gold

Bacteria with the ability to change ions into solid gold? This scenario may sound like a biochemist’s version of a fairy tale, but it’s real and scientists at McMaster University have just figured out how the process works.

Element 112 Gets a “Planetary” Namesake

Our solar system, living proof of the Copernican model —Image courtesy NASA/JPL Astronomers might think they have it tough waiting for the ultimate validation of discoveries: an official name. For example, it took the International Astronomical Union four years to go from the discovery of a new dwarf planet in 2004 to the name Haumea…

Ancient Egyptian makeup more than meets the eye

By James Robertson The “magical” eye makeup used by the ancient Egyptians, which actually contained toxic substances, could have helped fight eye infection, say French researchers working on mummies in the Louvre. Some ancient Egyptians believed the black eye makeup worn by women in the time of the pharaohs had magical properties that protected the…

Moon Crash to Put All Eyes on Cabeus A

On October 9, 2009, a piece of launch rocket still attached to an orbiting spacecraft will finally let go so it can take a dive into the moon. The event is the end goal of NASA’s LCROSS mission, which aims to study material kicked up by the impact to find out whether the lunar surface…

Mars Science Lab Team Picks “Fab Four”; Naming Contest Debuts

After what sounded like some pretty exhilarating deliberations back in September, JPL announced today the final four candidate sites for landing the Mars Science Lab, NASA’s next big rover bound for the red planet. Sayonara, Miyamoto. Farewell, Nili Fossae. And so long South Meridiani. These three of the seven under consideration were voted off the…