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The Effect of Different Concentrations of Iron on the Growth of Egeria (Elodea) Densa

Hu et al. | Jan 08, 2015

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Minerals such as iron are essential for life, but too much of a good thing can be poisonous. Here the authors investigate the effect of iron concentrations on the growth of an aquatic plant and find that supplementing small amounts of iron can help, but adding too much can be bad for the plant. These results should help inform decisions on allowable iron concentrations in the environment, aquatic farming, and even home aquariums.


Plasmid Variance and Nutrient Regulation of Bioluminescence Genes

Uhler et al. | Dec 09, 2014

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Numerous organisms, including the marine bacterium Aliivibrio fischeri, produce light. This bioluminescence is involved in many important symbioses and may one day be an important source of light for humans. In this study, the authors investigated ways to increase bioluminescence production from the model organism E. coli.


The Effect of Cooking Method on the Amount of Fat in an Egg

Srinivasan et al. | Dec 01, 2014

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Fat can be chemically altered during cooking through a process called lipid oxidation, which can have a negative impact on health. In this study, the authors measured the extracted fat in raw, fried and hard-boiled eggs and found that cooking eggs to a higher temperature resulted in a lower amount of extracted fat, indicating a greater amount of oxidized fat.


Comparing Suturing And Stapling In Coronary Bypass Grafting Anastomosis

Levy et al. | Oct 13, 2014

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Coronary artery bypass grafts are a common technique to treat coronary heart disease. The authors compared the efficacy of suturing and stapling techniques using an artificial heart pump and silicone tubing and found that suturing, while more time and skill intensive, held pressure in the tubing better than stapling.


On the Relationship Between Viscosity and Surface Tension

Wei et al. | Sep 16, 2014

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Surface tension and viscosity are both measures of how "sticky" a liquid is, but are they related? The authors here investigate the surface tension and viscosity of mixtures of water with different concentrations of agar agar, flour, or detergent. Surprisingly, they find that the least viscous mixtures had the strongest surface tensions, indicating that the two properties are not linked.


Temperature and Precipitation Responses to a Stratospheric Aerosol Geoengineering Experiment Using the Community Climate System Model 4

Anderson et al. | Aug 19, 2014

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We are changing our environment with steadily increasing carbon dioxide emissions, but we might be able to help. The authors here use a computer program called Community Climate System Model 4 to predict the effects of spraying small particles into the atmosphere to reflect away some of the sun's rays. The software predicts that this could reduce the amount of energy the Earth's atmosphere absorbs and may limit but will not completely counteract our carbon dioxide production.


Focusing Sound Waves Using a Two-Dimensional Non-Linear System

Wehr et al. | Jul 07, 2014

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Sound waves can be amazingly powerful, especially when they work together. Here the authors create an “acoustic lens” that focuses sound waves on a single location. This makes the sound waves very powerful, capable of causing damage at a precise point. In the future, acoustic lenses like this could potentially be used to treat cancer by killing small tumors without surgery.


The Prevalence of White Guilt Among American High School Students

Buadu et al. | Jun 03, 2014

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Racial inequality has been a major issue throughout the history of the United States. In recent years, however, especially with the election of America's first black president, many have claimed that we have made progress and are moving towards a post-racial society. The authors of this study sought to test that claim by evaluating whether high school age students still experience a phenomenon known as white guilt. White guilt is defined as remorse or shame felt by people of Caucasian descent about racial inequality.


Friend or Foe: Investigating the Relationship between a Corn Crop and a Native Ragweed Population

Wainwright et al. | May 07, 2014

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Farmers will need to increase crop yields to feed the world's growing population efficiently. The authors here investigate the effects of growing corn in the presence or absence of ragweed, an invasive weed found in many fields and gardens. Surprisingly, the authors found that corn grown in the presence of weeds grew taller and were more productive than corn that had weeds removed. This may help gardeners rethink the necessity of weeding, and may point a way to improve farm yields in the future.


Mutation of the Catalytic Cysteine in Anopheles gambiae Transglutaminase 3 (AgTG3) Abolishes Plugin Crosslinking Activity without Disrupting Protein Folding Properties

Pham et al. | May 02, 2014

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Malaria is a major public health issue, especially in developing countries, and vector control is a major facet of malaria eradication efforts. Recently, sterile insect technique (SIT), or the release of sterile mosquitoes into the wild, has shown significant promise as a method of keeping vector populations under control. In this study, the authors investigate the Anopheles gambiae transglutaminase 3 protein (AgT3), which is essential to the mating of the Anopheles mosquito. They show that an active site mutation is able to abolish the activity of the AgT3 enzyme and propose it as a potential target for chemosterilant inhibitors.


What Can You See in the Dark? The Effects of Contrast, Light, and Age on Contrast Sensitivity in Low Light

Virostek et al. | Apr 25, 2014

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Many of us take our vision for granted, but rarely do we measure how well we can see. In this study, the authors investigate the ability of people of different ages to read progressively fainter letters in dark light. They find that the ability to see in dim light drops drastically after age 30. The ability to read fainter letters worsens after age 30 as well. These findings should help inform lighting decisions everywhere from restaurants to road signs.


Is Cloud Cover One of the Effects of Climate Change?

Crair et al. | Mar 27, 2014

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Climate change is one of the most controversial challenges humans face. Here the authors investigate the dual role of clouds - to reflect incoming light away from the Earth and to reflect heat energy back toward the Earth's surface. They find that the amount of incident light energy and surface temperature decreases as the sky becomes cloudier. These results will inform longer-term studies that may compare against the amount of energy clouds reflect back toward the Earth.


A Simple Printing Solution to Aid Deficit Reduction

Mirchandani et al. | Mar 09, 2014

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The printing-related expenditure that is budgeted in 2014 for U.S. Federal agencies is $1.8 billion. A sample of five publically available documents produced by various federal agencies is analyzed and the cost savings arising from a change in font type are estimated. The analysis predicts that the Government’s annual savings by switching to Garamond are likely to be about $234 million with worst-case savings of $62 million and best-case savings of $394 million. Indirect benefits arising from a less detrimental impact on the environment due to lower ink production and disposal volumes are not included in these estimates. Times New Roman is not as efficient as Garamond, and the third federally-recommended font, Century Gothic, is actually worse on average than the fonts used in the sample documents.


The Development and Maximization of a Novel Photosynthetic Microbial Fuel Cell Using Rhodospirillum rubrum

Gomez et al. | Mar 02, 2014

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Microbial fuel cells (MFCs) are bio-electrochemical systems that utilize bacteria and are promising forms of alternative energy. Similar to chemical fuel cells, MFCs employ both an anode (accepts electrons) and a cathode (donates electrons), but in these devices the live bacteria donate the electrons necessary for current. In this study, the authors assess the functionality of a photosynthetic MFC that utilizes a purple non-sulfur bacterium. The MFC prototype they constructed was found to function over a range of environmental conditions, suggesting its potential use in industrial models.


Development of Two New Efficient Means of Wastewater Treatment

Bao et al. | Feb 06, 2014

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The water we use must be treated and cleaned before we release it back into the environment. Here, the authors investigate two new techniques for purifying dissolved impurities from waste water. Their findings may give rise to more cheaper and more efficient water treatment and help keep the planet greener.


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