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Author: Karen Harris

Carlos Finlay: Mosquitoes, Yellow Fever, and a Big Case of “I Told You So”

Pop Quiz – What animal is responsible for the most human deaths every year? If you said “shark” or “alligator” or “snake”, you would be wrong. Sure, these animals are dangerous, but they actually result in very few human deaths each year. The animal that poses the biggest threat to humans is the mosquito. Mosquitoes …

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The Science of Jumping

For athletes participating in many sports, the ability to jump higher could be the difference between getting a lot of playing time and sitting the bench. Jumping, from a physics standpoint, is more complex than these athletes realize. The action combines energy, inertia, mass, and momentum, with physiological and biomechanical factors. Understanding the science that …

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Scientist Bio: Marie Tharp: Getting to the Bottom of Things

Before geologist and oceanographer, Marie Tharp, proved them wrong, most scientists believed the ocean’s floor was a smooth, flat, unimpressive expanse. But in 1952, Tharp, a brilliant geologist who had been relocated to a cramped basement office in New York City, because of the superstition that women bring bad luck at sea, she was not …

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hackmanite, winchite

Color Changing Gemstone: Photochromism At Its Finest

You know those Transition eyeglasses that automatically darken in the bright sunlight then return to normal indoors? The process that makes Transition lenses possible is called tenebrescence, otherwise known as reversible photochromism. Tenebrescence is not a man-made invention developed strictly for sunglasses. It occurs naturally. Some minerals, including hackmanite, have the ability to change color …

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From Slave to Botanist, Professor, and Inventor: George Washington Carver

Born into slavery in 1864, George Washington Carver used his natural scientific curiosity and the power of education to become one of the leading agricultural scientists of his day. He advocated that southern farmers rotate their crops between cotton, which quickly depletes the soil, and peanuts, which added nitrogen to the soil. His concept of …

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