Science Wednesdays

 

Join us every Wednesday for short, interesting and informative stories about a wide variety of subjects! These are meant to be educational and engaging for the general public and aimed at furthering everyone’s understanding and enjoyment of science and its methods.

Asteroid Bennu – October 21, 2020

Asteroid Bennu – October 21, 2020   It’s an exciting time in the realm of space exploration! Yesterday, NASA made history as its spacecraft, the OSIRIS-REx (Origins, Spectral Interpretation, Resource Identification, Security, Regolith Explorer) performed a...

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Kilimanjaro – October 14, 2020

Kilimanjaro – October 14, 2020   On Sunday afternoon, a fire suddenly erupted on the slopes of Kilimanjaro in Tanzania, Africa, with high winds contributing to its rapid growth and spread. Investigators recently discovered that it was started accidentally...

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Historic Hurricane Delta – October 7, 2020

Historic Hurricane Delta – October 7, 2020   The 2020 hurricane season in the Atlantic Ocean has been a very active one, seeing 25 named storms (the average for a season is 12). And it’s still not over, as the season doesn’t officially end until November...

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Fire: The Climate Connection – September 30, 2020

Fire: The Climate Connection – September 30, 2020   As we’ve gathered more data and evidence these last few years on the global impacts of climate change, a new field has emerged: extreme-event attribution, which investigates if and to what extent climate...

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Conglomerates! – September 23, 2020

Conglomerates! – September 23, 2020   Yesterday Ricardo and I climbed Challenger Point (14,081 ft.), a 12.5 mile round-trip hike with 5400 vertical feet of gain. As a geologist, I always love to look at the rocks that we’re climbing and this peak was no...

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Carbon Sequestration – September 16, 2020

Carbon Sequestration – September 16, 2020   Today we talk about carbon sequestration, the long-term natural or artificial storage of carbon dioxide or other forms of carbon from the atmosphere. There is a series of checks and balances that happen on the...

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Wild Weather – September 9, 2020

Wild Weather – September 9, 2020   It’s Science Wednesday! Here in Colorado, we went from record-setting heat near 100 degrees Fahrenheit with raging wildfires over the Labor Day weekend to freezing temperatures and snow showers Tuesday/Wednesday. What...

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Fall Colors – September 2, 2020

Fall Colors – September 2, 2020   It’s September and, in 3 weeks (on the 22nd), it officially will be fall here in the Northern Hemisphere. As the days shorten and temperatures get cooler, trees will begin preparing for the winter ahead, preserving their...

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Hurricanes – August 26, 2020

Hurricanes – August 26, 2020   This time of year is normally known as peak hurricane season due to wind shear slowing down (this is when winds blow in different directions at different levels of the atmosphere), and less dust coming off of Africa. But...

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Vaccines – August 19, 2020

Vaccines – August 19, 2020   Given the ongoing pandemic and talk of effective vaccines coming in the next few months/early next year, we wanted to cover this important topic today for Science Wednesday. To start, what exactly is a vaccine? You can think of...

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Sharks! – August 12, 2020

Sharks! – August 12, 2020   In honor of Shark Week, today’s Science Wednesday covers one of the largest living species of shark: Somniosus microcephalus, otherwise known as the Greenland shark. This shark is comparable in size to Great Whites: growing over...

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Starting Kids Early – August 5, 2020

Starting Kids Early – August 5, 2020   Science is based on curiosity. Kids naturally explore and discover while playing: often they are inquisitive about everything, love to experiment, and in the process, learn more about the world around them. Research...

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Comet NEOWISE – July 22, 2020

Comet NEOWISE – July 22, 2020   If you’re in the Northern Hemisphere (and especially in the northern US) and haven’t had a chance yet to look up at the night sky, here’s your chance to see something really cool: a comet! Comet C/2020 F3 (otherwise known as...

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Yellowstone Supervolcano – July 15, 2020

Yellowstone Supervolcano – July 15, 2020   While we were in Wyoming last week, we had a chance to spend some time at Yellowstone National Park. As a geologist, I am fascinated by the alien-looking terrain of active volcanic landscapes. Yellowstone is...

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Gannett Peak – July 8, 2020

Gannett Peak – July 8, 2020   It’s Science Wednesday! We’ve been busy the last few days on this end, getting packed and prepared to attempt a new peak for the Summits, Songs and Science project. Over the next week, we’ll be in the Wind River Range, climbing...

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Dust Plumes – July 1, 2020

Dust Plumes – July 1, 2020   In the last week, the skies have been noticeably hazier across the Caribbean and the Gulf and East Coasts of the US. It’s not due to wildfires or increasing pollution from traffic. In fact, it is due to dust coming from 5,000...

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Very “Gneiss” Rock – June 24, 2020

Very “Gneiss” Rock – June 24, 2020   Last weekend, Ricardo and I ventured to the south of Colorado to climb Culebra Peak (14,047 ft.) and Red Mountain (13,908 ft.) for the Summits, Songs and Science project. Culebra is the southernmost 14er...

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Dexamethasone – June 17, 2020

Dexamethasone – June 17, 2020   In the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, some good news is emerging. The steroid – dexamethasone – is part of the world’s biggest trial testing of existing treatments to see if they can work on the coronavirus. Thus far,...

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Viral Persistence – June 10, 2020

Viral Persistence – June 10, 2020   We’ve all heard of the term persistence. But what does it mean in the context of a virus? With acute viral infections (think norovirus), people develop symptoms quickly and then fully recover within days. Other viruses...

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One Species – June 3, 2020

One Species – June 3, 2020   We live in trying and challenging times. Over the last decade, there had been glimmers of hope that the US had become a post-racial society, free of prejudice and discrimination. However, recent tragic events reveal that race...

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Return to Flight – May 27, 2020

Return to Flight – May 27, 2020   It’s Science Wednesday – and today is a historic day in spaceflight! For the first time in nearly a decade, US astronauts are launching from US soil again. Not only that, this is the first-ever manned launch for SpaceX in...

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Irrationality and Science – May 13, 2020

Irrationality and Science – May 13, 2020   “In science it often happens that scientists say, “You know that’s a really good argument; my position is mistaken,” and then they would actually change their minds and you never hear that old...

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Following the Science – May 6, 2020

Following the Science – May 6, 2020   For this Science Wednesday, we’re sharing 10 key facts on SARS-CoV2, the virus, and COVID-19, the disease it causes, as written by Dr. Alan Townsend*, PhD in biological sciences (Stanford University), provost of...

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Corona and Climate – April 29, 2020

Corona and Climate – April 29, 2020   The COVID-19 pandemic has led to economies worldwide shutting down these last few months and stay-at-home orders going into place, clearing our cities and streets. Pollution levels in the air have dropped drastically,...

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Happy Earth Day! – April 22, 2020

Happy Earth Day! – April 22, 2020   Happy Earth Day! In honor of the 50th anniversary of Earth Day, we are celebrating our planet this week! The COVID-19 pandemic is showing us just how fragile and beautiful life is and that we cannot take our health or the...

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World Health Organization – April 15, 2020

World Health Organization – April 15, 2020   For today’s Science Wednesday, we want to address the importance of the World Health Organization. The W.H.O. is a specialized agency of the United Nations, responsible for international public health. Its...

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Air Pollution – April 8, 2020

Air Pollution – April 8, 2020   In today’s Science Wednesday, we’d like to discuss air pollution and COVID-19. A new study put out by researchers at Harvard called, “Exposure to air pollution and COVID-19 mortality in the United States”, investigates...

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Kings of the (Polar) World – April 1, 2020

Kings of the (Polar) World – April 1, 2020   To brighten up your day, we’re going to talk about kings of the (polar) world – also known as penguins! Pictured are two species found in Antarctica: the emperor (largest) and king (second largest). While...

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COVID-19 – March 25, 2020

COVID-19 – March 25, 2020   For this week’s Science Wednesday, we’d like to direct your attention to the Center for Inquiry for information on the COVID-19 (coronavirus) pandemic. The link provided below contains a collection of the most...

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Immune System Boost – March 18, 2020

Immune System Boost – March 18, 2020   It’s Science Wednesday! With all the talk about the coronavirus, this post is about boosting your immune system – namely in the form of exercise. If you still have the option to get outside and go for a walk, hike or...

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Krill – March 11, 2020

Krill – March 11, 2020   It’s Science Wednesday! Today’s topic is pretty small – centimeters long in fact. We’re talking about krill, small crustaceans that form a crucial part of the food web in Antarctic waters. But the problem we’re talking about is big:...

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Nature’s Graffiti – March 4, 2020

Nature’s Graffiti – March 4, 2020   It’s Science Wednesday! Two weeks ago, we visited Horseshoe Island in the Antarctica Peninsula, below the Antarctic Circle. It was discovered and named by the British Graham Land Expedition under John Rymill,...

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Planetary Climate Change – February 26, 2020

Planetary Climate Change – February 26, 2020   In a time when climate change is often on people’s minds, let’s talk about it – starting with our home. Here on planet Earth, the root cause of recent climate change is us – humans and all our activity on...

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The Drake – February 19, 2020

The Drake – February 19, 2020   By the time this Science Wednesday posts, I will have crossed the Drake Passage three times, working aboard the Greg Mortimer polar class expedition cruise vessel with Aurora Expeditions. The Drake Passage is a treacherous...

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Publish or Perish – February 12, 2020

Publish or Perish – February 12, 2020   In the academic world, there is a “publish or perish” culture. Peer-reviewed publications remain a key metric of success. As more PhDs are granted and the availability of permanent (tenured) full-time academic jobs...

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Carved by Ice – February 5, 2020

Carved by Ice – February 5, 2020   For this week’s Science Wednesday, check out the new Uly’s Science Shorts film made for the “Summits, Songs and Science” project! This one covers some of the geological past of Wisconsin, which has a highpoint, Timms...

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Earthquake! – January 29, 2020

Earthquake! – January 29, 2020   Yesterday, January 28, 2020, a 7.7 magnitude earthquake hit between Jamaica and Cuba. It was so powerful that shaking was felt nearly 500 miles away, in Miami, Florida! The epicenter was at a shallow 6 miles below the...

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Interconnected Pathways – January 22, 2020

Interconnected Pathways – January 22, 2020   For this week’s Science Wednesday, we’re joined by Dr. Daniel Zietlow, a scientist-turned-filmmaker at Provare Media (a production company he co-founded with his film partner Ryan Vachon), the National Center for...

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Volcanic Tsunamis – January 15, 2020

Volcanic Tsunamis – January 15, 2020   Just a few days ago, on January 12, 2020, the Taal volcano erupted, sending ash 9 miles into the sky and forcing the evacuation of thousands of people on the island of Luzon in the Philippines. The steam-driven...

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Alive! – January 8, 2020

Alive! – January 8, 2020     We’re currently on expedition in the Andes with Alpine Expeditions, visiting the site of the plane crash made famous in the book and movie, Alive! On Friday, October 13, 1972, Uruguayan Air Force Flight 571 crashed in the...

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Discoveries of the Decade – January 1, 2020

Discoveries of the Decade – January 1, 2020   Wishing everyone a happy New Year! As we enter a new decade, we take a look back at some of the biggest scientific accomplishments/discoveries of the last 10 years for this week’s Science Wednesday. Scientists...

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Penguins! – December 25, 2019

Penguins! – December 25, 2019   For all of you celebrating around the world, we wish you very happy holidays! For this Science Wednesday, we’re talking about penguins. Did you know that all penguin species live in the Southern Hemisphere? Indeed, they...

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Secrets in the Ice – December 18, 2019

Secrets in the Ice – December 18, 2019   In this week’s Science Wednesday, we’re joined by Dr. Mike MacFerrin, a glaciologist at the University of Colorado who specializes in the ways Greenland meltwater is affecting the ice sheet and global sea level rise....

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White Island – December 11, 2019

White Island – December 11, 2019   What happened on Whakaari/White Island, New Zealand on Monday is a tragedy. Our hearts go out to those who lost their lives in the eruption. There is no doubt we live on a dynamic and changing planet. With that comes a...

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Lost Continents – December 4, 2019

Lost Continents – December 4, 2019 Today’s topic is on lost continents. Sure, you’ve probably heard the myths. Atlantis? But what is scientific research telling us about new landmasses? How are we finding them? And what does it mean? In the past few...

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“Functionally Extinct” – November 27, 2019

“Functionally Extinct” – November 27, 2019   The last few weeks have taken a toll in Australia, as fires have ravaged the land. You may have seen articles in the news that went viral recently – stating that koalas have become “functionally...

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Tardigrades! – November 20, 2019

Tardigrades! – November 20, 2019 Did you know that there are thousands of tardigrades stranded on our Moon? First off, what is a tardigrade? Also known as “water bears,” they are near-microscopic (0.15 to 1.2 millimeters long) animals with 8 legs and long plump...

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Smoke Hole Cavern – November 13, 2019

Smoke Hole Cavern – November 13, 2019 For the past few days, I’ve been on the east coast of the US, doing the state highpoints of Pennsylvania, Maryland and West Virginia for the Summits, Songs and Science project. As Ricardo has already completed these (and is...

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Bird Migration – November 6, 2019

Bird Migration – November 6, 2019 Given a lot of recent avian activity by Canadian geese here in Colorado as the temperatures drop and the snow arrives, today’s topic is on bird migration. The timing of bird migrations is an intriguing phenomenon in nature and...

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