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Ep 10. Why Were Plastic Mirobeads Banned? Marine Debris and Sustainable Plastics
podcast

Ep 10. Why Were Plastic Mirobeads Banned? Marine Debris and Sustainable Plastics

Plastic debris in our water is a huge pollution problem, and just one source of that pollution is the tiny microbeads that have been widely used in personal care products. In this episode of the podcast, we interview Dr. Richard Thompson, a Professor of Marine Biology at Plymouth University and an expert on the effects of plastic debris in the marine environment. We discuss the recent federal ban on microbeads and what consumers can do to be more sustainable in our day-to-day use of plastics. Continue reading

What is Machine Learning and How is it Changing Physical Chemistry and Materials Science?
blog post

What is Machine Learning and How is it Changing Physical Chemistry and Materials Science?

When I talk about artificial intelligence (AI), the usual images that come to mind are from fiction: Hal from 2001: A Space Odyssey, the cyborg from The Terminator, or perhaps the gloomy world of The Matrix. Since March 2016, however, the poster child for real-world AI has become AlphaGo, the computer program developed by Google Deepmind … Continue reading

Does Eating Turkey Make You Sleepy? (Answer: No, but tryptophan can teach us about nanotoxicology!)
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Does Eating Turkey Make You Sleepy? (Answer: No, but tryptophan can teach us about nanotoxicology!)

Every Thanksgiving we gorge ourselves on delicious food and become very sleepy. Inevitably at that point, someone volunteers that it’s the turkey that’s made you tired. Turkey meat contains a naturally occurring amino acid called L-tryptophan, which is necessary for the synthesis of melatonin, which in turn helps regulate sleep cycles.1 It has been shown … Continue reading

Ep 9. Seven Stages of Technological Adaptation
podcast

Ep 9. Seven Stages of Technological Adaptation

This episode of the podcast features an interview with University of Minnesota graduate student Peter Clement, discussing the book The War on Science by Shawn Otto. We focus on Otto’s explanation of the Seven Stages of Technological Adaptation — an observation that how our society adapts new technology has generally repeated the same sequence of steps over and over, from discovery through crisis and adaptation, especially since the mid-20th Century. Continue reading

Ep 8. How Nanomaterials Can Build Better Bikes
podcast

Ep 8. How Nanomaterials Can Build Better Bikes

On this episode of the Sustainable Nano podcast, we talk about one example of how nanotechnology is changing something many people use every day: bikes! Margy Robinson, a graduate student in the Center for Sustainable Nanotechnology and a competitive cyclist, explains how carbon nanotubes and graphene are currently being incorporated into some high-end bicycles. Continue reading