What Nanoparticle Are You? Take Our Quiz to Find Out!

co-written by Claire Alford People love to categorize themselves by personality type, whether it’s describing what kind of baked potato we are, or which character we have most in common with from Stranger Things. But have you ever wondered what kind of nanoparticle you would be?  We thought it would be fun to create a …

Accidental nanoparticles in the environment: the nanoplastic pollution problem

When you hear the term “plastic pollution,” what do you think of? If you’re like me, you might picture a pile of garbage on a beach, or microplastic beads inside a fish. Most of us are aware that plastic pollution can be found everywhere. But you might be surprised to learn that "everywhere" in this …

Why I Think Grad Students Should Give Campus Mental Health Services A Try

When I began my undergraduate degree, I had just been diagnosed with an eating disorder. Within my first few weeks of being at my university, I walked into the campus health services building, told a receptionist exactly that, and got an appointment with a healthcare provider. This began my long, but rewarding, journey navigating campus …

Please Take Our Science Communication Survey!

three people in lab coats and safety goggles look down on a glowing tablet

Hey Science Readers and Writers! We’ve launched a new survey about how readers respond to different text styles. We would appreciate any and all participation to help us understand what kind of texts are most engaging and effective for readers. Please CLICK HERE to take the survey! This will be us looking at your survey …

A Love Letter for Black History Month: St. Elmo Brady, the first Black Ph.D. chemist in the United States

Orange banner showing a portrait of young Black man with text "The Power of I"

As we come to the end of Black History Month for 2022, I find myself contemplating the banner that hangs year-round in front of Noyes Chemistry Lab to celebrate one of the shining stars of my own department at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (UIUC): St. Elmo Brady. Dr. Brady was the first African-American …

Electrifying the night: supporting solar energy conversion in the dark

The dwindling supply of non-renewable energy sources (I’m looking at you, fossil fuels!) and their impact on the environment have driven the pursuit for more sustainable energy sources. 1 According to the International Energy Agency, global energy demands decreased by 1% in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic, but this statistic is quickly turning around, …

Lipid Nanoparticles in COVID Vaccines

cartoon of a lipid nanoparticle showing a lipid bilayer ring (hairpin shapes with open ends toward each other) surrounding a DNA helix shape in the center

Now that children from 5 to 11 years old are eligible to receive COVID vaccines, many people are wondering again about exactly how they work. You may have heard that both Moderna and Pfizer make mRNA vaccines (more on that in a minute). But the vaccines would not be effective with mRNA alone. Another significant …