Sticking with Chemistry on Mole Day!

Happy National Chemistry Week! This year's theme is "Sticking with Chemistry," a celebration of the science of glues and adhesives. It's no coincidence that today is also Mole Day, the annual festival honoring Avogadro's Number - the number of molecules or atoms that comprise a mole of a substance: 6.02 x 1023. That's 602,000,000,000,000,000,000,000 molecules …

Podcast Ep 37. Shine Bright like a Diamond… Inside of a Worm

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Zack Jones, a graduate student in the Center for Sustainable Nanotechnology, gives diamonds to his study organism. But they're nanodiamonds, not jewelry, and after the tiny worms eat them, Zack uses their fluorescent and magnetic properties to see where the material accumulates within the worm's body. This episode of the Sustainable Nano Podcast talks about …

Podcast Ep 36. “Yes, and…”: A Guide to Effective Science Communication Using Improvisation

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Science communication takes a lot of different forms, including improvisation. In this episode, we interview Center for Sustainable Nanotechnology graduate student Paige Kinsley and alum Liz Laudadio. The episode dives deep into the life skills you can learn from doing improv, how it can make you a better listener, and how it relates to science …

Authentic Research Experiences Amid The Pandemic

On a lovely spring day, as I was lying on the Skinner Green and soaking up the sun, my phone buzzed. It was an email from the Center for Sustainable Nanotechnology (CSN) regarding my application for their Summer Undergraduate Research Experience (SURE) program. My heart dropped a beat when I glimpsed the content of the email and …

How can nanotechnology preserve stone cultural heritage sites?

Note: There has been much public discussion recently around preservation of public monuments. This blog post is about how science can play an important role in preserving historical monuments. Although people, including scientists, must make judgments about historical preservation, nothing in this post is intended to express any opinion on recent public discussions about those …

Podcast Ep 35. Photographing the Unphotographable

How do you photograph the unphotographable? In this podcast episode we interview MIT research scientist Felice Frankel, who specializes in visualizing science, using pictures to draw audiences in and help scientists more deeply examine their own work, including nanoscale materials that are smaller than wavelengths of light! We also have a mini-interview with graduate student …

Molecular music: Patterns of vibrations at the quantum level

Hearing of the fire at Notre Dame de Paris a year ago broke my heart. I have only been there once in my life, but that visit is one of my most cherished memories. Before studying chemistry and joining the Center for Sustainable Nanotechnology, I earned a music education degree, with a major in voice …

Nano-enabled Recovery of Scarce Metals: From benchtop to startup

In these days of social distancing, everyday electronic devices such as cell phones and laptops are more crucial than ever. But many of these devices, ubiquitous as they are, contain materials that are difficult to come by, called scarce rare earth and specialty elements (RESEs). For example, audio equipment such as speakers, headphones and microphones, …