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 …

Are transistors getting too small? (How small is too small?)

Did you know that the world’s first computers filled entire rooms? Now we can carry even more computing power than those early machines in the palm of our hands, thanks to advancements in nano- and transistor technology. Transistors are the components in a computer that control the flow of electricity and therefore allow the computer …

Celebrating the 150th Anniversary of the Periodic Table: Nano-Style!

Did you know that 2019 is the International Year of the Periodic Table? We chemists in the Center for Sustainable Nanotechnology are happy to celebrate this all year long! A particularly delicious example of the Periodic Table (image from the Science History Institute) The periodic table as we know it was first published 150 years …

How does nanoscale chemistry make fireflies glow brightly?

The United States celebrated Independence Day last week, and most people in the US probably managed to see some fireworks. Besides the fireworks, one of my favorite things this time of year is another kind of light show—fireflies! There’s something almost ethereal about fireflies in a field on a calm summer night. When I was …

Electrocuting a Pickle: Demonstrating Major Concepts in Science

pickle

Have you ever made lightning in a pickle? I have. It involves putting two iron nails in a pickle and applying 110 volts of electricity. It’s pretty smelly, but it is worth it to see what looks like yellow-orange lightning in the pickle. What’s going on? The principle of “put in electricity – get out …

Our Hidden Bacterial Friends Keep Us All Alive – Shewanella oneidensis

While the word “bacteria” conjures images of human illness and death for many people, the vast majority of bacteria in the world allow for the healthy functioning of humans and ecosystems. The way they do this ranges from breaking down food in animals’ digestive systems (yes, even ours) to cycling life-giving chemical elements from things …

What’s the Difference between Magnification and Resolution? Dog of Science Demonstrates.

Seeing small objects is no simple task, but it is an essential one for scientists from fields as diverse as astronomy and nanotechnology.  In order to see tiny things, we need to both magnify them and keep their fine details apparent. Which is more important, raw enlarging power or precise detail?To help me explain, I …