Category Archives: Buzzword

Science in a New World of “Alternative Facts”

If you are an American, or have followed the brutal 2016 campaign season and election, it may not be a stretch to believe that we are coming into a new era: the post-truth era. Today’s Buzzword // Post-truth “It is no

Mutations in Cancer

Today’s Buzzword // Mutation When you hear the word mutation, what image does that evoke? Perhaps it’s crime-fighting turtles, or a malformed caricature. In biology terms, a mutation is an alteration in your DNA. What’s in my DNA? All living organisms

What is a GMO?

Today’s buzzword // GMO (genetically-modified organism) It was in the early 1990s that the term “Frankenfood” was coined to describe Genetically-Modified Organisms (GMOs). It’s a term that makes me cringe, because it can conjure up negative images. Foods taking over the city ala the

What’s a half-life?

Today’s buzzword // Half-life In science, the half-life of a substance is the time that is takes for 50% of that substance to “go away.” What does that mean? It could be that the substance changes its chemical properties — for example in

Be an Advocate for Science

Today’s buzzword // Science policy Science policy is a field that explores the regulatory aspects of science. In other words, science policy involves national budgets for science agencies (like the US National Science Foundation and the Swiss National Science Foundation), and looks

It’s Not Easy Being Green

Today’s buzzword // Green chemistry A few weeks ago, I talked about what it means to me to be a responsible researcher. One of the topics I discussed was the idea of thinking about the chemical reactions that I’m doing and

Water Does the Splits

// The buzzword: water splitting At a chemical level, “water splitting” refers to breaking down two molecules of water into two molecules of hydrogen gas and one molecule of oxygen gas. Why could this be important?  There is no question that global

What is chemotherapy?

Today’s buzzword // Chemotherapy There are many different types of therapy that make up what we consider chemotherapeutics, or treatments that are used for treating cancer. These treatments can also be used in a few ways. They can be used

What is YOUR carbon footprint?

To wrap up the last few stories on the environment (including plastic-eating bacteria and the impact of plant-based plastics on the environment), today’s buzzword is carbon footprint. In other words, what is the impact (footprint) that you leave on the environment

And YOU can science, too!

// The buzzword: citizen science Citizen science, sometimes called crowd-sourced science, is where scientific research is done by nonscientists. A citizen scientist volunteers time to conduct scientific research, either working with scientists or alone. There are many projects you can get