Science Blog: GMOs—not simply scary mutated food

While discussing methods for gene-editing in my molecular genetics class, my professor brought up a survey from 2015 organized by the Oklahoma State University Department of Agricultural Economics that aimed to gather data on the public’s opinion on issues surrounding food. In this survey, about 80 per cent of Americans responded that there should be “mandatory labels on foods containing DNA.” While most students in my class found this result hilarious, it dawned on me that this evident misconception about DNA’s relation to food was extremely alarming. It is yet another symptom of scientists’ poor record when it comes to communicating with the public. With that in mind, I decided that DNA, and its relation to genetically modified organisms (GMOs), […]

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Science Blog: Shining a light on dark matter

Understanding the nature of dark matter is one of the most important unsolved problems in physics. Maybe you’ve heard about it in the news. I’ve found personally that the general public is completely unaware of what it is. When I learned about the Science Blog, it struck me as a great opportunity to bring this topic to a wider audience.   The story of dark matter began in 1933, when a physicist named Fritz Zwicky was looking at a galaxy cluster. A galaxy cluster is simply a group of many galaxies bound together by gravity. In the same way that gravity causes planets to rotate around the sun, it causes these galaxies to rotate around a point somewhere in the […]

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Letter: Leaders must be educated on basics of climate change

The recent wave of unusually low temperatures affecting the East Coast has compelled U.S. President Donald Trump yet again to take to Twitter and perpetuate misconceptions concerning our changing climate. On Dec. 28, Trump managed to simultaneously dismiss the existence of climate change, accuse the rest of the world of insufficient economic commitment, and suggest that a little global warming would provide relief against the cold—all in a single tweet. Aside from his steady stream of inflammatory comments, this president consistently aims to do as much damage as he can to the legal mechanisms designed to prevent environmental abuses. His decision to reduce the size of land protected under the Bears Ears National Monument, and America’s withdrawal from the Paris […]

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Science Blog: Tube-ular cell research

As I labeled my 180th microcentrifuge tube of the morning, I wondered what the scene looked like to anyone passing by. It might have resembled another one of those images of a person in a lab coat surrounded by unfamiliar lab equipment doing some sort of tedious task. I’d like to tell you the story of my own experience in research in my three years in science at Carleton to hopefully flesh out this picture a bit more. Over the past three years, I have learned a great deal about the fascinating biological processes that govern our lives. Two summer research grants have given me an opportunity to extend my knowledge beyond the classroom in an immunology lab. Immunology is […]

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Science Blog: Open the black box

As a third-year student in science, I often think back to what it means to be a scientist. The definition that I like to live by, is that a scientist is someone who gives a voice to the material world, in analyzing and explaining the phenomena that both surround us and comprise us. If we truly consider these words to define us in science, then I believe that we as scientists are not projecting our voices very well. The analogy of the “black box” is often used in science and technology to describe a system or object that can be understood in terms of what goes in and comes out.  There is no actual knowledge pertaining to what is inside […]

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