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Chasing Down Cosmic Dust

Fenella Saunders, Katie-Leigh Corder

Cosmic Dust Image

The formation of tiny particles of pollutants in the atmosphere, raindrops in a cloud, and cosmic dust share common physics, closely related to a process called nucleation, the means by which molecules begin to form solids. The key unknown is the physics and behavior of nanoclusters that are far more complex than a single molecule, yet not big enough to be considered solids or liquids. Davide Lazzati discusses his research on cosmic dust and how additional findings can improve the current theory's performance and ability to predict the properties and formation of nanoparticles.

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Science Hangout: Why is Clownfish Behavior in Finding Nemo Misleading?

Katie L. Burke, Katie-Leigh Corder

ClownfishIn this Science Hangout, two animal behaviorists, Marian Wong of University of Wollongong in Australia and Peter Buston, PhD, of Boston University, explain to associate editor Katie Burke, PhD, that the clownfish behavior in the Disney-Pixar film Finding Nemo is completely off the mark.

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Uncovering the Complexity of Bartonellosis

Katie L. Burke

Click to Enlarge Image

There is little truth to the saying "what you don't know can't hurt you" when it comes to infection with bacteria in the genus Bartonella. Over two decades of research, veterinarian and professor of medicine Ed Breitschwerdt of North Carolina State University has shown that these bacteria can infect humans and other mammals, and in turn, cause a variety of perplexing symptoms.

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Retracing the Evolution of African Penguins

Katie-Leigh Corder, Fenella Saunders

African Penguins

"Penguins are 10 times older than humans and have been here for a very, very long time," said Daniel Ksepka, Ph.D., a researcher at the National Evolutionary Synthesis Center (NESCent). Dr. Ksepka researches the evolution of penguins and how they came to inhabit the African continent.

Because penguins have been around for over 60 million years, their fossil record is extensive. Fossils that Dr. Ksepka and his colleagues have discovered provide clues about migration patterns and the diversity of penguin species.

Dr. Ksepka goes into more depth about how his research is piecing together the evolutionary puzzle of penguins and other related bird species.

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Science Hangout: Dr. Gruss on Advancing Research

Katie-Leigh Corder, Fenella Saunders

Scientist researchIn American Scientist's first Google Hangout On Air, managing editor Fenella Saunders talks with Prof. Dr. Peter Gruss, president of the Max Planck Society, which is a nonprofit research organization that has promoted research at its own institutes since 1948.

He discusses the need to grow basic research, the pluses and minuses for using grants as the main source of support for researchers, the role of business funding in science, the importance of multidisciplinary collaborations, the need to support women in science careers, and the gains created by communicating science well to the general public.

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Smart Materials Used to Treat Uterine Fibroids

Katie-Leigh Corder, Sandra J. Ackerman

Uterine FibroidClick to Enlarge Image

Dr. Darlene Taylor is an associate professor in the Department of Chemistry at North Carolina Central University. She uses molecular engineering to develop what she calls “smart materials”- substances that can sense and respond in some way to a change in their environment. Perhaps the most exciting use for smart materials is helping to deliver powerful drugs to specific target sites deep inside the body without affecting other tissues along the way.

Dr. Taylor discusses her research in an interview with Sandra Ackerman, senior editor at American Scientist magazine.

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Pancreatic Cancer and More Effective Treatments

Katie-Leigh Corder, Fenella Saunders

Dr. Antonio Baines is an associate professor in the Department of Biology at North Carolina Central University, an adjunct professor in the Department of Pharmacology in the School of Medicine at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and a cancer researcher.

Dr. Baines’ research focuses on understanding a gene called Ras, and its role as a molecular target in pancreatic cancer. His research aim is to target certain points in the pathway of pancreatic cancer in order to increase the effectiveness of treatments such as chemotherapy and radiation. Dr. Baines goes into more depth about how his research could increase understanding of how to combat pancreatic cancer.

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How You Can Better Communicate Your Science

Katie-Leigh Corder, Fenella Saunders

Most scientists will tell you that one of the inspirations for their work is to somehow benefit mankind, whether that’s through new medicines or a better understanding of the formation of the universe. But how can scientists ensure that mankind knows about their work?

Science author and journalist Dennis Meredith discusses how scientists can become better communicators of their research.

In 2012, Meredith was inducted as an Honorary Life Member of Sigma Xi, The Scientific Research Society, and he is the Chair for American Scientist 's Committee on Communications and Publications.

In this podcast, he discussed with American Scientist managing editor, Fenella Saunders, some of the ways he’s found to help scientists become more effective communicators.

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