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Video: How Hair Ice Forms

In 2013, American Scientist featured an article on odd ice formations on plant stems.

One of the types of ice discussed in the article was hair ice—long, thin strands of ice that grow under quite specific conditions. The only problem is that a new study shows the theory put forth at the time—that gas pressure pushes the water out—isn’t correct.

We asked Christian Mätzler, a physicist at the University of Bern in Switzerland, and the lead author of the study, to provide an update on the hair ice formation mechanism.

See the associated blog for a full transcript of the video.

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Slideshow: Where the Xingu Bends and Will Soon Break

Katie L. Burke, Barbara Aulicino

Mark Sabaj Pérez is an ichthyologist whose expertise includes photographing fish up close and in detail. In this slideshow, we wanted to showcase some of the stunning visuals from his recent feature, "Where the Xingu Bends and Will Soon Break," which serves as a biologist's ode to Brazil's Xingu River, where the controversial Belo Monte megadam is slated to go into operation soon, changing its extensive rapids and diverse habitats. The author has been working with a team of Brazilian and American scientists on the iXingu Project to document the biodiversity of the river before the dam is in operation.

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Audio Exclusive: Discussing Rare Desert Species with Author Christopher Norment

Dianne Timblin, Katie-Leigh Corder

2015-11NormentCoverClick to Enlarge ImageFor our very first Scientists' Nightstand podcast, author Christopher Norment joins us to discuss his book, Relicts of a Beautiful Sea: Survival, Extinction, and Conservation in a Desert World, from University of North Carolina Press. It tells the story of six rare desert species native to the Death Valley region. Along the way Norment considers practical and ethical questions about conservation, especially around the issues of water use and climate change. He offers an eloquent and personal take on evolutionary history, firmly grounded in ecological science, enlivened by closely observed detail. Relicts of a Beautiful Sea presents a convincing argument for biodiversity conservation.

Christopher Norment is professor and chair of the Department of Environmental Science and Biology at the State University of New York College of Brockport. He's the author of several books including In the Memory of the Map: A Cartographic Memoir from the University of Iowa Press. He spoke to us in Durham, North Carolina, while he was here to present a lecture and reading for the E. O. Wilson Biodiversity Days, an event presented by the E. O. Wilson Biodiversity foundation and Duke University's Nicholas School of the Environment.

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Audio Exclusive: An Interview with Fracking Expert Avner Vengosh

Katie L. Burke

Avner Vengosh is a geochemist at Duke University who studies water quality issues posed by hydraulic fracturing and shale gas extraction. “We try to provide an objective picture of what the issues are and how we can cope with them,” says Vengosh. Listen to Associate Editor Katie L. Burke’s interview with Vengosh, portions of which were published as a Q & A in our July–August issue.

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3D Printing Replacement Body Parts

Katie-Leigh Corder, Fenella Saunders

2015-08WyskMMClick to Enlarge ImageResearchers in the regenerative medicine field are now amplifying their efforts with 3D-printing technology, which can now use organic materials to create scaffolds that cells need to grow into their final forms.

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The Living World in Eight Mandalas

Katie-Leigh Corder, Sandra J. Ackerman, Barbara Aulicino

2015-09ArtsLabBabaianF3.pngClick to Enlarge ImageCaryn Babaian, an artist and a biology instructor, has found a visual format that encourages her students to see and think about the important interactions in biology. Here she explains why the mandala, a Buddhist or Hindu graphic symbol of the universe, lends itself so well to the teaching of biology.

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The Heart’s New Beat: Evolution

Katie L. Burke


Biologist Rob Dunn of North Carolina State University sat down to discuss the evolution of the heart, including why dog years are different than people years and the fascinating overlooked research of cardiologist Helen Taussig. (Image from North Carolina State University.)

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Engineering Around Extreme Events

Katie-Leigh Corder, Fenella Saunders


Extreme events, such as super floods and hurricanes, are becoming more common, so civil engineers are trying to adapt civil infrastructure such as bridges to these unpredictable and sometimes devastating meteorological events. Engineer Ana Barros discusses how engineering can prepare us for extreme weather events, but also how changing climate and population conditions can affect the ability of infrastructure to hold up over time.

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An Inside View: Tales Told by a Doctor

Katie-Leigh Corder, Sandra J. Ackerman

TerrenceHoltBookClick to Enlarge ImageTerrence Holt, PhD , is a research associate professor in the Department of Social Medicine and a clinical assistant professor of geriatric medicine at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (UNC). Alongside his medical background, he is also an adjunct assistant professor of English and comparative literature also at UNC, where he teaches courses on medicine and society and on the writing of autobiographical narrative.

Sandra J. Ackerman, senior editor at American Scientist interviewed Dr. Holt about his most recent book, Internal Medicine, and how he sees the intersection of medicine and narrative.

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Moving Science Towards Open Access

Katie-Leigh Corder, Katie L. Burke

MichaelEisenPodcastClick to Enlarge Image

Open-access research papers continue to be a debate in the world of scientific publishing. Public Library of Science (PLOS) forged the pathway for the open-access publishers and continues to be regarded as a role model for the movement's successes and challenges.

Biologist Michael Eisen, who is also one of the founders of PLOS, along with his postdoc mentor and cofounder Pat Brown, was motivated to pursue open-access publishing after discovering that the scientific community did not own their own literature.

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Total Records : 28


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VIDEO: How Hair Ice Grows

In 2013, American Scientist featured an article on odd ice formations on plant stems, including these curling ribbons of ice. One of the types of ice discussed in the article was hair ice—long, thin strands of ice that grow under quite specific conditions. The only problem is that a new study shows the theory put forth at the time—that gas pressure pushes the water out—isn’t correct... (click the link above to read more).

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