A couple of weeks ago, I was looking for some sort of newsy tidbit about circadian rhythms—the daily cycles that drive much of the physiology and behavior of living things—to share with my class of undergraduate students. My pick was a recent opinion piece by Kevin Gaston—an ecologist and conservation biologist in the UK—called "Lighting … Continue reading Goodnight, night lights?
Another year is drawing to a close. I'm currently enjoying a break between semesters of teaching, featuring a holiday season spent with family, music, and cookies. I always enjoy this opportunity to retreat from the usual routines and responsibilities and recharge for a fresh start in a new year that waits just around the corner. … Continue reading 2018: At the intersection of science and ______
Today marks the start of December! Alongside wrapping up a semester of science classes and grading projects, papers, lab reports, and final exams, I will be out and about, sharing music with audiences in communities near me. About twice a year, schools across the United States frequently offer an array of arts events at the … Continue reading Scientists who make art
The past month has been a busy one for me. It was that time in the semester when my students give me papers and exams to grade…and when I pick up pesky respiratory viruses. I was very grateful for a break this week with time off to rest, recuperate, relax, and spend time with family … Continue reading Wombats, weights, and worldwide woes
It's been a while since my last blog post. I've had a busy month: launching a new semester with students, learning about a new sport with one of my kids, enjoying the last of the warm days outdoors, finding some local apples... and discovering the world of competitive baking on TV. But I've kept my … Continue reading When plants make headlines
Insect adventures A couple of days ago, my son spotted an insect riding along on our car's windshield shortly after I had started driving. A very pretty green grasshopper had found its way aboard while I was parked near some grass and trees. I hoped it would be alarmed enough by the wind to jump … Continue reading Insects of summer
In one of my very first blog posts on this site ("Raindrops keep falling on our heads…and on the microbes") I shared some science news I had seen about microorganisms and clouds. Scientists across different disciplines are trying to learn about the relationship between the planet's water cycles and the growth of tiny organisms (such … Continue reading Tiny science update: Clouds and microbes
I've always enjoyed reading fiction books. Once I find genres or authors I like, I tend to stick with them for a while until I discover something new. As a child, I read (and re-read) many popular series of the time (the "Little House" books, everything by Judy Blume, etc.). As a teen, I discovered … Continue reading Scientist fiction
Over the past week or so, I saw headline after headline reporting on extremes: heat waves in the Arctic, in England, in Japan. Wildfires in California and across Europe, including the Arctic circle. Drought in Australia. Extreme summer weather conditions around the world have suddenly become high-profile news, and none of it is encouraging. It made … Continue reading Climate and weather: Is this the new normal?
The title refers to a book I just finished reading. I'll tell you more in a moment. But first, I need to report "breaking news." Last night, while scrolling through my social media feeds, a cutesy entry from the pop culture website Buzzfeed showed up: "32 People That Look So Much Like Their Parent You'll … Continue reading Stories of heredity: “She Has Her Mother’s Laugh”