The Winners Have Been Decided! Thanks to everyone who participated and voted. We are pleased to have new members of our science writing family.
  1. Plastic Solar Cells: Science, Expectations, and Challenges (Darren Lipomi)
  2. The Great Village in the Sky: Promise and Perils of Altruism on the Internet (Jamil Zaki)
  3. Adaptive Eyewear: Glimpsing the Obvious (Zuleikha Kurji)
In addition,
Danna Staaf
has won the ScientificBlogging MonoHD Flip Camera Prize!
A few years ago, the artist Wafaa Bilal decided to see how many people, given the chance, would shoot him.  He rigged a paintball gun and web camera so that people could log on to his website, chat with him online, and—if they wished...
Failure is enjoying something of a resurgence in pop culture. Blogs devoted entirely to failures of "epic" proportions have made it somehow appropriate to scream "FAIL" at people who have already been publicly humiliated, while self-help...
About a month ago, I stood nervously between a chalkboard and thirty-odd pairs of eyes, fidgeting over my colored chalk options. Under normal circumstances, I love teaching and lecturing for all the usual, sappy reasons: the joy of passing...
Naked mole-rats are not your average rodent.  Hairless, insensitive to pain, and nearly blind with a social system more similar to termites than to other rodents- they never really seem to fit in! But, don’t be so quick to brush...
It is convenient to think of cells as the units of life, and to associate biological complexity with the cooperation of cells in multi-cellular organisms. Yet, we must delve into its inner workings to understand the life force that seems...
Autumn has arrived, bringing firework foliage, delicious squash, and, at least in the Pacific Northwest, an invasion of squid. Humboldt or jumbo squid, sometimes mistakenly called giant squid, are grabbing fishing lures and washing up...
If you’ve ever had to conduct research in a room within earshot of a vial of S35 or a BSL-2 model organism, you’ve probably been warned about chowing down in lab.  See, the no-eating-in-lab policy (which applies to many labs in my...
A team of biologists has uncovered an unlikely friendship between a carnivorous pitcher plant and a fruit-eating tree shrew.  The pitcher plant, Nepenthes lowii, can be found sprawled on the forest floor in tropical regions of Malaysia...
Biosensor development demands creative solutions to a familiar challenge.  It is the challenge a picky child faces when she is presented with a steaming bowl of vegetable soup. The child first identifies the target: peas.  “I do not...
When I was in high school one of my favorite books was “Alice in Quantumland”, by Robert Gilmore.  In it, Alice is magically shrunk down to the size of an atom, and into a world where she can experience quantum mechanical effects...
Now picture an environmentalist in your mind. You may be imagining a man or a woman. That man or woman may be in a city chained to a tree, on a campus distributing pamphlets on the evils of capitalism, or in the rainforest studying parrots—...
General relativity’s wrong.  That’s a thought many of us don’t like to consider.  But what if there existed a nagging unresolved problem — say, for example, the eclipsing binary star DI Herculis — that worried at our certainty...
In 1992, a group of Italian neuroscientists reported that macaque monkeys have neurons that fire not only when a monkey picks up a peanut but also when the monkey watches a human pick up a peanut [1]. Mamma mia! Mirror neurons! Do these...
An ancient creature roams the ocean floor to this day.  It has survived over 440 million years and numerous catastrophic events in the earth’s history – ice ages, volcanic eruptions and even asteroids.   Studies of these “living...
Recently, during the much-needed period of recovery and imbibing after a long day of talks at a scientific conference, I found myself in the midst of a friendly – if only slightly heated – debate over climate science.  Two aspects...
Imagine being stranded on a tropical island, hacking your way through the lush jungle, when - out of nowhere - a polar bear lunges at you!  Terrifying and totally bizarre but, as followers of the TV show LOST will attest, you also can't...
You've probably noticed that more and more of your friends and co-workers are switching from the once ubiquitous plastic water bottle to stainless steel or glass water bottles. Most likely, they made the switch because they're concerned...
Most people think that nearsightedness and farsightedness can be easily diagnosed, measured and corrected. All you need is an optometrist, an eye test and then a pair of glasses, right? But what if there were only one optometrist for every...
It’s always the nastiest things which produce the worst body odor. Being forced to run the mile in gym class.  A first date gone horribly wrong. Or maybe things are nasty because of bad BO. Either way, it’s safe to say that BO and...
Nearly all problems of global scale—climate change, clean water, sustainable agriculture, healthcare, and even war—list the availability and use of energy as either a principal cause or potential solution. Everywhere we turn, we are...
One of the things that makes astronomy so interesting and appealing is how visual it is.  Looking up at the night sky we instinctively want to connect the dots between the stars to draw swans and bears and teapots.  But it was the introduction...
Imagine it’s Thanksgiving Day, and you’re about to sit down to a gargantuan meal that opens with roast turkey and stuffing, follows with sweet potatoes, cream of celery and cranberry sauce, and finishes with a slice of hot pecan pie...
Normally when you talk about agriculture, the last thing you want is grey. No grey weather, no grey water, no grey foliage, no grey milk; I think you get the point.  I’m here to argue; however, that grey is exactly what modern dairy...
My fourth grade teacher Mr. Davids was best known for an exercise called “peanut butter and jelly”. He would arrange the customary tools and ingredients on his desk, assume a strangely convincing joints-locked robotic stance, do this...
It is unfortunate that Climate Change is one of those controversial issues in the US, and the world in general, which frames the argument in moral terms.  The other issues that come to mind are Gay Marriage, Abortion, and Immigration...
When a patient takes a pain killer, she doesn't usually care what it's made of.  As it enters her bloodstream, she's not aware of the chemical interactions that cause her fever to go down, the molecular components that combine to relieve...