By Elifsu Gencer
Although fresh water is essential for life, it remains a limited resource threatened by physical, chemical, biological, and radiological contaminants. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), 30% of the global population lack access to drinkable water at home, and 60% lack safely managed sanitation. Moreover, the WHO estimates that by 2025, half of the world’s population will be living in water-stressed areas. Industrial processes have especially exacerbated water scarcity issues by generating wastewater (water that has been contaminated by human use) and discharging large concentrations of toxic pollutants into groundwater, the water found in cracks and spaces beneath Earth’s surface and which serves as a valuable drinking source for millions around the world. Accordingly, wastewater and groundwater remediation processes are growing increasingly important, such as air sparging to volatilize contaminants and the pump-and-treat method that involves pumping subsurface contaminated water for above-ground treatment. These processes have been continuously innovated to enhance contaminant removal efficiencies, decrease costs, and increase environmental soundness. In particular, the method of using zero-valent iron (ZVI) has attracted considerable attention in recent years.
By Elifsu Gencer
Most of us remember the colors of the rainbow with the acronym “ROYGBIV,” and we all have one of the most famous physicists to thank for this mnemonic. That’s right, Sir Isaac Newton—best known for his theory of gravity, three Laws of Motion, and invention of calculus—played a crucial role in developing what we know today as the color wheel.
By Boyuan Chen
The lotus is associated with the purity of mind and soul in many religions, including Buddhism and Hinduism, for its ability to arise from muddy ponds and yet remain unstained. Even in Latin, the name “lotus” comes from the participle for “washed,” in recognition of its forever-clean appearance. But why is this the case? What is the scientific basis for this fascinating phenomenon?
By Jenna Everard
Covering around 10 percent of the Earth’s surface, glaciers are an important resource for humans. Not only do their movements provide glacial till, which are sediments derived from glacial erosion that provide fertile soil, but glaciers also store 69 percent of the world’s freshwater supply. Although glaciers’ fluctuating masses have allowed scientists to begin quantifying the impacts of anthropogenic climate change, there is still much we do not know about these fascinating, massive bodies of ice.
By Elaine Zhu
Illustrated by Lizka Vaintrob
Kombucha has been one of the trendiest drink items in the past few years, becoming a staple in cafes and supermarkets all around the country. For those who have not tried the drink, kombucha is a fermented drink that is usually flavored with different fruity or floral additive ingredients and has a slightly sweet, tart, and fizzy taste. With its steady rise in fame, claims about kombucha’s numerous health benefits have also started to spread to the mainstream. For example, claims have been made that kombucha detoxifies the blood, improves the immune system, aids gut health, and improves intestinal activity. As kombucha becomes a new essential in people’s lives, researchers are continually exploring the health benefits of this effervescent drink.
By Jenna Everard
The origin and evolution of life as we know it has long been a topic of debate within the scientific community. At the center of that puzzle lies deoxyribonucleic acid, or DNA — the molecule of inheritance that defines life, determining the structures, functions, and capabilities of various organisms.
Demystifying the Origins of Modern Elements: How Astrochemistry Offers Insight About the Nature of Atoms and Molecules
By Victoria Comunale
The massive expanse of space can bring wonder to just about anyone with a simple gaze upward. One might find themselves overwhelmed by the sheer number of stars and planets that are found against the backdrop of the seemingly boundless darkness. But the cosmos offers up so much more than a beautiful scene to look at—it is a mystery, or more appropriately, a puzzle, with clues just waiting to be pieced together. What makes up this enigmatic expanse? What compounds that are incredibly rare on earth might be as abundant as oxygen is to us? The study of such enigmatic molecules and chemical interactions in space, known as astrochemistry, promises to offer insightful clues about the nature of atoms and molecules.
By Elaine Zhu
With the World Health Organization announcing a global pandemic and schools and large events being canceled across the world, coronavirus, or more formally known as “2019 novel coronavirus” and abbreviated as COVID-19, has been in the global spotlight since the beginning of 2020. COVID-19 is the result of one of a family of viruses called coronaviruses, which are common in various animal species, such as cattle, bats, or camels. Usually, coronaviruses from these species do not infect humans, but in special cases can be spread to humans and lead to a fatal disease.
By Boyuan Chen
“Try it yourself, just once,” said a voice, low and hoarse.
It was Grandma, smiling.
My Grandma, a traditional Chinese countrywoman, always preferred to use the wastewater left from boiling noodles to wash dishes, a practice I have long held doubts about.
By Alice Sardarian
In 1999, James Harrison was awarded the Medal of the Order of Australia for saving millions of children’s lives through his blood plasma donations. Harrison, also known as the “man with the golden arm,” has donated plasma almost every week for the past 60 years, spanning the entire range of donor ages permitted by the Australian Red Cross Blood Service. Plasma is a component of blood that contains nutrients, ions, proteins, and more, not including platelets, leukocytes, and erythrocytes. Plasma donation involves continuously withdrawing blood, separating the red blood cells from the plasma, and then returning the red blood cells back to the donor. According to the Red Cross, plasma may be donated much more frequently than whole blood: donors must wait only 7 days for plasma as opposed to between 8 and 16 weeks for whole blood.