Today In Science 01/18/17

Solar cells
In 1994, the U.S. Department of Energy announced production of solar panels giving nearly twice the efficiency of existing panels. Made by United Solar Systems of Troy, Mich., these amorphous silicon submodule (1 ft2) panels converted 10.2% of solar energy into electricity, as compared to 6% previously possible. This was possible by using new thin-film photovoltaic technology. The company has subsequently produced flexible solar shingles based on thin film photovoltaics that can permit the roofs of ordinary commercial and residential buildings to evolve from simply providing protection from the weather to becoming a source of much-needed electric power

Legionnaire’s disease
Thumbnail – Legionnaire’s disease
In 1977, scientists at the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) in Atlanta, Georgia, USA, first announced* that they had sufficient laboratory evidence to implicate a bacterium as the cause of Legionnaire’s Disease, now named Legionella pneumophila. An outbreak of this disease in Philadelphia in 1976, largely among people attending a state convention of the American Legion, led to the name “Legionnaires’ Disease.” After the bacterium causing the illness was named, the name of the illness was changed to legionellosis. The scientific paper describing the isolation of the bacterium as published 1 Dec 1977 in The New England Journal of Medicine. [Image: Legionella pneumophila multiplying inside a cultured human lung fibroblast. Multiple intracellular bacilli, including dividing bacilli, are visible in longitudinal and cross section. Transmission electron micrograph.]

Credit to


Back In School

I have waited a over a year to receive my official letter inviting me to return to EKU. I have submitted appeal after appeal, many letters of recommendation and it finally happened. Yesterday evening when I got home, I had a thin envelope in the mailbox. If you have every been waiting on a college acceptance letter you know, the thin envelopes are bad. I opened it with dread and that  turned to shock and relief. I was invited back under academic probation since my current GPA is right on the cusp of good standing. I have one semester to get my GPA above a 2.0. I register for my classes Monday!

Returning to school will be a financial struggle, as I will be going from working 40hrs a week to only working 24hrs a week. I will be working Monday, Wednesday, Friday with classes on Tuesday and Thursday. I have the option of working the weekend as well to bring me to 40hrs.  I learned from my last time in college and working that I cannot do that and maintain the GPA I want.  I would be overworked, stressed, tired and I will break. I need to have the weekends off to spend time with family and study.

My goal is to maintain a 4.0 GPA until I graduate. I wish to graduate with Magna Cum Laude which is a 3.7 – 3.89 GPA.


Today is Science 12/02/2016

Fun facts from the science world thanks to


U.S. Environmental Protection Agency established
  In 1970, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency was established during the administration of President Nixon. Working with strong bipartisan support from Congress, earlier in the year, on 2 Jan 1970, he had been able to sign the National Environmental Policy Act, and significant environmental action was set in motion. Once the EPA was created, the federal government could set the lead to constrain the excessive pollution caused by industries unwilling to clean up their wastes and emissions. All residents of America, whether in towns, suburbs or wilderness areas, would benefit in the decades that followed. Sadly, Republican Presidents after Nixon failed to fully embrace the same vision, and in various ways their support fell short of the greatest possible benefits from EPA’s mission.«
Atomic chain reaction
Thumbnail - Atomic chain reaction
  In 1942, the first self-sustained nuclear chain reaction was demonstrated in Chicago, Illinois. At the University of Chicago, Enrico Fermi and his team achieved the world’s first artificial nuclear chain reaction, in a makeshift lab underneath the University’s football stands at Stagg Field. Work on the experimental pile had begun on 16 Nov 1942. It was a prodigious effort. Physicists and staffers, working around the clock, built a lattice of 57 layers of uranium metal and uranium oxide embedded in graphite blocks. A wooden structure supported the graphite pile. The chain reaction was part of the Manhattan Project, a secret wartime project to develop nuclear weapons, which initiated the modern nuclear age. This was a discovery that changed the world.
China first lunar landing probe launched
  In 2013, China launched the Chang’e-3 lunar probe, carrying the Jade Rabbit rover. The spacecraft headed into orbit and then on to the Moon. This was hoped to become the country’s first extraterrestrial landing craft, and a showcase for China’s rising technological abilities. The lift-off of the Long March-3B carrier rocket from the Xichang Satellite Launch Center in China’s southwestern Sichuan province was broacast live on the nation’s state television. The robot rover’s mission was to conduct geological surveys and investigate the Moon’s natural resources. Previously, China’s had put their Chang’e-1 into moon orbit (launched 24 Oct 2007) taking images and spectral analyses, and sent three astronauts on a 15 day mission orbitting the Earth (Jun 2013), during which their craft docked with an experimental space lab.« [The local launch time in China was 01:30 am, on 2 Dec 2013, corresponding to 17:30 GMT on 1 Dec in Britain.]
Atomic power station
  In 1957, the first full-scale atomic electric generating station in the U.S. began operation in Shippingport, Pennsylvania -15 years to the day after Fermi’s experiment at the University of Chicago. The plant reached full power 21 days later, generating 60 megawatts of power for Pittsburgh. The Duquesne Light Co. of Pittsburgh built and operated the Shippingport plant on a site it owned on the Ohio River 25 miles away from Pittsburgh. The reactor plant was designed by the Westinghouse Electric Corporation in cooperation with the Division of Naval Reactors of the Atomic Energy Commission. President Dwight D. Eisenhower opened it on 26 May 1958, as part of his “Atoms for Peace” program. The Shippingport nuclear powerplant was retired in 1982.

Today In Science

Today In Science
  Pulsar discovery

  In 1967, the first pulsating radio source (pulsar) was detected by an alert graduate student, Jocelyn Bell, then working under the direction of Prof. Anthony Hewish at the Mullard Radio Astronomy Observatory, Cambridge, England. A special radio telescope was used, with 2,048 antennae arrayed across 4.4 acres. By 13 Nov 1998, one thousand had been found. The pulsing of the radiation has clock-like precision , up to 1,000 times per second. A pulsar is believed to be a neutron star with exceedingly rapid spin. Rotational periods range from 1.57 milliseconds to 5.1 sec. Pulsars prompted studies of quantum-degenerate fluids, relativistic gravity and interstellar magnetic fields. Similar behaviour of a star flashing in the optical spectrum was detected on 18 Jan 1968.Optical pulsars remain very rare.«

Booklist for Pulsars.


 First U.S. auto race

Thumbnail - First U.S. auto race

1893 Duryea

  In 1895, Frank Duryea won the first American Automobile Race in Chicago, sponsored by the Chicago Times-Herald. With his brother Charles, Duryea invented the first automobile that was actually built and operated in the United States. On the day of the race, at 8:55 a.m., six “motocycles” left Chicago’s Jackson Park for a 54 mile race to Evanston, Illinois and back through the snow. Duryea’s Number 5 won the race in just over 10 hours averaging about 7.3 mph and was awarded a prize of $2,000. Following their victory in the race, the Duryeas manufactured thirteen copies of the Chicago car, and J. Frank Duryea developed the “Stevens-Duryea,” an expensive limousine, which remained in production into the 1920s.   more

Carriages Without Horses: J. Frank Duryea and the Birth of the American Automobile Industry, by Richard P. Scharchburg. – book suggestion.
Booklist for Duryea Automobiles.