Category Archives: Science Caturday

Science Caturday: All the Artz

hoominartMichele is busy this weekend presenting her art to “hoomins” at Artscape (18-20 July in Baltimore). Your regular Science Caturday service will resume next week.

Science Caturday: Proper Handling Of Dangerous Stuff

This week’s big science story was a major “oops” moment, as a scientist cleaning out a storage room last week at a lab on the National Institutes of Health’s Bethesda campus discovered a box containing vials of smallpox virus, a deadly pathogen. In light of this troubling incident, this week’s science cat, from the wonderful Fake Science, reminds us that smart scientists always use extreme caution when handling potentially dangerous things.

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Science Caturday: Advances in Catellite Technology

Sorry, Aereo, the Supreme Court said no to your model of picking up broadcast signals with tiny antennas and streaming them over the net. May we suggest a new technology?

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Science Caturday: Kevlar Kitteh says Thank You

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The science community is mourning the loss  of Stephanie Kwolek, a DuPont chemist who invented the synthetic fibers used in Kevlar body armor, who died this week at the age of 90.

Like many scientific breakthroughs, the invention of Kevlar at first seemed like a dud. As part of a DuPont team working to create a stronger synthetic fiber in 1965, Kwolek came up with a liquid crystal solution that could be cold-spun.

According to the American Chemical Society: “Most researchers would have rejected the solution because it was fluid and cloudy rather than viscous and clear. But Kwolek took a chance and spun the solution into fibers more strong and stiff than had ever been created.” By weight, Kevlar is 5 times stronger than steel.

Kwolek herself said “I never in a thousand years expected that little liquid crystal to develop into what it did.”

What it developed into, of course,  was Kevlar, a material that when made into light, strong body armor, has saved thousands of lives and has since been used in hundreds of different products.

So thank you, Stephanie Kwolek.

Please note that the cat in the photo above is not wearing a kevlar vest (looks like a knee pad), but many armed forces and law enforcement dogs do, and some of them undoubtedly also owe their lives to Stephanie Kwolek’s invention.

 

 

Science Caturday: GOOOOOOOAAAALLLL

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The World Cup kicked off in Brazil this week, promising lots of excitement and drama for sports fans. For science lovers? Well, I found a pretty darn interesting article by Rose Eveleth about how design innovations make this year’s special World Cup ball perform better than its predecessors.

She also wrote this great, slightly scary piece about how many people will get dengue fever, a mosquito-borne illness common in Brazil.  The tournament just started, but Rose Eveleth is looking like a favorite to take the World Cup science-writing crown. You can follow her on twitter here.