Summary: Perfect for science teachers, parents and kids with big curiosities, Bytesize Science is an educational, entertaining podcast for young listeners from the American Chemical Society, the world’s largest scientific society. Available every Wednesday morning, it translates scientific discoveries from ACS’ 36 journals into intriguing stories for kids of all ages about science, medicine, energy, food and much more.
This Sunday, millions will watch the hotly anticipated conclusion of Breaking Bad, which tells the story of chemistry-teacher-turned-meth-overlord Walter White. We're celebrating the chemistry behind this acclaimed show with a new episode featuring Donna Nelson, Ph.D., a scientific consultant for the series. "For those of us who are educated in science, whenever we see science presented inaccurately, it's like fingernails on the blackboard! It just drives us crazy, and we can't stay immersed in the show," says Nelson, a professor of organic chemistry at the University of Oklahoma. In the video, Nelson details how she works with the show's creator Vince Gilligan and its writers to keep the scientific …
August is Maine Lobster Month, signaling prime lobster season in the Northeast. To celebrate, we investigated the chemistry behind these crustaceans' many colored shells to find out why lobsters -- whether they are brown, blue or even two-toned -- turn bright red when you cook them. In the video, we visit Boston's New England Aquarium, where we talked to Dr. Michael Tlusty, the Aquarium's Director of Research. His lab grows different colored lobsters in an effort to understand shell disease, which weakens lobsters' shells. Between 2010 and 2012, the prevalence of lobster shell disease increased fivefold. While Maine lobsters are still largely unaffected, researchers like Tlusty are working hard to get to the bottom of the disease before it spreads further.
When we think about fuel for power plants, oil, coal and natural gas typically comes to mind. Now, try adding wastewater to that mix. In this video, Professor Bruce E Logan from Pennsylvania State University shows us a microbial fuel cell, a device that can extract the energy from wastewater and turn it into electricity. The ability to use bacteria to generate electricity from wastewater has been known since the 1910s. However, interest in the microbial fuel cell only picked up in the 1960s, and today, many research groups worldwide are working on making microbial fuel cells practical for a number of applications like generating electricity and desalinating seawater.
What's eight feet tall, has a creepy nickname and can be smelled from miles away? It's the rare titan arum plant, aka the corpse flower or Amorphophallus titanum, which just bloomed in the United States Botanic Gardens in Washington, DC. The plant has an unpredictable blooming cycle that lasts years, and the corpse-like odor it emits attracts pollenating bugs like flies and dung beetles. In this video, the Botanic Garden's public science educator Todd Brethauer explains the chemistry behind this legendary plant's potent stink.
Want a free trip to the next ACS meeting AND get fame and glory on Bytesize Science and in Chemical and Engineering News? Enter the EverydayChem video contest: http://cenm.ag/everydaychem. Matthew Hartings, assistant professor of chemistry at American University, teaches a class on the chemistry of cooking. In this video, he gives us a tip on how to get tasty caramelized onions super fast. Do you have an chemistry tip? Or maybe you can explain the chemistry behind the stuff in our everyday lives? Then be a chem ambassador and send us a video for the ACS' Everyday Chemistry contest! Get all the details here: http://cenm.ag/everydaychem.
In our latest episode, we take on a common breakfast disturbance - the foul taste of orange juice after you brush your teeth. Toothpaste is loaded with a cornucopia of chemicals that add flavors, body, texture, and most importantly, the ability to clean your teeth. One compound in particular, a detergent known as sodium lauryl sulfate is responsible for the suds that you produce when brushing. As it turns out, this compound has an interesting effect on your mouth's taste receptors. Watch the video to find out exactly how SLS affects your sense of taste, and be prepared to amaze your friends at breakfast when you drop chemical facts on why this bitter combo leads to such a puckered up, gross experience.
Asparagus is known for it's great flavor, but also for its ability to make pee smell... different. In this video, biochemist and author Shirley Corriher explains the science behind this funky phenomenon. Shirley is the author of CookWise: The Hows and Whys of Successful Cooking. She explains that enzymes in our noses allow us to smell the scent of asparagus pee. It turns that not everybody can perceive this funny odor -- check out the video to get the whole story.
The world of alchemy is shrouded in mystery. Alchemists tirelessly sought the recipe for the Philosophers' Stone -- a substance that could turn any base metal into pure gold. The Philosopher's Stone would give its user untold wealth and power, so alchemists were known to operate under total secrecy. They worked in codes and symbols -- to reserve their great knowledge for only those who were deemed deserving. Instead of the chemical formulas used today, alchemists created elaborate, fantastic illustrations of dragons, warriors, and monsters to represent the chemical experiments they carried out. Centuries passed, and many historical alchemical texts and images remain undeciphered. Luckily for the history of science, we have brilliant minds like Larry Principe of Johns Hopkins University. In our latest video, we take a look at Larry's work - digging deep into ancient manuscripts and texts, trying to find clues and cues as to what it was that alchemists really were up to. In addition to an enormous book collection in his office, Larry has a lab hidden away where he performs ancient alchemical experiments, helping to set the record straight on the history and development of alchemy. Is he a historian of alchemy or is he a get-rich-quick schemer in search of the legendary Philosopher's stone? You decide.
What flies around the world 14 times a day and can detect global air pollution levels from space? It's NASA's Aura satellite, whose mission is to understand the changing chemistry of the Earth's atmosphere. This remarkable satellite can measure air quality across the entire planet in just 24 hours. Find out more about Aura, how smog is formed, the future of Earth's ozone hole and much more in our latest episode of ChemMatters.
With millions of eggs about to have their annual encounter with red, green, blue and other dyes this holiday weekend, our newest video helps uncover the chemistry behind this "egg-cellent" tradition. The video features Diane Bunce, Ph.D., professor of chemistry at Catholic University of America. Bunce explains, for instance, why vinegar is so important for eggshell to take up dye. Eggshells consist of calcium carbonate, the same chemical that makes up marble chips. But try to dye a white marble chip. Nope -- won't work! So what is it that makes eggshells dye-friendly? The video explains that egg shells have a "protein cuticle," which reacts with vinegar- based dyes in a way that allows dye to bond to the exterior of the egg. Find out more in the video.
Saint Patrick's day is this Sunday, and there are many ways to celebrate like Irish soda bread at breakfast or corned beef and cabbage for dinner. For those celebrating St. Patrick's Day with green beer, moderation is key. Alcohol has several negative effects on your body -- many of which can amount to a miserable morning after. Find out the science behind those brutal hangovers and alcohol's other effects on the body in our latest video, and maybe we can inspire some caution in your celebration this year.
Do cats prefer sardines or sweets? Our newest video explains why cats, unlike humans and other mammals, are indifferent to sweet flavors. The video was filmed at the Monnell Chemical Senses Center, an institute dedicated to research on taste and smell. Prior to becoming Monnell's Director, Gary Beauchamp studied the sweet taste receptor genes of cats in the late 1970s. At the Philadelphia Zoo, he gave lions, tigers, cheetahs and housecats two different types of water—sugar water and regular water. The cats showed no preference to the sugar water, suggesting a physiological difference between other mammals, such as humans, monkeys, and dogs. Watch the video to find out the cause of your cat's missing sweet tooth.
Valentine's Day is right around the corner. Whether you're spending Valentine's with a special someone or you're stuck celebrating "Singles Awareness Day," we put together a list of five fascinating chemical facts about why chocolate, in moderation, may be good for you. The video explains how a bar of chocolate contains hundreds of compounds, many with beneficial properties. Among the video's "sweet" facts: •Chocolate may improve your mood, and not just because of its delicious flavor. Chocolate contains a number of chemicals that inhibit the breakdown of the neurotransmitter anandamide -- sometimes called "the molecule of bliss" -- which can block feelings of pain and depression. •According to an article from the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, the naturally occurring polyphenols in cocoa ― the key ingredient in chocolate ― boost levels of HDL, commonly known as the "good cholesterol."
The video tracks formation of snowflakes from their origins in bits of dust in clouds that become droplets of water falling to Earth. When the droplets cool, six crystal faces form because water molecules bond in hexagonal networks when they freeze. It explains that ice crystals grow fastest at the corners between the faces, fostering development of the six branches that exist in most snowflakes. As snowflakes continue to develop, the branches can spread, grow long and pointy, or branch off into new arms. As each snowflake rises and falls through warmer and cooler air, it thus develops its own distinctive shape.
The video explains that the calorie content of food was determined in the late 1800s by chemist Wilbur O. Atwater. Atwater built a four by eight foot device called a respiration calorimeter, which was big enough to allow a person to step into it! It measured the amount of heat they released, the amount of oxygen they consumed and the carbon dioxide they gave off after eating a variety of foods. Using this device, Atwater was able to measure the precise amount of energy contained in thousands of food items. He found that carbohydrates and proteins were worth 4 Calories per gram and fats about 9 Calories per gram. This 4-9-4 rule is at the heart of how nutrition facts labels are determined today.