Blog Post

Diving into Ryan Lepak’s Great Lakes Research

By Rowan Obach, C2ST Intern, Loyola University

Ryan Lepak is a post-doctoral researcher at the National Science Foundation (NSF). He previously did mercury and food web research with the United States Geological Survey and now works for the United States Environmental Protection Agency (US EPA). His recent research focuses on measuring contaminants, specifically mercury, in the Great Lakes and observing fish populations as bioindicators of the health of the Lakes. 

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Blog Post

Impacts of Climate Change: What’s up with Wildfires?

By Summer Seligmann, C2ST Intern, Loyola University

2020 was a difficult year for everyone. The global pandemic altered life as we knew it, and the world around us felt like it was burning, and it was. Unfortunately, it seems that 2021 hasn’t been much different. Like the pandemic, wildfires have not gone away, and they probably won’t any time soon. There have been nearly 49,000 wildfires in 2021, for a total of 6.5 million acres burned. Although there have been fewer wildfires this year, scientists warn that the future will be much worse if we don’t act fast.

In September of 2020, 3.5 million acres of land were burned in wildfires. In total, 10.2 million acres were burned in more than 58,000 wildfires in 2020.  The acres that burned across the U.S. combined were bigger than the entire state of Maryland. This was a record high in the 21 years since data has been tracked and reported by federal wildfire agencies in the current reporting system. 22 climate disasters, three of the largest wildfires in Colorado’s history, and 4% of the state of California burned – all in the year 2020.

A map showing wildfires
Wildfire Map

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Blog Post

NASA Celebrates Native American Heritage Month

By Rowan Obach, C2ST Intern, Loyola University

The month of November is Native American History Month

Native Americans have contributed to major discoveries and processes across the STEM field. In 2019, C2ST held a panel on the topic of Ethnobotany and Conservation Practices which revealed how much Native culture has impacted the ethics of this field. Ethnobotany is the study of plants from an ethnic perspective. Multiple research projects into indigenous ethnobotany practices have sprung up over the years. For example, the University of Kansas started an Ethnobotany Research Project with the Ute Tribe of Colorado to identify new types of native plants and to understand their uses. They found multiple native plants whose purposes varied between food for consumption, regeneration through seed dispersion, and resources for creating native products. 

A picture of some ethnobotany

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Blog Post

HeLa Cells: The Immortal Cell Line

By Summer Seligmann, C2ST Intern, Loyola University

The polio vaccine, HPV vaccine, and in vitro fertilization may sound familiar to many, but do you know where each of these breakthroughs came from? Each one of these incredible medical advances was discovered with the help of a tissue sample taken from one woman: Henrietta Lacks.

a person

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Blog Post

The Race to Space: Who’ll be the First to Conduct Research on the Moon?

By Rowan Obach, C2ST Intern, Loyola University

Sites for research in space are reaching astronomical levels, with some scientists proposing the idea of an international workstation on the moon. The man who proposed this idea, Dr. Karan Jani, is an assistant professor of physics and astronomy at Vanderbilt University and is an well acclaimed astrophysicist in the field.

picture of guy

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Blog Post

Just Keep Swimming: The Physics of Ducks

By Laura Tran, C2ST Intern, Rush University

Have you ever wondered why you organize your ducks in a row? It’s physics! 

Ducklings swimming behind their mother in ponds and lakes is a common sight. Similarly, when we often see birds flying in a V-shape formation¹, this is to conserve energy. Each bird flies slightly above the bird in front of them to reduce wind resistance. But what about ducklings?

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