The Science of Sustainability

Chemistry

H2-Whoa: Computing With Water Instead of Electrons

H2-Whoa: Computing With Water Instead of Electrons

Superhydrophobic surfaces enable simple water-based data storage and logic.

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Starbucks' Food Waste Fuels Experimental Biorefinery

Starbucks' Food Waste Fuels Experimental Biorefinery

Most of our plastics come from petroleum-based chemicals. Now, thanks to engineered microbes, similar materials might be made using food waste from Starbucks.

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Building a Better, Tastier Tomato

Building a Better, Tastier Tomato

Many tomatoes have been bred to travel well and look appealing, but now researchers are focusing on making them more nutritious and better tasting.

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NASA's Roving Robotic Chemist Will Collect Clues For Life on Mars

NASA's Roving Robotic Chemist Will Collect Clues For Life on Mars

Scientists are looking for elements and molecules that signify life as we know it. But even if they don’t find those molecules, minerals contain important information about the Martian environment. That could help scientists determine if life could have survived on the planet.

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Prescription Drug Disposal: Who Should Foot the Bill?

Prescription Drug Disposal: Who Should Foot the Bill?

A new ordinance in Alameda County requires the pharmaceutical industry to pay for disposal of extra medicine. The regulation is part of a larger movement to shift responsibility for waste disposal from local governments to companies that make products like paint, medicine and batteries.

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Smelly Rocks: Researchers Reveal The Source of "Stinkspar" Stench

Smelly Rocks: Researchers Reveal The Source of "Stinkspar" Stench

The source of the stench in crushed “stinkspar” is a 200-year old mystery. Solving this puzzle took a mixture of old-fashioned chemical analysis and modern instruments.

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How Do Fireworks Work?

How Do Fireworks Work?

From colors to crackles, fireworks are all about chemistry.

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Shining a New Light on the Chemistry of Art Conservation

Shining a New Light on the Chemistry of Art Conservation

Conserving delicate artwork requires knowing what paints and techniques were used to create a piece. A new imaging technique helps restorers look at the pigments in frescos even while visitors are enjoying the works in a gallery.

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KQED Science Fan Spotlight

KQED Science Fan Spotlight

We'd like to share your stories about why you're passionate about science.

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The Fungus Among Us Could Help Clean Oily Soil

The Fungus Among Us Could Help Clean Oily Soil

There’s more to fungi than just mushrooms. Buried in the soil live large fiber networks of fungi. And these fibrous microbes might be able to help clean up polluted soil.

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Try This at Home: The Chemistry of Fresh Cheese

Try This at Home: The Chemistry of Fresh Cheese

You can make cheese at home with some milk and a little bit of chemistry. Here's how.

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The (Dog's) Nose Knows: Sensor Mimics Canine Sniffing Cells For Smells

The (Dog's) Nose Knows: Sensor Mimics Canine Sniffing Cells For Smells

Dogs have an amazingly sensitive sense of smell that allows them to find lost people, illegal drugs and even floating whale poop. A new sensor uses the same principles to sniff out rotten food.

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Metal Materials, Cold Could Have Contributed to the Titanic’s Demise

Metal Materials, Cold Could Have Contributed to the Titanic’s Demise

One hundred years after the sinking of the Titanic, questions still abound about what really caused the ship to go down. Two theories say the physical properties of the ship’s metal hull or the composition of the iron rivets could have worsened the damage when the ship slammed into the iceberg.

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The Political Firestorm Inside Your Sofa

The Political Firestorm Inside Your Sofa

To comply with California law, furniture makers treat the foam in cushions with flame-retardant chemicals, up to two pounds of chemicals in an average-sized sofa. Those chemicals can turn up in household dust, blood, and breast milk. But efforts to remove them have been blocked by the chemical industry.

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Coffee Flavor By the Numbers

Coffee Flavor By the Numbers

Technology helps home coffee drinkers analyze and automate their morning brew so that everyone can brew the same artisanal cup of coffee each day.

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Brewing the Perfect Cup of Coffee

Brewing the Perfect Cup of Coffee

The science of brewing coffee includes scales, thermometers and trained taste buds. And like any good experiment, it requires a bit of flair too.

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Flower Blooms In Your Tea Cup? It's Water Absorption as Entertainment

Flower Blooms In Your Tea Cup? It's Water Absorption as Entertainment

Every time I drive from the South Bay to the East Bay, I pass the Numi tea factory and start to crave a hot cup. I love tea–the ritual of heating and pouring the water, the warm mug in my hands and the slow sipping as it cools–and Numi makes some of my favorites.

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Try This at Home: Invisible Ink

Try This at Home: Invisible Ink

Many invisible ink recipes from the Revolutionary War and World War I used chemicals commonly found in labs. Write your own secret messages using ingredients in your house.

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Chocolate Tasting in the Name of Science!

Chocolate Tasting in the Name of Science!

Chocolate scientists study everything from the disease resistance of cacao trees to the health benefits of the finished product. But they shy away from one critical question: which chocolate tastes best?

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Smitten Ice Cream: Old Fashioned Ice Cream in Sixty Seconds

Smitten Ice Cream: Old Fashioned Ice Cream in Sixty Seconds

When I have guests visiting, I make sure that one of the local stops is Smitten. The ice cream is made to order only using the freshest local ingredients and it is frozen within 60 seconds using liquid nitrogen.

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