The Science of Sustainability

Tag: QUEST

The Reverential and the Precious: Human Anatomy as Art

The Reverential and the Precious: Human Anatomy as Art

It may take an unusual muse to be deeply inspired by the body's insides. Artist Sara Nilsson possesses just such a muse–as well as the skill to create breathtakingly beautiful, anatomically accurate cross-sections of the human body with quilled paper.

Continue Reading

Fracking Gives Hydrogen Fuel Cells New Life

Fracking Gives Hydrogen Fuel Cells New Life

In 2009, U.S. Secretary of the Department of Energy Steven Chu dismissed zero-emission hydrogen fuel cell vehicles as an impractical alternative to electric cars. Now an abundant supply of natural gas, from which hydrogen can be extracted, is changing Chu's mind, but that natural gas comes from the controversial hydraulic fracturing process.

Continue Reading

Stunning Solar Visualizations: The Sun's Van Gogh-like Artistry

Stunning Solar Visualizations: The Sun's Van Gogh-like Artistry

While nearly all eyes are focused on Mars, two astophysicists at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center have been quietly staring at the sun instead.

Continue Reading

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.

Continue Reading

Avatars and the Mirrorbox: Can Humans Hack Empathy?

Avatars and the Mirrorbox: Can Humans Hack Empathy?

Virtual avatars are one thing. But what about real bodies? Would identifying with another person's body make you behave more like that person? If the body belongs to a different gender, age, or ethnicity than yours, would you become more empathic to others in that group?

Continue Reading

Illustrating Science: Int'l Science and Engineering Fair Student Projects Beautifully Visualized

Illustrating Science: Int'l Science and Engineering Fair Student Projects Beautifully Visualized

ISEF student projects can be just as esoteric as Nobel laureates' research. But this year, those of ISEF's student scientists lucky enough to be paired with professional artists will see their research translated into compelling and accessible posters for the public.

Continue Reading

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.

Continue Reading

The Bay Area Thanks Buckminster Fuller for Geodesic Domes

The Bay Area Thanks Buckminster Fuller for Geodesic Domes

The San Francisco Museum of Modern Art is showing, for just a few more short days, an exhibit called "The Utopian Impulse: Buckminster Fuller and the Bay Area." Fuller never actually lived in the Bay Area, but the exhibit's designers seem to think he would have liked it.

Continue Reading

Oriental Ink Painting with a Computer Instead of a Brush

Oriental Ink Painting with a Computer Instead of a Brush

Traditional occidental painting techniques like watercolor or oil build an image from many layered brush strokes. You don't usually notice the individual strokes unless you stand very close. But in traditional oriental ink painting, called sumi-e, the brush strokes are the painting.

Continue Reading

How Do Fireworks Work?

How Do Fireworks Work?

From colors to crackles, fireworks are all about chemistry.

Continue Reading

Science on the SPOT: Up all Night with SOFIA, NASA's Flying Observatory

Science on the SPOT: Up all Night with SOFIA, NASA's Flying Observatory

SOFIA is more than a telescope tucked into a re-purposed commercial airliner. It's a complete flying astronomical observation platform which carries a dozen or more astronomers, observers and crew far above the clouds to observe objects and phenomena too cold to be seen in visible light.

Continue Reading

"I Flamed Amazement": The Physics of St. Elmo's Fire

"I Flamed Amazement": The Physics of St. Elmo's Fire

Ariel personified St. Elmo's Fire, the glow that can appear around ship masts and chimneys during a thunderstorm. Lacking a scientific explanation for the light, people in Shakespeare's time attributed it to the patron saint of sailors. Four hundred years later, we still don't completely understand how storms create such magnificent atmospheric phenomena.

Continue Reading

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.

Continue Reading

How I Learned to Love Olives and Hate Their Pests

How I Learned to Love Olives and Hate Their Pests

I've always hated olives. I'd pick them off pizzas and out of salads. But in the last few weeks, I've actually started eating them on purpose. It could be because I'm pregnant, a condition which has me craving salt—and few foods are saltier than a nice olive.

Continue Reading

KQED Science Fan Spotlight

KQED Science Fan Spotlight

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

Continue Reading

When Scientists Were Artists: The Royal Society's Picture Library Goes Digital

When Scientists Were Artists: The Royal Society's Picture Library Goes Digital

A hammerhead shark's baleful stare. A longnose batfish's fierce armor and delicate fins. These masterpieces of expression and scientific detail fill the pages of the world's first ichthyology book, De Historia Piscium, published in 1686 by the Royal Society.

Continue Reading

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.

Continue Reading

Creative Connections at Earth • Science • Art Exhibit

Creative Connections at Earth • Science • Art Exhibit

Helen Golden is a digital fine artist; her daughter Nadine Golden is a scientist with the U.S. Geological Survey's Pacific Coast and Marine Science Center. Although both live in Santa Cruz, mother and daughter seem worlds apart. But in fact, they are fascinated by each other's work . . .

Continue Reading

The Man Who Made California Safe for Mountain Lions

The Man Who Made California Safe for Mountain Lions

More than 40 years ago, Sen. John Dunlap (D-Napa) made conservation history when his mountain lion hunting moratorium passed the California Legislature and became law in 1971. He recalls the fight to pass the bill and his guiding principle, "when in doubt, preserve."

Continue Reading

Fire and Ore: Humanity’s Love Affair With Metal

Fire and Ore: Humanity’s Love Affair With Metal

May is Maker Month. But the maker urge is as old as humanity, and many modern maker hobbies were once major technological advances: tanning and weaving, brewing and baking, paper-making, printing and metalworking.

Continue Reading