How Did We Get Here?

With a discovery made from fossils in the seabed, paleoceanographers and paleoclimatologists began tracing the delicate path between ancient eras and our future.

The shells of tiny ancient sea organisms hold the evidence that underpins one of the newest fields in the Earth sciences. In the 1950s, Cesare Emiliani at the University of Chicago was learning how to measure stable isotopes in invertebrates and use those data as a proxy to make conclusions about environmental factors. One day he turned that study to ancient foraminifera taken from sediments in the ocean floor. The oxygen isotopes he found in their shells told him that the ocean was once much warmer—that, in fact, the ocean changed over time. Paleoceanography was born. Read more.

What Makes Tennessee Whiskey Unique?

When it comes to Tennessee whiskey, it’s all about the Lincoln County Process, aka LCP. Basically, wood from sugar maple trees is chopped, stacked in piles, and burned to create charcoal. Freshly distilled whiskey is then filtered through the charcoal, imparting the mysterious flavor that makes Tennessee whiskey, well, Tennessee whiskey.

But what’s really going on here? Read more.

Research: How fecal bacteria spread in streams —

Faecal bacteria — bacteria that are present in the digestive system of humans and animals — are known to contaminate waters. They can sometimes be a health hazard. Little research has been conducted into the spread and distribution of faecal bacteria in rivers and, above all, into their input from the surrounding landscape. Researchers have developed an indicator-based model that can be used to assess the dynamics of faecal bacteria such as E. coli on the basis of hydrological processes in the landscape and the connectivity of streams — an important basis for managing the acute or sustained microbial contamination of waters. Read more.

Biomedical Applications of Isotope-Dilution Liquid Chromatography

Isotope dilution is used to determine the quantity of a chemical substance in a sample. In this method, isotopically enriched material is added to a sample which leads to a “dilution” of the standard. Random sampling is then performed to give the ratio of the standard and sample, which can then be used to infer the quantity of material within the sample. Read more.