Monday, October 05, 2015

Antiparasite Drug Developers Win Nobel Prize

News of today's Nobel Prize announcement can be found in countless ways.  This is the highly readable account from The Scientist: "William Campbell, Satoshi Omura, and Youyou Tu have won this year’s Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine in recognition of their contributions to antiparasitic drug development."

...or listen to Rob Stein's report on  NPR Morning Edition.  Nobel Prize week is always inspiring, and this year's winners for Medicine are no exception.  Their research has led to treatment of potential benefit to the nearly 4 billion people worldwide who are exposed to these particular disease-causing parasites.

Wondering how many parasites bedevil humans?  Here's an alarming guide:
The parasites of Homo sapiens : an annotated checklist of the protozoa, helminths, and arthropods for which we are home / R.W. Ashford and W. Crewe.  Taylor & Francis, 2003.

Friday, October 02, 2015

"Luckily, I'm a botanist"

The unlikely coincidence of NASA's announcement of flowing water on Mars and release of the film "The Martian" was not lost on NPR Morning Edition host Renee Montagne or film critic Kenneth Turan.  Our botanist friends will surely appreciate the clip of Matt Damon, left stranded on Mars with the challenge of growing enough food for himself for three years on a planet that does not support plant growth:  "Mars will come to fear my botany powers."  Love it!  Listen to Kenneth Turan's review.  Cory Powell offers "10 Quick Thoughts about Water on Mars" on his blog hosted by Discover Magazine.

There is an abundance of literature on Mars readily available in the science library and accessible from OBIS.  Here are two excellent overviews for the non-specialist:

A Traveler's Guide to Mars / William K. Hartmann
Mars : an introduction to its interior, surface and atmosphere / Nadine Barlow
And, check out this highly entertaining reflection from Dr. Chris Martine: "Why I'm Naming a New Plant Species After The Martian," on the Huffington Post Blog [tip of the hat to Mike Moore for this lead!].

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Climate Science, 50 Years Later

From the American Association for the Advancement of Science:
On 5 November, 1965, the group now known as the President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology (PCAST) cautioned President Lyndon B. Johnson that continued accumulation of atmospheric carbon dioxide resulting from fossil-fuel burning would “almost certainly cause significant changes” and “could be deleterious from the point of view of human beings.”
AAAS observes that fifty years later, "the reality of human-caused climate change has been reaffirmed by virtually every leading scientific organization as well as the vast majority of individual climate scientists worldwide."  The public is invited to participate in a free day-long scientific symposium to commemorate the 50th Anniversary of the First Official Climate-Change Warning to a U.S. President, to "review what scientific research has revealed over the past 50 years, and offer a forward-looking assessment of the range of scientific, technological, communication, and policy options for the future."  Registration is required.  More @ AAAS.

Organized by AAAS and the Carnegie Institution for Science,
with support from the American Meteorological Society
and the Linden Trust for Conservation

Thursday, 29 October, 2015
8:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.
1530 P Street, N.W.
Washington, D.C. 20005

Tuesday, September 08, 2015

Review article by Gunnar Kwakye, et al., on manganese and Parkinson's disease.

New publication by Neuroscience Assistant Professor G. Kwakye, indexed by Web of Science:
Manganese-Induced Parkinsonism and Parkinson's Disease: Shared and Distinguishable Features.
Kwakye, Gunnar F.; Paoliello, Monica M. B.; Mukhopadhyay, Somshuvra; Bowman, Aaron B.; Aschner, Michael

INTERNATIONAL JOURNAL OF ENVIRONMENTAL RESEARCH AND PUBLIC HEALTH, 12 (7):7519-7540; 10.3390/ijerph120707519 JUL 2015.  Open access article at PubMed Central.

Partial abstract:
[This] review discusses the advances made in understanding the essentiality and neurotoxicity of Manganese (Mn). We review occupational Mn-induced parkinsonism and the dynamic modes of Mn transport in biological systems, as well as the detection and pharmacokinetic modeling of Mn trafficking. In addition, we review some of the shared similarities, pathologic and clinical distinctions between Mn-induced parkinsonism and Parkinson's disease. Where possible, we review the influence of Mn toxicity on dopamine, gamma aminobutyric acid (GABA), and glutamate neurotransmitter levels and function. We conclude with a survey of the preventive and treatment strategies for manganism and idiopathic Parkinson's disease.
Connect to MDPI

Published by MDPI, an open access publisher. 

Thursday, September 03, 2015

Study Carrels will be assigned Friday September 4

Study carrel sign-up is underway in the science library.  Complete your carrel request before 4pm on September 4 for the initial round of assigning carrels.

Declared science majors are given first consideration, but there are usually a good number of our 30 carrels that are assigned to others - everyone is welcome.

More information on the science library "About" page.

Monday, August 31, 2015

Oliver Sacks TED talk on Hallucination

With the death of Oliver Sacks, the world has lost another brilliant mind and generous soul.  You can appreciate his contributions, very quickly, listening to his amazing TED talk (2009), linked from National Public Radio.

The library owns many of his books; engaging, thought-provoking and delightful to read.  Borrow one soon!

Monday, August 17, 2015

Oberlin students ready to save the world: a Sierra Magazine eco-valedictorian

Cover art by Nate Williams
Oberlin ranked 5 out of the "10 coolest schools" in the United States, on the Sierra Club "green" scale, including measures of sustainability, eco-centered curriculum, energy and water usage, sources of energy and an overall culture of conservation.  Oberlin's score was 769.50, just slightly ahead of University of Connecticut and trailing a bit behind Colorado State University with its School of Global Enviornmental Sustainability.  Univesity of California, Irvine was the leader and a two-time winner, with a score of 859.75.  See the full lists and rankings @ sierra  The story is in the September/October 2015 print issue, received by donation in the science library from Sierra Club life member Alison Ricker.