Thursday, March 24, 2011

Reading for Spring Break

Some lovely and important books were received today - consider taking one along on your spring break travels, or to enliven a quiet spring break on campus.

This is especially relevant if you're heading to warmer climes:
    Noted journalist Hertsgaard has covered climate change stories for years, and the birth of his daughter five years ago gave rise to an entirely new perspective on the urgency for action.
The slim volume noted below will inspire you to give serious consideration to a science teaching career, and packs into a small spot in your luggage or back pack:
  • The X factor : personality traits of exceptional science teachers / by Clair Berube 
  • The author readily admits that nothing in the book can be proven, contrary to what one might expect in a book about science, and includes the ability to channel rebelliousness and nonconformity as an important trait for teaching science. A bit of rebellion and nonconformity are useful for challenging dogma or advancing new scientific ideas, and need to be fostered productively in science classrooms and labs, says the author. It is an interesting read!
There are at least two dozen other good books on the new book shelf. Take a look as you turn your thoughts to a break from required reading and academic deadlines.

Friday, March 18, 2011

Understanding the earthquake in Japan

From today's News & Analysis on the AAAS Science web site:
"The 11 March Tohoku earthquake ranks among the five strongest temblors recorded by modern instrumentation. The U.S. Geological Survey and the Japan Meteorological Agency now peg the magnitude at 9.0. The quake ruptured more than 400 kilometers of crust along the Japan Trench subduction zone, where a tectonic plate is diving beneath the northeast coast of Honshu Island."

Learn more about subduction zones, plate tectonics and earthquake occurrence in these titles:
access at USGS pubs

New publications by science faculty and students

Oberlin Author:
Karla Parsons-Hubbard, Associate Professor of Geology.
  • The relationship of bionts and taphonomic processes in molluscan taphofacies formation on the continental shelf and slope: eight-year trends: Gulf of Mexico and Bahamas.  Powell, EN; Brett, CE; Parsons-Hubbard, KM; Callender, WR; Staff, GM; Walker, SE; Raymond, A; Ashton-Alcox, KA.  FACIES 57 (1): 15-37 JAN 2011 [access at OhioLINK EJC]
More about facies in AccessScience

Oberlin Authors:
Adam Darer '11, Neil Cole-Filipiak '10; Alison O'Connor '11; and Associate Professor of Chemistry Matthew Elrod.
  • Formation and stability of atmospherically relevant isoprene-derived organosulfates and organonitrates.  Darer, AI; Cole-Filipiak, NC; O'Connor, AE; Elrod, MJ  ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCE & TECHNOLOGY 45 (5): 1895-1902 MAR 1 2011 [access at ACS web site]
More about organosulfur compounds in AccessScience.

Friday, March 11, 2011

Recent science publications by Oberlin students and faculty

Three new publications from Oberlin authors were just indexed in ISI Web of Knowledge:

Oberlin author:  Professor of Chemistry Rob Thompson
  • Applications of argentation solid phase extraction to the capsaicinoids: Purification of commercial standards and isolation of homodihydrocapsaicin (8-methyl) from 'Bhut Jolokia.'  Thompson, Robert Q.; Loa, Kathleen.  FOOD CHEMISTRY 126 (3): 1424-1430 JUN 1 2011 [access in OhioLINK EJC]  [image of capsaicin]

Oberlin author:  Julia Bair, 5th year, double degree student.
  • What subcortical-cortical relationships tell us about processing speech in noise.  Parbery-Clark, Alexandra; Marmel, Frederic; Bair, Julia; Kraus, Nina.  EUROPEAN JOURNAL OF NEUROSCIENCE 33 (3): 549-557 FEB 2011 [access in OhioLINK EJC]
Carbon is published by
Elsevier; more info at

Oberlin author:  Jacob Schalch, Senior physics major.
  • Micro-channel development and hydrogen adsorption properties in templated microporous carbons containing platinum nanoparticles.  Yang, Yunxia; Brown, Craig M.; Zhao, Chunxia; Chaffee, Alan L.; Nick, Burke; Zhao, Dongyuan; Webley, Paul A.; Schalch, Jacob; Simmons, Jason M.; Liu, Yun; Her, Jae-Hyuk; Buckley, C. E.; Sheppard, Drew A.  CARBON 49 (4): 1305-1317 APR 2011 [access in OhioLINK EJC]

Monday, March 07, 2011

Discovery shuttle headed for home

Space shuttle Discovery undocked from  the International Space Station this morning, on the last leg of its final journey.  Noah Adams presented a nice piece yesterday on All Thing Considered, about the push from museums to "land" a shuttle for permanent display.  It would be great to see Discovery come to roost in Ohio, at The National Museum of the U.S. Air Force! (located at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base just a few miles from Dayton).  An archive of events and work completed on Discovery's last journey is at the NASA web site archive of mission updates.
Today's feature from

Thursday, March 03, 2011

Will Scripps Institution of Oceanography lose its library?

The news that University of California San Diego may have to close its Scripps Institution of Oceanography Library is alarming news, indeed.  Losing the expertise of the staff, some of whom would lose their positions, as well as losing the integrity of a collection of such historical and research significance, would affect the the oceanographic teaching and research community far beyond California's borders.  Although selected parts of the collection would remain available, both digitally and in a proposed consolidated science library, the use and management of those materials in a cohesive marine science collection with dedicated staff, would be adversely impacted.  The prospect is sad to contemplate.

Learn more:  Nature news article; Library Journal reportSave the SIO Library now has a Facebook presence, and Deep Sea News posted a Scripps Library update yesterday.