How Has Space Research Helped Me?

Every time the budget for a shuttle mission is mentioned, somebody fumes about the need to solve problems here on Earth. We frequently overlook the down-to-earth fringe benefits of space research. Direct benefits include satellites for weather forecasting, and global communication via phone and television. There are numerous valuable spin-offs. The satellite programmes for atmospheric…

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Acid Stomach

One of the wonders of our digestive system is the way our stomach wall resists chemical attack. The stomach can dissolve beef and gristle that is far tougher than the stomach wall itself. The average adult stomach holds about three litres of gastric fluid, which comes from glands in the lining of the stomach. Gastric…

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Make No Bones About It

The combined strength, flexibility and lightness of our bones outdoes all our synthetic building materials.  A shin bone can bear thirty times the weight of the person standing on it.  A piece of iron is no stronger, but has the disadvantage of being far too heavy and rigid to take the stresses of the body…

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Ivan Pavlov

Ivan Pavlov was a Russian scientist whose work bridged the disciplines of physiology and psychology. Although he was by training a doctor, his most significant contribution lay in the field of behavioral psychology. After working as an experimental researcher, Pavlov became head of the department of physiology at Russia’s Institute of Experimental Medicine. Pavlov received…

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The Astonishing Elements of Life

The Chemistry of Life: Evidence of Intelligent Design? Each of the millions of chemical compounds, made from the 100 different building blocks, the elements, has its own unique properties. Even simple molecules like water, show evidence of being designed for life.Considering what similar substances are like, water is a surprising liquid that has the special…

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Discovery of Phosphorus

German alchemist Hennig Brand discovered phosphorous in 1669 when he strongly heated the residue left by the evaporation of urine. He observed the striking blue-green light that is emitted by phosphorus vapour when it comes in contact with air. The urine residue contained organic compounds and phosphate. When it was heated, the organic compounds were…

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Facing the Wind – Daffodil Style

If you watch a daffodil in the wind you will notice its head down and its face turned away from the wind.  The daffodil’s ability to turn its back to the wind is found in the unique shape of its stem.  The lemon-shaped cross section of a daffodil stem enables it to twist away from…

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It’s Raining What?

As a youngster growing up in England, I often heard the expression, “It’s raining cats and dogs.” Well, it is surprising what falls from the sky! There are many authentic reports of frogs, crabs, snails, fish and even maggots coming down with the rain. In 1990, a Japanese sailing boat was sunk by a falling…

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Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star

Remember the little rhyme from childhood, “Twinkle, twinkle, little star.  How I wonder what you are”?  Well, many stars do twinkle because their brightness changes with time. For example, a star called Algol in the constellation Perseus periodically fades to half its normal brightness.  This cycle occurs about every three days.  Algol stays dim for…

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Francis Collins

Dr. Francis Collins is the Director of the National Human Genome Research Institute. He obtained a PhD in physical chemistry and a medical degree specializing in internal medicine. Dr. Collins pursued further research and studies in human genetics at Yale University. This academic blend has enabled him to become a pre-eminent researcher in the field…

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