By Jeff Danner Jeff has worked in both the chemical and biotech industries and is the veteran of thousands of science debates at cocktail parties and holiday dinners across the nation. In his Common Science blog, Jeff aims to make technological and scientific concepts accessible to all.
  • 2014 Predictions Part II: The Negative

    January 12, 2014 at 9:23 pm

    Last week I set out my predictions for five positive science and technology news stories that I am expecting in 2014. This week I’ve got predictions for four negative ones. As with last week, each prediction begins with an imaginary headline. 1. Hurricane Cristobal to be Second Category 4 Storm to Hit Pensacola this Month […]

  • 2014 Predictions Part I: The Postive

    January 5, 2014 at 5:55 pm

    I decided to kick off the year with my predictions about what I expect to be the most significant science stories of 2014 – five predictions for positive stories this week and five negative ones next week. Each topic begins with an imaginary headline for the story. I’ll report back in December to let you […]

  • Common Science 2013 Index

    December 22, 2013 at 8:25 pm

    Below is my third annual index for Common Science on  I’d like to thank my readers for their support and for all of the interesting questions I have received from you at  Just follow the hyperlinks below to read any of this year’s stories. And if there is a topic you would like me […]

  • Smog, The Desolation of Shanghai

    December 15, 2013 at 9:54 pm

    The news last week contained many pictures like the one above of a monumental smog enveloping the city of Shanghai, China. The smog resulted in many problems: construction projects were halted, public events were cancelled, and the city’s reputation suffered. Chinese authorities were ridiculed for trying to find a silver lining in the smog by […]

  • Sudden Cardiac Arrest Part IV: The Frozen Man

    December 8, 2013 at 8:55 pm

    This is the fourth and final column in my series on sudden cardiac arrest (SCA). If you would like to start at the beginning of the story, here are the links to Parts I, II, and III. In addition to reviewing the pertinent science, this series also recounts the story of my father’s survival of […]

  • It’s The Extraction, Not The Emissions, That Matters

    December 1, 2013 at 6:00 pm

    Since personal obligations have kept me busy this week over Thanksgiving, I will not be publishing the conclusion of the “Sudden Cardiac Arrest” series until December 8th. This week, I am reprising a column from September, 2012, with this new introduction, which I hope will help to shed some light on two recent, but seemingly […]

  • Sudden Cardiac Arrest Part III: First Aid

    November 24, 2013 at 9:22 pm

    This is the third installment in a series on the science of heart disease set against the backdrop of my father’s experience of having and surviving a sudden cardiac arrest (SCA). If you’d like to start at the beginning, here are the links for Parts I and II. Also, please note that the first aid […]

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    Sudden Cardiac Arrest Part II: Heart Attack or Cardiac Arrest

    November 17, 2013 at 5:34 pm

    Last week in Part I of this series, I reviewed the structure and function of the heart and let you know that my father suffered a sudden cardiac arrest in April of 2013.  Dad is fine and helping me write this series. This week, I’ll explain the difference between a heart attack and a cardiac […]

  • Sudden Cardiac Arrest Part I: The Heart

    November 10, 2013 at 8:03 am

    On Friday April 13, 2012, I received a frightening call from my mother. She was en route to Geisinger Medical Center in Danville, PA while my father was being transported there via helicopter. Earlier that afternoon, he had collapsed on the squash court from a sudden cardiac arrest. As I proceed with this series, I’ll […]

  • The Physics of Your Fireplace

    November 3, 2013 at 7:20 pm

    If you have a gas fireplace in your house, I have something surprising to tell you about it. The switch on the wall which turns on the flame is not connected to the electricity in your house.  Understanding how this switch works requires an explanation of both the thermoelectric and piezoelectric effects.  Who knew you […]

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