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.
  • Paper or Plastic?

    May 17, 2015 at 8:51 pm

    Long time readers may be aware that my father, Ron Danner, is an emeritus professor of Chemical Engineering at Penn State University. I am pleased to announce that for the next two weeks he and I are co-authoring two Common Science columns, both of which are pertinent to issues right here in the Southern Part […]

  • Sturgeon, The Living Fossil

    May 10, 2015 at 9:20 pm

    During the time I lived in Philadelphia, from 1989 through 1993, just across the Delaware River, the waterfront of Camden, New Jersey was undergoing a significant revitalization. One of the centerpieces of this effort was the New Jersey State Aquarium, which opened on February 29, 1992. The aquarium was owned and operated by the New […]

  • Kelp To The Rescue?

    May 3, 2015 at 9:42 pm

    Yesterday I read an article on the Huffington Post entitled “Seaweed Might Have The Power To Make The Oceans Less Acidic.” The article explained that the increase in carbon dioxide concentration in the atmosphere since the beginning of the Industrial Revolution from 280 to 400 parts-per-million (ppm) – an increase of 43% – had indirectly driven […]

  • Radon, A Fracking Risk I Previously Overlooked

    April 26, 2015 at 3:07 pm

    Earlier this month, researchers from Johns Hopkins University published a study in the journal Environmental Health Perspectives detailing the increase in radon concentrations in homes in the state of Pennsylvania since 2004, particularly in those near to fracking operations. This is a serious issue that deserves more attention. I will explain why after providing the […]

  • Common Science Fourth Anniversary

    April 19, 2015 at 4:56 pm

    This week is the fourth anniversary of Common Science®. I published my first column, An Introduction to Your Host, on April 25, 2011 and last’s week’s column was my 200th. This means I have averaged 50 columns per year! Since persistence and reliability are characteristics I strive towards, I take a good measure of satisfaction […]

  • Toxic Substances Control Act: A Redo After 40 Years

    April 12, 2015 at 8:51 pm

    While the 1970s are better known for leisure suits and (in my opinion) great music, they were also a bit of a golden age for environmental regulation. The 1970s brought us the Clean Air Act and the Clean Water Act, and in 1976 Gerald Ford signed the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) into law. While the […]

  • Please Stop Rotating the Scrabble Board

    April 5, 2015 at 8:34 pm

    Several years ago, I took a test at the Museum of Life and Science designed to determine whether I was better at remembering things that I hear or things that I see. The results were what I expected: my visual memory is far better than my auditory. I have known since I was young, at […]

  • Salt and South Florida

    March 30, 2015 at 11:22 am

    In the spring of 2012, I wrote a five-part series on water. In Part IV: When the Well Runs Dry, I explained the process by which salty ocean water can infiltrate subsurface, fresh water aquifers and the problems that creates. Over the last couple of weeks, I have encountered several stories about salt water infiltration in South Florida’s Biscayne Aquifer.

  • STEM Jobs for the 21st Century

    March 22, 2015 at 10:06 pm

    Lately I have noticed a growing trend to encourage people to pursue careers in STEM, an acronym which stands for science, technology, engineering, and mathematics. I find this acronym, developed by the National Science Foundation in the 1990s, to be a bit clunky. My own personal definition of the word “science” has always been broad […]

  • Life on Mars? It’s All About That Methane

    March 15, 2015 at 11:13 pm

    The tantalizing possibility that life may exist on Mars has inspired both scientific exploration and popular culture for a long time. The question of whether we are alone in the universe has recently been reignited by some intriguing data from NASA’s Curiosity Rover, which has been trundling around Mars since 2012. Before we review that […]