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.
  • Drug-Resistant Bacteria: Part II

    March 1, 2015 at 8:52 am

    Last week, in Part I of this series, I reviewed the major issues associated with drug-resistant bacteria and discussed the fascinating history of the discovery and uses of bacteriophages. Bacteriophages, viruses that infect and kill bacteria, were first identified approximately 100 years ago. This week in Part II, I will discuss how a discovery made […]

  • Drug-Resistant Bacteria: Part I

    February 22, 2015 at 9:32 pm

    For this week’s column, I am going to presume some knowledge on the reader’s part regarding the growing problem of antibiotic-resistant bacteria. If you are not familiar with this issue, let me recommend that you open a new browser window, do a Google search on “drug-resistant bacteria,” and then come back. If you are not […]

  • Woolly Mammoths and the Voyage of the U.S.S. Jeannette: Part II

    February 15, 2015 at 7:29 pm

    Last week, in Part I of this series, I told you the incredible story of the Arctic journey of the U.S.S. Jeannette in 1879. After their ship was trapped in the ice for 21 months and then sank, the crew dragged their food and supplies over a thousand miles of ice while stopping at some […]

  • Woolly Mammoths and the Voyage of the U.S.S. Jeannette: Part I

    February 8, 2015 at 9:26 pm

    If you read my columns, you will have noticed that I enjoy embracing my inner nerd. In that spirit, let me share with you that my favorite author is Hampton Sides, who writes history books. Mr. Sides recently published a new book, In the Kingdom of Ice: The Grand and Terrible Polar Voyage of the […]

  • The Missouri River Aqueduct is a Bad Idea

    February 1, 2015 at 2:38 pm

    In the spring of 2012, I wrote a five-part series on water (Part I, II, III, IV, V). Part IV, When the Well Runs Dry, discussed human society’s dependence on the unsustainable extraction of water from underground aquifers, with a particular focus on the Ogallala aquifer which supplies the vast majority of water used for […]

  • The Origin Of Water On Earth

    January 25, 2015 at 5:50 pm

    From the 1960s through the 1980s, my Aunt Shirley was a third grade teacher in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania. After she retired, she gave me a copy of one of the science text books that she had used. In the section about water on Earth, there was a sentence that said “all of the water on […]

  • The Polar Vortex and Quantum Physics

    January 18, 2015 at 6:07 pm

    January of 2014 brought record-setting cold temperatures to Chapel Hill, NC, and the words “polar vortex” dominated the local lexicon for several weeks. Given that we are likely to experience these dramatic cold snaps more and more frequently here in the Southern Part of Heaven, I thought a column reviewing the science of the polar […]

  • Electric Cars Are Not Actually Emissions-Free

    January 11, 2015 at 6:40 pm

    Over the holidays I did a fair bit of driving, including the abject drudgery of navigating Route 95 between Richmond and Washington, D.C. in both directions. At one point, it took two hours to advance just 40 miles. All of this time on the highway gave me ample opportunity to find things that annoyed me. […]

  • Common Science Comprehensive Index

    December 21, 2014 at 1:53 pm

    April 2015 will be the fourth anniversary for Common Science®. In each of the past three Decembers I have published a hyper-linked index for the columns from that year. This year I decided to do something different. Below is an index with links to all 185 columns I have published. I have some new ideas […]

  • Results of my 2014 Predictions

    December 14, 2014 at 8:30 pm

    In January, I made predictions for what I expected would be important science stories during 2014, five positive ones and four negative. Now it is time to see how well I did. Below I review my predictions, tell you what did or didn’t happen, and give myself a score on a scale of 1 to 5 […]