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.
  • 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 […]

  • Fracking: A Raleigh-Riyadh Connection

    December 7, 2014 at 8:06 pm

    As you may have noticed at the pump recently, gasoline prices have fallen by 35% over the last few months, from just below $4.00 per gallon down to around $2.60, a five-year low. During this same time period, the price of petroleum, the raw material from which gasoline is made, has dropped from $110 to […]

  • An Engineer On A Diet: Part II

    November 30, 2014 at 4:53 pm

    Last week in Part I, I reviewed the energy balance for the human body and explained how it controls whether or not we lose weight while dieting. This week, I’ll share with you some my observations on how this energy balance applies to my own weight loss efforts. The weight loss industry in the United […]

  • An Engineer on a Diet: Part I

    November 23, 2014 at 7:03 pm

    Dieting is big business in the United States. If you include the $21 billion spent on diet sodas, the weight loss industry takes in over $65 billion dollars a year. A commonly cited statistic is that at any particular moment, one half of all adults in the U.S. are on a diet. In the interest […]

  • Why Are The Norwegians Burning Trash?

    November 16, 2014 at 7:52 pm

    Several weeks ago, my daughter came home and said “Dad, why does Norway have to import trash to keep its power plants running?  You should write a column on that.” And so I have. First, in the interest of full disclosure, I love Norway. I have been there both for business and pleasure and in […]

  • Is The Toilet The Greatest Public Health Invention Ever?

    November 9, 2014 at 9:23 am

    Last week’s column, Spinal Cord Miracle?, was an inspiring story about how scientific progress enabled a man whose spinal cord had been severed to walk again. This remarkable achievement came as a result of the expenditure of millions of dollars and decades of research. While writing that column, I was struck by the starkly contrasting […]

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