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.
  • Common Science Fifth Anniversary Column

    April 11, 2016 at 7:56 am

    This week marks the fifth anniversary of Common Science® and this is my 239th column! It’s been my great pleasure to write them and I have enjoyed your comments and emails over the years. Nevertheless, I’ve decided that I need to take a little hiatus from writing.   In the mean time, I will still be […]

  • A Simple Way to Help the Birds and the Bees

    March 20, 2016 at 2:46 pm

    Sometimes the rest of my life imposes on my writing schedule.   I skipped last Sunday, a rarity, and this week I am writing from the road. While I was in the car yesterday, I heard an appeal from the National Audubon Society for everyone to grow some native plants in order to feed migratory birds. […]

  • The Highest Volume Chemical Produced in the World is . . .

    March 6, 2016 at 8:06 pm

    In the early 1990s when I was a graduate student in Chemical Engineering at the University of Pennsylvania, I taught a class called Introduction to Chemical Engineering to the freshmen. During my first lecture, I asked the students to guess the highest volume chemical produced in the United States. They made some worthy guesses, but […]

  • Cats, Man’s Second Best Friend

    February 28, 2016 at 2:55 pm

    My inspirations for topics come from many sources: news articles, conversations, questions from readers, long-held passions, and occasionally random thoughts. This is a random thought week. For some reason, it occurred to me that I don’t know the history of the domestication of cats. I’m not sure why I thought about that. I don’t have […]

  • In Which My Chickens Save My Life

    February 21, 2016 at 3:59 pm

    I raise chickens at my small farm west of Carrboro, NC. At the moment, there are six members of my all-female flock. In addition to their coop, they have 24/7 access to a 2,500 square foot chicken run. Because I allocate over 400 square feet per chicken, plants grow in the chicken run faster than […]

  • U.S. Birth Practices 1940 to 2040: Part II

    February 8, 2016 at 7:51 am

    Last week in Part I, I reviewed the history of birth practices in the United State from 1940 to 2016. This week, let’s project forward to 2040. Currently 99% of all births in the U.S. occur in hospitals, one third of them by Caesarian section. Utilization of the expensive space, equipment, supplies, and personnel from […]

  • U.S. Birth Practices 1940 to 2040: Part I

    January 31, 2016 at 6:22 pm

    As I am approaching my fifth anniversary of publishing Common Science®, I hope that it is apparent how much I enjoy writing these columns, particularly when the topic brings in threads of history, politics, economics, and culture along with the science. This is one of those weeks. And as often is the case, I will […]

  • Sun Glare Challenges for the Blue-eyed

    January 24, 2016 at 3:33 pm

    For some reason that eludes me, I always live directly west of my office. As a result, for much of the year I drive directly into the rising sun in the mornings and into the setting sun in the evenings. Usually my commute provides me with a peaceful and welcome transition between my home and […]

  • An Engineer Looks at 50

    January 17, 2016 at 11:06 am

    Today is my 50th birthday. So rather than delving into a science or technology topic this week, I ask for you indulgence as I reflect on the first half century of my life. In a bit of a spoiler, let me tell you up front that it’s been a great ride thus far. As I […]

  • Super Capacitors are the Future of Battery Technology

    January 10, 2016 at 4:49 pm

    Batteries play a useful, yet underappreciated, role in our lives. They power our hand-held electronic devices, are the key element in hybrid automobiles, and allow the intermittent power available from the sun and the wind to be stored and supplied when needed. So I thought a column about how the science of batteries would be […]

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