Council for the Advancement of Science Writing

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by Elly Ayres | 

Studying how rock weathering in Greenland changed as the ice sheet grew may answer questions about the ice’s long-term stability and the global carbon cycle, according to a University of Florida geology professor.

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by Jesse Mixson | 

Commercial spaceflight may get off the ground with paying passengers as soon as next year.

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by Andrew Kays | 

Throw out your preconceptions about your playful pup's oldest ancestors. They were parasites.

That is what Clive D. L. Wynne, former University of Florida psychology professor and director of the UF Canine Cognition & Behavior Lab, said Nov. 3 in a presentation during CASW's New Horizons in Science, part of the ScienceWriters2013 meeting in Gainesville, Florida.

I don’t feel your pain: Solving the puzzle of subjective measurement

4 Nov 2013 -
4:30pm to 5:30pm
Perception

Nurses everywhere know the drill: “Tell me how bad your pain is on a scale of 1 to 10, where 10 is the worst pain you’ve ever experienced.” Linda Bartoshuk wouldn’t use such a poor question to make decisions about pain medication. Bartoshuk studies the senses, especially taste, and she made her mark with research revealing why the experience of taste varies across individuals. Now she’s trying to fix the way scientists measure perception.

Linda Bartoshuk

Presidential Endowed Professor of community dentistry and behavioral science; director of human research, Center for Smell and Taste
University of Florida

Climate CSI: A geologist reports from Greenland’s melting ice sheet

4 Nov 2013 -
3:00pm to 3:45pm
Paleoclimate

Climate scientists have been watching Greenland with alarm in recent years as its massive glaciers melt, crack and break off, losing ice at a rate that has doubled in the past 10 years. Ellen Martin and her collaborator Jon Martin are spending summers capturing a geochemical record of Greenland’s change, hoping to use this natural laboratory to inform paleoclimate studies. Ellen Martin studies the global carbon cycle by analyzing isotopic signatures of continental weathering.

Ellen E. Martin

professor of paleoceanography and paleoclimatology
University of Florida

LEDs arm a greenhouse "light brigade"

4 Nov 2013 -
1:45pm to 2:30pm
Horticulture and Nutrition
close up of LEDs from a sign

What will the strawberry field, grocery store, florist’s greenhouse and space station of the future have in common? In Kevin Folta’s vision, they’ll all have automatic lighting systems and reflective surfaces that use varying colors of light to fine-tune nutrition, flavor and many other attributes in plants. Since the dawn of photosynthesis, many aspects of the lives of plants have been managed by photoreceptor chemistry.

Kevin M. Folta

associate professor and chair, Department of Horticultural Sciences
University of Florida

Can the climate-change locomotive be stopped?

4 Nov 2013 -
1:00pm to 1:45pm
Sustainability
Sepiatone image of polluted industrial city

Burning tanker trains, oil sands, fracking, pipeline wars. A quarter-century after the G20 nations agreed on a target for reducing atmospheric carbon dioxide, local and regional ecological crises dominate the debate over energy and environment. Mark Jaccard sees international economic and political systems as paralyzed by a sort of mass delusion about global carbon. Jaccard, a contributor to the early IPCC reports, will offer an economist's perspective on North American energy controversies as well as the IPCC reports coming out this fall.

Mark Jaccard

professor of sustainable energy
Simon Fraser University

Reading the drug-dosing instructions written in your genome

4 Nov 2013 -
11:15am to 12:00pm
Pharmacogenomics
chromosomes in the human genome

How close is medicine to a world in which your treatment for hypertension, coronary artery disease or pain is fine-tuned to your genotype? Weaving a path through the thorny issues surrounding “personalized medicine,” Julie Johnson and her colleagues are now showing that a genotype-driven approach to drug dosing can work. An example is the blood thinner warfarin, where the therapeutic daily dose can be anywhere from 1 to 20 milligrams, and patients must have frequent blood tests to prevent dangerous bleeding and strokes.

Julie A. Johnson

Distinguished Professor of pharmacy and pharmaceutics and medicine; Dean, College of Pharmacy
University of Florida

The cell as a pump

4 Nov 2013 -
10:30am to 11:15am
Mechanics
Micrograph of biofilm made up of a variety of bacteria

What are cells? Among other things, most are pumps, and that’s how Tommy Angelini sees them. Animal cells are built to generate contractile forces; they pull on each other and can generally pump an amount of fluid 10 times their internal volume in an hour. This mechanical perspective turns the notion of cell signaling on its head. A biochemist might imagine cell signaling as a diffusion process; Angelini, understanding cells as machines, says cells respond to mechanical signals by pushing signaling molecules through their pores.

Thomas E. Angelini

assistant professor of mechanical and aerospace engineering
University of Florida

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