A grad student who has worked with my bioengineering class for a few semesters
pointed out a visit from a faculty candidate who has a fun outreach! Once I saw what Amy Rowat does, I scrambled to be put on her visiting schedule and joined her for a lovely breakfast.
We talked a bit about her research on the physical properties of the cell
nucleus, especially in terms of microfluidics and her interest in the unusual properties of the multilobed nucleus of the neutrophil. As you can see in the image on the left, that the nucleus looks different than the big sphere shaped ones we usually
find in a diagram. This shape of nucleus helps the cell change shape and squeeze between the cells that make up the blood
A neutrophil is the most common white blood cell in
the body. It is the first cell to leave the bloodstream and go into the surrounding tissue at the first signs of injury or
infection. It is also the main component of pus. Neutrophils are well known for eating invading bacteria and below is a well
known video shot in 1950s by David Rogers that shows a neutrophil chasing a bacteria in order to engulf it (also known as
Dr. Rowat is currently
at Harvard, and along with some colleagues, have presented Christmas Science shows (following in Michael Faraday's footsteps) based on "The Science of Food"! These are
interactive discussions and experiments with audience participation about Chocolate
and Pizza. This is real, creatively presented science and not the watered
down version you might get on TV. There are no videos but here is her website featuring the outreach. It is just a sampling, but you'll get the idea. This is an example of science outreach done well!
I would love to see this in person sometime!
you could use a tall, scientific drink after all that talk of food. Boing Boing just featured a great program given at the
Exploratorium called The Science of Cocktails. I wish I could have attended that, too! Someone happened to soak gummy bears in vodka to see the results, a bit like
I did with the water logged gummy bear on the liquid nitrogen gummy bears video. Take a look and be sure to watch the videos!
Two of the videos are fun science tricks you can do at a restaurant and are demonstrated by the author of a book I own called
While You're Waiting for the Food to Come: A Tabletop Science Activity Book : Experiments and Tricks That Can Be Done at a
Restaurant, the Dining Room Table, or Wherever Food Is Served (I've had my copy for years!!)
While you are visiting
BoingBoing you might also enjoy a couple of cool videos about chemistry and materials science on BoingBoing's Monday Morning Science Hoax .
Now, onto The
Science of Shampoo. I found it via The Beauty Brains . It is by L'Oreal and shows many scientific ways that shampoo is tested for various characteristics. You will need to follow
this link to view it. It is worth the detour.
Finally, I am going to
point you to a very funny article in The Onion called Science Channel Refuses to Dumb Down Science Any Further Enjoy!
Until next time,