by Connor Lynch '17
During November, the odds of an intelligent civilization existing somewhere in the Milky Way shot way up. NASA’s Kepler spacecraft has been able to identify and analyze a vast number of exoplanets across the galaxy by detecting micro changes in incoming light due to planets passing in front of their respective stars. This is referred to the “transit method” of finding planets. The latest discovery from the new data of Kepler’s images confirms that there may be an Earth-sized planet in the “Goldilocks zone” of nearly 20% of sun-like stars in the galaxy. This would put the number of possibly habitable worlds up to nearly 40 billion. The search now officially commences for a twin Earth, a planet with conditions extremely close to that of Earth which hopefully lies close enough to us to study in detail.
by Nari Lee '17
A team of British experts shed some light on the long unsolved mystery of King Tutankhamen’s death when they recently announced that the boy pharaoh was likely killed in a chariot accident. The team’s findings also explain that the mummy was burnt because of a botched mummification. Forensic archaeologist Dr. Matthew Ponting was key in this discovery by helping to analyze a sample of Tutankhamen’s flesh through a scanning electron microscope. The findings state that the pharoah’s preserved body burst into a contained flame in his sealed coffin as a result of the chemical reaction between embalming oils and linen. (1)
What exactly is a forensic archaeologist? According to The Concise Oxford Dictionary of Arhcaeology, forensic archaeology is:
an expanding branch of archaeological investigation in which the methods and approaches of archaeology are applied to legal problems and in connection with the work of courts of law. Most commonly this involves the reconstruction of chronology and sequence events from the deposits found within and around graves and burial sites for homicide cases and investigations into the violation of human rights. (2)
by Michael Golz '17
by Kathleen Sai-Halasz
This article was written by a student at the Wheeler School. Brown's chapter of The Triple Helix collaborates with the Wheeler School to engage high school students in science journalism.
It is a common misconception that all forms of communication between humans are through verbal or body language. That is, all communication of emotional states of people is through the sense of hearing or visual channels. However, through recent experiments conducted by researchers at Utrecht University, this theory was challenged as researchers showed that people could communicate though chemosignals as well (1). Chemosignals are chemical signals the human body gives off, often through sweat, through which people can interact. Jasper H. B. de Groot and colleagues chose to focus their experiment on the emotions of fear and disgust, and found that chemosignals given off of one person while experiencing one of these emotions can induce the same emotional state upon the inhaler (1). This supports the idea that forms of communication are not limited to eyes and ears, and that through the effects of chemosignals, people can communicate their emotions without needing to hear or see the other person.
Researchers at Utrecht University tested the hypothesis that it is possible to transfer an emotion from one person to another through the fumes the sender’s sweat gives off (1). Researchers chose to work with the emotions of fear, scientifically known as sensory acquisition, and disgust, also known as sensory rejection (1). In this experiment, only males were chosen as the senders because they produce more potent sweat signals, whereas only women were chosen to be used as receivers because they are shown to have a more acute sense of smell (1).
by Nari Lee '17
Have you ever wondered why you can’t pull off those triple axels just like they do in the Winter Olympics? Well, as it turns out, three of the most popular winter sports—ice hockey, figure skating, and speed skating—are dependent on ice skates, and the athletes in each category need skates that fit their individual needs.
Take ice hockey, for example. Players need skates that can endure up to twenty minutes of high intensity, high velocity play, while allowing for agility on the ice. Thus the boot of an Olympic hockey player is crafted from synthetic materials that form to his feet when heated. The molded fit helps reduce energy wasted from the foot moving around inside of the boot and instead applies that energy towards forward motion.
The blades under the hockey player’s boots, though built of the same highest quality steel, are shorter and lighter than other blades. This adaptation allows for both speed and quick stops or turns.