"Water, water everywhere and all the boards did shrink; Water, water, everywhere, nor any drop to drink," lamented Coleridge's famed ancient mariner as he was mesmerized by endless months at sea. Today, water teases scientists in a similar fashion. "Despite over a century of intensive investigation, some fundamental properties of water and aqueous systems are still not understood," explains Greg Kimmel of Pacific Northwest National Laboratory. He and his colleagues recently demonstrated that platinum is an awkward base for ice crystals, disproving the conventional wisdom that some noble metal surfaces create perfect atomic platforms.
This year, the Boston Historical Society celebrates the 240th anniversary of America's first chocolate mill, and the Mars Corporation launches a new line of chocolate health bars. Today, the notion of chocolate as health food might seem surprising. More often, chocolate is considered fattening and generally unhealthy. But in Baker and Hannon's day, there was nothing odd about it.
A recent study found that 79% of American high school seniors do not like math. More than half dislike chemistry, earth sciences, and physics. On the up side, only one in three cannot stand biology.
I would like to propose a fairly radical solution: discard every science textbook in America, and instead, issue every school-child a copy of Bill Bryson's A Short History of Nearly Everything. I can say without reservation that this is the best science history book I have ever had the joy to pick up. It is enough to teach anyone to love science.