The leaves, they are a changin’

On September 29, 2010, in Botany, by Jon.Rowe

Now, as omnipresent as the changing of the color of leaves in the autumn is, I’ll bet that many people don’t know how and why this transformation takes place.  Sure, you might have the general idea (It is getting colder, the leaves will freeze, etc..) but I’ll bet that you don’t know the whole story.  The annual changing of the colors is something that just comes naturally to those of us who live far enough north to enjoy the yearly onset of deep reds and bright bursts of orange in the trees.  We often take for granted the crispy leaves and that slight smell of decay that comes with the fall.  I don’t want to give you the impression that you should know this information, because personally I didn’t know the answer to the question to “Why do leaves change color and fall off” until I had taken a botany course in college.  I hadn’t really thought about the processes, systems, reasons, and mechanisms of the fall colors before, learning about it in class was a bit of a “Duh!” moment for me.  To have something so huge and eye catching to a biologist as myself, and not know the answers was unfortunate.  I hope that you, my readers, would concur.  Fortunately for you, I did eventually learn the important details about this annual arboreal event.  I am glad to share it with you.  (I would like to apologize for the title of this article as well… I couldn’t help myself)

Lets start right at the beginning.


Tagged with:

Tell Me a Story

On September 1, 2010, in News, by Jon.Rowe

I thought it might be prudent to share one of the major inspirations for this website.  While I was working this past spring, I began to listen to the WNYC Radio Lab podcasts.  Very excellent show.  They deal with all of the craziest science questions and mysteries in an enjoyable and understandable format.  But, in between their regular episodes they had a short that they called “Tell Me a Story” where one of the shows hosts, Robert Krulwich, gives a commencement speech to the 2008 graduating class at Cal Tech.  Needless to say, it made me feel a bit guilty.  So, I figured I would do this.  I can write reasonably well, I know a lot of stuff, and the world needs more people that can be the conduit between the science and the masses.  I grew up with role models such as Bill Nye the science guy, and Steve Irwin.  We need more people like them, people that can share the wonderful world of science and nature to the public.  Science isn’t cool anymore like it was, we need to reach people.  This is going to be one of the most important challenges of our lifetimes, and we need to rise to meet that challenge.

2008 Caltech Commencement Speech (Robert Krulwich)


Tagged with: