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This is an archive of AGU's GeoSpace blog through 1 July 2020. New content about AGU research can be found on Eos and the AGU newsroom.

You are browsing the archive for Michael McFadden.

15 July 2011

Amino acids from interstellar space [VIDEO]

We’ve long known that the individual atoms that make up our bodies, and everything around us, come from stars. Recently, however, scientists are discovering that complex molecules can be found out in interstellar space. Using the samples returned by the Stardust spacecraft, scientists detected the amino acid glycine fully formed in a comet’s tail. Only this glycine wasn’t like that here on Earth; it was built with some subtle differences …

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31 May 2011

After canals go in, fish diversity goes up… many millenia from now

Facing a growing population and increasing demands for fresh water, India is hoping that an engineering fix will help solve its water-scarcity problems. The country’s National Water Development Agency has begun work on the first of a system of 30 canals that would link 46 rivers, in a process known as inter-basin water transfer.

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27 April 2011

Pond scum a viable alternative to imported oil

Instability in many of the world’s largest oil producing nations has gas prices on the rise and policy makers again considering alternatives. But biofuels, which were once heralded as a way to wean the country off of imported foreign oil, also come with their own disadvantages. Recently, fuels made from algae have gotten increased attention, but they can require enormous supplies of water to produce and it’s remained a mystery …

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26 April 2011

Planetary Origins and Evolution: An Interview with David Stevenson

David Stevenson is the George Van Osdol Professor of Planetary Science at the California Institute of Technology. He researches internal structure and evolution of both major and terrestrial planets, application of fluid dynamics and magnetohydrodynamics [dynamicsof electrically conducting fluids] to planetary interiors, and the origin of the solar system. GeoSpace recently caught up with him to discuss his early career, his thoughts on the best way to send a probe to the Earth’s core, and his involvement with the upcoming Juno mission to Jupiter, among other topics.

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17 February 2011

Clean water and education could outperform vaccines at reducing Haiti cholera epidemic

Even though the deadly cholera epidemic in Haiti is now spreading more slowly, health officials are still working to prevent as many new cases as possible. Detailed models of the disease’s spread help those in charge of making public health decisions understand the effectiveness of control measures, from vaccines to investments in clean water supply and education.

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15 February 2011

A First for the Inner Frontier: Q&A with Sean Solomon on the MESSENGER mission

Sean C. Solomon, Principal Investigator for the MESSENGER mission and a former president of the American Geophysical Union, spoke with GeoSpace about the mission’s goals, Mercury’s potential to surprise, and his own path in research. He gave GeoSpace a sneak preview of topics he might be discussing during his talk at the annual meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science this Sunday in Washington, D.C.

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9 February 2011

A deadly heat wave is finally hindcasted

In 2003, an extreme heat wave in Europe brought record temperatures that lasted throughout the summer and killed tens of thousands of people. Since then, a number of meteorological studies tried unsuccessfully to re-forecast – or forecast in hindsight – that summer’s extreme weather, but none were able to create a totally accurate model of the event. Scientists ultimately hope to be able to predict such scorchers before they hit. A research team now says that it has succeeded in re-forecasting the range of conditions across Europe during the 2003 heat wave.

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13 December 2010

What brings people to the 2010 Fall Meeting?

An intrepid team of AGU press officers went over to the icebreaker to ask a few meeting attendees what brought them here and what they expect to get from the conference. Here’s what they learned: Lisa Grossman came to the Fall Meeting to cover it for Wired.com where she reports about space and physics. She was at a Fall AGU once before as a science writing student at UC Santa …

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29 November 2010

What can geysers tell us about volcanoes on Earth and on distant moons?

Susan Kieffer’s research focuses on geological fluid dynamics with an emphasis on geysers, rivers, meteorite impacts, and volcanoes. An interview provided a good opportunity to catch up with her on planetary science, her career, and current research.

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15 October 2010

Population trends, not climate, causing increased flood fatalities in Africa

Guest post by Anne Jefferson, assistant professor at the Department of Geography and Earth Sciences, UNC Charlotte, and science blogger at Highly Allochthonous In August 2009, unusually heavy rains lasting six hours deluged the city of Khartoum in Sudan. Higher, wealthier parts of the city were relatively unaffected, but in the vast shanty towns that surround the city center, people lost their possessions, homes, and lives. Twenty-seven people died, and …

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