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Science Corner

Featured Columns by Faculty in the Roanoke Times

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    Austin Gray: What should we know about plastics? , redirect

    As an aquatic toxicologist, I am asked regularly, “So what do you do exactly?” Simply put, I investigate how chemicals and hazardous materials impact aquatic habitats. Less than 1% of fresh surface water is available to us, making it an extremely valuable resource. Unfortunately, our investigations have also discovered a diversity of chemicals and plastic materials in our freshwater. Plastic pollution has garnered considerable attention. What are the misconceptions about plastic and do I use it?

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    Charles Calderwood: Complexities in commuting , redirect

    Imagine that you are walking to your car after a particularly stressful day at work. Or perhaps instead, your day got off to a bad start with a crowded bus ride into the office. Do the experiences that we have during our workday affect our behavior and perhaps even influence our safety when commuting home? Can a difficult commute to the office undermine our ability to have a happy, healthy, and productive day at work?

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    John Morris: Particles in the Air , redirect

    Take a deep breath … now consider, for a moment, the chemical compounds that have filled your lungs. Depending on where you live and your immediate surroundings, you may have inhaled more than 1,000 particles. Can we forecast air quality to guide industry, policy, or the best time of day to go for a drive along the Blue Ridge Parkway?

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    Kevin Pitts: Research is generating new knowledge , redirect

    The more we know, the better we do. This has been proven true throughout history. As humans have continued to gain knowledge at a remarkable rate, today we enjoy life expectancies and a standard of living that were unimaginable 100 years ago. But exactly how did these advances take place? How have we been able to continue to gain knowledge and develop new technologies and medical interventions?

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    Sujith Vijayan: To sleep, perchance to learn , redirect

    Most of us probably have been told at some point in our lives to “sleep on it” or to “get a good night’s sleep.” But have you ever wondered, perhaps a little annoyed: Why should I sleep on it? Or why do I need to sleep at all? It turns out that sleep is important for many different reasons — some of which you might never have dreamed of.

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    Meryl Mims: Are bullfrogs a sound of summer or sign of trouble? , redirect

    Summer in Southwest Virginia is full of sights, scents, and sounds we associate with our home. For example, you will likely hear the familiar, low, repetitive call of the American bullfrog. Unfortunately, the bullfrog songs that are a hallmark of our freshwater habitats in the eastern United States are a sign of trouble elsewhere.