Category Archives: Chemistry

Blue’s Clues

by James Morris

Animals sport a rich palette of colors. Think of a bright red cardinal, orange monarch butterfly, yellow warbler, green grasshopper, brown snake, or black-and-white striped zebra. Blue is less common. In fact, blue is one of the rarest colors in the animal world. Of course, there are blue eyes, peacock feathers, and butterflies. But these blues are not made in the same way that other colors in animals are commonly produced. Continue reading

Speed Limit

by James Morris

Infinity is a hard concept to wrap our heads around. It’s difficult to imagine anything stretching on forever and ever. And yet, when we think about common aspects of our world – time, space, temperature – there is a general thought that these go on and on, that there are no real limits in nature. We might create all kinds of boundaries – fences, walls, borders – but nature, it seems, does not.

But that’s not the case. Nature is full of limits and boundaries, in places where we might not expect them. Continue reading

Snow Daze

by James Morris
Illustrations by Hannah King

Watch Factory after Winter Storm Juno, Waltham, MA, 1/27/15

Watch Factory after Winter Storm Juno, Waltham, MA, 1/27/15

What is snow?
We do not know.
But snow is lots of fun,
We know.
~P. D. Eastman

What is snow? That’s a simple question. Everyone knows what snow is. But when I asked my teenage son, he wasn’t sure. He of course knew it’s kind of like ice, but when I asked why it doesn’t look like frozen rain (sleet), he wasn’t sure. I then asked several other people, both kids and adults, and they were also unsure.

This is one of those everyday questions that is harder to answer than we think. Snow is something familiar and at the same time unfamiliar. Continue reading