Fluidised-Bed Catalytic Reactors

Mahechi-Botero et al. recently reviewed forty fluidised-bed catalytic reactors. Each design uses different assumptions so simulation methods vary. The review allows users to choose a suitable simulation model for their process and reactor.

Microencapsulation of Oils Rich in Polyunsaturated Fatty Acids

Fluidised bed coating is one of the microencapsulation techniques to minimise core material and oxygen diffusivity. Drusch and Mannino reviewed approaches where the core material releases to specific targets.

Powder Flow Dynamics

Krantz, Zhang and Zhu carried out fluidised bed expansion to characterise powder flow under stress at 22-31 μm medium particle size. They also did cohesion tests to find that flow properties depend on stress state.

Polycarbonate Hydrolysis in Earth-Alkali Oxides and Hydroxides

Grause et al. described polycarbonate (PC) 300-500°C hydrolysis to make bisphenol A (BPA), phenol and isopropenyl phenol(IPP). The catalysts compared were MgO, CaO, Mg(OH)2 or Ca(OH)2. This option to treat used PC results in less residue.

Anionic Surfactant Photooxidation in three-phase fluidised bed reactor

Nam et al. performed sodium lauryl sulfate photooxidation in three-phase fluidised-bed reactor. The catalysts were immobilised TiO2 and SiO2 porous support. The process conditions included air flow rate, catalyst concentration, initial surfactant concentration, light source and pH. The Korean scientists found that superficial air velocity affected reaction rate. The reaction followed the Langmuir adsorption model and did better under acidic condtions.

Hydrogen Production from Starch-Wastewater with Bio-granules

Akutsu et al. fermented starch-wastewater with bio-granules to produce hydrogen in an upflow anaerobic sludge bed. The parameters were hydraulic retention time (HRT), pH and starch concentration. The maximum stable hydrogen yield was 1.7 mol H2 mol-1 glucose. The granule had a 0.5-4.0 mm diameter consisting pretreated methanogenic nuclei. Formic or lactic acid presence signified process deterioration.


Mahecha-Botero, A., Grace, J.R., Elnashaie, S.S.E.H. & Lim, C. J. (2009). Advances in modelling of fluidized-bed catalytic reactors: a comprehensive review. Chemical Engineering Communications. 196(11), 1375-1405. doi:10.1080/00986440902938709
Drusch, S. & Mannino, S. (2009). Patent-based review on industrial approaches for the microencapsulation of oils rich in polyunsaturated fatty acids. Trends in Food Science & Technology. 20(6-7) 237-244. doi: 10.1016/j.tifs.2009.03.007
Krantz, M., Zhang, H. & Zhu, J. (2009). Characterization of poder flow: Static and dynamic testing. Powder Technology. 194(3), 239-245. doi:10.1016/j.powtec.2009.05.001
Grause, G., Sugawara, K., Mizoguchi, T. & Yoshioka, T. (2009). Pyrolytic hydrolysis of polycarbonate in the presence of earth-alkali oxides and hydroxides. Polymer Degradation and Stability. 94(7), 1119-1124. doi:10.1016/j.polymdegradstab.2009.03.014
Nam, W., Woo, K. & Han, G. (2009) Photooxidation of anionic surfactant (sodium lauryl sulfate) in a three –phase fluidise bed reactor using TiO2/SiO2 photocatalyst. Journal of Industrial and Engineering Chemistry. 15(3), 348-353. doi:10.1016/j.jiec.2008.11.006
Akutsu, Y., Lee, D.Y., Chi, Y.Z., Li, Y.Y., Harada, H. & Yu, H.Q. (2009). Thermophilic fermentative hydrogen production from starch-wastewater with bio-granules. International Journal of Hydrogen Energy. 34(12), 5061-5071. doi:10.1016/j.ijhydene.2009.04.024.

Windmill using Vertical Axis Wind Turbines

Vertical axis wind turbines (VAWT) are a promising alternative renewable energy source. Recent innovations involve reducing operation noise, active flow control and complexity. VAWT can extract power regardless of flow direction (Alam & Iqbal, 2009).

Darrieus Wind Turbine

Feng et al. carried out wind tunnel test on a Darrieus wind turbine with and without an optimal power controller. They maximised turbine efficiency by matching rotor and generator.

Gorelov (2009) stated that the Darrieus rotor type is analogous to a flapping wing. The torque on the rotor shaft is from pulsed forces acting on the blades. Aerodynamic calculations would involve nonlinear airfoil theory under turbulent flow.

Self-Start Turbines

Debate exists between designers for whether turbines can start unaided. Hill et al. simulated starting of an H-rotor Darrieus turbine under steady wind. They also performed wind tunnel experiment using a prototype to varied results. This indicated there are still gaps in aerofoil characteristics for an accurate model.

Ferreira et al. investigated dynamic stall at various tip speed ratios. Dynamic stall occur for low tip speed ratio to affect loads and power. The Netherlands scientists carried out 2D particle image velocimetry (PIV) to find a relationship between the blade angle, perceived velocity and Reynolds number. The results showed how air circulates for a small urban wind turbine.

Future Development

Miller et al. developed Sistan windmills modern adaptations. Sistan windmills are drag-force type energy generators for buildings. They experimented with a scale model to achieve more than 40% efficiency.

Takahashi et al. are developing a suitable generator for low-speed vertical wind turbines for urban installation. This generator is coreless and has radial magnetic flux. The magnets and coils are on the outer end of the device. The design has a high speed of flux change and output voltage. The generator power at 283 W maximum would be independent of its diameter. The generator is able to self-start at wind around 1 m/s.


Alam, M.J. & Iqbal, M.T. (2009). Design and development of hybrid vertical axis turbine. Canadian Conference on Electrical and Computer Engineering. 1178-1183.
Feng, G., Liu, Z., Daorina, B. & Gong, Z. (2009). Experimental research on vertical axis wind turbine. Asia-Pacific Power and Energy Engineerign Conference.
Ferreira, C., van Kuik, G., van Bussel, G. & Scarano, F. (2009). Visualization by PIV of dynamic stall on a vertical axis wind turbine. Experiments in Fluids, 46(1), 97-108.
Gorelov, D. N. (2009). Analogy between a flapping wing and a wind turbine with a vertical axis of revolution. Journal of Applied Mechanics and Technical Physics, 50(2), 297-299.
Hill, N., Dominy, R., Ingram, G. & Dominy, J. (2009). Darrieus turbines: The physics of self-starting. Proceedings of the Institution of Mechanical Engineers, Part A: Journal of Power and Energy, 223(1), 21-29.
Miller, G., Jentsch, M. F. & Stoddart, E. (2009). Vertical axis resistance type wind turbines for use in buildings. Renewable Energy, 34(5), 1407-1412.
Takahashi, T., Yasuda, Y., Ohmoto, S. & Hara, T. (2009). Proposal and development of radial air-gap coreless generator suitable for small wind turbine used in urban area. Electrical Engineering in Japan (English translation of Denki Gakkai Ronbunshi), 167(1), 26-34.
Wilks, N. (2009). Windy city [vertical-axis wind turbines]. Environmental Engineering, 22(1), 24-25.

Nanoparticle Antimicrobial Activity

Some nanoparticles (NP) are developed to kill pathogenic bacteria, but Pseudomonas putida KT2440 is beneficial to soil. Gajjar et al. investigated heavy metal NP effect on this Pseudomonas sp. They found nano-AG, CuO and ZnO contributed to P. putida cell death. The relationship depended on the particle size, meaning NP production must meet particle size constraints for desire function.


Gajjar, P., Pette, B., Britt, D. W., Huang, W., Johnson, W. P. & Anderson, A. J. (2009) Antimicrobial acitivitis of commercial nanoparticles against an environmental soil microbe, Pseudomonas putida KT2440. Journal of Biological Engineering, 3(9). DOI:10.1186/1754-1611-3-9

NZ Science Community Fading, fadding...gone.

New Zealand's science community is apparently fading as reported by New Zealand Herald.

Original article by James Ihaka titled Science Community Fading, says PM's Adviser.

Simultaneous Saccharification and Fermentation (SSF)

Ethanol production from lignocellulose involves enzymatic hydrolysis and fermentation. SSF combines both steps. Swedish scientists Olofsson, Bertilsson and Liden found process conditions for this pathway. Below are the process steps.


Lignocellulose is prepared to increase cellulose hydrolysation rate and minimise inhibitor formation. For example, increase surface area available to enzyme lets the more reaction to occur at the same time. Feedstock characteristics determine the treatment type.
Agricultural residues benefit from:
  • Ammonia fibre freeze explosion,
  • Lime or calcium hydroxide,
  • Alkali or sodium hydroxide, or
  • Steam explosion.
Each process has its drawbacks such as equipment costs or by-product and inhibitor formation.

Enzymatic Hydrolysis

Cellulases break β-1-4-glycosidic glucan bonds. Aerobic filamentous fungi such as T. reesei produces cellulose system for industrial use.

Fermenting Microorganisms

The species requirements are:
  • High ethanol yield
  • High productivity
  • Withstand high ethanol concentration
They compared alternative species with bakers yeast to mixed results.
  • Xylose fermenting yeasts e.g. Candida shehata,
  • Bacteria such as Zymomonas mobilis and E. coli.
  • Engineered S. cerevisiae and E. coli.
Bakers Yeast CharacteristicsValue
Yield0.45 g g-1
Specific Growth Rate1.3 g g-1 cell mass h-1
Ethanol Tolerance100 g L-1

Process Optimisation

The scientist manipulated the following conditions:
  • Substrate loading
  • Enzyme loading
  • Yeast loading
  • Co-fermentation
  • Temperature
  • Inhibitors
They proposed changes to find better pentose fermenting yeasts, enzyme combinations.


Olofsson, K., Bertilsson, M & Liden, G. (2008). A short review on SSF – an interesting process option for ethanol production from lignocellulosic feedstocks. Biotechnology for Biofuels, 1(7). DOI:10.1186/1754-6834-1-7

Your Weight in Other Worlds

How much do you weigh in other worlds? For example,
  • A person weighing 80 kg on Earth would weigh 30.1 kg on Mars.
  • Another person 50 kg on Earth would weigh 45.3 kg on Venus.
Thie phenomenon is explained in a Exploratorium page.

The Science Commons

The Science Commons is a treasure trove to me. Its partners include
  • BioMedCentral
  • Hindawi
  • iBridge
  • MIT Open Courseware ("OCW")
  • Public Library of Science
  • PLoS ONE
  • Rice Connexions


BioMed Central is a science, technology and medicine publisher for open access articles. More than 200 journals are citation tracked and available by Creative Commons Attribution License.


CAMBIA aims to develop and share life science technology. The institute is in the Black Mountain research campus of CSIRO, Australia. Its facilities include a laboratory, plant growth room, lecture theatre and library. A life sciences patent database is available. The site content is available via Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike License.


The Hindawi Publishing Corporation carries over 150 science, technology and medicine journals and several books. Readers can view, download and print peer-reviewed articles without subscription. The authors keep copyright to their work. For example, I found International Journal of Chemical Enigneering useful.


The iBridge Network "link ideas and innovations". The community shares early stage innovation. More than 80 organisations update research ideas to find collaborators and get feedback. Users can carry out searches by subjects and institution. Topics can be tracked by subscribing to news feed.

MIT Open Courseware ("OCW")

MIT open course ware gives free online course material. I hope I get some more knowledge before finding a job!

Supercritical Fluid Processes

Chemical processes could be hazardous, expensive and contribute to pollution. Supercritical fluids are an alternative investigated to reduce and eliminate industrial pollution and manufacturing costs. The two examples are supercritical water in biomass refinery and supercritical carbon dioxide to replace organic solvents.
The water processes in the figure below are divided into:
  1. Incineration
  2. Gasification,
  3. Separation,
  4. Solubilization,
  5. Hydrolysis, and
  6. Conversion Reactions.

The carbon dioxide processes are:
  • Extraction,
  • Organic Synthetic Reactions,
  • Catalysis,
  • Biotechnology,
  • Polymerization,
  • Particle Engineering,
  • Textile Dyeing, and
  • Advanced Material Manufacture.

Supercritical Fluid Carbon Dioxide

ExtractionCoffee decaffeination
Fatty acid refinery
Flavour isolation from hops
Herbal products
Organic Synthetic
Friedel Crafts
Claisen rearrangement
Michael addition
Kolbe-Schmitt reaction
Heck reactions
Suzuki reactions
Alkylation reactions
BiotechnologyEnantioselective chemical transformations
Lipase catalyzed esterifacation
Enzyme in Packed column continuous flow with toluene
PolymerizationAmorphous fluoropolymers
Some hydrocarbon polymers
Particle EngineeringDrug delivery system
Rapid expansion of supercritical fluid solutions (RESS)
Supercritical fluid anti-solvents (GAS)
Polymer supercritical fluid extraction of emulsions (PSFEE)
Textile DyeingDye solvent for polyesters, nylon, silk, cotton and wool
Advanced MaterialIonic liquid as electrolytes in batteries, lubricants, plasticizers, extraction, inorganic and biochemical catalysis
Speed up, dry or replace aerogel fabrication
Polyimides infusion


Ramsey, E., Sun, Q.B., Zhang, Z.Q., Zhang, C.M. & Gou, W. (2009). Mini-review: Green sustainable processes using supercritical fluid carbon dioxide. Journal of Environmental Sciences-China. 21(6), 720-726. DOI:10.1016/S1001-0742(08)62330-X

Arai, K., Smith, R.L. & Aida, T.M. (2009). Decentralized chemical processes with supercritical fluid technology for sustainable society. Journal of Supercritical Fluids. 47(3), 628-636. DOI:10.1016/j.supflu.2008.11.008


High blood pressure is related to stroke and heart disease, where blood pressure is more than 140 over 90 mmHg. People at risk from hypertension can use nutraceuticals to prevent the onset of heart disease.Researchers investigated Gingko leaf extract (GLE) treatment for memory loss, dementia and peripheral vascular diseases. Gingko leaves are a vasodilator. The active components are flavone glycosides and terpene lactones.


Chen, Z.Y., Peng, C., Jiao, R., Wong, Y.M., Yang, N. & Huang, Y. (2009). Anti-hypertensive nutraceuticals and functional foods. Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry. 57(11), 4485-4499. DOI: 10.1021/jf900803r

Geothermal Springs is a Renewable Resource

Geothermal activities around the world provide opportunities for oil and gas exploration, groundwater-sourced heating and cooling, and water pollution assessment.

Uniform Geothermal Gradient

Location: Qiongdongnan and Pearl River Mouth Basins, China

Yuan et al. used a uniform geothermal gradient to find temperature distribution. Oil and gas exploration surveys measure the thermal conductivity, radioactive heat production, geothermal gradient values and heat flow values.

Geothermal Resources

Location: Khachmaz and Sabir-Oba, Azerbaijan

Nabiye et al. measured temperature and pressure to calculate the following properties in characterizing geothermal resources:
  • From temperature (T) and pressure (P):
    • Empirical correlation for density (ρ),
      • Isothermal compressibility (βT),
      • Isobaric thermal expansibility (βP), and
      • Difference in isobaric and isochoric heat capacities (CP and CV).

    Open-Loop Well-Doublet Schemes

    Banks assessed thermal plume effects from open-loop well-doublets. Well-doublets abstract water from the ground, perform heat transfer and injects used water into the ground. This temperature difference in water affects sensitive species and pollution to downstream users. Backwash injected water may mix with cold abstracted water over time to render the system useless. The open-loop system is an improvement on the original idea to make the scheme economically viable.

    Groundwater Systems

    Location: Cape Verde, West Africa

    Heilweil, Solomon, Gingerich, and Verstraeten investigated groundwater systems using stable radioactive isotopes. The water source was rain at high elevation. Geothermal activity did not affect the groundwater. Seven sites had water residence time for over half a century, such as the Ribeira Faj Basin at So Nicolau Island. Mosteiro Basin at Fogo Island and Ribeira Paul Basin at Santo Anto Island were found to be at risk from surface contamination and salination.

    The Urban Heat Island Effect

    Location: Istanbul, Turkey

    Urbanization causes elevated groundwater temperature. The sources could be heat loss and energy absorbed by developed land. Yalcin and Yetemen found South Istanbul groundwater temperature 3.5oC higher than North Istanbul. They suggested geothermal energy using heat pump for recovery is one of the alternative to fossil fuel energy.

    Geothermal Drainage

    Location: Yellowstone National Park

    Planer-Friedrich, Fisher, Hollibaugh, Suss, and Wallschlager found microorganisms related to Thermocrinis rubber breaks down trithioarsenate to arsenate in the alkaline, sufide-containing geothermal springs. This microbial catalysis is 40-500 times faster than laboratory oxidation. This natural phenomenon could be used to develop arsenic remediation.


    Yuan, Y., Zhu, W.L., Mi, L.J., Zhang, G.C., Hu, S.B. & He, L.J. (2009). "Uniform geothermal gradient" and heat flow in the Qiongdongnan and Pearl River Mouth Basins of the South China Sea. Marine and Petroleum Geology, 26(7), 1152-1162. DOI:10.1016/j.marpetgeo.2008.08.008

    Nabiyev, N.D., Bashirov, M.M., Safarov, J.T., Shahverdiyev, A.N. & Hassel, E.P. (2009). Thermodynamic properties of the geothermal resources (Khachmaz and Sabir-Oba) of Azerbaijan. Journal of Chemical and Engineering Data, 54(6), 1799-1806. DOI:10.1021/je800840m

    Banks, D. (2009). Thermogeological assessment of open-loop well-doublet schemes: A review and synthesis of analytical approaches. Hydrogeology Journal, 17(5), 1149-1155. DOI:10.1007/s10040-008-0427-6

    Heilweil, V.M., Solomon, D.K., Gingerich, S.B. & Verstraeten, I.M. (2009). Oxygen, hydrogen and helium isotopes for investigating groundwater systems of the Cape Verde Islands, West Africa. Hydrogeology Journal 17(5) 1157-1174. DOI:10.1007/s10040-009-0434-2

    Yalcin, T. & Yetemen, O. (2009). Local warming of groundwaters caused by the urban heat island effect in Istanbul, Turkey. Hydrogeology Journal, 17(5), 1247-1255. DOI: 10.1007/s10040-009-0474-7

    Planer-Friedrich, B., Fisher, J.C., Hollibaugh, J.T., Suss, E. & Wallschlager, D. (2009). Oxidative transformation of trithioarsenate along alkaline geothermal drainages: Abiotic versus microbially mediate processes. Geomicrobiology Journal, 26(5), 339-350. DOI:10.1080/01490450902755364

    Inspiration: Hot Springs Around the World from gosmiley.com

Where is your Antipodes?

Antipodes is the opposite point on Earth connected by a straight line. The Antipodemap.com provides the Antipodes for a given location. For example, I found New Zealand is the Antipodes of Spain!

Biomedical Imaging

Biomedical imaging techniques include light microscopy, polarising filters, transmission electron microscopy, scanning electron microscopy, fluorescence microscopy, confocal microscopy and stress photonic imaging.

Light Microscopy

The image shows neurons by Hljod.Huskona with some rights reserved.


Polarising Filters

Here polarising filter applied to the photo on the right hand side improves its quality. Image by Aidan Wojtas, some rights reserved.

Polarising Filter Example

Transmission Electron Microscopy (TEM)


TEAM 0.5 By Roy Kaltschmidt for Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, some rights reserved.


Hollow cadmium sulfite nanospheres. The one of the right has been deform to the point of failure. By Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, some rights reserved.

Scanning Electron Microscopy (SEM)

The next three images are a crater, Carbon 60 molecular model and nanotubes by St Stev in a Flickr Nanotechnology set under Creative Commons License.

SEM, microscopy



Fluorescence Microscopy


Above are cardomyocetes and fibroplasts (heart cells) from chicken embryo rendered in fluorescence microscopy. Uploaded by Arboreus, some rights reserved.

Confocal Microscopy


By Manic Street Preacher, some rights reserved.


By Pink Cigarette, some rights reserved.

Inspiration from the Wellcome Trust Biomedical Image Awards 2006 showcasing microscopic images.

I don't go shoplifting

Something I cannot understand no matter how hard I try is why people shoplift.


I don't understand why people shoplift. Thieves could:

  1. Get caught
  2. Wear handcuffs
  3. Spend time in a holing cell with a lot of other dodgy people
  4. Go to court
  5. Post bail
  6. Get convicted of a crime
  7. Go to jail

Some would argue that shoplifters:

  1. Star in their very own video!
  2. Get away with it.
  3. If caught, get free bracelets
  4. Get a ride with the nice policemen
  5. Accommodation with like-minded people for a certain period of time

I still don't get why people would take things without paying. The results are not worth it!

Entrecard Contest

Blog Godown is starting a new entrecard contest on the 4th July and there a lot of prizes to be won. The contest winners will be selected via random.org.


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Good Morning Grey Seal

Wistful greeting from a grey seal captioned "mer-heba" Location: Hirta, St Kilda, Scotland. Species: Halichoerus grypus. Time: August 4 2008. By Arpat Ozgul, Some rights reserved. He has more photos in RandomEffects.And here is the rest of it.

Women in Science: A flickr Set

Mildred Fenton, by the Smithsonian Institute, no known copyright restrictions.
The Smithsonian institute archives released women scientist and engineer images in March this year.

The Smithsonia Institute photography blog is The Bigger Picture. Some of the collection were used in the exhibition Women and Science at Science Service.

Infant Colour Perception

Just read an article about what colours babies like. This could help with expecting parents to decide on what to paint the nursery, toys, clothes and furniture selection.Babies can distinguish colour from white at 2 months. They were able to detect blue and purple more than green, yellow and red.

I guess Barney really has it good...

Original article from Cognitive Daily, Science Blogs by Greta Munger.


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