Things are warming up in science!
Last month a study was published involving eight lamb fetuses, in artificial wombs!
The artificial womb is essentially a clear plastic bag that is filled with a synthetic amniotic fluid. Attached to the bag is a mechanical placenta, a device that brings in nutrients, oxygen, and blood, as well as removes carbon dioxide and waste.
Over the span of 4 weeks, researchers observed lung and brain development, the lambs sprouted wool, opened their eyes, wiggled around, and even learned to swallow.
While this concept seems like something out of a Sci-Fi classic, researchers are actually hoping this technology will eventually benefit babies born prematurely.
Below is a video showing one of the lambs in the artificial womb:
While out in the field, I happened upon some aquatic birds—I believe they were Barrow’s Goldeneye ducks, which are thought to originally be from Iceland.
*Note: I did not actually take this photo
My field companion managed to capture these alluring creatures on video while I provide commentary on the colour variations between sexes of birds:
Special thanks to my field companion for producing the video!( :
And for my next trick, I will attempt to move this red liquid through a glass tube using nothing but my hand!
(For about 22 seconds nothing really happens, but be patient!*)
Here’s the secret: The heat from my hand increased the temperature of the liquid just enough to create an increase of air pressure in the container; that increased air pressure is what pushes the liquid up through the tube. When the liquid is at the top of the container, air is then forced up the tube and cause the liquid to bubble. As the liquid cools so does the air pressure, causing the liquid to fall back down the tube.
And that’s the magic of Charles’s Law*!
*song in the video by Cherub
**the volume of a gas, at a constant pressure, expands as the temperature increases
Can you paint with all the colours of the milk?
This activity is easy enough to do if you have some milk, food colouring, dish soap, a bowl, and a little stick. A heat source (microwave) is helpful as well.
Pour some milk into the bowl and give it a little heat. I put mine in the microwave for 45 seconds. Then, add a few drops of food colouring!
Apply a bit of dish soap to the stick, and dip it into the milk. This video shows what happens:
Have some fun swirling the stick through all the colours!
This one is a slowed-down video, which is pretty cool:
This happens because the grease-fighting soap is attacking the fat molecules in the milk, causing the motion. Since the soap doesn’t mix with the milk, it stays on the surface and spreads out. The food colouring makes this process easy to see, and way more cool!
The future is here! Check out this video of a hologram I made:
This was accomplished by constructing a small projector-like device and setting on my phone. Seems simple enough, right?
The Supplies: graph paper, a rule, scissors, a pen, tape, a box cutter, CD cases, hot glue, and a smartphone.
First Step: I measured out a trapezoid shape onto graph paper and cut it out as a guide. The references I found suggested using 1 cm x 3.5 cm x 6 cm measurements, but I ended up tweaking those a bit as I went along.
Second Step: I traced that shape along the plastic part of the CD case, then used the box cutter to cut the plastic shape out; needing 4 pieces of plastic, I repeated this step a few times. This part was a little challenging, because the plastic kept breaking on places I didn’t want it to.
Eventually I cut out four little trapezoids.
Third Step: I arranged the pieces into a pyramidal shape, and held them together momentarily with tape while I let the glue heat up. When it was ready, I glued the edged of the pieces together. The picture below gives a visual into what I just tried to describe.
After the glue cooled, I was ready to try out the projector!
There are a bunch of cool videos to try on YouTube, the one from my video is here.
And here is the aftermath of the plastic cutting:
A trusted lab assistant and myself set out to make our lava lamps, which was easy enough!
The Equipment: science oil, two clean bottles, a funnel, water, food colouring, Alka-Seltzer tablets
First Step: Drink the juice in the bottles; rinse and let dry.
Second Step: Fill the bottles ¾ full of science oil; fill the rest of the bottle with water.
The water formed in spheres below the oil, how pretty!
Third Step: Add food colouring! We went with a deep turquoise and a green.
The blobs of food colouring landed on top of the water spheres; eventually one broke through to the bottom.
Fourth Step: Put the caps on the bottles, and give them a little shake to mix the food colouring with the water.
Fifth Step: Let the orbs of colour settle for a moment; it’s about to get even more cool!
Sixth Step: Break an Alka-Seltzer tablet into about 6 pieces. Drop a piece at a time into the bottle. This should be the result:
And of course, a video:
And a slowed-down video (because we couldn’t get enough!):
Keep adding the tablets as many times as you wish! Experiment with different size pieces or multiple pieces at a time! We decided to play with the lighting too; here are what the lava lamps look like illuminated in the dark:
I present the process of my frog dissection!
Picture One: In the top image you can see where the skin initially ripped, exposing the underlying muscles.
Picture Two: The specimen was pinned down; the image on the right shows the outer layer of skin peeled back, exposing muscles. A piece of internal organ is also peeking out! The bluish substance is a latex dye used in the preservation process to better show the veins.
Picture Three: The image on the left shows all of the organs in place. The yellowish bits are the fat bodies. The image on the right is the aftermath of pulling the organs out. The red substance is similar to the previously mentioned blue latex dye, however it shows the arteries rather than the veins.
Image 1- The stomach, wrapped around the pancreas. The blue organs are the liver, which is the largest organ in the frog’s body.
Image 2- The gall bladder.
Image 3- The small intestine.
Image 4- The fat bodies.
Image 5- The pale organ is the oviduct/ovaries (this frog was female). The smaller red organ is the heart, which contains three chambers, unlike a mammal heart which contains four. The larger red organ is the lung.
Picture 5: Cut open the leg to see more of the muscle and bone!
Next time there’s a ‘frog in your throat’, you’ll have a better idea of what it looks like, haha!
And here’s a little video of the first few incisions.. nothing too cool.