November 4: Chloroform

Effects of Chloroform on J. A. Simpson. Credit: Wellcome Library, London.

In 1847, a London obstetrician named James Simpson invited a few friends over for an experiment. He was interested in finding an anesthetic that could be used during difficult childbirth situations, especially those involving surgery. He had managed to obtain some chloroform from a local pharmacist. Sitting together in his dining room on the evening… Continue reading November 4: Chloroform

Thinking Outside the Cell

Transmission electron microscope section of two mammalian mitochondria. Wikipedia Commons public domain.

One of the greatest difficulties I have as a teacher is getting a student to ask questions. In the modern classroom, asking questions means admitting ignorance, and somehow, despite the fact that the student is there to learn something he presumably doesn’t already know, not knowing has become a character or moral failing. Some students… Continue reading Thinking Outside the Cell

Scholars Ponder Top Gun

The movie Top Gun: Maverick is breaking box office records. Here are some questions that online scholars may ponder to develop their understanding of the film. Mathematics.  How do the box office receipts compare to other movies? What does it mean to adjust the receipts for inflation? Physics. Which flying maneuvers generate forces on the… Continue reading Scholars Ponder Top Gun