By some estimates, a third to half of the artesunate, an anti-malarial drug, in some countries is counterfeit. The World Health Organization has called for faster, more accurate tests, and now a team of Oregon State University chemists has stepped up with an innovative approach.
When Annika Swanson arrived as a freshman at Oregon State in 2010, she already had a life purpose: join the ranks of research faculty studying the causes and effects of environmental pollution.
Behind the Screens
Some of today’s flat-panel TV and computer screens are nearly as big as a living room wall. They bring us unimaginably sharp detail, from the spots on butterfly wings to the grimace on a linebacker’s face. Whether hooked up to your cable feed, DVD player or wi-fi, this technology is becoming integral to daily life. However, our love of flashy high-res has a dark side.
The Heart of Mass
The term “God particle” tends to rankle physicists. The flippant reference to the recently discovered particle believed to be the Higgs boson was coined by Leon Lederman, the former director of the Department of Energy’s Fermilab and Nobel Prize winning physicist. But, says Ken Krane, nuclear scientist and emeritus professor of physics at Oregon State University, had it not been for the name, the discovery might not have generated such headlines in July. It was good, he adds, to see physics in the news.
Battling the Superbugs
This story has echoes of heroes tramping the Earth (or the galaxy) on a quest to defeat the forces of darkness. Along the way, the travelers encounter strange creatures with remarkable powers. They endure harrowing tests of mental strength and technological prowess. In the end, they prevail, bringing down the enemy and discovering a truth that saves civilization.
It’s one of life’s little ironies. The proteins in our bodies fight infection, carry messages, ferry oxygen and build tissue. But then, like double agents in a spy novel, they can betray us. They overreact to a virus and attack our own organs. They promote cancer, help clog arteries or set up roadblocks in the brain. We may never know until symptoms appear — a lump, chest pain, severe memory lapses — and irreversible damage is done.