Author Archives: pMurs

Bringing It All Together

Wow, it’s been a whole semester already. I’m about to be a senior and that is absolutely terrifying. I swear I was a freshman like two weeks ago. Of course, it’s all relative. If this time has been like a blink of an eye for me, it’s really some infinitesimally small fraction of the first […] Continue reading

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Meteorite Chemicals Form Building Blocks of Life

A research team at the Tuscia University in Italy has released a study suggesting that the kick-starter for early life may have hitched a ride to earth on the backs of meteorites. Formaldehyde, an organic compound that is posited as the key building block for early microbial life, is known to exist in the centers […] Continue reading

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The Exoplanet Gold Rush

The discovery and study of exoplanets, or planets in other solar systems, is one of the newest sub-fields of astronomy. The reason for this is that, prior to the mid 1990’s, we didn’t really have the technology to find these planets. Through various means, the discovery of exoplanets has taken off at an exponential rate […] Continue reading

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If Earth had Rings

One of the most distinctive astronomical features of our solar system is the brilliant ring system of Saturn. Due to their position, scale and material composition, Saturn’s rings have a visibility and tone not present in the ring systems of other planets. I wondered what it would look like if earth had rings and what […] Continue reading

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Under the Sea

Earlier this week, scientists at NASA announced that Saturn’s sixth-largest moon, Enceladus, has a warm ocean at its southern pole. More importantly, it has strong evidence of hydrothermal activity on the ocean floor, the first of its kind found outside of Earth. This is a huge discovery because most scientists agree that life on Earth […] Continue reading

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“You want me to hack the planet?”

There are a compendium of factors that allow for life to exist on Earth, one of the most important of which is our core. Earth’s core is made up of molten metal that swirls and churns, generating a powerful magnetic field that shields the planet from radiation and solar wind. Our core is vital to […] Continue reading

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Histocial Astronomers in Context

Name Birth Death Nicolaus Copernicus 2/19/1473 5/24/1543 Johannes Kepler 12/27/1571 11/15/1630 Tycho Brahe 12/14/1546 10/24/1601 Galileo Galilei 2/15/1564 1/8/1642 Isaac Newton 1/4/1643 3/31/1727 Kepler, Brahe and Galileo all lived around the same time although Brahe was one generation removed from the other two. Nicolaus Copernicus was a Polish mathematician and astronomer who lived and worked […] Continue reading

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El Castillo

They say anyone can build a bridge that stands up, but it takes an engineer to build one that barely stands up. While this quote might be slightly exaggerating the engineering prowess of the average Joe, the fact is that building things accurately is difficult. The architectural and structural accomplishments of the Italian Renaissance are […] Continue reading

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A Mole of Moles

Like most freshmen at Vanderbilt, I took Chemistry 102a during my first semester. On the first day of class, we (ostensibly, seeing as I slept through it) discussed the concept of a mole. A mole is a unit of measurement, generally used to describe the number of atoms or molecules of something, of which there […] Continue reading

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This is a picture of me drinking chocolate milk at the top of Riley Peak in Conifer, Colorado. The picture was taken over spring break this past year. My friends and I had visited the original Chipotle the day before and I had bought two chocolate milk juice boxes and only drank one at lunch. […] Continue reading

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