Science Seat: In search of the perfect tomato
University of Florida professor Harry Klee is working to improve the taste and quality of supermarket tomatoes.
March 1st, 2013
07:00 AM ET

Science Seat: In search of the perfect tomato

By Kelly Murray, CNN

Editor's note: The Science Seat is a feature in which CNN Light Years sits down with movers and shakers from many different areas of scientific exploration. This is the fourth installment.

Ever wondered why some tomatoes taste great, and many others don’t?

Professor Harry Klee, a horticulturalist at the University of Florida in Gainesville, is on a mission to improve the taste and quality of supermarket tomatoes. He was elected to the National Academy of Sciences in 2012 for his efforts.

Klee presented his research in Boston recently at the American Association for the Advancement of Science annual meeting. CNN Light Years spoke with Klee before the conference. Here is an edited transcript:

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Filed under: News • On Earth • Science Seat • Voices
Science Seat: Meet a climate change scientist
Chris Field studies climate change at the Carnegie Institution's Department of Global Ecology.
February 22nd, 2013
07:00 AM ET

Science Seat: Meet a climate change scientist

By Zaina Adamu, CNN

Editor's note: The Science Seat is a feature in which CNN Light Years sits down with movers and shakers from many different areas of scientific exploration. This is the third installment.

Thousands of families were left devastated when Superstorm Sandy destroyed their homes in October. When it comes to these extreme climate events, according to Chris Field, founding director of the Carnegie Institution's Department of Global Ecology, the worst is yet to come.

Field is also a professor of biology and environmental earth system science at Stanford University and a member of the Intergovernmental Panel of Climate Change delegation that won the 2007 Nobel Peace Prize. He holds a doctorate from Stanford University.

CNN Light Years spoke with Field before he headed to Boston for the recent American Association for the Advancement of Science conference. Here is a transcript, edited for brevity and clarity:

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Filed under: Hurricanes • On Earth • Science Education • Science Seat • Severe Weather • Voices
The Science Seat: Why asteroids don’t surprise us anymore
Don Yeomans studies asteroids at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory.
February 15th, 2013
04:38 PM ET

The Science Seat: Why asteroids don’t surprise us anymore

By Matthew Rehbein, CNN

A lot of scientists dream of making a discovery that will make an impact. Planetary scientist Don Yeomans is not one of them.

Yeomans manages the Near-Earth Object Program at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, which means he spends his days monitoring the thousands of asteroids and comets swirling around the solar system, making sure that none of the bigger ones are on a collision course with Earth. He and his team play a “Men in Black” type of role, constantly finding, assessing and ruling out threats to the planet from outer space.

The importance of Yeomans’ work was especially in the spotlight Friday, when an asteroid about half the length of a football field passed relatively close to Earth - closer than many of our orbiting communications satellites - going roughly eight times as fast as a speeding bullet.

Yeomans and his team were among those who helped forecast this event. He assured us that it would not hit, and it looks like he was right.

CNN Light Years recently spoke with him about his work and how it might impact - not literally - humankind’s efforts in space in the future. Below is an edited transcript of this interview, conducted via e-mail.

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Filed under: In Space • Science Seat
The Science Seat: Sun will fry Earth - 'Sorry!'
Astronomer Jason Kalirai says he finds it rewarding to spark young people's interest in science.
February 8th, 2013
07:00 AM ET

The Science Seat: Sun will fry Earth - 'Sorry!'

By Nana Karikari-apau, CNN

Editor's note: The Science Seat is a feature in which CNN Light Years sits down with movers and shakers from many different areas of scientific exploration. This is the first installment.

Jason Kalirai is the deputy project scientist for the James Webb Space Telescope, which will be NASA's next big mission in astrophysics. He works at the Space Telescope Science Institute in Baltimore.

Last month, Kalirai, 34, won the American Astronomical Society's Newton Lacy Pierce Prize for his achievements in observational astronomy. CNN Light Years recently spoke with him about his work. Below is an edited transcript.

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Filed under: In Space • Science Seat • the Sun
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