Hold the Salt

Written by: Daniela Tapia Pitzzu

Illustrated by: Devon Hucek

Edited by: Sarah Bassiouni, Olivia Alge, Peijin Han, and Madeline Barron

During high school chemistry, my teacher gave the class a handout describing the perils of dihydrogen monoxide (DHMO). There were reports of DHMO causing suffocation, proving fatal if inhaled. This parody on water (which has the molecular name dihydrogen monoxide) was to advocate for science literacy. However, there was another buried message: even one of the most innocuous of chemicals can be dangerous if used improperly. 

Enter chloride. Not chlorine gas, not vinyl chloride, but sodium’s better half, the chloride in sodium chloride (table salt). 

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The Henrietta Lacks Estate vs Thermo Fisher: An update on the conversation surrounding the origin of HeLa cells

Written by: Christina Del Greco

Edited by: Ryan Schildcrout, Henry Ertl, and Madeline Barron 

Illustrated by: Katie Bonefas 

On October 4, 2021, Henrietta Lacks’ estate filed a lawsuit against Thermo Fisher Scientific, accusing them of selling products containing Henrietta Lacks’ cells (HeLa cells) for profit, despite the fact that the cells were taken without her consent. Nor, they say, has Thermo Fisher asked for the family’s consent even after the origin of HeLa cells became controversial. HeLa cells can sell for over $2000/mL, contributing significantly to Thermo Fisher’s annual revenue of over $35 billion per year. This lawsuit represents many of the ethical issues that have repeatedly arisen regarding the origin of HeLa cells. As such, to understand the lawsuit, we have to understand the history and significance of the cells themselves.

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How does light present as color?

Written by: Saaj Chattopadhyay

Edited by: Christina Del Greco, Will Dana, Kane York, and Madeline Barron

Illustrated by: Jacquelyn Roberts

Roses are red, violets are blue

Are they really? We might see different hues! 

Recently, I was careless enough to think I lost my credit card while traveling so I ordered a new one. The customer service representative asked if I wanted an image on the card and pointed me to the large library of options. My eyes skimmed the web page and settled on the image of Claude Monet’s beautiful impressionist painting “The Artist’s Garden at Giverny,” and sure enough, two weeks later, I had a gorgeous new credit card. What caught my eye in the painting was the brilliant use of purple, one of my favorite colors, to depict the irises that covered his garden. His blending of paints ensures that the longer you stare at the painting, the more colors you see. It made me appreciate how our eyes and brain work together to project such a vibrant reality.

“The Artist’s Garden at Giverny” by Claude Monet (Source)

Color is the result of how our brains process light entering our eyes. There are two sides of the story: what type of light is entering our eye, and how our eyes perceive the collected light. Thus, to understand color, we first have to understand light. 

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