Flamingos, hydrangeas, leaves and eggs

Did you know that when flamingos are born, they are grey and their feathers are naturally white? Then… why do they display that pinkish colour? And hydrangeas, why do they show different colours? What do flamingos and hydrangeas have in common? And about the leaves of a tree…why do they change colour during the year? Did you know that eggshells present fluorescence? And finally, what do all these questions have in common?

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Mirror, mirror on the wall

–  Who’s the fairest of them all? –  But what if the mirror had not been as clean and bright as it should have been? Neither the Queen nor Snow White could have asked the magic mirror that famous and memorable question. Mirrors have played an important role in films, not only in ‘Snow White and the seven Dwarfs’, but also in some older such as ‘Taxi Driver‘ or ‘The Shining‘ and some recent such as ‘Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone’ or ‘Black Swan’. Even Justin Timberlake dedicated a song to mirrors! What would we do without mirrors? We could not even know how we are or look like (or how we dress)!

But what happens when a mirror gets old? Why do mirrors grow old? Let’s find it out!

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Red, blue, green and purple: the colours of…

The colours of…Christmas? After some long (long) time, I’m finally coming back with a (maybe) common topic, but it is worth to talk about.

But while you are reading, you will be wondering what the subject is, probably (if you haven’t done it yet) you will have (had) a quick look below to check a picture or some clues about that. Please, don’t do it. Let’s keep it a mystery. Could you guess the topic of the post? What are these colours referring to? Pigments, nature, planets… I’m afraid any of them, but not that far away. Here it is a clue: it is something related to animals. The colour of the eyes, tongue?  What if I tell you that these colours belong to the colour of the blood of different animals? You all know that human blood is red, despite the belief of princes and princesses to have blue blood (let’s see this later). What about the rest? Let’s keep reading.

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Quicksand: science behind the scenes.

Have you ever imagined what you would do if you got trapped in quicksand? Is quicksand a living being? Why does it suck things down? Let’s figure out the ins and outs of this amazing and at the same time weird thing in this new post.

What is quicksand?

First of all, no, it is not a living being who is going to “eat” you. It is a colloid hydrogel, made of a mixture of sand, clay or slit and water. It is mainly formed in areas where there is lots of underground water. This kind of hydrogel is also called a non-newtonian fluid. These fluids get completely different behaviour, depending on the stress you apply to them, as they can change its viscosity (continue reading to know more about non-newtonian fluids). When there is a lot of stress, they behave as a solid: they are tough. However, when there is no stress, it becomes soft and behaves like a regular fluid.

Continue reading “Quicksand: science behind the scenes.”

Black holes: the discovery of the year and the decade

Last Wednesday was an important day, probably the most important of the year related to science. I was about to publish another post with a different topic. However, this revelation has marked a new starting point in the discovery of the universe, and I do have to talk about it.

Most of you might have watched in the news, newspapers or social media (since it is everywhere) the first real picture of a black hole. Many people say it looks like Sauron’s eye, but joking aside, the image looks like the one I was told when I was in school.

What is a black hole?

You have heard a lot about black holes – and even seen it in some films! – , but do you know exactly what it is? Why is it so hard to see? Let’s answer these questions first. Continue reading “Black holes: the discovery of the year and the decade”

DNA: much more than the molecule of life (I)

Changing the subject from my last post, it’s time to talk about DNA and the recent discoveries related to it. Let’s start with the most simple question.

What is DNA?

Deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA) is the biomolecule that encodes the genetic information of cellular organisms. It is composed of four molecules called nucleotides, which are represented with a letter: adenine (A), guanine (G), cytosine (C) and thymine (T). Continue reading “DNA: much more than the molecule of life (I)”

Why are there no thunderstorms in the UK?

This question has been going around my head for a while. I’ve been living in England for a year and I rarely saw a flash of lightning once. In Spain, you can see many thunderstorms, especially in summer. So, why are these so unusual in this part of the world?

First of all, we need to understand some concepts: the difference between storm and thunderstorm, how it comes a storm and what triggers thunders and lightning.

What is a storm?

To begin with, the word Storm doesn’t have any unique definition. A storm is a violent disturbance of the atmosphere with strong winds and usually rain, thunder, lightning, or snow1It comes up when there’s a low-pressure system (do you want to experiment with atmospheric pressure? Click here). Continue reading “Why are there no thunderstorms in the UK?”

Welcome to One-Pot Science

What is science about? Why and what should I know about science? How could I do science? If you ever wondered about, this is your place to find answers. All these questions and some others will be explained. Curiosities, tips, experiments… Chemistry, Physics, Biology, Maths… puzzles and riddles… and of course women in STEM.

As a chemist, there’s no better way to start than 2019, the International Year of the Periodic Table (IYPT) declared by UNESCO. In 1869, Dmitri Mendeleev finished a classification of the elements, gathered in groups, which we know nowadays as the Periodic Table of elements.

You can have a look and “play” with this interesting Dynamic Periodic Table, where you can find data, properties and compounds of the elements.

And always bear in mind that “the science of today, is the technology of tomorrow” (Edward Teller, physicist).