science scan

Bret Michaels and Deborah Harry join Rock Stars of Science to encourage kids to pursue science careers.
Bret Michaels and Deborah Harry join Rock Stars of Science to encourage kids to pursue science careers. (G)
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Tuesday, November 23, 2010

pop culture

'No cure'? No way. Rock Stars of Science: GBGB Geoffrey Beene Gives Back

For GQ magazine's inaugural Rock Stars of Science campaign last year, Francis Collins, the director of the National Institutes of Health, donned sunglasses and rocked out on a guitar alongside Joe Perry of Aerosmith. The lineup this year, headlined by fashion designer Geoffrey Beene and his "innovative philanthropic business model," features rockers Bret Michaels and Deborah Harry, hip-hop's Timbaland, scientists such as Johns Hopkins cancer doctor Stephen B. Baylin and surgeon/talk show host Mehmet Oz. The cause behind the culture clash? Bringing Hollywood prestige to scientists in the hope of inspiring young adults to pursue careers in science and medicine. The Web site, www.rockstarsofscience.com , says that the campaign is a call for Americans to "refuse to accept 'no cure' as an answer." Kudos to the campaign for including women and minorities in this year's crop.

chemistry

From Hershey labs, history of cacao Archaeology, November/December issue

In the past decade, scientists have made significant process in tracing the history of chocolate. According to Archaeology magazine, chemists in the laboratories at Hershey Co. have pushed back the antiquity of cacao beverages by 2,000 years to at least 1,500 B.C., if not earlier. Hershey analytical chemist W. Jeffrey Hurst and others have been testing ancient Mesoamerican pottery for the existence of theobromine, a chemical compound found in cacao. If theobromine is present, the scientists conclude that the pot once contained a drink made from the seeds of the cacao tree.

- Rachel Saslow


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