Washington celebrates the birthday of its famous cherry trees later this month. The city got the first of those trees on March 27, 1912. Two weeks earlier, on March 12, a resident of Savannah, Georgia, founded the Girl Scouts. So, Girl Scouting and Washington’s cherry trees have both been going strong for 106 years. (Many…Read More
(This article was originally posted March 26, 2012, on National Geographic’s News Blog) The cherry trees are blooming in Washington. Tuesday, March 27, 2012, marks 100 years since First Lady Helen Taft and the Japanese ambassador’s wife, Viscountess Iwa Chinda, planted the first two trees. No photographs of the event exist, and newspaper accounts were…Read More
Serendipity is like the crack cocaine of research. It gives you a lasting high.
I remember well the first time I came to understand the term. It was 25 years ago. I was in graduate school, studying journalism at the University of Missouri. For a science writing class I had arranged to interview several researchers on campus who were studying different aspects of cystic fibrosis. It’s an insidious disease in which a faulty gene and its protein product cause the body to produce a tick, sticky mucus that clogs the lungs and impedes proper digestion. A pediatrician was working to improve clinical observations; a pair of biochemists hoped to develop a reliable diagnostic test for the disease; another researcher was studying glandular secretions in a rat model.Read More