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Stories by Christina Agapakis

Goodbye

I’m leaving the Scientific American network, which is being “reshaped.” I’ll be returning to my original solo blog, which I left nearly five years ago, continuing to edit Method Quarterly, and writing for other outlets.

December 15, 2014 — Christina Agapakis
Method Quarterly

Method Quarterly

Over the past couple months, I’ve been working with Azeen Ghorayshi on starting a new publication for stories about science in the making.

November 12, 2014 — Christina Agapakis
Weird Biology Fact of the Day: Mirror-image Amino Acids

Weird Biology Fact of the Day: Mirror-image Amino Acids

In her fascinating and wide-ranging talk on multi-dimensional spaces and human consciousness, Tauba Auerbach briefly mentioned the fact that after an organism dies its molecules will gradually change "handedness" — from an entropy defying left-handed favoritism back to 50-50 over many thousands of years.

September 29, 2014 — Christina Agapakis

Fist Bumps Are For Germophobes

Fist bumps are back in the news this week after the publication of a study finding that fist bumps transfer fewer bacteria than the more customary handshake.

July 30, 2014 — Christina Agapakis
Four Great Scents from Outer Space

Four Great Scents from Outer Space

You don’t need your nose to know what something smells like. Perfumers and astronomers can detect and recreate scents based on the chemical signatures of the molecules in the air, even if that air is very very far away.

July 14, 2014 — Christina Agapakis

Through the Anthropocene Looking Glass

There’s no doubt that humans have drastically changed the Earth. The global scale impacts of humans on the environment has led many scientists, scholars, and environmentalists to use the term Anthropocene to describe our present geological period.

July 7, 2014 — Christina Agapakis

Biological Speculation

A great short talk by Drew Endy about the early history of synthetic biology and the motivations, hopes, and uncertainties of bioengineering.

June 17, 2014 — Christina Agapakis

If you wish to make a gene from scratch

According to the New York Times, synthetic biology is creating DNA out of thin air. A recent article about synthetic biology and consumer goods describes DNA synthesis as a process where “DNA is created on computers and inserted into organisms.” Computers are pretty cool and really useful in synthetic biology labs, but it takes a [...]

June 14, 2014 — Christina Agapakis

Which bacteria are in my poop? It depends where you look...

This is a guest post from my friend and former colleague Tami Lieberman. She’s a postdoc in the Kishony Lab in the Department of Systems Biology at the Harvard Medical School, and you follow her on twitter @conTAMInatedsci.

May 12, 2014 — Christina Agapakis

Ring Ritual Reminds Engineers of Their Responsibility

One of my good friends is an engineer trained in Canada. I had noticed over the years that she always wears a plain silver ring on her pinky, but I never asked if it had any special meaning to her.

May 7, 2014 — Christina Agapakis
Synthetic Aesthetics: The Book!

Synthetic Aesthetics: The Book!

Synthetic Aesthetics is a project that brings together artists, designers, engineers, biologists, and social scientists to investigate the design of living things.

March 4, 2014 — Christina Agapakis
Starters: Fermenting With Finger Yeast

Starters: Fermenting With Finger Yeast

My friend Wayne and his daughters Nico and Charlie recently made sourdough bread with homemade starters containing wild yeasts and bacteria.

February 7, 2014 — Christina Agapakis
Biological Decision Making: The Strange Connection Between Cows and Bacteria

Biological Decision Making: The Strange Connection Between Cows and Bacteria

Are cows more likely to lie down the longer they stand? This apparently simple question turns out to have an unexpected answer. The study, by a team of Scottish sustainable livestock systems researchers, won the 2013 IgNobel Prize for probability and has left many people puzzled about the mysteries of cow behavior.

January 14, 2014 — Christina Agapakis

Human Cheese and the Microbial Superhighway

Cheese is a fascinating model for studying the intersection of human and microbial cultures. My project with Sissel Tolaas explores these connections through the process of making cheese using microbes sampled from the human body.

October 28, 2013 — Christina Agapakis
DNA stories

DNA stories

This post was originally written for the Superflux blog. Superflux is a collaborative design practice working at the intersection of emerging technologies and everyday life to design for a world in flux.

September 30, 2013 — Christina Agapakis

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