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Meet A Chemist: Emily Hardy

Emily Hardy is a graduate student at Auburn University. She is synthetic chemist in a nuclear chemistry lab where she designs new sensors for uranium. Uranium is a metal used in nuclear power plants and for weapons, and if it gets into the environment, we need to be able to find it. Emily has lived in 7 states and 2 countries because her dad was in the Navy. She went to high school and college in Virginia and then moved to Auburn, Alabama to complete her PhD in chemistry. Even though she moved around all the time, she enjoyed going to school. She always loved puzzles and when she took her...

Burning Salts, To Inspiring Young Girls

I grew up in a military family and moved around a lot. I went to 8 schools in two countries before I was 16 and met a lot of really good friends. I saw different cultures and met people from different backgrounds than me. One thing that stayed constant was my family, and I think that is why I am so close to my siblings, Gillian (GG) and Will. It also is a part of why I love to travel to new places. Even though I moved around all the time, I always enjoyed going to school. I didn’t always love science though. When I was little I always just thought it was a lot of facts, and it wasn’t until I...

Chemists Are Everywhere!

If you have ever taken any medicine you should thank a chemist! A long time ago pharmacists or doctors were often chemists. Now chemists still help design and make new medicines. Chemists can do everything. There are chemists that make new plastics, chemists that make fertilizers to help plants grow better, chemists that make new batteries, chemists that study how your body works to help find ways to cure disease, and even chemists that help brew beer. The Work Of Chemists Generally, chemists work with elements and atoms that you can find on the periodic table. There are five main groups of...

My Work In Nuclear Chemistry

I am a Nuclear Chemist. Nuclear Chemistry sounds scary to a lot of people, but it really shouldn’t be. It is well known that certain chemicals, like uranium, can be dangerous if not properly used. However, nuclear chemists don’t use any uranium that could be used in bombs, and have a lot of safety rules to make sure no one gets exposed to too much radiation. Radiation is everywhere, the sun gives off radiation and we get a small amount every day. If you get an X-ray, you are getting more radiation than I get working with small amounts of uranium. Getting an X-ray is perfectly safe, but so is...

Emily Hardy

I am a synthetic chemist in a nuclear chemistry lab where I design new sensors for uranium. Uranium is a metal used in nuclear power plants and for weapons, and if it gets into the environment, we need to be able to find it.

I have lived in 7 states and 2 countries because my dad was in the Navy. I went to high school and college in Virginia and then moved to Auburn, Alabama to complete my PhD in chemistry. 

Our February Expert: Erika Rojas

Do you know where the food you ate for breakfast came from? Whatever you ate was probably a plant crop in an agriculture field at some point. Or if you ate eggs, the food that chickens ate were plants raised on a farm! Not a lot of people know this, but plants can also get sick. And that’s where I come in; my job is to study plant diseases and figure out how farmers can keep their crops healthy until you eat them. My name is Erika Saalau Rojas and I am a plant pathologist at the University of Massachusetts. I earned my Ph.D. from Iowa State University (ISU) in plant pathology and worked on...

How I Became A Plant Pathologist

I was born and raised in Costa Rica, a tropical country in Central America. Costa Rica is very small, but it has an enormous variety of landscapes -- from rainforests to mangroves, to large or small farms with many different crops, like bananas and coffee. It is hard to grow up in a place like this and not appreciate its biodiversity. As a kid, I spent a lot of time outdoors and I remember always being fascinated by plants and all sorts of insects. Good Advice From My Mom Before college, I didn’t have a clear idea of what I wanted to study. I disliked the thought of an office job and I wanted...

What Is Plant Pathology?

First, let’s start by defining plant pathology, or phytopathology. I like the term phytopathology because it be traced back to Ancient Greek roots, where phyton= plant, pathos= suffering, and logia= study. If you put these words together you can guess that phytopathology is the study of plant ‘sufferings’, or diseases. So basically a phytopatholgist is a fancy word for a plant doctor! Plant diseases influence what you and I eat every day. This may sounds like an exaggeration, but it’s true! Did you know that bananas, oranges, coffee, and cocoa are all currently being threatened by very scary...

Working With Cranberries!

Did you know that cranberries are some of the very few cultivated fruits that are native to North America? Also, they are related to blueberries, which is another popular, native fruit. Many people think that cranberries grow in water, but they don’t. Water is used to help harvest the fruit in the fall, but the rest of the year cranberry plants grow in sandy marshes with very acidic soils called bogs. I live in Massachusetts and my work is to study plant diseases that affect cranberries. Massachusetts is where cranberries were first cultivated and it’s still one of the top three cranberry-...

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