Sex in the Tree of Life

The demarcations of human sexuality have become a major issue in the culture wars, but for plants, sexual diversity is the norm. There are plants with “perfect” flowers that are completely hermaphroditic, with fully functional pollen and eggs produced in the same flower. There are monoecious plants, which produce both male and female flowers. There … Continued

Students expand coverage of country-specific environmental issues

If you’re interested to read a broad overview of an environmental topic, there’s a very good chance you’ll find an article about it on Wikipedia. If you want in-depth information about the topic as it pertains to a specific country, however, you’ll probably only be able to find information about a small number of developed … Continued

Roundup: Disulfide Bonds for Dessert

If I asked you what angel food cake is like, you’d probably talk about it more in terms of texture than taste: light, delicate, airy. Maybe you’ve made one before, and know that texture is created by whipping eggs and sugar together. However, odds are you don’t think about it in terms of hydrogen bonding, … Continued

Students, Sources, and Sentinels at AAAS

In February, Boston played host to thousands of scientists, policy makers and journalists who attended the annual meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS). The conference took place against a background of mounting concern in the scientific community about the future of science during the new presidential administration. While the conference … Continued

The Roundup: Tiny machines

Modern technology requires tiny, precisely manufactured parts. If you want to know how those parts are made, you can thank students in Dr. Ashis Banerjee’s Introduction to Manufacturing Processes class (first section; second section) at the University of Washington for the work they did across articles related to manufacturing processes. Take a look at the … Continued

The Roundup: Evolution and Wikipedia

Ever wonder why some plants will flower, set seed, and die in a single year while others keep going, sometimes for centuries? A student in Kasey Fowler-Finn’s Advanced Evolution class created a new article which looks at this big question: annual vs. perennial plant evolution. We generally think of fermentation as something that happens when … Continued

Wikipedia: Putting plants under the microscope

If you want to understand how a plant works, it helps to be able to see cells and tissues. That’s easy in a biology lab with microscopes and prepared slides. Once you leave that world, though, it becomes more difficult to see the structures beneath things. Wikipedia articles tend to be well-illustrated, with pictures of … Continued

New online orientation helps instructors find articles for assignments

Picking the right Wikipedia article for student editors is an exciting, but challenging, task. Topics for term papers can be re-used every year, because only the instructor reads them. The social and instructional benefit of a Wikipedia project come from the thousands of people can read— and benefit from—what students have written. This means finding … Continued