Getting Dirty and Smelly, In the Name of Science | @adi_gajigan

Getting Dirty and Smelly, In the Name of Science | @adi_gajigan
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If you saw flames licking from a Woods Hole swamp last night, no cause for alarm! It was just a signal that the MBL’s Microbial Diversity course is back in session. Since 1975, students in the course have gotten to know each other at this muddy ritual, where they wade in and prove to themselves that microbes degrading the swamp muck release methane, a flammable gas. This course “mixer” is named after Alessandro Volta, the Italian physicist who invented the battery in 1800. Volta also published the first paper on methane, which he collected by stirring the bottom sediment of a lake and bottling the gas that bubbled up. Swamp methanogens are just one of the myriad microbes that the students will get to know over the intensive six-week course. Onward!

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