WBEZ | solar http://www.wbez.org/tags/solar Latest from WBEZ Chicago Public Radio en Clever Apes #15: Trick of the light http://www.wbez.org/blog/clever-apes/2011-07-26/clever-apes-15-trick-light-89684 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/blog/photo/2011-July/2011-07-26/P1080171.JPG" alt="" /><p><p style="text-align: center;"><img alt="Lisa Utschig holds a vial of the protein active in photosynthesis. " class="caption" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/blog/insert-image/2011-July/2011-07-26/green stuff.JPG" style="width: 600px; height: 400px; margin-top: 5px; margin-right: 5px; margin-bottom: 5px; margin-left: 5px; " title="Lisa Utschig holds a vial of the protein active in photosynthesis. (WBEZ/Michael De Bonis)"></p><p>Photosynthesis is one of the oldest biological processes on earth. Microorganisms figured it out more than two billion years ago, and <a href="http://www.geo.arizona.edu/%7Ereiners/geos195K/Huxmanreading.pdf">completely transformed the planet</a>. Sure, there was life before photosynthesis, but unless you like <a href="http://www.biology-online.org/dictionary/Anaerobic_Respiration">breathing rust</a>, it probably wouldn’t have been your bag.</p><p>Photosynthesis put oxygen into the air, fueled the plants that feed us and formed the organic molecules that would become fossil fuels. Life on earth is positively drenched in sunshine, and yet the basic processes of how green things turn light into energy are still shrouded in mystery.</p><p><span style="font-size: 8px;">Listen to the episode here: </span></p><p><audio class="mejs mediaelement-formatter-identified-1332483579-1" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/sites/default/files/Clever Apes_15_Trick of the light.mp3">&nbsp;</audio></p><p>In this installment of <a href="http://www.wbez.org/cleverapes">Clever Apes</a>, we consider why photosynthesis, a concept <a href="http://www.biology4kids.com/files/plants_photosynthesis.html">familiar to most third-graders</a>, remains a puzzle to science. And we’ll find out how a research team at <a href="http://www.anl.gov/">Argonne National Laboratory </a>has begun to <a href="http://www.anl.gov/Media_Center/News/2011/news110518.html">crack the code</a>.</p><p>Plus, how a Chicago scientist homes in on tiny atomic clocks to figure out how long it’s been since the sun shone on a specimen. That can tell you when, say, a layer of sediment was covered over, and consequently how old stuff buried in that layer is. The <a href="http://www.uic.edu/labs/ldrl/">optical dating technology </a>has already led to major discoveries, including one that helped <a href="http://www.wbez.org/story/anthropology/chicago-scientist-dates-artifacts-may-rewrite-ancient-history-84190">overturn the conventional wisdom </a>about when North America was settled.</p><p>Listen up, subscribe to our <a href="http://feeds.feedburner.com/CleverApesPodcast" target="_blank" title="http://feeds.feedburner.com/CleverApesPodcast">podcast</a>, follow us on&nbsp;<a href="http://twitter.com/#%21/cleverapes" target="_blank" title="http://twitter.com/#!/cleverapes">Twitter</a>, and find us on&nbsp;<a href="http://www.facebook.com/pages/Clever-Apes-on-WBEZ/118246851551412" target="_blank" title="http://www.facebook.com/pages/Clever-Apes-on-WBEZ/118246851551412">Facebook</a>.</p><p style="text-align: center;"><img alt="David Tiede heads a team trying to unlock the secrets of photosynthesis. (WBEZ/M" class="caption" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/blog/insert-image/2011-July/2011-07-26/Tree chem.JPG" style="width: 600px; height: 400px; margin-top: 5px; margin-right: 5px; margin-bottom: 5px; margin-left: 5px; " title="David Tiede heads a team trying to unlock the secrets of photosynthesis. (WBEZ/Michael De Bonis)"></p></p> Wed, 27 Jul 2011 01:51:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/blog/clever-apes/2011-07-26/clever-apes-15-trick-light-89684