Dr. Peter Roopnarine presents early results of a study of the impact of the Gulf oil spill on marine life there, particularly the mollusks. The techniques used can also be applied to a variety of questions ranging from evolutionary biology to drought in the southwest.
Greg Farrington is executive director and William R. and Gretchen B. Kimball Chair of the California Academy of Sciences. Since beginning his post in 2007, Farrington has focused efforts on addressing what CAS considers to be two of the most important scientific questions of our time: How did life happen? And how can we sustain it? CAS is the only institution in the world to combine a museum, aquarium, and planetarium, as well as vigorous programs of research and education. Farrington came to CAS after eight years as president of Lehigh University. Prior to that, he spent 19 years at the University of Pennsylvania. A widely published chemist, Farrington holds more than two dozen patents and has written more than 100 articles in the fields of solid-state chemistry, electrochemistry, and education.
Peter Roopnarine is curator of the Department of Invertebrate Zoology & Geology at the California Academy of Sciences.
Cal Academy's Peter Roopnarine compares how the original spill estimates from the Deepwater Horizon and the actual totals from the oil spill stack up against other large spills. According to Roopnarine, early conservative estimates were off by a factor of nearly one hundred, making Deepwater Horizon the largest accidental oil spill in history.
Cal Academy's Peter Roopnarine reveals that while BP and other companies are providing funds to study the impacts of the Deepwater Horizon oil spill, they are also imposing their own conditions and research directives.
Any greasy substance liquid at room temperature and insoluble in water. It may be a fixed (nonvolatile) oil, an essential oil, or a mineral oil (seepetroleum). Fixed oils and fats (derived from animals and plants) have the same chemical compositionboth are esters of glycerol and fatty acids. These oils have a variety of industrial and food uses. Linseed, tung, and other drying oils are highly unsaturated (seesaturation); these and large quantities of soybean, sunflower, and safflower oils (also constituents of foods) are used in paints and varnishes. When exposed to air they absorb oxygen and polymerize (seepolymerization), forming a tough coating. Some specialty oils and oil derivatives are also used in leather dressing and textile manufacture.
Complex mixture of hydrocarbons derived from the geologic transformation and decomposition of plants and animals that lived hundreds of millions of years ago. As a technical term, petroleum encompasses the liquid (crude oil), gaseous (natural gas), and viscous or solid (bitumen, asphalt) forms of hydrocarbons that occur in the Earth, but the meaning is often restricted to the liquid oil form. Crude oil and natural gas are the most important primary fossil fuels. Asphalt has been used since ancient times to caulk ships and pave roads. In the mid 1800s petroleum began to replace whale oil in lamps, and the first well specifically to extract it was drilled in 1859. The development of the automobile gave petroleum a new role as the source of gasoline. Petroleum and its products have since been used as fuels for heating, for land, air, and sea transport, and for electric power generation and as petrochemical sources and lubricants. Crude oil and natural gas, produced mostly in Saudi Arabia, the U.S., and Russia, now account for about 60% of world energy consumption; the U.S. is by far the largest consumer. At present rates of consumption, the known supply will be exhausted by the mid 21st century. Petroleum is recovered from drilled wells, transported by pipeline or tanker ship to refineries, and there converted to fuels and petrochemicals.