public posts

The select public posts from syn·op·sis, written and reviewed by iSci students at McMaster University. Each post is interdisciplinary in nature, and a wide variety of subject matter is covered. So sit back, relax, and start learning.

Learning How to Read Minds

Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI), despite being one of the most pivotal innovations of contemporary medicine, is markedly limited due to its safety, cost, and inability to discern micro-insults within the brain (Glover, 2011). In 1992, scientists introduced functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging (fMRI), a non-invasive technique intended to measure brain activity with unparalleled specificity (Soares, et Read the full article…


Is Carbon Capture Accelerating Global Warming?

It has been well established that climate change is driven by anthropogenic greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) warns us in their 2021 report that even with massive reductions in current GHG emission levels, we will soon experience unprecedented rises in global temperature and natural disaster frequency (IPCC, 2021). The Read the full article…


A Blast of Clean Energy

Serviceable fusion power is a near-ideal source of effectively limitless clean energy—its high energy density, safety, and sustainability distinguish fusion from any other energy source today. Despite this, the funds required for fusion research and its highly specialized conditions of operation hinder its feasibility in the market (Cowley, 2016). However, as global energy use continues Read the full article…


Magical Muons and Magma Movement

Volcanoes can threaten public safety, water supplies, land, and contribute to temporary climate changes (U.S. Geological Survey, 2018). Canada primarily has volcanic areas in British Columbia and Yukon, but is also exposed to volcanoes along the United States border that may erupt again in the future (Government of Canada, 2020). Volcanoes, therefore, pose a threat Read the full article…


The Physics of Photosynthesis

Plants are some of the most important organisms on the planet; they form the foundation of numerous ecosystems and environments. Although they appear as relatively simple organisms, there are many complex processes occurring within all plants. Many of these processes involve the application of physical laws and principles. Plants rely on light absorption as well Read the full article…



Cooking Therapy

In a perspective piece written for the Health and Wellness section of the Washington Post, one woman described her struggle with Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD) and the positive, therapeutic effect that cooking provided her (Friedlander, 2020). She explained how she used cooking as a coping strategy to ease her anxiety during extremely stressful times in her life, such as her parent’s divorce, her father-in-law’s hospitalization Read the full article…


Whale Hello There

In the 2003 film Finding Nemo, the character of Dory is portrayed as a high-energy, extroverted, amnesia-ridden Blue Tang fish who cannot be relied on for anything more than companionship. However, at one point in the film, she encounters a large blue whale of whom she attempts to communicate with by stringing together an arrangement of random words and sounds (Video #1). While the scene is meant to be exaggerated, actual (unanimated) aquatic Read the full article…


Too Hot to Handle: Ecological Responses to Wildfire Disturbance

The steady increase in area burned by wildland fires in Canada is projected to double as climate change increases, making it really too hot to handle (Government of Canada, 2020). While this can be scary to us as humans, the local wildlife is left helpless as the flames consume their homes.  This disturbance prompts community Read the full article…


Issues with Modern Agriculture

Agriculture is one of the most influential factors defining the prolific success of the human race. As Earth faces human overpopulation for the first time in history, agricultural sustainability is of the utmost importance as we attempt to feed a global population increase from 7.8 billion in 2020 to 9.9 billion by 2050 (Population Reference Read the full article…


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