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Frank Gilmore

Articles by Frank Gilmore

Formed Underground or in a Lab: Diamonds Still Sparkle

Thinking about a diamond for your valentine? How about one made by scientists? 

General Electric announced in 1955 that its scientists had created a diamond. Although man-made, the synthetic diamond was pure carbon, just like a natural diamond. The company didn't enter the jewelry business but “used the stones to make tools for cutting and polishing metals, glass and even teeth,” according to GE Reports, a company newsletter.

Early Match Making Was A Dangerous Business

The match business was booming at the turn of the 20th century when a match factory opened in Chesterfield County. The American Match Manufacturing Company started its Coalboro plant in 1903 near what today is Pocahontas State Park, according to Ken Shiflett, whose hobby is researching Chesterfield County history. The plant, which operated for 7 years, made its own matchsticks from trees grown on the property and received raw materials and shipped matches using a rail spur next to the plant.

Pain Relief Fit For The Queen: Anesthesia Comes Of Age

Labor pain is a great equalizer. Queen Victoria suffered during childbirth, just like her subjects. Prince Albert had heard about chloroform easing the pain of childbirth and he asked about using it during the birth of their seventh child, Arthur, in 1850. The Queen’s three doctors advised against it, as did many doctors at that time. They considered using anesthetic during labor dangerous and an act against nature and God.

Cause of Childhood Fears Can Be Elusive

Fear is a common reaction and may have a simple explanation. But some fears -- especially in children -- are complex, and the reasons are not always obvious. Children often fear dogs, the dark, school and costumed characters such as clowns or Santa Claus or even Mr. Peanut. Halloween can be a particularly frightening time for some children. “Children think that if it can happen, it will,” according to Joseph Crowley, Ph. D., a clinical child psychologist in Richmond. “They think differently than adults so they react differently.”

The ABCs of Winemaking

Winemaking requires a delicate balance of agriculture, biology and chemistry. Physics and engineering also have roles in producing good bottles of wine.

Wine is the fermented juice of grapes or other fruits. Grapes contain two types of sugar, glucose and fructose, and other chemicals like tartaric acid, malic acid and amino acids. This gives grapes the right balance of chemicals to help preserve the wine and make it taste good.

Technology Helps Blind Individuals Prepare to Work

Technology allows people who are blind to do just about anything they want, according to Peggy Fields, Ph.D., Program Director for Rehabilitation Technology Services with the Virginia Department for the Blind and Vision Impaired (DBVI).

“I would have trouble imagining many jobs that a blind person, given the right technology and training, couldn’t do,” she said. What about driving a truck, she was asked? “Well, they’'re already testing self-driving cars.”