The Blogging from A to Z challenge is an event each April in which bloggers worldwide prepare 26 posts – one for each letter of the English alphabet – and present them over the course of the month.

Dr. Penny has participated in the Blogging from A to Z challenge many years in the past on her personal blog over at Scroll to the end to see her A to Z themes.

The A to Z posts here will all relate to terms, methods, and scientific results from the analysis of light stable isotopes from natural materials.

Since “Isotope” isn’t a term that will turn up right away, we will quickly define it here:

Atoms (the smallest unit of matter) are composed of protons and neutrons in the nucleus with electrons orbiting. Different elements (e.g. carbon, iron, uranium, oxygen) are distinguished from each other by the number of protons in the nucleus. The number of electrons and neutrons in an atom of a specific element are variable. Isotopes are atoms of elements with varying numbers of neutrons in the nuclei. The addition or loss of neutrons changes the weight of the atom, but does not otherwise greatly affect the way the atom interacts with other atoms. Sometimes, additional neutrons can make an atom radioactive, but many times additional neutrons do not result in radioactivity. Non-radioactive atoms are called stable isotopes.

SIREAL specializes in the measurement of the amount of different stable isotopes of specific elements (carbon, nitrogen, oxygen, and hydrogen) from rocks, fossils, animal and plant tissues, and water. The different amounts can provide information about environmental factors (temperature, rainfall, elevation, plant cover) and behavior of animals (dietary preferences).

Throughout the blogging from A to Z challenge, readers of the SIREAL online blog will learn about how the study of stable isotopes applies to real world problems.

Penny’s past A to Z challenges:

2017 – Uintan Mammals
2016 – Women in STEM
2015 – Brewing Beer
2014 – Antique Cameras
2013 – Paleocene Mammals

Check out EPOCH Isotopes’s A to Z posts here (links forthcoming):

A is for Amount Effect
B is for Bioapatite
C is for Carbon
D is for Delta
E is for Elemental Analyzer
F is for Fractionation
G is for Gas Chromatography
H is for Hydrogen
I is for Isotope
J is for Jurassic
K is for Cretaceous
L is for LIMS
M is for Magnet
N is for Nitrogen
O is for Oxygen
P is for Phosphate
Q is for Quaternary
R is for Reference Materials
S is for Sulfur
T is for Temperature
U is for Uranium
V is for Vienna
W is for Wax
X is for Xenarthra
Y is for Ypresian
Z is for Zebra Mussels

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