I know what you did last summer... and where you were and what you ate and what you drank.
When it comes to the chemistry of your body, you really are what you eat (and breathe and drink). Elements and molecules that enter your body through these pathways are locked in your breath, blood, bones, and tissues, and to the astute chemist can provide a record of the environment in which you live. My research focuses on understanding minor variations in the environmental chemistry of stable isotopes (atoms of the same element with slightly different weights) that occur naturally in different locations on Earth. These variations are reflected in the body chemistry of people, animals, and products living or produced in different locations. In this talk, I introduce natural variation in environmental isotopes and, in a practical sense, what we can do with it: from ensuring safety and protecting markets in the food industry to solving crimes.
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Lafayette Brewing Company, Lafayette, IN