An Introduction to the Chemistry of Cooking By Argiris Malapanis

April 2, 2013

Many people are aware of the basic ingredients used in baking and cooking, but not everyone understands the general science behind why they are used. Each of the following substances has a specific function:

Flour – creates structure as its proteins, combined with water, bond to one another to form gluten.

Fats, oils, and emulsifiers – moisturize and tenderize by coating the flour’s proteins. This helps prevent them from bonding and forming gluten.

Leavening agents – cause baked goods to rise (making them light and airy) by incorporating gas bubbles into the dough. Baking powder and baking soda release carbon dioxide, which expands the existing bubbles.

Sugar – not only adds sweetness, but also increases moisture by drawing water to itself.

Eggs – act as binding agents. Similar to the leavening process, the proteins in egg whites coat air pockets and help keep them intact while baking. Egg yolks, which contain lipids and emulsifiers, tenderize and add moisture.

About the Author:

Argiris Malapanis holds a Master of Science in Physics from the University of Minnesota. His favorite hobbies include cooking and photography.


An Overview of the American Chemical Society By Argiris Malapanis

March 13, 2013

The American Chemical Society (ACS) is a non-profit, congressionally chartered, scientific society dedicated to enhancing lives through the use of chemistry. Since its inception in 1876, the ACS has expanded its membership to include professionals from around the world, representing all chemistry-related fields. The organization’s mission is “to advance the broader chemistry enterprise and its practitioners for the benefit of Earth and its people.”

A leading global provider of authoritative scientific information, the ACS currently publishes 39 top scientific journals. Committed to improving education, the Society implements various chemistry education programs and bestows more than $20 million annually in research grants. The ACS also functions as an advocacy group working to communicate the value of chemistry to the public and policymakers.

About the Author:

Argiris Malapanis, a member of the American Chemical Society, holds a Master of Science in Physics from the University of Minnesota.

Nanotechnology 101: Carbon Nanotubes

February 13, 2013

Nanotechnology 101: Carbon Nanotubes By Argiris Malapanis Nanotechnology is a word that evokes high technology, cutting-edge research, and even science fiction to many who hear it. Although most people have a general understanding of what nanotechnology is in principle, relatively few understand the specifics of the various practical products of nanotechnology research and development. One of the most common structures in modern nanotechnology is the carbon nanotube. Carbon nanotubes were first created following extensive research into fullerenes, which are simply molecules made out of carbon atoms arranged into a lattice- or cage-like configuration. Creative scientists came up with the notion of joining together molecule-thin sheets of fullerenes and then essentially “rolling” the sheets into tubes or cylinders. The resulting nanotube has almost no diameter (only a few nanometers), but can be made nearly a millimeter long, an unheard-of width-to-length ratio. Furthermore, it is remarkably strong and resilient. The unique properties of carbon nanotubes are still being explored, but the number of potential practical uses for them is growing daily. For example, nanotube circuitry could allow computer microprocessors to be many times more densely packed, and therefore many times more powerful, than the silicon chips of today. Nanotubes also have myriad exciting potential medical applications, owing to their strength and tiny size. Given time, carbon nanotubes are likely to become an integral tool in dozens of different industries. About the Author: Research assistant Argiris Malapanis works for the SUNY Research Foundation of Albany, New York, in carbon nanotube research. He is a Ph.D. candidate whose work in the field has been published several times.

Tips and Tricks for Taking Great Digital Photos

December 19, 2012

By Argiris Malapanis

In photography, equipment matters, but some truly great pictures can be coaxed from even the cheapest point-and-shoot digital camera with some patience and a bit of know-how. Try some of the following tips.

Tip #1: Learn your camera’s settings: light, flash, depth of field, and so on. Practically every digital camera comes with a number of useful features for improving color and focus in your pictures. For example, by changing the camera’s light settings from “automatic” to “cloudy,” you can force it to produce extra-warm tones in outdoor shots, even in the sunshine.

Tip #2: If you can’t attach a polarizing filter, make one. A polarizing filter helps make colors pop in a very dramatic way under bright light conditions, producing lushly saturated pictures. An ordinary pair of sunglasses held over your camera’s lens can produce a strikingly similar effect.

Tip #3: Invest in a tripod, if you can. It doesn’t have to be expensive. Just find something that will hold the camera steady, and your options will increase tenfold. If there is one truly necessary piece of camera equipment for any photography enthusiast, this is probably it.

Tip #4: Remember to take multiple shots of each subject so that you can choose the best final picture from among them.

About the Author:

Argiris Malapanis is a carbon nanotube research assistant at the SUNY Research Foundation in Albany, New York. He is an avid amateur photographer in his spare time.

Argiris Malapanis Delivers Talk on Carbon Nanotube Diodes at the 2012 American Physical Society March Meeting

November 16, 2012

Professor Ji Ung Lee of University at Albany SUNY’s College of Nanoscale Science and Engineering leads a team of researchers in fabricating and characterizing carbon nanostructured devices. Argiris Malapanis, a graduate student in Lee’s group, presented some of that work at the March 2012 meeting of the American Physical Society (APS). The APS March meeting is the largest meeting of physicists in the world, and the 2012 meeting in Boston was an opportunity for the Lee group to share their progress in the fast-moving field of carbon nanotubes.

Mr. Malapanis spoke on his work characterizing carbon nanotube diodes in a talk titled “Current-induced cleaning of adsorbates from suspended, single-walled carbon nanotube diodes.” His talk was one of over 500 contributed sessions in a meeting that attracts approximately 7,000 papers per year. The Lee group will also participate in the 2013 APS March meeting, which will take place at the Baltimore Convention Center in Baltimore, Maryland, during March 18-22, 2013.

The Origins and Activities of the American Physical Society By Argiris Malapanis

October 31, 2012

Founded over one hundred years ago, the American Physical Society (APS) began at a conference of three dozen physicists at Columbia University in New York City. This group of scientists together crafted the ongoing mission of APS to advocate for and promote the knowledge of physics. In the first two decades of the organization, the APS focused mostly on the coordination of scientific meetings, until it took over the management of the scholarly journal titled Physical Review. By the end of the 1950s, APS responsibilities included the management of three different scientific publications coinciding with the postwar boom in research.

Over the last few decades, the APS has endeavored to widen the scope of its activities as government funding increased, along with public interest. Currently, the organization operates several projects dedicated to public relations, education, and virtually every area of physics in concert with the breadth of interest among its 50,000 members.

Sign up for an APS membership at

Argiris Malapanis studied nanoscale science and engineering at the State University of New York in Albany, New York. Malapanis holds membership with the American Physical Society.

Argiris Malapanis on the Power of Community Impact

October 1, 2012

Nanoscience researcher and Ph.D. candidate Argiris Malapanis has made giving back to his community a top priority. That is why from 2008 to 2009 he worked with Columbia University’s Community Impact program to teach high school and adult GED students the fundamentals of math and science.

Since its founding in 1987, Community Impact has mobilized hundreds of faculty, staff, and volunteer students to strengthen the New York City communities of Harlem, Morningside Heights, and Washington Heights. Its dedicated employees and volunteers run 25 distinct programs, helping to meet the educational, emotional, nutritional, and other needs of more than 16,000 community members per year. Major program areas include adult education, health and environmental initiatives, and youth services.

Community Impact has helped to build bridges between Columbia University and those who live nearby, fostering mutual respect and a sense of shared purpose. For those like Argiris Malapanis, participation in the group is not just about improving teaching skills or conveying knowledge; it is also about helping others to empower themselves.

What Carbon Nanotubes Mean for the World of Electronics – By Argiris Malapanis

September 21, 2012

Carbon nanotubes are so small that they can only been seen through electron microscopes, yet when it comes to the world of electronics, they may be one of the biggest ideas in years. First invented in 1991, these tiny tubes are long cylinders of carbon with diameters of as little as 1 nanometer.

Although they have a variety of applications in nanotechnology and optics, one of the most promising uses of nanotubes is in making better and more energy-efficient electronics. Carbon nanotubes make excellent diodes, the semiconductor components so critical to the functionality of many electronic devices, including transistors and LEDs. Many diodes are currently made of silicon, but advances in carbon nanotube technology make them an exciting alternative.

Carbon nanotube diodes are not only smaller than traditional diodes; they can also perform more efficiently and better. As research continues, the potential of these tiny carbon components to revolutionize electronics will only grow.

About the Author:

Argiris Malapanis is a nanoscience researcher and Ph.D. candidate who has written extensively on the topic of carbon nanotube diodes.

Welcome to my Blog!

April 16, 2012