For my students and all interested in science news.

 

mindblowingscience:

eHow: Solar Panel Physics

Physicist Walter Unglaub explains how solar panels work by converting photons to electricity. Via eHow education.

fromgrapevine:

Flying cars are almost here at last, and their first stop is Tel Aviv
SkyTran CEO Jerry Sanders says his new elevated transit system is going to transform transportation.

christinetheastrophysicist:

Radio Bursts Discovered From Beyond our Galaxy

Astronomers, including a team member from NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, Calif., have detected the first population of radio bursts known to originate from galaxies beyond our own Milky Way. The sources of the light bursts are unknown, but cataclysmic events, such as merging or exploding stars, are likely the triggers.
A radio burst is a quick surge of light from a point on the sky, made up of longer wavelengths in the radio portion of the light spectrum. A single radio burst was detected about six years ago, but researchers were unclear about whether it came from within or beyond our galaxy.
The new radio-burst detections — four in total — are from billions of light-years away, erasing any doubt that the phenomenon is real. The discovery, described in the July 4 issue of the journal Science, comes from an international team that used the Parkes Observatory in Australia. 
Read More.

christinetheastrophysicist:

Radio Bursts Discovered From Beyond our Galaxy

Astronomers, including a team member from NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, Calif., have detected the first population of radio bursts known to originate from galaxies beyond our own Milky Way. The sources of the light bursts are unknown, but cataclysmic events, such as merging or exploding stars, are likely the triggers.

A radio burst is a quick surge of light from a point on the sky, made up of longer wavelengths in the radio portion of the light spectrum. A single radio burst was detected about six years ago, but researchers were unclear about whether it came from within or beyond our galaxy.

The new radio-burst detections — four in total — are from billions of light-years away, erasing any doubt that the phenomenon is real. The discovery, described in the July 4 issue of the journal Science, comes from an international team that used the Parkes Observatory in Australia. 

Read More.

jtotheizzoe:

Forty-five years ago yesterday, two human beings first set foot on the moon. On July 20, 1969, the lunar module of Apollo 11 touched down in the Sea of Tranquility, and forever changed how we view our place in the universe. When I think about the fact that four and a half decades ago, at the very moment I am writing this, Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin were walking on the freakin’ moon, I am humbled and inspired.

I’ve combined some of my favorite photos from Apollo 11 with some of the actual words spoken by Neil Armstrong, Buzz Aldrin, and Michael Collins.

If you’d like to relive the historic mission moment by moment, word by word, and photo by photo, head over to SpaceLog

tedx:

From Debbie Sterling’s TEDxPSU talk, "Inspiring the next generation of female engineers." Sterling is the creator of GoldieBlox, a set of toys featuring Goldie, a female engineer who guides girls to develop problem-solving skills and build projects, introducing girls to the world of engineering through a tech-savvy female role model.

Watch Sterling’s entire talk below, and learn more about GoldieBlox at its website:

thatssoscience:

What Happened to the Computer Girls? 
Believe it or not, in the 1960’s, programming was seen as women’s work. It was even touted as being “just like planning a dinner”.
So what happened?
Eventually male programmers wanted to raise their status above “women’s work”. So they actively discouraged women from these positions, designed hiring tests rigged for men, and even created the stereotype that programmers are disinterested in people. No wonder in the years since, it’s still a male dominated field. Women earned only 18% of the computer science degrees awarded in 2008-2011. 
Alright ladies, we need to bust this myth. It’s been too long. Find organizations like Scientista or Sally Ride Science that help encourage women and girls in STEM interests. Find mentors and connect with other women interested in STEM. 

thatssoscience:

What Happened to the Computer Girls? 

Believe it or not, in the 1960’s, programming was seen as women’s work. It was even touted as being “just like planning a dinner”.

So what happened?

Eventually male programmers wanted to raise their status above “women’s work”. So they actively discouraged women from these positions, designed hiring tests rigged for men, and even created the stereotype that programmers are disinterested in people. No wonder in the years since, it’s still a male dominated field. Women earned only 18% of the computer science degrees awarded in 2008-2011. 

Alright ladies, we need to bust this myth. It’s been too long. Find organizations like Scientista or Sally Ride Science that help encourage women and girls in STEM interests. Find mentors and connect with other women interested in STEM. 

sagansense:

You can read all about it HERE, and it’s as awesome as it looks and sounds.

From the article:

Made With Code is a new Google initiative to motivate future female programmers. Only 18% of computer science degrees are earned by women, and Google is spending $50 million over the next three years to change those numbers.

More than 150 high school girls turned out for the event, including local chapters of the Girl Scouts of the USA, Black Girls Code and Girls Who Code. Kaling, a writer and actress, emceed the premiere, which brought in Google X Vice President Megan Smith, Clinton Foundation Vice Chair Chelsea Clinton, iLuminate creator Miral Kotb, Pixar Director of Photography Danielle Feinberg and UNICEF Innovation cofounder Erica Kochi.

Source: Mashable

thematildaeffect:

(Photo provided by Dr. Padman)
Spotlight on Dr. Rachael Padman
I thought I would change up the format of this blog a little bit to take the time to highlight a woman who is currently in the STEM field. Dr. Rachael Padman is an astrophysicist who teaches at Newnham College (a woman’s only college associated with Cambridge). Dr. Padman was born in 1954, in Melbourne, Australia. She received her PhD in astronomy from St. John’s College at Cambridge. Dr. Padman has done research on stellar formation and radio astronomy. She is also transgender, something she has spoken openly about. I was lucky enough to have the chance to email with Dr. Padman, who kindly answered my questions for me.
What, if anything, drew you to astrophysics? Was there anyone or anything that encouraged you to go into science as a child?
My father was a scientist and enjoyed showing us neat things. I read a huge amount about space (mostly the solar system) while still young- most books by Patrick Moore I think.
Of all the work you have done, was there anything you were most proud of?
Probably my role in building and commissioning the James Clerk Maxwell Telescope in Hawaii. I led the teams building two of the first four instruments and wrote much of the data acquisition software, and all the spectral line analysis software (note: for those who don’t know, spectral line analysis looks at electromagnetic radiation given off by matter). While commissioning the telescope, a colleague, a graduate student and I found evidence that outflows (note: gas given off during the formation of a star) from young stars had to be ten to a hundred times older than generally believed, and that cleared up quite a lot of puzzles.
What kind of puzzles did it clear up?
If you can measure the velocity of the outflowing material and the distance it’s traveled (which we can), then you can deduce how long it has been going for, which we call the lifetime. This can appear to be quite short. We also have information from observations in the optical region, where velocities tend to be much higher, and distances even lower, so there the lifetimes seem very short.
Another way to get lifetimes is to look at a bunch of objects whose age you know, and see how many of them have outflows. We did that, and found that the lifetime must be much longer than you get by the first method. Going back to the physics, you can say, oh yes, a) we can’t actually see the material once it gets too far from the start (so the distances of stars must be bigger), and b) in effect the outflow material is blowing a bubble in the interstellar medium, and the bubble expands much more slowly than the material in the outflow.
What advice could you give to a young woman scientist looking to go into physics or astrophysics?
Astrophysics is a very welcoming field for a woman, at least while she is young. But it’s also a field dominated by hype (I think because of it’s wide public interest, so it generates a lot of publicity) and it’s hard to retain your integrity while playing the game well enough to advance. Choose your collaborators wisely.
Do you have any woman scientists you look up to or have looked up to?
Hmmm, hard! Not that I ever knew them, but I think Rosalind Franklin and Dorothy Hodgkin were stars, and exhibited all the right personal traits. It’s harder to find anyone that has personally inspired me, although I am pleased to count a number of women as admired colleagues.

thematildaeffect:

(Photo provided by Dr. Padman)

Spotlight on Dr. Rachael Padman

I thought I would change up the format of this blog a little bit to take the time to highlight a woman who is currently in the STEM field. Dr. Rachael Padman is an astrophysicist who teaches at Newnham College (a woman’s only college associated with Cambridge). Dr. Padman was born in 1954, in Melbourne, Australia. She received her PhD in astronomy from St. John’s College at Cambridge. Dr. Padman has done research on stellar formation and radio astronomy. She is also transgender, something she has spoken openly about. I was lucky enough to have the chance to email with Dr. Padman, who kindly answered my questions for me.

What, if anything, drew you to astrophysics? Was there anyone or anything that encouraged you to go into science as a child?

My father was a scientist and enjoyed showing us neat things. I read a huge amount about space (mostly the solar system) while still young- most books by Patrick Moore I think.

Of all the work you have done, was there anything you were most proud of?

Probably my role in building and commissioning the James Clerk Maxwell Telescope in Hawaii. I led the teams building two of the first four instruments and wrote much of the data acquisition software, and all the spectral line analysis software (note: for those who don’t know, spectral line analysis looks at electromagnetic radiation given off by matter). While commissioning the telescope, a colleague, a graduate student and I found evidence that outflows (note: gas given off during the formation of a star) from young stars had to be ten to a hundred times older than generally believed, and that cleared up quite a lot of puzzles.

What kind of puzzles did it clear up?

If you can measure the velocity of the outflowing material and the distance it’s traveled (which we can), then you can deduce how long it has been going for, which we call the lifetime. This can appear to be quite short. We also have information from observations in the optical region, where velocities tend to be much higher, and distances even lower, so there the lifetimes seem very short.

Another way to get lifetimes is to look at a bunch of objects whose age you know, and see how many of them have outflows. We did that, and found that the lifetime must be much longer than you get by the first method. Going back to the physics, you can say, oh yes, a) we can’t actually see the material once it gets too far from the start (so the distances of stars must be bigger), and b) in effect the outflow material is blowing a bubble in the interstellar medium, and the bubble expands much more slowly than the material in the outflow.

What advice could you give to a young woman scientist looking to go into physics or astrophysics?

Astrophysics is a very welcoming field for a woman, at least while she is young. But it’s also a field dominated by hype (I think because of it’s wide public interest, so it generates a lot of publicity) and it’s hard to retain your integrity while playing the game well enough to advance. Choose your collaborators wisely.

Do you have any woman scientists you look up to or have looked up to?

Hmmm, hard! Not that I ever knew them, but I think Rosalind Franklin and Dorothy Hodgkin were stars, and exhibited all the right personal traits. It’s harder to find anyone that has personally inspired me, although I am pleased to count a number of women as admired colleagues.

fohkat:

“Seeing a nuclear reactor start up is cooler than my sci-fi dreams”
Why does it glow blue? It’s the Cherenkov radiation:

Cherenkov radiation is electromagnetic radiation emitted when a charged particle (such as an electron) passes through a dielectric medium at a speed greater than the phase velocity of light in that medium.

fohkat:

Seeing a nuclear reactor start up is cooler than my sci-fi dreams

Why does it glow blue? It’s the Cherenkov radiation:


Cherenkov radiation is electromagnetic radiation emitted when a charged particle (such as an electron) passes through a dielectric medium at a speed greater than the phase velocity of light in that medium.