Author Archive | Chantal Hayes

Happy National Women’s History Month!

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March is National Women’s History Month! This month celebrates all the terrific women throughout history who have helped to make history. From Susan B. Anthony who fought for women’s right to vote to Marie Curie who became the first woman to win a Nobel Prize, women have been leaving their mark on history and this month is here to celebrate the great women of the past and the future.

The Mother of Modern Day Physics

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Marie Sklodowska Curie, The Mother of Modern day Physics, is best known for her work with radioactivity, it’s use in the medical field and becoming the first female to win a Nobel Prize in 1903. Curie began her life November 7th 1867 in Warsaw, Poland. From an early age Curie always had a passion for the wonders of math and science, which led to her receiving degrees in both mathematics and physics from Sorbonne University in Paris, France. After she finished her studies she began working in a lab with Pierre Curie who became not only her husband, but also her lab partner. Together the intellectual duo became the first people to win two Nobel Prizes in two different fields, one for their work with radioactivity and the other for being the discoverers of two radioactive elements polonium and radium. It is because of Marie Sklodowska Curie’s work the science of radioactivity, which opened up and unlocked key advancements for medical research and treatment.

Physics Funnies

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Q: Why can’t you trust atoms?                      

                        A: They make everything up               

Q: What did one quantum physicist say when he wanted to fight another quantum physicist?

            A: Let me atom

Q: Where does bad light end up?

            A: In a prism

Two atoms were walking across a road when one of them said, “I think I lost an election!” “Really!?” the other replied, “Are you sure?” ”Yes, I’m absolutely positive.”

Physics Experiment to do at Home

chemistry-575651_1280Have you ever wanted to make a giant dry ice bubble? Make your own quick sand? Or learn the science behind your bath salts? If so follow this link to tryout some fun at home.

 

What are you doing in March?

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GIRLS Day Out: Geier Collections and Research Center

Dig deep into Cincinnati’s ancient past with Brenda Hunda, Ph.D., Curator of Invertebrate Paleontology. Discover the secrets lurking deep beneath your feet, and uncover fossilized evidence of the spineless Cincinnatians of the Ordovician. Join us at the Geier Collections and Research Center for an afternoon of hands-on exploration.

Saturday, March 26th from 11 a.m. – 12:30 p.m. at the Geier Collections and Research Center, 760 W 5th St, Cincinnati, OH 45203. Ages 8-14. Registration required. Transportation not provided.

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Explorer’s University: Pi Day

Pi is a number, but it’s so much more than that. Learn all about this fascinating and important mathematical wonder.

Saturday, March 19 from 2 to 3:30 p.m. in the Museum of Natural History & Science. Ages 8-14. $7 Member; $10 non-Member. Register now!

 

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We ♥ Hearts!

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The heart is one of the most important organs in the human body. Your heart, which is slightly larger than a fist, helps keep your body functioning by pumping blood through blood vessels throughout your body. Since your heart is very important it safely resides in your chest and is protected by your rib cage. Inside your heart are four valves that help to ensure blood only goes one way. When the heart contracts it causes the blood to pump out into the body which creates a heartbeat. The average heart beats about 100,000 times a day and pumps roughly 2160 gallons of blood a day.

Crazy Little Thing Called Love

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When Cupid brings out his arrows on Valentine’s Day it isn’t just our hearts that begin to change when love is in the air. Falling in love effects both your brain and your heart which can in turn effect other parts of your body as well. It turns out that love truly is a chemical reaction that takes place in our bodies. The four compounds; dopamine, norepinephrine, oxytocin, and serotonin (always present in our brain) increases and interact causing what we refer to as ‘love’.  Being in ‘love’ also causes your adrenaline and norepinephrine levels to increase which causes the butterfly feeling we get in our stomachs. All of these chemicals are what causes our cheeks to flush, our palms to sweat, and our hearts to race. So this February, don’t worry about love being in the air… it’s actually in your head!

Become a Cardiologist!

stethoscope-306476_1280Learn how to build your very own stethoscope and be able to check someone’s heart beat just like a real Cardiologist!

Materials

  1. Empty 2-liter bottle
  2. Cardboard paper towel tube
  3. Scissors
  4. Masking tape
  5. A friend or family member

 

Directions

  1. Cut the top off of the empty 2-liter bottle.
  2. Remove cap from bottle top and attach the cardboard paper towel tube to the mouth of the bottle with tape.
  3. Find a friend or family member and go to a quiet location to conduct your experiment.
  4. Ask your partner to locate his/her heartbeat on the upper left side of his chest using his right hand. Your partner should be able to feel it beating up and down.
  5. Now put the open end of the bottle on your partner’s heart.
  6. Place the cardboard tube over your ear to listen to your partner’s heartbeat.
  7. Switch places so your partner can hear your heartbeat.

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Featured Girl in Real Life Science:

37MQ7_w120h160_v5407Dr. Grace Smith, M.D., FACC Associate Professor of Pediatrics at Akron Children’s Hospital

This month’s featured girl in real life science is, Dr. Grace Smith, a pediatric Cardiologist at Akron Children’s Hospital. Dr. Smith studied at the University of Michigan for both undergraduate and medical school. She has been working with children and babies with heart diseases for 13 years. Her more resent work has looked into understanding the correlation between learning difficulties and children with heart diseases. She hopes, in the long run, to be able to make the life of a child with heart disease better. Dr. Smith believes if you want to become a doctor like her it demands a lot of time and energy. If you remember these six things you’ll have the tools to achieving your dreams:

  1. Believe in yourself. Be brave.
  2. Be in it for the long run. Achieving great things doesn’t come from going the easy path.
  3. Speak up when you don’t understand something. Don’t think you are “dumber” than the person next to you.
  4. Work really, really hard. This will get you far in life.
  5. Learn to talk to people. Look them in the eye. You will make a big impression with good social skills. 
  6. Show kindness even when others don’t deserve it.

To read Dr. Smith’s full interview follow this link!

What are you doing in February?

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Explorer’s University: MICA Mosaics!

 Learn about muscovite mica, a centerpiece of the Hopewell Interaction Sphere and a favored medium for prehistoric Native American artwork in the Ohio River Valley during the Middle Woodland Period. You can even try your hand at creating your own! Sunday, February 7 from 2 to 3:30 p.m. in the Museum of Natural History & Science. Ages 8-14. $7 Member; $10 non-Member. Register here!

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National Parks Adventure 

Narrated by Academy Award® winner Robert Redford, National Parks Adventure takes you on the ultimate off-trail adventure into the nation’s awe-inspiring great outdoors and untamed wilderness. Through our five-story, domed OMNIMAX® screen, soar over red rock canyons, up craggy mountain peaks and into other-worldly realms found within America’s most legendary outdoor playgrounds. Opens February 12th, learn more and purchase tickets here!

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GIRLS University: Introduction to Geographic Information Systems 

Discover the ways that Geospatial Technologies are used by different types of scientists to discover the effects of climate change, explore your favorite ecosystems, and to map archaeological sites all over the world. Learn to use state of the art technologies to create your own maps!  Saturday, February 27th from 11 to 12:30 p.m. in the Museum of Natural History and Science. Ages 8-14.  Registration opens February 1st.

 

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Hope You Have an ‘Ice’ Time!

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Physics is visible in all sorts of daily activities, and this is especially true when it comes to ice skating. This fun winter activity is a perfect example of being able to see friction, momentum and Newton’s third law all in action to explain why is it that we are able to glide so smoothly over the ice as opposed to slipping. Friction between the blade and the ice is produced when the blade melts small ridges into the ice allowing the blade to easily push off the edge of the ice. The speed created when a figure skater pulls their arms in and spins is a result of the increased angular momentum they pick up with their decreased surface area and drag which in turn helps to increase the skater’s rotation speed as they spin. Lastly, ice skating also displays Newton’s Third Law which states with every action there is an equal and opposite reaction. This is displayed each time a skater pushes off of the ice. With that one push off of the ice, the ice pushes right back and propels the skater forward. All of this combined is sure to equal an “ice” time on the rink.

Grow Your Own Snow!

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Forget having to put up with the chill of the winter air and bring the fun into the comfort of your own home by growing your own snow!

Materials:

  • Bowl
  • Sodium polyacrylate (white fluffy stuff from clean disposable diapers)
  • Water

Procedure:

  1. Collect sodium polyacrylate from inside a clean disposable diaper.
  2. Place in bowl.
  3. Add water to desired snow consistency. For slushier snow add more water. For “drier” snow add less water and a little salt.

If decorating with this snow, you may want to have the drier variety and make sure to not place it on items that can be damaged by water. Want to do a yellow snow prank? Just add yellow coloring to the mix. A few drops will go a long way!

How Does Hot Chocolate Work? 

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When making a cup of hot chocolate, have you ever noticed how difficult it is for the powder to dissolve in cooler milk as opposed to how easily the powder dissolves when the milk is warmer? This all has to do with solubility, the ability for a substance to dissolve. This is because the rate of solubility is much higher the hotter the temperature of the solvent (the milk) poured on the solute (the cocoa powder) is and the solution’s inability to mix properly when the solvent is cold. This is why the hot chocolate powder is able to dissolve easily and form hot chocolate when the temperature of the milk is higher. So, be sure to stick with warm milk and you’ll mix together a perfect hot chocolate solution great for a cold winter day.

Featured Girl in Real Life Science: Dr. Twila Moon, Glaciologist, Big Sky, MT

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Twila Moon is a Postdoctoral Fellow at the National Snow and Ice Data Center and Cooperative Institute for Research in Environmental Sciences at the University of Colorado – Boulder. Moon’s work consists of analyzing ice sheets to help us understand how quickly the ice sheets are changing and how ice interacts with the ocean and atmosphere, which helps us to better understand potential impacts for ocean circulation and biology because of the ice sheets significant contribution to the freshwater in the ocean. She accomplishes this by analyzing data generated from examining satellite images of the Greenland or Antarctic ice sheets, and going to places such as the small town of Illulisat, Greenland. Moon’s career has not only allowed her to follow her own interests and passions through research and advancements in her field, but it’s also given her the opportunity to constantly learn new things through research, travel and meeting other amazing, smart, fun people.

 To learn more about Twila Moon and how “cool” glaciers really are, check out her full interview!

What Are You Doing in January?

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Explorer’s University: NASA Challenge!
Are you up to the challenge? Use innovation and creativity to complete challenges developed by NASA educators. Saturday, Jan. 2 from 2 to 3:30 p.m. Ages 9-15; $8 for members, $10 for non-members.

 

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GIRLS University: Introduction to Robotics and Coding
Explore types of robots and how they are used in science, medicine, and of course for fun! Learn how robots are programmed and get a chance to program your own light up jewelry; there may even be a surprise appearance by some of your favorite droids, dropping in from a galaxy far, far away! Jan. 23 from 11 a.m.-12:30 p.m.; ages 8-14, registration required online or by calling 513-287-7001.

 

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Morgan Lynch: Full Interview

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What do you do for fun? I recently became a mom to a little girl in January 2015.  Besides being a mom, my husband and I love to travel, fish, hike and camp all over the Rocky Mountains here in Colorado. When I can, I will go to a good music concert or Denver Broncos game with my friends.

What is your first memory of science, either by reading, lecture, observation, etc.? When I was a child, I used to love to borrow books from the library. I stumbled upon books that had instructions for “do it yourself” science experiments. After that, I could not get enough. 

Did you always like science? Yes (and math).

What do you enjoy about science? The problem solving aspect, identifying a problem and trying to resolve with a hands on approach.

Is anyone from your family in a field of science? No.

Did you know anyone with this job before you decided on this career path? No.

Where did you go to school? Bennett High School in Colorado and Colorado State University.

What was your major? Civil Engineering.

How long did you need to go to school for your position as an engineer? 4 years.

Besides going to school/college did you have to do anything else to prep for your career/volunteer position? I had an internship with a Drainage District in Denver that helped guide me towards my specialization within Civil Engineering.

What is your job/volunteer title? Project Manager – Water Resources.

How long have you done this job? 10 years.

What is a typical day like for someone with your job? I manage a team of engineers and other specialists. In a typical day, we will have project meeting to coordinate on the goals and deliverables.  I will communicate with our client to make sure their problems are getting solved and check to make sure everything is technically correct.

Are you working towards one specific goal? I help identify flood risks throughout the State of Colorado.

What do you still want to study/work on? I would love to work on a dam removal project to help restore some of our channels and open them back up to fish migration.

Why did you choose to go into this career field? My love for streams and rivers helped guide me to studying open-channel hydraulics. 

What’s the coolest thing you have done at your job? After a large flood event hit Colorado in 2013, I had the opportunity to work with a team of professionals to reevaluate what probability storm even occurred and help identify risks for people in the future as it relates to flooding.

What’s your favorite thing about your job? Working as a team.

If a girl was interested in a career (or volunteer work) such as yours, what does she need to know? Never give up, it is 90% drive and 10% smarts.

Why do you think young women should study science? Our world is faced with many problems that need to be solved. The only way to do that is through science.

Who is your favorite female scientist? Marie Curie. 

Any words of encouragement you would like to share with the GIRLS participants? Never give up, it is 90% drive and 10% smarts.

Free Friday August 21st, from 4 to 8pm

Bacteria and other microscopic life are everywhere! They live in the deepest oceans, in frozen arctic ices and even boiling hot geysers. In fact, you have billions of bacteria and yeast on your skin and in your body! During our Aug. 21 Free Friday event, join the Bioscience Technology Department from Cincinnati State in our STEM Lab in the Museum of Natural History & Science to find out about these tiny organisms and how science is using them to improve our lives.

 

Full Interview: Twila Moon

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Name?  Twila Moon 

Where were you born? Colorado Springs, CO

Where do you currently live? Big Sky, Montana  

What is the highest degree you obtained? PhD

Where did you go to school? Stanford – B.S. University of Washington – M.S. and Ph.D.

What were your favorite classes in school? Art and science have always been the top of my list, though I love school in general. In middle school I skipped 7th grade, but I had to take both 7th and 8th grade science that year. I loved that! I think art is a great compliment to science and really enjoyed classes from painting to printmaking to ceramics.

What kinds of challenges did you overcome during your education? I was really lucky to have fantastic education opportunities through the public school system and then support from my parents to go to college at Stanford. I was made fun of some in middle school when I skipped a grade, but I focused on hanging out with other fun people and paying attention to school.

Who do you work for right now? Univ. of Colorado, soon University of Oregon

What’s you official title? Postdoctoral Fellow: Glaciologist (study glaciers and ice), Scientist

What is your role in the organization? Analyzing science data and publishing papers. Making scientific discoveries!

Describe your work environment. Mostly I work at my home office, which has all the normal items. However, I collaborate with and visit scientists all over. I’m regularly emailing or Skyping with other people. My science community is excellent and supportive. Also, I love the independence of my job.

Describe a typical day in your job. Most days are spent on my computer. I look at satellite images of the Greenland or Antarctic Ice Sheets, work on analyzing data, and usually work on writing or editing a science paper. Sometimes there’s a meeting, lecture to listen to or a short teaching/outreach event that I’m participating in.

Describe an atypical (but notable) day in your job. Occasionally I get to travel to do fieldwork. In Greenland, we often stay in a small town on the west coast (Illulisat), which has more sled dogs than people and a great view of Jakobshavn Fjord, which has many icebergs. A typical day there is: After breakfast, drive out to the little airport. Cross your fingers that the weather is good and load science equipment and yourselves into a helicopter. Fly out the field sites on the ice sheet and check instruments, download data, etc. If there’s extra fuel, we might take an extra swing around the iceberg-choked fjord where the ice sheet and ocean meet. Dinner might be reindeer or halibut.

How is the work you do important to society? The Greenland and West Antarctic Ice Sheets are losing ice and are main contributors to sea level rise, which is felt around the world. I work to understand how quickly the ice sheets are changing and how the ice interacts with the ocean and atmosphere. The better we can understand these processes, the more skill we might have at predicting future sea level rise. The ice sheets also contribute significant freshwater to the ocean. Understanding how quickly the ice sheets lose ice (which melts to become freshwater) can help us understand potential impacts for ocean circulation and biology too.

What accomplishments are you most proud of in your current role? Published a paper as the cover article in Science, was on National Public Radio, received graduate and postgraduate fellowships from the National Science Foundation, made great strides in learning more about the range and variability of glacier behavior across the whole Greenland Ice Sheet.

What projects or goals are you currently pursuing? Right now I’m starting some new work looking at ice motion in the Antarctic Peninsula. I’m also continuing work around the Greenland Ice Sheet and working to publish papers on this research.

What are the biggest challenges you face in your work? 1) Doing science can be difficult. It requires learning new things and thinking creatively. This can be very challenging (but also one of my favorite parts). 2) Another challenge is finding funding to pay for the science. There are many interesting, important science studies that folks would like to do and not all of it can be funded right now, so it’s hard work to get support.

 What was your biggest career “break” or notable moment? I got into graduate school but then deferred for a year so that I could ski bum and play in the outdoors. Lucky for me, during that year my now advisor, Ian Joughin, arrived at UW. I was his first student and worked with him for my MS and PhD. He was an amazing advisor and really helped me to realize my potential.

Why did you agree to become a STEM Role Model? I think we need as many women STEM role models as we can get. Science sometimes gets a bad rap for being dorky/boring/too hard/straight edged. I want to be an example of someone having a great time, who’s also fun and outgoing (hey, I’ve got a nose ring and a tattoo, and my picture was in Powder magazine – I don’t even own a white lab coat)!

What advice would you give a student interested in pursuing your career? Be curious. Pay attention to what excites you the most. Find people who are doing what you envision for yourself and ask them what they did to get there. Science, math, and computer skills are important – do well in those classes. And don’t be intimidated. These are not innate skills – it takes hard work to learn them, but you can do it! Don’t be afraid to try things – there’s nothing wrong with not getting it right the first (or fifth) time.

What are some interesting places you’ve traveled for your career? Nepal, Greenland, Norway, New Zealand, Alaska, British Virgin Islands.

What question should we have asked you but didn’t? Do you heat your house with a wood burning stove and eat elk stew from an animal your husband shot with a bow and arrow while simultaneously doing cutting edge research with terabytes of data and high speed internet? Yes, I do just that when I’m working from home in Montana! Modern world meets Montana mountain living. 

Free Friday this week at Cincinnati Museum Center

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Earn GIRLS participation points during our Free Friday event, July 24th from 4 to 8 p.m.

During the Free Friday event, the Bioscience Technology department from Cincinnati State will be asking visitors to help solve a 100 million year old mystery in the Museum of Natural History & Science’s STEM Lab. Be the scientist and use various techniques to determine what species of dinosaur lay trapped inside of a newly discovered egg.

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