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Posts Tagged "science education"

@ScientificAmerican

Scientific American Science in Action Winner Kenneth Shinozuka

Kenneth Shinozuka, 2014 winner of the Scientific American Science in Action award, powered by the Google Science Fair. Credit: Google Science Fair

It’s no secret to Scientific American readers that we feel a special obligation to support the next generation of science enthusiasts, whom we hope to inspire both with our science coverage and our education initiatives, including the Scientific American Science in Action Award, powered by the Google Science Fair. The awards event was held a [...]

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@ScientificAmerican

Putting Science in Action in Swaziland

T.H. Culhane and Scientific American Science in Action winners and Google Science Fair finalists during a Hangout in Swaziland.

In 2012, the Scientific American Science in Action award became part of Google Science Fair. Last month, one of the judges for both, T.H. Culhane, traveled to Swaziland to work with our 2012 winners as well as another finalist and more; we had a Swaziland Hangout during the visit. Now I’m thrilled to bring to [...]

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@ScientificAmerican

A Hangout with Google Science Fair in Swaziland

Left to right: Sakhiwe Shongwe, TH Culhane, Bonkhe Mahlalela, Rohit Fenn, Bayinda, Amit Fenn in Swaziland. Credit: YouTube

You know what’s awesome? Seeing a bunch of young people at work on changing the world to make it a better place for all. Today, I hosted a Google Science Fair Hangout On Air on Sustainability in Swaziland, and I got to have that privilege. Now I want to share it with you. My fellow [...]

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@ScientificAmerican

Hangout with Canopy Researcher Margaret Lowman

Margaret Lowman of the California Academy of Sciences. Credit: Google Hangout On Air

Margaret Lowman, who also goes by the nickname “Canopy Meg,” is chief of science and sustainability at the California Academy of Sciences. Her research focuses on life and ecosystems at the top of the forest canopy in far-flung places, including the Amazon and Ethiopia. In a Google Science Fair Hangout On Air conversation with me, [...]

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@ScientificAmerican

Star Trek’s LeVar Burton to Be Scientific American Guest Web Editor June 11

LeVar Burton

NuqneH! Buy’ ngop! That’s “greetings” and “good news” in Klingon. These otherworldly tidings seem like a fitting way to let you know that LeVar Burton, who played the U.S.S. Enterprise’s chief engineer Geordi La Forge on Star Trek: The Next Generation, will be guest editor of Scientific American’s Web site on Wednesday, June 11. Burton [...]

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@ScientificAmerican

Kid Scientists Make Real Fossil Finds at the USA Science & Engineering Festival

Kids searching for fossils using SharkFinder kits at Scientific American's booth at the USA Science & Engineering Festival.

Kids searching for fossils using SharkFinder kits at Scientific American’s booth at the USA Science & Engineering Festival. Credit: Jason Osborne Jason Osborne was trying to grab a quick lunch away from the crowds when his wife called his cellphone. “Jason, you’ve got to come see this boy at the booth. He’s amazing!” When Osborne, [...]

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@ScientificAmerican

Scientific American at the USA Science & Engineering Festival

I’ll write a fuller post about the amazing things that kids are doing at Scientific American’s booth 1311 at the USA Science & Engineering Festival, but I wanted to share the short video below. In it, you’ll meet the festival’s co-founders, Larry Bock and Ray O. Johnson of Lockheed Martin (which itself has a booth [...]

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@ScientificAmerican

Know Another Language? Help Us Globalize Science by Translating Our Video Captions

Ever wonder what the wave function is? Or what the differences are between genes, chromosomes and DNA? Or why chimps are stronger than humans? We’ve tackled these and many other questions with our Instant Egghead video explainer series. Such questions are universal, and we know many people who don’t speak English would love the chance [...]

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@ScientificAmerican

Astrophysics, Citizen Science and the Google Science Fair

Chris Lintott, astrophysicist of Oxford University and founder of The Zooniverse. Credit: YouTube

Find out why Oxford University astrophysicist and founder of The Zooniverse Chris Lintott believes that humanity’s ability to be “deliciously distractable” is a creative engine powering the benefits of citizen science for discovery–and how, if you are a researcher, you might like to “play with your phyiscs.” With Google Student Ambassador Hanne Paine, we had [...]

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@ScientificAmerican

Google Science Fair Hangout On-Air: Meet the Deep-Sea-Diving Exosuit

Vincent Pieribone, John Sparks, Exosuit and Mariette DiChristina. Credit: YouTube

Scientists studying marine life now have a new tool in a next-generation atmospheric diving system called the Exosuit. The suit–which looks like something an astronaut would wear and is on display at the American Museum of Natural History until March 5–lets a diver descend to 1,000 feet at surface pressure for several hours. As part [...]

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Budding Scientist

Skulls, Bloodletting, and How to Teach Science

[View the story "Skulls, Elephants and How To Teach Science" on Storify]

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Budding Scientist

Save Our Science: How to Inspire a New Generation of Scientists

The following excerpt from Save Our Science: How to Inspire a New Generation of Scientists (TED Books, 2013) by Ainissa Ramirez—a science evangelist, material scientist and one of Scientific American’s Google Science Fair judges—has been reproduced with permission from TED Books. The artist Pablo Picasso once said that all children are born artists and that [...]

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Budding Scientist

Google Science Fair: Inspiring Winners in Africa

This year, Scientific American funded the first Science in Action award, a $50,000 prize as part of the Google Science Fair. The prize also includes a year of mentoring to advance the work. The 14-year-old winners, Sakhiwe Shongwe and Bonkhe Malalela, developed a simplified system for hydroponics, which increased crop yields by 140 percent. Their [...]

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Budding Scientist

Google Science Fair: Uniting the ‘Avengers’ of Innovation

On Monday Google will announce the winners of its second annual Google Science Fair. As SA did last year, we’ve partnered with Google on the competition, and editor in chief Mariette DiChristina serves as a judge. This year, SA helped expand the honors by sponsoring the Science In Action award for a project that addresses [...]

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Budding Scientist

Here a Henge, There a Henge: Astronomy Fun on a Street Near You

Manhattanhenge, by EffingBoring via Flickr

Invited Guest Post by Evelyn Lamb (@evelynjlamb) Later today the setting sun will align with Manhattan’s street grid to produce a striking phenomenon dubbed “Manhattanhenge.” Taking its name from the more famous Stonehenge in England, where the sun rises over the prominent Heel Stone on the summer solstice, Manhattanhenge happens twice a year, once about [...]

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Budding Scientist

Teens Engineer a Way to Help Swazi Farmers

SA Science in Action winners

Two teenagers from the southern African country of Swaziland have won Scientific American’s inaugural Science in Action award, part of the Google Science Fair. The prize is awarded to a project that addresses a social, environmental or health issue to make a practical difference in the lives of a group or community. This year’s winners [...]

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Budding Scientist

The Transit of Venus: Viewing Tips from an Astronomer

My family is gearing up for a big weekend of science in New York City. First, there’s the annual World Science Festival, which this year is bringing free activities like bug hunting, weather forecasting and marine ecology research to Brooklyn Bridge Park among many other locations. (Check the full slate of activities here.) Then, on Tuesday comes [...]

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Budding Scientist

A Biology Teacher’s Ode to Sir David Attenborough

Molly Josephs, who teaches 5th, 7th and 9th grade biology at The Dalton School in Manhattan, wrote to me recently about the educational value of nature films for kids. “I would love to write something about the power, intelligence, and importance of nature films for families to watch together in order to cultivate curiosity and [...]

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Critical Opalescence

Hacking the Quantum: A New Book Explains How Anyone Can Become an Amateur Quantum Physicist

For years I’ve been thinking and hoping that quantum physics would become the next hacker revolution. DIYers in their basements, garages, and hackerspaces have already pioneered radio communications, PCs, household robots, and cheap 3-D printers—why not quantum entanglement, cryptography, computers, and teleportation? In recent years, physics educators have streamlined quantum experiments to the point where [...]

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Doing Good Science

Fall semester musing on numbers.

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The particular numbers on which I’m focused aren’t cool ones like pi, although I suspect they’re not entirely rational, either. I teach at a public university in a state whose recent budget crises have been epic. That means that funding for sections of classes (and especially for the faculty who teach those sections of classes) [...]

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Doing Good Science

Resistance to ethics instruction: considering the hypothesis that moral character is fixed.

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This week I’ve been blogging about the resistance to required ethics coursework one sometimes sees in STEM* disciplines. As one reason for this resistance is the hunch that you can’t teach a person to be ethical once they’re past a certain (pre-college) age, my previous post noted that there’s a sizable body of research that [...]

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Doing Good Science

Resistance to ethics instruction: the intuition that ethics cannot be taught.

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In my last post, I suggested that required ethics coursework (especially for students in STEM* disciplines) are met with a specific sort of resistance. I also surmised that part of this resistance is the idea that ethics can’t be taught in any useful way, “the idea that being ethical is somehow innate, a mere matter [...]

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Doing Good Science

Resistance to ethics is different from resistance to other required courses.

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For academic types like myself, the end of the semester can be a weird juxtaposition of projects that are ending and new projects that are on the horizon, a juxtaposition that can be an opportunity for reflexion. I’ve just seen another offering of my “Ethics in Science” course to a (mostly successful) conclusion. Despite the [...]

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Doing Good Science

Teaching chemistry while female: when my very existence was a problem.

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Not quite 20 years ago, I was between graduate programs. I had earned my Ph.D in chemistry and filed my applications to seven Ph.D. programs in philosophy. (There were some surreal moments on the way to this, including retaking the GRE two weekends after defending my chemistry dissertation — because, apparently, the GRE is a [...]

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Doing Good Science

When we target chemophobia, are we punching down?

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Over at Pharyngula, Chris Clarke challenges those in the chemical know on their use of “dihydrogen monoxide” jokes. He writes: Doing what I do for a living, I often find myself reading things on Facebook, Twitter, or those increasingly archaic sites called “blogs” in which the writer expresses concern about industrial effluent in our air, [...]

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Doing Good Science

Science education: Am I part of the solution, or part of the problem?

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In my blogging career (and even before), I’ve spent a fair bit of time bemoaning the low level of scientific education/literacy/competence among the American public. Indeed, I have expressed the unpopular opinion that all college students ought to do the equivalent of a minor in some particular science as one of their graduation requirements. I [...]

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Doing Good Science

DonorsChoose Science Bloggers for Students 2012: helping classrooms in the aftermath of Super-storm Sandy.

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Super-storm Sandy did major damage to the East Coast, especially New Jersey and New York City. The offices of DonorsChoose are in New York City. Their fabulous staff is safe (and mostly dry) and their computer servers are up, which means the Science Bloggers for Students drive has been operational and ready to receive your [...]

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Doing Good Science

We dodged the apocalypse, so let’s help some classrooms.

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We’re coming into the home stretch of our annual DonorsChoose Science Bloggers for Students drive: Science Bloggers for Students: No Apocalypse in Sight (Transcript below) And, now until the end of the drive, you can get your donations matched (up to $100 per donor) thanks to the generosity of the DonorsChoose.org Board of Directors. Just [...]

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Doing Good Science

On the apparent horrors of requiring high school students to take chemistry.

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There’s a guest post on the Washington Post “Answer Sheet” blog by David Bernstein entitled “Why are you forcing my son to take chemistry?” in which the author argues against his 15-year-old son’s school’s requirement that all its students take a year of chemistry. Derek Lowe provides a concise summary of the gist: My son [...]

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Guest Blog

Technology Revitalizes Hands-On Education in Classrooms

Left: TinkerCad design of the U.S.S Monitor. Rigth: Student team's 3-D printed model of the U.S.S Monitor.

Technology has abstracted the educational sphere in the way it has abstracted all other aspects of our lives. Pencils and paper have given way to the more amorphous cloud-based computing, kids are presenting more with Prezi than on poster boards, and work can be turned in online instead of in-hand. Like any technological “progress” or [...]

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Guest Blog

Can Scientists Reform Science Education?

I am honored to have been invited to give the keynote bridge talk between the 2011 Midwest Regional Zebrafish Conference and the 2011 Zebrafish and Education Summit in Rochester, MN on August 5, 2011. I eagerly agreed to speak as I am intrigued and enthused by the science education program for schools that was begun [...]

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Guest Blog

Teaching Scientific Thinking and Encouraging Creativity with Astrobiology

"Imagination is more important than knowledge. For knowledge is limited to all we now know and understand, while imagination embraces the entire world, and all there ever will be to know and understand." ~Albert Einstein In 2007, a few graduate students at the National University of Colombia grew interested in astrobiology, the search for extraterrestrial [...]

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Guest Blog

Science Education and Changing People’s Minds: Writing to convince

I find online science communication fascinating. I am enthusiastic about its possibilities and intrigued by its challenges. With an interest in online communication, comes an interest in text. While videos, animations and images are powerful too, the written word is often the simplest and the default mode of online communication–-think blog posts, tweets, status updates, [...]

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Guest Blog

Arsenic-Eating Bacteria Have Changed Science Education

"Science is messy. And the bigger the claims, the more intense the criticism." This is how Brian Vastag opened his Washington Post article chronicling the publication of NASA’s arsenic bacteria paper along seven critical comments and a follow-up response. It describes the situation – and science – well, but it’s not the story that those [...]

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Guest Blog

Kids Learn Better When You Bring Science Home

parent doing science at home kitchen with children bring science home

We learned all kinds of things from our parents—manners, safety, housekeeping, how to make a cake, how to pump our legs to make ourselves go high on a swing and where to find crayfish in a creek. As they showed us how to reach these small successes in our daily life, they also taught us [...]

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Guest Blog

Under-represented and underserved: Why minority role models matter in STEM

A recent University of Massachusetts Amherst study found having academic contact with female professionals in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) can have positive influences on students—female students in particular. For girls and young women studying these subjects in school, being able to identify female role models helps them imagine themselves as STEM professionals. The [...]

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Guest Blog

Can we declare victory for women in their participation in science? Not yet

"When will we know when we can declare victory? For years I proceeded on the assumption that victory was equal participation of men and women in all branches of science and engineering. Today I’m not so sure…. It’s possible that we will come to understand that some fraction of the asymmetries in the distribution of [...]

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Observations

Global STEM Outreach Effort to Target Middle Schoolers in Barcelona and Malaysia

Credit: ThinkStock

A global alliance aimed at educating and empowering youth to become the next generation to enter the information and communication technologies (ICT) workforce was announced today in Barcelona, Spain, at Cisco’s Internet of Things World Forum.. Established in response to a growing demand for workers in this field, the Global STEM Alliance will be modeled [...]

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Observations

Gravity-Defying, Self-Siphoning Metal Beads Explained [Video]

The effect is as astonishing as it is hypnotic: a chain of metal beads magically arcs above its container as the beads fall to the ground. The beads in the video, made by Steve Mould, who hosts several BBC science shows, are not magnetic, either. Pretty cool, huh? Mould gives us an explanation the video [...]

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Observations

Science Advisor Gives Hopeful Progress Report on Obama’s Achievements

John Holdren addresses audience at the Stevens Institute of Technology President

President Obama has restored science to its rightful place in the White House, says John Holdren, Obama’s senior science advisor. “Science is again where it should be,” he told an audience of 200 as part of a lecture series at the Stevens Institute of Technology in Hoboken, N.J. on Wednesday, although he warned that the [...]

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Observations

Flexagon but Not Forgotten: Celebrating Martin Gardner’s Birthday

October 21 is the anniversary of Martin Gardner’s birth. Gardner (1914-2010) is a legend in recreational (and professional) mathematics circles. Although he had little mathematical training, his 1956-1981 Scientific American column “Mathematical Games” has had a huge impact on the way people view math. In a Science Talk podcast shortly after Gardner’s death, Douglas Hofstadter, [...]

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Observations

Abandoning Algebra Is Not the Answer

In an opinion piece for the New York Times on Sunday, political science professor Andrew Hacker asks, “Is Algebra Necessary?” and answers, “No.” It’s not just algebra: geometry and calculus are on the chopping block, too. It’s not that he doesn’t think math is important; he wants the traditional sequence to be replaced by a [...]

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Observations

American Astronaut Sally Ride Dies at 61

Sally Ride, 1951-2012

Sally Ride, the first U.S. woman in space, died today at age 61, according to the Web site of her science-education company, Sally Ride Science. The cause was pancreatic cancer. Ride was born May 26, 1951, in Los Angeles and attended Stanford University, where she received bachelor’s degrees in physics and English, as well as [...]

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Observations

How to Succeed in Science: Lindau Nobel Laureate Meeting, Day 4

On the last day of formal plenary talks at the 62nd Lindau Nobel Laureate Meeting, the laureates dispensed several lessons while describing their research experiences to the attending students, from developing expertise to enduring in the face of doubt. (You can read all our coverage of the Lindau meeting this week, including the “30 under [...]

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Observations

Google Science Fair Winners at the White House

This year, the first Google Science Fair in partnership with Scientific American, CERN, LEGO and National Geographic drew more than 10,000 students from 91 countries. As the chief judge and master of ceremonies for the awards event on July 11 at Google’s Mountain View, Calif., campus, I was delighted to meet and hear directly about [...]

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Observations

Now: Bring Science Home Every Week!

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At Scientific American, we appreciate the value of a good experiment. So in May, we launched Bring Science Home as a series of free science activities for parents to do together with their six- to 12-year-old kids. We made sure the activities would be fun and easy to do, so families could complete them in [...]

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Observations

70,000 Students Flock to Free Online Course in Artificial Intelligence

Stanford University has opened up to the public an introductory artificial intelligence class, taught by two luminaries in the field. Anyone with high-speed Internet, anywhere in the world, can enroll in the online course. Just don’t expect a lot of face time with the professors. As of Tuesday afternoon, more than 70,000 people had signed [...]

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Roots of Unity

Here a Henge, There a Henge: Astronomy Fun on a Street Near You

Manhattanhenge. Image: Flickr user EffingBoring.

I am traveling for most of July, so I hope you enjoy this post from the past, which originally appeared on the Budding Scientist blog on July 10, 2012. Last summer I was living in New York for the first time, and I was super jazzed when my roommate told me about Manhattanhenge. It turns out, [...]

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Roots of Unity

Time in 298 Words

Last year, in the inaugural Flame Challenge, Alan Alda and the Center for Communicating Science at Stony Brook University challenged scientists to explain what a flame is to an 11-year-old. This year, the subject was time. In particular, we were instructed to “Answer the question — ‘What is time?’ — in a way an 11-year-old [...]

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Talking back

Remembering a Great Science Educator

Seventeen years ago, Phil Yam, then news editor (now managing editor, online), was looking for a rent-a-kid to test out the newly opening physics playground at the New York Hall of Science. He tapped me to write a story and recruit my ten-year-old son Benjamin as test animal. Accompanying us on the trip from Manhattan [...]

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The Urban Scientist

I want to see Season 3 of The Fab Lab with Crazy Aunt Lindsey!

Crazy Aunt Lindsey

I began blogging – at Urban Science Adventures ! © as an outlet and tester for my bigger, bolder dream – to create and star in my own Science Television program. At the time, 2006, there were no people of color, no women, and no Black Women at all who had served as a host [...]

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The Urban Scientist

Urban Science Adventure: Get to Know National Public Lands

Gateway Arch w Family

Last week and half  was the 21st annual celebration of National Public Lands Day. Public lands are all of those lands that belong to the public such as parks, forests, grasslands, scenic by-ways and waterways. These public lands include state parks, nature reserves, national forests and parks and other public monuments. All public lands, whether [...]

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The Urban Scientist

Wanted: Diverse, Innovative Problem-solvers, Next Generation Scientists

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When I departed for college my grandmother told me to join the debate team, because I was always arguing trying to prove a point. She was correct. I was a chatty Cathy and was always defending advocating my positions.  Debating was the most exhilarating intellectual experience I had had until that time. It was a [...]

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The Urban Scientist

#NPRBlacksinTech – a conversation about African American participation in American Innovation fields

#NPRBlacksinTech Week 2

NPR Tell Me More Program with Michel Martin has been hosting an on-going conversation about the state of African-American participation in technology, as well as science and engineering field. It began with an on air radio program on November 27, 2013: A Day In The Life: Blacks At The Cutting Edge Of Innovation (Podcast of [...]

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The Urban Scientist

Addressing Disparity in STEM & other subjects in American Education #AfAmEdChat

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Mark your calendars. November 18-22, 2013, is American Education Week. Created (in part) by the National Education Association in 1921 it “presents all Americans with a wonderful opportunity to celebrate public education and honor individuals who are making a difference in ensuring that every child receives a quality education.” In celebration and reflection of 2013 [...]

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The Urban Scientist

Share your STEM education and career testimony & help change the equation

African-American Students at a microscope

Only about 1.3 percent—less than 10,000—of the available pool of minority high school graduates earn engineering degrees from America’s colleges and universities each year. The National Action Council for Minorities in Engineering (NACME) thinks this equation needs to change. I do, too. NACME is participating in a special Congressional session to examine and recommend federal [...]

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The Urban Scientist

Charges dropped against #KieraWilmot, now let’s shower her with science love

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#Solidarity4Wilmot prevails. Thank you! Charges dropped against Kiera Wilmot. Yes! And YES!! Anyone else doing backflips? This news, combined with her full expulsion from school (for next year) being over turned makes me very, very happy for her. (Though I’m thinking ahead – would returning to Bartow High School be in her best interest? Others [...]

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The Urban Scientist

Updates on #KieraWilmot, Legal Fund created

Thank you, thank you, thank you for reaching out and speaking up for #KieraWilmot and showing #Solidarity4Wilmot.  I teared up as I read all of the offers of support to assist Kiera and other students all over the country. I was amazed, but not at all surprised. I know this community of educators, teachers, scientists, [...]

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The Urban Scientist

Scientists’ Support for Kiera Wilmot #Solidarity4Wilmot

KW soli

Here’s what we now know. Kiera Wilmot was re-creating the Drano Aluminum foil experiment at school. She was outside, before the morning bell. She recreated one of those Wow! Science experiments, the kind we see on Myth Busters or You’ve Been Warned! Folks love those shows. They love doing that crazy stuff at home (although [...]

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The Urban Scientist

Florida teen charged with felony for trying science

News of Kiera Wilmot’s arrest has seriously unnerved me. She is the Florida high school student who was experimenting with common household chemicals in science class that resulted in a minor explosion. There were no injuries and no damage to school property; however, she was taken away in handcuffs, formally arrested and expelled from school. [...]

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