Tell us about something that happened today in history, and make it relate to current science.
Courtesy Mark RyanThe Science Museum of Minnesota will offer plenty of activities throughout the museum this Saturday (February 9, 2013) in honor of Darwin Day, an international celebration of naturalist Charles Darwin's birthday held each year in February.
From 1pm-4pm, museum visitors will be able to learn about such things as mussel diversity in the Mississippi River, scientific illustration, dating fossils, and comparing differences between human and chimpanzee skulls. They'll also be able to take a virtual trip to the Galapagos Islands, and see the types of tools used on the HMS Beagle to navigate the globe back in the 19th century.
Charles Darwin was born on February 12, 1809, and published his great work On the Origin of Species fifty years later.
Courtesy ShutterSparks via FlickrToday is Groundhog Day, that special day when world-renown weather prognosticator, Punxsutawney Phil, (a groundhog, mind you) makes an appearance in Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania in order to let us all know just how much more winter we'll have to suffer through. Well, this morning, Phil came out of his rodent hole at 7:25am EST, and - for whatever reason - wasn't able to see his shadow. That's good news. It means we're going to have an early spring, and I'm okay with that - I've had it with winter. But, you might wonder, just how accurate have Phil's forecasts been in the past? According to the records, Phil's been right only about 39% of the time, which probably makes him no worse than most of his colleagues in the weather forecasting game. Anyway, if you want to, you learn all about Phil and Groundhog Day at Earthsky.org. And, happy Groundhog Day!
Courtesy Mark RyanHey kids! This coming Wednesday - January 30th - is my birthday. And even more exciting, it’s once again Draw A Dinosaur Day! I used to love drawing dinosaurs as a kid so I think it really cool that the two events fall on the same date each year. What’s so special about Draw A Dinosaur Day? It’s not really complicated – it’s just a day to draw your favorite dinosaur and submit it to the official DADD website. Simple, huh?
Several years ago, Mr. Todd H. Page, the brains behind DADD, thought it would be “a fun way to get everyone to do something creative and silly.” He got that right. Just look at some previous submissions.
This year will be the 7th annual Draw A Dinosaur Day. So, in the next few days start to figure out which dinosaur you want to draw and then, on January 30th get out your pens, pencils, crayons or whatever and draw a dinosaur. When you’re finished just upload your masterpiece to the DADD page!
That’s all I want for my birthday.
Courtesy Mark RyanOur Moon and the planet Jupiter appear to be in a close dance together in the sky tonight. The two celestial bodies are just a couple Moon-widths from each other. Some viewers in South America could see an occultation with Jupiter disappearing behind the Moon. I ventured out to photograph the waltz despite major sub-zero temperatures here in Minnesota.
Courtesy Public domain photo by Napoleon Sarony via Wikipedia Seventy years ago on January 7, 1943, inventor, physicist, and electricity wonder-kind Nikola Tesla died alone in a New York City hotel room. The Serbian-American scientist held more than 700 patents including several that made radio possible, yet he died penniless and deep in debt.
In his prime, Tesla (with investor George Westinghouse) had battled with Tesla's former employer Thomas Edison over the best method of transmitting electrical current. Edison favored direct current and won the battle, but later he admitted Tesla's alternating current was superior. It's been the standard means of transmitting electricity for more than a century (although, this could be changing).
Below are some links to more information about the remarkable Tesla.
Courtesy Public domain via WikipediaThis clever greeting card was created over 90 years ago by paleo-artist, Charles R. Knight. I thought it'd be a great way to wish all readers of Science Buzz a very Happy New Year!
I'm a big fan of Knight's work. Many of his best prehistoric-themed murals can be seen at the Field Museum in Chicago. Additional paintings can be found at colleges, libraries and other museums in the US, including the American Museum of Natural History in New York, and the Natural History Museum in Los Angeles.
Courtesy Mark RyanWe're lucky to have one here at the Science Museum of Minnesota. It's a large original painting of a Stegosaurus done by Knight in 1930 (see photo). It hangs in the Dinosaurs and Fossil gallery next to the Camptosaurus exhibit. The painting was the template for the mosaic that graces the entrance to the Reptile House at the National Zoo in Washington, D.C.
Courtesy Frederick Catherwood via Mark RyanThis is good news. The only downside is now I have to go Christmas shopping.
Thanksgiving is upon us, and once again, the centerpiece of the traditional holiday meal is a dinosaur. Eat up and 'Happy Thanksgiving'!
A total solar eclipse was visible across the extreme north of Australia yesterday giving residents, tourists, and eclipse-chasing scientists the thrill of a lifetime. Here’s a timelapse and informational video of the event. Total solar eclipses occur about twice each year but since the Earth is 70 percent water, they often happen in remote, unpopulated locations. But remember folks, in less than five years, the Moon’s shadow will sweep across the mid-section of the United States when a total solar eclipse takes place on August 21, 2017. Whatever you do, do not miss it. It is truly something amazing to witness live.
Courtesy Mark RyanNational Fossil Day is finally here. The official website calls it "a celebration organized to promote public awareness and stewardship of fossils, as well as to foster a greater appreciation of their scientific and educational value."
I'm a big fossil fan year round but I'm particularly happy today because I won first place in the NFD's Art & Photo Contest! The theme this year was "Careers in Paleontology". My entry, pictured at right, is a nod to paleoart and features a new "dinosaur" species (Bryocrinoidosaurus decorahi) created using invertebrate fossils found in Minnesota. You can view all the winning entries here.
National Fossil Day is planned and promoted by the National Park Service through partnerships with professional organizations, government agencies, and other science-related groups such as the American Geosciences Institute, the National Earth Science Teachers Association and the Paleontological Research Institution.
The Science Museum of Minnesota celebrates National Fossil Day this coming Saturday, October 20, from 1pm to 4pm. Everyone is invited to join in on the celebration of fossils!