Posts Tagged ‘education’

Schmahl Science Workshops Fundraiser

Saturday, November 6, 2010.  I’m performing at a fundraiser for a very worthwhile cause - Schmahl Science Workshops offers an after-school career mentorship program that enables pre-K through 12 students to participate in on-going science and engineering research programs.

16th Anniversary Celebration and Fundraiser:  “The Science of Success”

Food, wine, live entertainment (that’s me!)

6-10pm, Saturday, November 6, 2010
Quadrus Conference Center
2400 Sand Hill Road
Menlo Park, CA  94025

Tickets available at http://sswevent2010.eventbrite.com

More info on Schmahl Science Workshops:

The Bay Area is home to significant innovation in science and technology.  However many local school districts have eliminated science education from their curriculum. The key is more Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) educated graduates if we want to continue to be leaders in the global economy. By partnering with schools, institutions of higher education, science based institutions, museums, local governments, and the business community our non-profit, Schmahl Science Workshops (SSW) develops young scientists to participate in the next wave of scientific innovation. We need your help to keep Schmahl Science Workshop strong.  We invite you to join us to celebrate the accomplishments of our students and to learn more about how you can inspire the next generation of scientists.

Why is Science Important?

Alom Shaha has made a wonderful 28-minute film entitled “Why is Science Important?”

Shaha is a physics teacher at an inner city school in the UK, and also a TV producer who specializes in science programs.  The film was made to be broadcast on Teachers TV (a UK cable channel) but it’s also available online in excellent HD quality – and can even be shared and embedded, as seen below (you can view a larger size if you click over to his site).

The website also contains “a collection of thoughts from leading scientists, public figures …and you.”  Add your thoughts on why science is important and they’ll appear alongside the thoughts of Bad Astronomer Phil Plait, SETI’s Seth Shostak, LabLit’s Jennifer Rohn, and many others.

Visit Alom’s YouTube Channel – sciencefilms – to see more answers to the question “Why is Science Important?” as well as some of his other films.

Links:
Why is Science Important?
Bad Astronomy blog
SETI
Seth Shostak
LabLit

Siftables – Cookie Scale Computing

A couple weeks ago I saw this very cool short TED video about Siftables, a project coming out of the MIT Media Lab and Taco Lab in San Francisco.  So, for my first ETech session this morning, I’m checking out Cookie Scale Computing with Jeevan Kalanithi and David Merrill.  The brief program description is:

Cookie Scale Computing: Human-Computer Interfaces as Piles of Gesture Sensitive Displays
David Merrill (MIT Media Lab) et al

We’ve built a new type of interface that brings computation into our physical and gestural world: a set of cookie-sized, gesturally aware, neighbor detecting wireless displays that act together as one interface. We call them Siftables. People live in and know about the physical world. Computers should too.

Siftables are cookie-sized computers that are interactive, show graphics and can be manipulated physically in interesting ways – they can sense their neighbors and communicate wirelessly.  They work together to form a single interface.

They demonstrated a bunch of interesting uses – check out the website and the TED video for examples and numerous news stories.

Link:  Siftables and Taco Lab

Mike Brotherton and the Science Comedian

Mike Brotherton has a really nice blog post about me.  Mike is a science fiction writer who also happens to be an associate professor at the University of Wyoming in the department of Physics and Astronomy.  Quasars are his specialty!  And there’s a lot of great content in his blog.  Check it out.

I’m ecstatic that, of the two jokes he singled out for mention, one is an analogy that rarely gets the laugh I wish for it.  It’s about the ability of a virus to take down a human.  We must outweigh them by a factor of a billion or more.  It’s the ultimate David and Goliath…  “It’s like Luke Skywalker taking out the Death Star in a little X-Wing Fighter.”

Well, it is, isn’t it?

He also says this about the embedded video:

Next time I teach an introductory science class, I’m going to show some of these. I might be able to deliver a couple of the simpler jokes and fit them into lectures. I’m a good lecturer, but not great, and waking people up with a smart joke that has some real science in it isn’t pandering, it’s educating.

Too often I think thatI just get depressed about the never ending battle with ignorance and science illiteracy, with the folks who reject our best knowledge because it contradicts their political or religious beliefs.  Getting people to laugh and want in on the joke is probably a better method of doing something other than preaching to the choir and bringing in some people who want to chuckle, too.

Thanks, Mike!

I haven’t read his two novels yet – Star Dragon and Spider Star - but they’ve been praised by David Brin and Paul Di Filippo.  They are hard SF and have been compared to the books of Larry Niven and Robert L. Forward.  Sounds good to me!