Articles by Debbie Mickle
Western Carolina University Professor Mary Anna LaFratta recently challenged her motion graphics students to create short animations about something so small you can’t see it – even with a conventional microscope. They needed to illustrate nanotechnology: science, engineering, and technology at the nanoscale—from one to one hundred nanometers. Nano means “billionth” and a nanometer is a billionth of a meter.
Roses are red, violets are blue, and flowers grown in space are worth thinking about too. The astronauts on board the International Space Station (ISS) have sent down a photo of a blooming flower in space which prompts today’s big question, can we grow food in space? Listen to this Question Your World radio report produced by the Science Museum of Virginia to learn more.
How do you track a disease? How do you determine if a blood sample contains a virus or a bacteria that could make millions of people sick? What type of information would you need to know to stop a disease from spreading? If you are interested in these questions then being an “Illness investigator” or a Clinical Laboratory Scientist (CLS) might be the right career path for you.
This year we will be treated with a Christmas present from Ma Nature-- a full moon on Christmas day. The last occurrence of a full moon on Christmas day was in 1977; the next time will be in 2034. Perhaps one of the more famous coincidences was in 1776. The Christmas night Washington led his troops across the Delaware to attack the British at Trenton NJ.
Saint Gertrude High School’s all-girl robotics team has built a robot that walks, talks, hands out business cards and collapses easily into a suitcase. “Ellie” is the name of SGHS’ fabulous female robot that will premiere at the International Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, Nevada on January 6-9 and then travel between Germany, France and the US.
STEM becomes STEAM when you add the ARTS to Science, Technology, Engineering and Math. Robious Elementary School in Chesterfield County engages their students in a fun interdisciplinary program that teaches STEAM principles and combines them with Reading. This is the second year that they have participated in “One School, One Book,” which immerses students in a special book and many interactive and interdisciplinary activities in the classroom.
Neuroscientists are creating a connectivity map of the brain to understand where neurons project and which neurons they’re talking to. But, just as it would be hard to find your way in a strange city without street signs, it’s difficult for scientists to map the brain when they can’t tell one neuron apart from its neighbors.
The remarkable remains of the beginnings of “America’s Industrial Might” still stand tall, deep in the woods in Chesterfield County. Chesterfield County was the coal capitol of the country, shipping coal all over the colonies from mine shafts sometimes 700 feet deep like this one - the Mid-Lothian Mine. One of the first major industrial sites in the United States became a 44-acre preserve when Mid-Lothian Mines Park opened in 2004.