Every November our nation takes an evening off from the regular run of things to gather with friends, family, and loved ones to reflect on all the things that we are thankful for. Thanksgiving is one of the largest holidays in the United States of America and like everything else it too can be viewed through the lens of science. Let’s take a moment to dig into the numbers behind this autumnal holiday. Listen to this Question Your World radio report produced by the Science Museum of Virginia to learn more.
More Science Matters
The challenge of providing energy for a growing population while simultaneously not contributing to human caused climate change can seem like a tricky proposition. Clean energy traditionally has been associated with solar, wind, hydro, and other such green energy methods. As the planet’s energy needs grow we’ll need more creative approaches to meeting our energy needs. Some scientists have been thinking outside the box by using human commuter’s feet to generate power that is not only renewable, but does not rely on external variables like sunlight, wind, or water.
Leaves in the spring and summer are mostly a pretty uniform green color. For that, you can thank the chemical compound known as chlorophyll. Chlorophyll is responsible for the process of photosynthesis, which takes sunlight and converts it into the sugars needed to sustain the tree. There are a variety of other chemical compounds, with characteristic colors other than green, always present in the leaves; however, the green chlorophyll dominates and masks your ability to see them.
On Dec 7, 1972 Apollo 17 astronauts took a photo of the Earth that would go on to be known as the Blue Marble. This was one of the most famous photos taken of the entire planet from space. Soon after this photo was released the conservation movement took off at top speed. We were finally given a visual of the home that all humans, regardless of nationality or political affiliation, commonly share.