#2427Feature: Swift Mission
NEWSMAKER FROM THE PAST
Marie Curie (1867-1934)
Born to Polish parents and later becoming one of the greatest physicists in history, Marie Curies work would eventually cost her her life.
As a child growing up in Warsaw, Poland, young Marie Sklodowskas main goal in life was to learn as much as she could, particularly in scientific areas, despite her familys lack of money. By 1891, with the help of her sister Bronia, Marie arrived in Paris and began studying mathematics and physics. Shortly after her arrival, a friend introduced her to a young French scientist, Pierre Curie.
Together, the Curies began advancing the study of newly discovered technologies such as X-rays and elements like Uranium. Through their work, Marie invented new theories such as the idea of radioactivity, a word she invented. She also discovered new elements, such as Radium. Eventually, Pierre began to test the new element on his skin, which lead to the development of "Curietherapy," or using Radium to treat tumors and other diseases. In 1903, the Curies were awarded the Nobel Prize in Physics for their work with Radium and radioactivity.
In 1906, however, Pierre died, leaving Marie to carry on their work alone. She continued to develop X-ray technology and pushed for its extensive use in hospitals throughout Europe. She was also awarded the Nobel Prize in Chemistry in 1911, becoming the first person ever to receive two Nobel Prizes. Marie also fulfilled a life long dream when she became the first female professor at the Sorbonne in Paris, and helped found the Radium Institute, devoted to the study of what would become the science of nuclear physics.
By 1934, Marie Curie had become very ill and she died that summer of leukemia caused by the radiation and radioactive materials she had devoted her life to studying. Her legacy lived on, however, through the work of her daughter Irene, and the work of other scientists who used her discoveries of radioactivity as the basis for their own work.
WHERE ON EARTH??
Sixteen nations from around the world are contributing to the construction of the International Space Station, or ISS. Follow the coordinates below to find some of the countries that play major roles in the space stations construction. Then, match the country to one of its major contributions.
Click here for the answers!
When scientists search deep space, they’re often looking for objects they’ll never see. Black holes, for example, give off no visible light, so scientists must instead search for objects nearby that may be affected by the black hole.
Have one student in your class hide an every day object underneath a dark cloth. Then discuss ways you and your classmates might figure out what is under the cloth without touching or looking at the object.
THE COLOR OF HEAT
In the 1700s, the British scientist William Herschel discovered that different colors had different temperatures. You can test his findings for yourself.
Here’s what you’ll need:
Here’s what you’ll do:
1.Fill the four empty bottles with water.
Based on your observations, which color absorbs the most heat?
Which color reflects the most heat?
If you placed these colors on the electromagnetic spectrum, which order would they be in from least heat energy to most?
How could this information be used by building or clothing designers?
Using the full spectrum of wavelengths, telescopes and cameras have produced beautiful images of space. Search these sites on the web to compile a scrapbook or bulletin board of spacescapes. Be sure to note which types of electromagnetic waves were used to produce each picture.
Telescope Science Institute
Solar System Exploration Program
Mission to Saturn and Titan.
Messier Catalog of Space Images
TWINKLE, TWINKLE LITTLE STARS!
See for yourself why stars twinkle.
Here’s what you’ll need:
Here’s what you’ll do:
1.Use the nail to poke about a dozen small holes in one side of the cereal box.
2.Turn on the flashlight, and stand it upright in the cereal box.
3.Close the box flaps so that the only escaping light is through the holes or “stars.”
4.Place the hot plate on one end of a safe surface such as a table, making sure that it doesn’t touch anything flammable, and turn it on.
5.Place the box on the table about 20 centimeters from the hotplate with the starry side of the box facing the hotplate.
6.Position yourself at the other end of the table so that the hotplate is between you and the box.
7.Observe the twinkling stars!
Here’s why they twinkle:
The warm air from the stove rises with varying temperatures, causing the air to have different densities. When a beam of light travels from air of one density to another, it bends or refracts slightly. Just as the warm air from the hotplate bends the light coming from the cereal box, the varying temperatures and densities of Earth’s atmosphere bend the light from stars. The scattering starlight makes the stars seem to twinkle. But only from Earth. In space where there is no atmosphere, stars do not twinkle.
Even as they unlock the mysteries of celestial objects, astronomers are inspired by the heavens. An upcoming mission to monitor Gamma Ray Bursts inspired a group of astrophysicists at the Goddard Space Center to write and perform a song.
Click here to download their cosmic composition. (mp3 format)
WORD TO THE WISE
Its all Greek to us!
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