Category Archives: Outreach and Alumni

2015 Astronomy Research and Education Award for Nemiroff

Nemiroff and BonnellThe Astronomical Society of the Pacific (ASP), one of the most innovative and respected astronomy science education organizations in the U.S., is proud to announce the recipients of its 2015 awards for excellence in astronomy research and education.

The awards will be formally presented at an ASP Awards Ceremony and Banquet on October 10, 2015 at Chabot Space and Science Center in Oakland, CA as part of ASP’s Annual Meeting and Public Festival (Universe 2015).

The Klumpke-Roberts Award for outstanding contributions to public understanding and appreciation of astronomy is awarded to Dr. Robert Nemiroff (left) and Dr. Jerry Bonnell (right) for their work on the Astronomy Picture of the Day. Dr. Robert Nemiroff is a Professor in the Physics department at Michigan Technological University. He is an active researcher, teaches undergraduate and graduate physics courses, and supervises graduate students. Dr. Jerry Bonnell is a research scientist with the University of Maryland Astronomy Department on contract to the Astrophysics Science Division at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center. They are the co-creators and co-editors of Astronomy Picture of the Day (APOD). Since 1995, they have selected and explained one image of our universe every day. Their explanations include links to additional information, deepening the educational value of the site. Each day’s image and explanation are archived, forming what is one of the largest annotated archives of diverse astronomy images on the web. APOD’s home site is hosted by NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center and currently gets an average of 1 million hits per day. Its three major social media sites collectively have over 2 million followers. APOD is translated into 21 languages, including Arabic, Russian, Spanish, Indonesian, and Chinese, and has mirror sites in at least 23 countries.

Read more at the Astronomical Society of the Pacific.

APOD is 20 Years Old

APOD VermeerAstronomy Picture of the Day (APOD) was launched this day in 1995. The massively followed online site is maintained by APOD co-founders Robert Nemiroff and Jerry Bonnell.

The 20th anniversary APOD image is a digital re-pixelation of a Vermeer using over 5,000 APOD images that have been featured on the site.

Nemiroff and Bonnell were interviewed by The Verge.

20 years of space photos: an oral history of Astronomy Picture of the Day

Exploring the cosmos one day at a time

APOD launched on June 16, 1995. In advance of its milestone birthday, I spoke on the phone with the two guys who have run the site by hand for two decades, a seemingly unfathomable task in the age of ephemeral content. How do they do it? A combination of Microsoft Word, a fiery passion for astrophotography, and lots and lots of emails.

So where did the idea originally come from?

Robert Nemiroff: Jerry Bonnell and I shared an office at NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, and we were both — we’re still — active researchers. But the web was growing up, and so we brainstormed to try to figure out how we could contribute to this web. One idea, we thought, was maybe we can make lots of money, and buy a Hawaiian island or something. But that never worked out. [Laughs.]

Read more at The Verge, by Sean O’Kane.

Volunteers Needed for KSEF

KSEF GroupMichigan Tech and the surrounding community are joining together to host the inaugural Keweenaw Science and Engineering Festival to stimulate and sustain interest in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) in the Keweenaw for all ages. ​This four-day festival is an open forum to showcase all facets of STEM in the Western Upper Peninsula. Current scheduled events have something for all ages and include the Michigan Tech Mind Trekkers, Nerd Night for teens with Tech’s Physics Department, the Family Engineering Day, Summer Concert Series, Science Pub Crawl, The Wonders of Physics, science comedian Brian Malow and David Gaynes presenting his documentary Saving Hubble and more! This event is scheduled for August 5 to 8, and most of the activities are free.

See the event calendar on the current schedule. Volunteers are still needed to help with the festival. If you would like to get involved and run a hands-on demonstration, assist with set-up, work the KSEF booth or have questions on how to volunteer contact Amanda McConnon at amcconno@mtu.edu.

From Tech Today, by Center for Pre-College Outreach.

Sun, sand, science
Festival intended to spark STEM interest

Read more at the Mining Gazette, by Meghan Marquardt (subscription required).

Nerd Night at KSEF

KSEFKeweenaw Science and Engineering Festival

Michigan Tech and the community will come together to host the inaugural Keweenaw Science and Engineering Festival.

The event is designed to stimulate and sustain interest in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) in the Keweenaw.

This four-day festival is an open forum to showcase all facets of STEM in the Western Upper Peninsula. Current scheduled events include the Michigan Tech Mind Trekkers, Nerd Night with Tech’s Physics Department, the Family Engineering Day, Summer Concert Series, Science Pub Crawl, The Wonders of Physics, science comedian Brian Malow and David Gaynes presenting his documentary “Saving Hubble” and more!

This event is scheduled for Aug. 5 – 8, 2015, with most of the activities free to the public. Check out the current schedule. If you would like to get involved and run a hands-on demonstration or volunteer please contact Amanda McConnon at amcconno@mtu.edu.

From Tech Today, by the Center for Pre-College Outreach.

Nerd Night (Teens)

Wednesday, August 5th, 6:00 PM – 9:00 PM
Continental Fire Company, 408 E Montezuma Ave. Houghton
Teens! Bring your friends and come discover the WOW! of science with amazing demonstrations and hands-on activities presented by the Michigan Tech Physics Dept.

Hui and Winslow Teach The Physics of Skiing

The Physics of Skiing
The Physics of Skiing

Science Helps Students Master Skiing

Skiing and snowboarding involve more than just sliding down a hill. There is a unique science to it all, but how often do you think about it? Last winter, the Keweenaw Bay Ojibwa Community College (KBOCC), its Youth STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) Academy and the staff at Mont Ripley created a program to get kids to do just that.

Chiumun Michelle Hui, a Michigan Tech postdoctoral research fellow in physics, and Dustin Winslow, a physics laboratory assistant, taught “The Physics of Skiing” to the students. “Michigan Tech did a awesome job with the physics instructors that helped,” says Karen Colbert, program coordinator for KBOCC Youth STEM Academy. “Learning about physics in skiing got the students to think about how science really impacts how they perform.”

One of the students, Annalynn Griffin, 11, says that the physic instructors also taught them about gravity, friction and the different types of skis. “I didn’t know there were so many types!”

Read more at Michigan Tech News, by Monica Lester.

Swarup China accepted to participate in ACCESS XIII

Dr. Swarup China former graduate student in the Atmospheric Sciences program at MTU, has been accepted to participate in ACCESS XIII, to be convened at Brookhaven National Laboratory (BNL) (July 31 – August 2, 2015), and to attend the Gordon Research Conference (GRC) in Atmospheric Chemistry. Participation to ACCESS is highly competitive and it is an honor to be accepted.

Information about the conference can be found here.

High School Girls Come to Michigan Tech to Explore Nanotechnology

National Science FoundationProfessor Yoke Khin Yap (Physics) held a workshop for ninth-grade students from three local high schools over the weekend. The theme of the workshop was Introduction to Nanotechnology and was part of the outreach and education activities in Yap’s research grant funded by the National Science Foundation.

This workshop was co-organized by Michigan Tech’s GEAR UP, a Pre-College Innovative Outreach Institute, with the assistance of Liz Fujita. The goal of the workshop was to help stimulate the interest of pre-college underrepresented groups (girls, students with dissability, etc.). A total of 104 female students from Houghton, Calumet and Lake Linden participated with their science teachers.

During the workshop, students were introduced to the concept of nanoscale and hands-on experience in making molecular structures. Following lunch there was a discussion on the potential applications of nanoscale materials. “Since Michigan Tech is the only research-intensive university in the area, we regularly provide educational support to the local communities,” says Yap. More outreach events like this are planned during the three-year research project.

From Tech Today.

The Physics of Skiing

 

Mont Ripley
Mont Ripley

Mont Ripley partnered with the Keweenaw Bay Ojibwa Community College PEAR Center, to provide 13 Middle and high school age kids with 10 ski or snowboard lessons, paid for with a grant from the Department of Education. To fulfill the grant, the students had to participate in a science-related activity. The science activity was provided by Michigan Tech physicists Dustin Winslow, and Chiumun Michelle Hui, who presented “The Physics of Skiing.”

From Tech Today.