December 2005 Vol. 99
|From the President’s Desk
I send this Christmas Greeting to you from home, as I enjoy the seventh day of a wonderful eleven day respite from school. As I’m sure you do, I love my job (new adventures EVERY day); but it’s nice to wake up to nature rather than an alarm clock!
As we end 2005 this may be a good time to reflect on the wonders, both good and bad, that involved science this year:
Needless to say, this list could go on and on. I will try to remember the next time a student mumbles, “Why do I learn this stuff?” not to get exasperated but see it as a challenge to make my science lessons even more relevant. If like me you sometimes struggle with where to find good resources for current science topics, may I suggest the NSTA website www.nsta.org? It is absolutely brimming with handy ready to go lesson materials, public relations information (such as the recent court decision in Pennsylvania allowing us to teach science in our science classes and not “intelligent design”) and the latest changes in national science curriculum standards. One very nice part of this site is that these resources are available to all educators, whether or not they are dues paying members of the NSTA.
Speaking of resources……the Math and Science Conference in Huron is only about a month away! I will look forward to seeing as many of you as possible as we learn new tricks of the trade at the beautiful newly remodeled Crossroads Hotel and Convention Center.
So, whether you use this winter downtime to get crafty, get outdoors, read a new book, or try a new recipe I hope that these “short days” of sunshine are good ones. For you sun worshippers…….cheer up: winter may not be over, but the daylight hours are only getting betterJ
Yours truly, Mark Farrand
Voices from the Cacophony
|Around 2015, NASA and the European Space
Agency plan to launch one of the biggest and most exacting space
experiments ever flown: LISA, the Laser Interferometer Space Antenna.
LISA will consist of three spacecraft flying in a triangular formation behind Earth. Each spacecraft will beam a laser at the other two, continuously measuring their mutual separation. The spacecraft will be a mind-boggling 5 million kilometers apart (12 times the Earth-Moon distance) yet they will monitor their mutual separation to one billionth of a centimeter, smaller than an atom's diameter.
LISA's mission is to detect gravitational waves-ripples in space-time caused by the Universe's most violent events: galaxies colliding with other galaxies, supermassive black holes gobbling each other, and even echoes still ricocheting from the Big Bang that created the Universe. By studying the shape, frequency, and timing of gravitational waves, astronomers believe they can learn what's happening deep inside these acts of celestial violence.
The problem is, no one has ever directly detected gravitational waves: they're still a theoretical prediction. So no one truly knows what they "sound" like.
Furthermore, theorists expect the Universe to be booming with thousands of sources of gravitational waves. Unlike a regular telescope that can point to one part of the sky at a time, LISA receives gravitational waves from many directions at once. It's a cacophony. Astronomers must figure how to distinguish one signal from another. An outburst is detected! Was it caused by two neutron stars colliding over here or a pair of supermassive black holes tearing each other apart in colliding galaxies over there?
"It's a profound data-analysis problem that ground-based astronomers don't encounter," says E. Sterl Phinney, professor of theoretical physics at the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena.
Profound, but not hopeless: "We have lots of good ideas and plans that work-in theory," he says. "The goal now is to prove that they actually work under real conditions, and to make sure we haven't forgotten something."
To that end, theorists and instrument-designers have been spending time together brainstorming, testing ideas, scrutinizing plans, figuring out how they'll pluck individual voices from the cacophony. And they're making progress on computer codes to do the job.
Says Bonny Schumaker, a member of the LISA team at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory: "It's a challenge more than a problem, and in fact, when overcome, a gift of information from the universe."
For more info about LISA, see lisa.nasa.gov . Kids can learn about black holes and play the new "Black Hole Rescue!" game on The Space Place Web site at spaceplace.nasa.gov/en/kids/blackhole .
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This article was provided by the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, California Institute of Technology, under a contract with the National Aeronautics and Space Administration.
|The ARMADA Project has
placed teachers in research experiences all over the world. Past
experiences include taking part in the largest North Pacific humpback
whale study in the waters off the coast of Alaska, investigating the
impacts of global change in the Arctic Ocean and the Antarctic, monitoring
and assessing tidal creeks in South Carolina, studying the impact of human
activity on dusky dolphins in New Zealand, exploring the seafloor off the
coast of Sumatra to better understand the forces that lead to the 2004
Asian tsunami, water circulation studies in the Norwegian Sea, and a
variety of ecosystem monitoring projects in the Bay of Fundy, Narragansett
Bay, Gulf of Maine, Stellwagen Bank, Western Shelf of Florida, Sargasso
Sea, Bahamas, Alaska, and Block Island Sound.
Application deadline is
February 6, 2006
For more information about teacher qualifications, responsibilities, and to download an application see the ARMADA Project website www.armadaproject.org or contact Andrea Kecskes at 401-874-6211 or
|Lewis & Clark Youth
Attention: 06-07 Junior & Seniors!
Write an essay about Lewis & Clark and their famous expedition of discovery and win a FREE trip to North Dakota with 540 youth from all over the United States, on August 13-18th.
You will be able to walk the Lewis & Clark trail in their footsteps to experience the same American Indian culture and see the same landscapes they did over 200 years ago. Contest is open to junior and senior students during the 2006-2007 school year. Essay submissions accepted online - from November 12, 2005 through February 28, 2006.
For more information and to submit your essay online, visit www.lcyouthrendezvous.com
Discover Mars in Alaska!
Ambassador Program is a professional development program, in which
selected middle and high school science teachers work with CDC scientists
to develop science lesson plans on public health topics that meet National
Science Education Standards. Selected teachers come to CDC for in an
intensive workshop led by CDC scientists
If you have any questions, please feel free to contact the Science Ambassador Program at 404-498-4080 or firstname.lastname@example.org or you can visit their Web site at
Physics Bowl XXXII, set for Friday, March 31, at South Dakota State University.
For more information or an entry form for Physics Bowl XXXII, contact the SDSU Physics Department at (605) 688-5428. Only the first 18 teams to return an entry form will be accepted.
Join the DOE Science Listserv
To join, send an e-mail message in the following form:
For additional information on this and other listservs, go to k12.sd.us and click on the link on the left that says K-12 Listservs
|SDSTA Officers _
President: Mark Farrand
Rapid City, SD 57701
Treasurer: Tom Merrill
Secretary: Ramona Lundberg
4009 Brookside Dr.
Rapid City, SD 57701
R. C. Wilson Elementary
Secrondary Advisor: Brenda Murphey
405 20th Ave. SDSU
Brookings, SD 57006-2338
Waubay, SD 57273 . . Groton, SD 57445-2024
Waubay High . . . . . . Groton Area H.S.
January 2, 2006Deadline to enter Young Naturalist Awards contest
January 10 / 11 / 13 Science Roll Outs-Physical Science-Abdn/SF/RC
January 20Advanced Registration Deadline for Joint Math & Science Conf
February 2-4, 2006Joint Math & Science Conference
Huron, SD - Starts Thursday evening at 7 PM with Sharing Sessions
February 6 Application deadline for ARMADAwww.armadaproject.org
February 21 / 22 / 24 Science Roll Outs—Earth/Space Sci-Abdn/SF/RC
February 28 Application deadline for Lewis & Clark Rendezvous essay
March 1 Application Deadline for the Science Ambassadors
March 14 Pi Day ( 3.1415926535897932384626433832795... )
March 15 Deadline for 5th-6th to enter Arbor Day essay contest
March 31 Physics Bowl XXXII - SDSU (605) 688-5428
April 6 - 9, 2006 National NSTA Convention - Anaheim, California
June or July TLRBSE Program at
October 11-14 National Assn of Biology Teachers (NABT) Convention
October 19-21 Midwestern NSTA Area Conference-Omaha, NE
November 2-4 Eastern NSTA Area Conference-Baltimore, MD
December 7-9 Western NSTA Area Conference-Salt Lake City, UT
The 2006 Program Schedule for the February Professional Development Conference is available on-line (or booklets will be given out at the conference.) Don’t forget to attend the SDSTA Business meeting. Several prizes will be given out.