A Science Haiku from Down Under

I was happily surprised to hear from Dr. Michael Leach in Australia when he came across The STEAM Hub and sent us his compliments about our site. We rely on the internet so much these days that occasionally we forget how remarkable the technology is and the gifts that it brings. Thank you Dr. Leach for reaching out and sharing your love of STEAM with us. We are glad to meet you!

Dr. Leach is a self-described health researcher, number cruncher, poet and all-around STEAM advocate. It was kind of him to provide one of his science haiku’s to share with our readers.

Dedicated to all those who have worked at or supported science centers, especially the Discovery Science & Technology Centre, in Bendigo, Victoria, Australia, here is Michael’s poem together with photos of a science Lego display from the University of South Australia and the La Trobe Reading Room at the State Library of Victoria.

Enjoy!


chem demonstration
science words blend with light to give
illumination

Science Lego Displayed at the University of South Australia
La Trobe Reading Room at the State Library of Victoria
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Emanuele Fornasier’s Crystal Birth

 

Crystal Birth: A Beautiful Timelapse of Metallic Crystals Forming in Chemical Solutions

Italian chemistry student Emanuele Fornasier also has a knack for photography and spent the last few months documenting the formation of crystals. The result is Crystal Birth, a timelapse of some 18 examples of electrocrystallization, where an electric current is run through a chemical solution, causing metal deposits to form over a period of several hours or days. You can see more of his chemistry and timelapse work on his website.

 

Statue of Liberty Nebula

2016 September 28     NGC 3576: The Statue of Liberty Nebula
Image Credit & Copyright: S. Mazlin, J. Harvey, R. Gilbert, & D. Verschatse (SSRO/PROMPT/UNC)
http://apod.nasa.gov/apod/ap160928.html

It sounds like something straight out of Ghostbusters … today’s Astronomy Picture of the Day is The Statue of Liberty Nebula.  Do you see her?

Explanation: What’s happening in the Statue of Liberty nebula? Bright stars and interesting molecules are forming and being liberated. The complex nebula resides in the star forming region called RCW 57. This image showcases dense knots of dark interstellar dust, bright stars that have formed in the past few million years, fields of glowing hydrogen gas ionized by these stars, and great loops of gas expelled by dying stars. A detailed study of NGC 3576, also known as NGC 3582 and NGC 3584, uncovered at least 33 massive stars in the end stages of formation, and the clear presence of the complex carbon molecules known as polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs). PAHs are thought to be created in the cooling gas of star forming regions, and their development in the Sun’s formation nebula five billion years ago may have been an important step in the development of life on Earth. The featured imagewas taken at the Cerro Tololo Inter-American Observatory in Chile.

Discover the cosmos! Each day a different image or photograph of our fascinating universe is featured, along with a brief explanation written by a professional astronomer.

 

James Turrell’s Sky Spaces

Installation artist James Turrell, at Roden Crater in northern Arizona in 2001.  Credit Florian Holzherr

I am always on the lookout for something or someone new and interdisciplinary to bring to the STEAM Hub. James Turrell,  an installation artist and son of an aeronautical engineer and Peace Corps doctor, seems to have that beautiful mix of aesthetic creativity partnered with science that is so interesting to me.   It came as no surprise that his undergraduate studies focused on psychology and mathematics; only later, in graduate school, did he pursue art, receiving an MFA from the Claremont Graduate School in Claremont, California.

Here are a few of his Arizona projects to wet your whistle.  When it cools off just a little, I think a James Turrell art road trip is in order.

Roden Crater
The natural cinder cone crater is now home to a land art project and naked eye observatory thirty plus years in the making that will blow your mind.

Air Apparent
A Sky Space Art Installation by James Turrell and Will Bruder at the ASU Tempe campus.

Knight Rise
Another Turrell public sky space located at Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art.

 

 

 

 

STEM Scholarships to NAU Still Available!

Do you plan to transfer to Northern Arizona University (NAU) into an approved College of Engineering, Forestry & Natural Sciences major Fall 2016?

Do you have a 3.0 or higher GPA in at least 24 transferable credits?

And $2,500 or more in unmet financial need? (2016 FASFA is required)

Then you may qualify for the Transfer-GEMS (Transfers to Graduates in Engineering, Math and Science) Scholarship!

This scholarship is supported by the National Science Foundation under Grant Number 1260138.

SCHOLARSHIPS ARE STILL AVAILABLE FOR THE 2016-2017 ACADEMIC YEAR!

For more information, please contact jen.johnson@nau.edu.

Learn more or Apply now!

 

 

New Gecko-Inspired Adhesive

From The Scientist:  http://www.the-scientist.com/?articles.view/articleNo/45741/title/New-Gecko-Inspired-Adhesive/

By Jef Akst | April 6, 2016

New Gecko-Inspired Adhesive

Flexible patches of silicone that stick to skin and conduct electricity could serve as the basis for a new, reusable electrode for medical applications.

For years, researchers have recreated the microscopic hair-like pillars on gecko feet that, through atomic forces known as van der Waals’ interactions, allow the animals to scurry up walls and across ceilings. Such gecko-inspired adhesives could have a variety of applications, including medical bandages, but materials scientist Seokwoo Jeon at the Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology (KAIST) and colleagues wanted to apply these materials to create a novel wearable electrode.

Read more of Jef’s article in The Scientist here:

 

Mercury Transit Music Video

A Mercury Transit Music Video from Solar Dynamics Observatory
Video Credit: NASA‘s Goddard Space Flight Center, Genna Duberstein; Music: Encompass by Mark PetrieExplanation: What’s that small black dot moving across the Sun? Mercury. Possibly the clearest view of Mercury crossing in front of the Sun earlier this week was from Earth orbit. The Solar Dynamics Observatory obtained an uninterrupted vista recording it not only in optical light but also in bands of ultraviolet light. Featured here is a composite movie of the crossing set to music. Although the event might prove successful scientifically for better determining components of Mercury’ ultra-thin atmosphere, the event surely proved successful culturally by involving people throughout the world in observing a rare astronomical phenomenon. Many spectacular images of this Mercury transit from around (and above) the globe are being proudly displayed.

 

Deadly superbugs from hospitals get stronger in the sewers and could end up in the Pacific Ocean

latimes

A worker at L.A.’s Hyperion sewage treatment facility removes trash that has been separated from incoming wastewater. (Gary Friedman / Los Angeles Times)

very day Southern California hospitals unleash millions of gallons of raw sewage into municipal sewers.

The malodorous muck flows miles to one of the region’s sewage plants, where it is treated with the rest of the area’s waste and then released as clear water into a stream or directly to the Pacific.

Scientists at the Environmental Protection Agency recently announced they had discovered a lethal superbug — the same one that caused outbreaks at UCLA and two other Los Angeles-area hospitals — in sewage at one of those plants. They declined to name the facility.

EPA scientists did not test treated wastewater flowing out of the plant to determine whether it still contained CRE, or carbapenem-resistant enterobacteriaceae.

NEWSLETTER: Get the day’s top headlines from Times Editor Davan Maharaj >>

But a growing number of studies show sewage plants can’t kill the superbugs. Instead the facilities serve as “a luxury hotel” for drug-resistant bacteria, a place where they thrive and grow stronger, said Pedro Alvarez, a professor of environmental engineering at Rice University, one of the scientists studying the problem.

Alvarez and other researchers say the failure of sewage plants to eliminate the dangerous bacteria is one way they may be spreading from hospitals to the environment.

“Chlorine is just not doing it,” Alvarez said of the treatment used by most plants.

The fear is that healthy people otherwise not at risk from the bacteria — including swimmers at the beach — could be infected.

Already officials are worried about the surprising number of people sickened with CRE who have not recently visited a medical facility: 8%, according to an October study.

Hospitals are not breaking laws by releasing the sewage. Laws regulate the overall level of disease-causing bacteria in the nation’s surface waters, but there is no specific regulation of bacteria resistant to antibiotics.

Deemed the “nightmare bacteria” by federal officials, CRE survives nearly all antibiotics. It kills as many as half its victims.

Government officials, including those at the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, say they are monitoring the wastewater studies but have so far made no recommendations to hospitals about the treatment of sewage that may harbor CRE.

“The prevention and control of CRE is an evolving process,” said Melissa Brower, an agency spokeswoman. “CDC will continue to assess the appropriateness of this as new information becomes available.”

Continue to read the full article by clicking on the link : http://www.latimes.com/business/la-fi-superbug-sewers-20160307-story.html

Food for Thought

“The Dirty Dozen” – (High Risk Produce):

The EWG (Environmental Working Group) has studied and compiled a list of 12 types of produce that are most likely to contain pesticide residue. These are the least safe types of produce to purchase from a grocery store setting (when you don’t know exactly where they came from). If purchased, they must be washed very thoroughly. They are:

1.     Apples

2.     Celery

3.     Cherry tomatoes

4.     Cucumbers

5.     Grapes

6.     Nectarines

7.     Peaches

8.     Potatoes

9.     Snap peas

10.  Spinach

11.  Strawberries

12.  Sweet bell peppers

Also of note: hot peppers and kale/collard greens

“The Clean 15” – (Low Risk Produce):

The EWG has studied and compiled a list of 15 types of produce that are least likely to contain dangerous pesticide residue. As you’ll see, many of these fruits and vegetables are protected by naturally durable and thick outer surfaces. They are as follows:

1.     Asparagus

2.     Avocados

3.     Cabbage

4.     Cantaloupe

5.     Cauliflower

6.     Eggplant

7.     Grapefruit

8.     Kiwi

9.     Mangoes

10.  Onions

11.  Papayas

12.  Pineapples

13.  Sweet Corn

14.  Sweet Peas

15.  Sweet Potatoes

Read more at http://indiancountrytodaymedianetwork.com/2016/02/17/well-culture-organic-101-163455