Sunday, January 24, 2010
You can check out the original borna virus paper here and an article about it in the New York Times called 'Hunting Fossil Viruses in Human DNA'.
Wednesday, January 13, 2010
"It’s easy to imagine catching a ball, holding it for a moment and then throwing it in the air again. It’s also easy to imagine scooping up a handful of water — say, from the ocean — and then releasing it again. But what about light? Is it possible to “catch” light — and then let it go?Scientists from Harvard University recently demonstrated a way to catch and release light—but it’s not easy. In other words, no one will be using the new method to play a game of catch with flashlight beams anytime soon."
Cool because light is cool and very mysterious, and fortuitous because we have a fun book in the works called 'Can you catch a ray of light?' Won't be out for some time but it is about a little girl who tries all sorts of home grown experiments to catch light and understand what it is. Thinking how we might incorporate this....
Sunday, December 6, 2009
Tuesday, November 17, 2009
Wednesday, November 4, 2009
"One of my favorite things to do is to take a set of facts and use them to imagine how the world might work. In writing about some of these ideas, my aim is not to be correct — how can I be, when the answer isn’t known? — but to be thought-provoking, to ask questions, to make people wonder.
I mention this because science is usually presented as a body of knowledge — facts to be memorized, equations to be solved, concepts to be understood, discoveries to be applauded. But this approach can give students two misleading impressions.One is that science is about what we know. One colleague told me that when he was studying science at school, the relentless focus on the known gave him the impression that almost everything had already been discovered. But in fact, science — as the physicist Richard Feynman once wrote — creates an “expanding frontier of ignorance,” where most discoveries lead to more questions."
Monday, October 19, 2009
Can we find ways to bring the stories of scientific lives to kids?
One of the things we hope to do is to create something of a new genre of book: science through picture book fiction. It’s not exactly ‘science fiction’ since it’s not so much futuristic as much as it is science told through stories with fictional elements. We’re not really sure yet what to call it. Every one of our books, however, needs to meet at least one out of two scientific criteria (preferably both): introduce a concept beyond our sensory experience and/or touch on the unknown. They also need to meet at least one out of two literary criteria (again preferably both): strong characters and/or story line. We also ensure that our books have high quality illustrations comparable to main stream picture book fiction. The bottom line is that given that fiction is not generally divided up based on the topics it covers, we are hoping over time to convince booksellers and libraries to classify our books as fiction rather than science on the basis of their literary quality. After all, if a book about a talking animal that teaches the child about good behavior is fiction, why not a book about a mischievous virus that teaches you something about infection and contagion? Fiction has long been accepted as a medium to help children understand how to relate to other people and understand societal norms. Why not as a means to understand our relationship to the microscopic and physical world as well? In the greater context both science and humanities encompass themes that impact our view of the world and our role in it. Classifying our books as fiction and not relegating them to the one ‘science’ shelf at the back that barely anyone visits will widen the audience. We really want to reach children who would otherwise not be exposed to science outside the classroom either because they think they don’t like science or because their parents are science phobic. We believe that every child is born with curiosity about their world and, in the end, understanding ourselves and our relationship to the universe is what science is all about. So ‘science’ or ‘fiction’? Tell us what you think.