Thursday, September 29, 2011

Mirror, Mirror

So, over the course of time, and ALL recorded time, I have been told I look like this person or that person.

Whom? What do you mean Eric?

Well, I'm glad you asked. Here are a few...

Wayne Gretzky;

Anderson Cooper;

this cartoon character (Linguini);

and the sun guy.

Stop laughing. Now.

Really. I mean it.

There are a few more, and I'll add them as I think of them. If you'd like me to add sure to comment and I'll add it onto the list.


Friday, September 16, 2011

No Handlebars...

Einstein on a bike. Gotta love it. I mean really, the smartest guy around and he's enjoying doing something so simple. Hmmm. A lesson for us all I suppose.

A midterm is upon us. It surprises us...sneeky is this grade period. Like a fog bank though, it descends and smothers the unprepared. I offer, in honor of midterms, a little extra credit. How much? Ten points. The assignment? Let's have you do three paragraphs with an image of a scientist. Normal font. Normal image. Email them both to me. Submissions will be posted here on the blog. DO NOT cut and paste. Be original. If it's a scientist I have on this blog (and there are a lot) I will NOT give you full credit. There is a deadline (since midterms are Wednesday). Let's go with Friday, September 23rd, at the end of the witching hour.

From Tyler

                 Jonas Salk was a very important scientist. He was a virologist, or someone who studies viruses. He is best known for finding a vaccine for polio. Polio was transported through snot and waste products. Many people in the early twentieth century got polio, especially children. Some of those that were infected either died, or had some sort of paralysis for the rest of their life.
            The disease was not particularly noticed until the president, Franklin D. Roosevelt, was infected with polio in 1921. According to William O’Neill, polio was one of the most frightening, and one of the most serious health problems of that time period. Many people died from polio. Salk was asked to create a vaccine for it. He spent seven years and finally created the vaccine.
            Many people were involved in the creating of the vaccine, and over 1.8 million school children took part in the trial. He wanted to create the vaccine without any personal gain or profit. He did not patent his vaccine. The world celebrated after the vaccine was created. There were anniversaries for the day and it was almost turned into a holiday. Salk even opened up his own institution for biological studies in California. We are not affected by polio anymore because Jonas Salk created a vaccine for it.
Chelsea Young; Period-2                    

Barbara McClintock was an American scientist born June 16, 1902 in Hartford, Connecticut, and was one of the world’s most distinguished cytogeneticists (a scientist who studies the structure and function of the cell, primarily the chromosomes).  She received her PhD in botany from Cornell University in 1927.  She found her interest and love for science when in high school while attending Erasmus Hall High School in Brooklyn, New York.  It was during this time in high school that she decided to attend Cornell University to continue her studies, which her mother resisted because she believed it would make Barbara unmarriageable.  Her family had financial difficulties, which almost prevented her entrance into college.  She entered Cornell in 1919, however, after her father intervened and gave some financial aid.
            McClintock is most well known for her study and work in the genetic structure of maize (corn).  From the late 1920s on, she studied chromosomes and how they change during reproduction in maize.  She was able to do some groundbreaking work by developing a technique for visualizing maize chromosomes.  She also used microscopic analysis to demonstrate fundamental genetic ideas, such as genetic recombination by crossing-over during meiosis (process by which chromosomes exchange information during sexual reproduction).  She also produced the first genetic map (shows the arrangement of genes on a chromosome) for maize, in which she linked regions of the chromosome with physical traits.  She also demonstrated the role of the telomere and centromere (regions of the chromosome that are important in the conservation of genetic information).
            McClintock was recognized amongst the best in the field of microbiology and botany and was awarded prestigious fellowships.  She was also elected a member of the National Academy of Sciences in 1944, which was a great honor.  She also received a Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine in 1983.  McClintock worked at Cold Spring Harbor, a prestigious DNA research facility, and is very well known in the world of biology for her discovery of transposition during the 1940s and 1950s.  Transposition is used to show how genes are responsible for turning physical characteristics on and off.  Transposition refers to the movement of transposons (sequences of DNA that can move/transpose themselves to new positions within the genome of a single cell).  Transposition is the actual transposing of transposons to different positions within the genome, which can yield significant mutations and alster the genome size.  It was through the discovery of transposition that McClintock won the Nobel Prize in 1983.  Nearly ten years after McClintock won the Nobel Prize, she passed away.  She never married or had children and died at the age of 90 on September 2, 1992 in Huntington, New York.

Karl Landsteiner

    Karl Landsteiner was born in Vienna on June 14, 1868. His father, Leopold Landsteiner, was  a doctor of law and a well-known journalist and newspaper publisher. He died when Karl was six years old. Karl was brought up by his mother, Fanny Hess. After leaving school, Landsteiner studied medicine at the University of Vienna and graduated in 1891. Even while he was a student he had begun to do biochemical research and in 1891 he published a paper on the influence of diet on the composition of blood ash. He gained  further knowledge of chemistry and spent the next five years in the laboratories of Hantzsch at Zurich, Emil Fischer at Wurzburg, and E. Bamberger at Munich.
    He returned to Vienna and resumed his medical studies at the Vienna General Hospital. In 1896 he became an assistant under Max von Gruber in the Hygiene Institute at Vienna. He was interested in the mechanisms of immunity and the nature of antibodies. From 1898 untill 1908 he held the post of assistant in the University Department of Pathological Anatomy in Vienna.  Here Landsteiner worked on morbid physiology rather than on morbid anatomy. He was encouraged by Weichselbaum, in spite of the criticism of others in this Institute. In 1908 Weichselbaum secured his appointment as Prosector in the Wilhelminaspital in Vienna, where he remained until 1919. In 1911 he became Professor of Pathological Anatomy in the University of Vienna, but without the salary.
    Landsteiner married Helen Wlasto in 1916. Dr. E. Landsteiner was their son. In 1939 he became Emeritus Professor at the Rockefeller Institute, but continued to work as energetically as before. He always kept in touch with the progress of science. On June 24, 1943, he had a heart attack in his laboratory and died two days later in the hospital of the Institute in which he had done such distinguished work.

Stephen Hawking is arguably one of the most intelligent men in the world today.  His insights on the universe baffle and awe us.  He is a very smart man who has been through so much.  But there is a very good possibility that his trial is the very thing that made him such a genius.
            It is reported that at his young age he was an acceptable student.  He got good grades, but was not at all at the top of the class.  He wasn’t even very interested in mathematics and science.  It wasn’t until he met his math teacher at St. Albans School, Dikran Tahta, that he became fascinated in the way the world works and functions.  With this newfound interest and motivation he started studying more.  Before long he was considered an expert. 
            But then disaster struck.  While he was attending the University of Cambridge, he fell down a flight of stairs and hit his head hard.  At age twenty-one he was diagnosed with Motor Neurone Disease.   This would eventually take over his body and make him almost completely paralyzed.
            Although this would probably be the end for most people he did not give up.  Instead he engulfed himself in his studies even more.  And considering the fact that it was now impossible for him to move by himself, it made it much more convenient to sit still and just read.  
Although he can no longer use his voice, arms or legs, he can still see and hear very clearly.  These abilities have become his greatest learning tools.  It is often said that you can learn more from listening than from talking.  Stephen Hawking is a living proof of this theory.  Instead of constantly babbling off about how brilliant he is he spends his time observing the world around him in a way that the rest of the world is unable to do.  Because of this he has spotted many things that we would have never noticed. 
Stephen Hawking is an amazing example of perseverance, motivation, and determination.   Instead of letting this disease take over his perspective and letting himself feel hopeless and depressed, he used the tools that he DID have and ended up becoming one of the most brilliant people in this world.  I think that is very admirable.  I look up to him as a person for this very reason. 
Marie Sklodowska was born on November 7, 1867 in Warsaw, Poland.  In 1891 she travelled to Paris, France to attend Sorbonne University.  While she was there she studied physics, chemistry, and mathematics.  In 1893 Marie received her degree from Sorbonne in Physics.  She began working in Lippman's laboratory while still studying at Sorbonne, and in 1894 receiving a degree in mathematics.
    In 1894 Marie met Pierre Curie, he was an instructor at Ecole superieure de physique et de chimie industrielles de la ville de Paris.  They were both studying the magnetism of various steels.  Marie left to go back to Poland to gain a job at Krakow University but was denied the position because she was a woman.  In July of 1895 Marie returned to Paris and married Pierre.
    On April 12, 1898 Marie Curie's paper on her discovery of how thorium gives off rays the same way as uranium was presented to the Academie de Sciences.  However only two months before Gerhard Schmidt had published his own paper on his discoveries on the same matter in Berlin.  Marie had a hunch that pitchblende contained an element more radioactive than uranium.  Pierre was so intrigued by this that he dropped his work to join her.  In July of 1898 they announced their discovery of a new element named Polonium, in honor of Marie's native Poland.  They continued their research and on December 26, 1898 announced their discovery of another new element, Radium.  In 1903 Marie and Pierre were awarded the Nobel Prize in Physics.  On April 19,1906 Pierre Curie died.  In 1911 Marie received the Nobel Prize in Chemistry.  Marie Curie was the first woman to be awarded a Nobel Prize and the first person to receive a Nobel Prize in two different areas.

Jule Charney was a dominant figure in atmospheric science in the years following World War II. A majority of meteorology’s shift from an art to a science was due to his commitment to the programs and the field. Charney was born on January 1, 1917 in San Francisco, California.  He was a successful student and it was expected that he would enter the fields of mathematics or theoretical physics. He began studying at UCLA in both of those subjects; however, a professor introduced him to meteorology, and he finished college studying it.
            In Charney’s college years, few universities in the U.S. offered courses in meteorology; however, universities across the U.S. began adopting programs once the military had a need for meteorologists. Charney helped simplify and improve the weather-casting system by using modern technology. He used computers to forecast weather using numbers and equations. He used the knowledge he gained to train weather officers in the military.
            Jule Charney was one of the leading meteorologists and oceanographers of his time. As a pioneer in weather prediction, he founded the National Center for Atmospheric Research. He studied the dynamics of hurricanes, the structures of ocean currents and wave energy. During his life, he received many honors for his scientific research.  

Linus Carl Pauling, and American chemist, biochemist, peace activist, and author was born in Portland Oregon on February 28, 1901, and was the son of a druggist. He is one of the most important chemists in history and is one of the most influential chemists in the 20th century. He is one of two people that have ever been awarded more than one Nobel prize, and the first to win two unshared. He was one of the first scientists to work with quantum chemistry and molecular biology.
                  Pauling was first introduced to quantum physics while he was studying at Oregon State University. He wanted to see how they would relate to atoms forming bonds with each other. He was the first to find out how covalent bonds worked, and the structures of molecules, which no one knew at the time. He strongly opposed nuclear weapons, and when an atomic bomb was used at the end of World War 2, he took an interest to effects of nuclear fallout on human molecular structures.
                  Linus Carl Pauling known as one of the best chemists in history, and excelled in many different types of science. He was the first person to ever win two unshared Nobel prizes, and one of the first to work with quantum physics and molecular biology. He was also opposed to war, and nuclear weapons, and this made him unpopular among scientists, but even so he was greatly respected due to his work. At age 40, he was diagnosed with Brights disease, although he was able to control it with low protein, a salt-free diet, and vitamin supplements. Pauling lived to be 93 years, and died on August 19, 1994 in his home.

Ahmed Zewail was born on February 26, 1946 in Damanhour, Egypt.  He earned his bachelor’s degree and his MS Degree at the University of Alexandria in Egypt.  He then moved to the United States where he received his PhD at the University of Pennsylvania.  He then did more work at UC-Berkeley and after that he was hired at Caltech in 1976.  Zewail is a part of the Presidential Council of Advisors on Science and Technology where he helps the government with scientific policies and work. 
            Ahmed Zewail studied femtochemistry.  Femtochemistry is a science that studies different chemical reactions on very short amounts of time.  He was able to do this by using a laser technique that is ultrafast and can describe the quickest and tiniest reactions.  Zewail received many huge honors already including the Nobel Prize in 1999, The Frankin Medal in 1998, and in 2011 the Priestley Medal.  He was only the third ethnic Egyptian in history to receive the Nobel Prize. 
            Zewail is currently still studying femtochemistry.  He has four children and lives in San Marino, California.  Many of his family members and relatives are scientists just like him all over the world.  His wife is a physician at UCLA.  Zewail has contributed so much to the science world.  His research has been huge in the study of femtochemistry and he continues to learn and discover more everyday. 

Nobel Prize Winner Frederick Gowland Hopkins was a very important scientist in the discovery of vitamins. He was born on June 20, 1861, in England. His father was a bookseller, but he was also very interested in science. He died when Frederick was very young. Growing up Hopkins showed much interest and skill in literacy, and he believed he would become a classical scholar or a naturalist. His literary skills helped him with his scientific reports later in life.
            In 1871, Hopkins went to the City of London School where he earned first in his class in chemistry in 1874. By the age of 17 Frederick had published a paper in The Entomologist magazine. Out of high school he worked as an insurance clerk, and later went on to take courses at University College in London. In 1888, Hopkins went as a medical student to Guy’s Hospital in London and was awarded a Gold Medal for Chemistry. In 1902 he was given a readership in biochemistry, and in 1914 he was elected to the Chair of Biochemistry at Cambridge University. He was the first professor of biochemistry at Cambridge.
            Hopkins studied how cells gain energy from a complex metabolic process involving oxidation and reduction reactions. One of his main achievements was his discovery of the connection between lactic acid and muscle contraction in 1907. In 1912 Frederick published a paper in which he explained how normal diets were not supporting animal growth. He then suggested adding small amounts of unidentified substances (later to be known as “accessory food factors”, or “vitamins”) were very influential in animal growth and survival. This discovery led him to receive the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine in 1929. This is considered to be Hopkins greatest achievement. He later died on May 16, 1947 in Cambridge, England. 

 Leonardo da Vinci lived in the middle ages in Europe.  He lived from 1452 to 1519. He was many things. He was an artist, an inventor, an engineer, a musician, a cartographer, a mathematician, astronomer, botanist, zoologist, geologist and more. He loved science and made many discoveries that are used in today’s world.

            Beginning with his first stay in Milan and even more in 1505, da Vinci became wrapped up in his scientific discoveries. In his time, many scientists would get their information from reading the bible. da Vinci saw that this would not give the entire truth to the science behind things. So he did something that is now used in science. He observed things and wrote down/drew his observations. Because of this, he was able to learn many things that no one knew before and he was able to prove it with his records.

            Leonardo da Vinci examined cadavers of criminals. Back then, they didn’t have the scientific knowledge of how to keep dead bodies as preserved as possible for them to be studied. So da Vinci would have rotting corpses that he examined. He examined them because he was so curious about the body and how it worked. He looked at small organs and body parts that no one had cared to note before. He discovered many things, like how nerves work, that we use in science today.

Marie was born in 1867 in Poland.  She was a physicist and a chemist.  She had many  accomplishments, including an Nobel prize.  She was really young when she actually graduated! She was around the age of 16! Which is really cool actually.  After she graduated she moved on to an university.  She went to the famous Sorbonne university.  With this she completed her master's degree for physics and math in only 3 years.  Years later she was married to Pierre Curie. 
            Marie Curie had some awesome achievements.  She had a theory about radioactivity, and is credited with the discovery of two elements; polonium and radium.  She also had a Nobel prize given to her and her husband in 1903 for physics.  Marie was the first woman to win a Nobel prize.  Then in 1911 she won another Nobel prize, this one for chemistry.  This Nobel prize was for the discovery of the two elements radium and polonium. 
            She died in 1937 from a disease due from getting too much radiation.  From all her research about it, it actually killed her.  But without the discoveries she made we would never be where we would now.  Radiation was used in small amounts to help with cancer.  It kills cancer cells.   The radium information helped doctors to heal and cure patients.  Marie Curie was one awesome scientist.  Especially that she was the first woman to win a Nobel Prize.  And she even won two.  Her discoveries changed the world.


Friday, September 9, 2011

Way back in 1790 (the US was brand-spankin'-new)--May 8th to be precise--The French National Assembly decided that the length of the new meter would be equal to the length of a pendulum with a half-period of one second. 

Fast forward to 1983 the meter is now defined as equal to the length of the path traveled by light  in vacuum during a time interval of 1299,792,458 of a second.


Just sayin'.

Okay, the picture is the standard for the kilogram, not the meter. But, it's the only thing close i could find.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Come Around

Ah, those fleeting moments all seem lost now and then. They slip from our grasp and we watch helplessly as they fall and crash into myriads of pieces. I struggle to recall the details of those memories. Putting pieces back together rarely results in a whole.

Nonetheless we soldier on. Stiff upper lip. I present you with a C-111 circa 1969. It set all kinds of records back then that would still give everything now a run for their money. Really, look it up.

What else today you ask? Is that all you got? you mumble under your breath. Hmmm, he whispers. Hand to chin to stroke my fu manchu. well, how about this?
That's right Philo Farnsworth. The one. The only. Who is he? you ask. Well, I answer, only the guy that invented the television. Boo-yaaa. Find him here, and here, and here (at the least). Why present you with Philo? Did his friends call him Philo? Or Phil? Well, regardless, I present you with Phil (I decided) because today's anniversary--September 7th, 1927--he transmitted the first images using his all-electronic television system.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Could Tomorrow Be

When I was young [LOVE that song, by the way] i played soccer for the Capital Kings in Sacramento California. We wore orange--lots and lots of orange. Our defense employed three fullbacks and one sweeper. We were termed the orange crush. we won. a lot.

The Denver Broncos also wore orange; they also had a defense that was referred to as the Orange Crush.

Just sayin'.