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Senior Staff Scientist Thomas Humphrey invents a simple experiment to see if the Giant Mirror is spherical or parabolic, and then to see if it's perfectly spherical. By placing a Styrofoam ball at the center of curvature, he's able to prove that the mirror is out of pure sphericity by about one-quarter of one degree. Staff Neuroscientist Richard Brown demonstrates that the Giant Mirror reflects infrared radiation as well as visible light. Dr. Laura Peticolas is a physicist at UC Berkeley's Space Physics Research group. She studies the Aurora to learn more about the Earth and the workings of our Solar System. She's currently working with NASA's Mars data to understand why the Martian aurora looks the way it does. In this podcast she discusses her research, her inspiration and how and why scientists sonify data. Students may come into your classroom with preconceived ideas about how things work. TI director Linda Shore explains why she feels it’s important to explore students’ private theories about the world, and some ways she’s found to do that in her own classrooms.
An introduction to the Ice Balloons activity, in which learners explore globes of frozen water and learn how to ask and then answer 'investigable' questions. A detailed demonstration of how to do the Ice Balloons activity, including a discussion of materials needed and strategies for getting learners to ask and then investigate questions about what they are seeing. The science and pedagogy behind this activity, including a discussion of concepts such as density, temperature, thermal conductivity, center of mass, freezing point depression, heat capacity, and the characteristics of the states of water, water vapor, and ice. Also describes strategies for observing, asking questions, and then choosing a question to investigate further. In this activity, you'll explore a frozen water balloon to learn how to ask investigable questions and how to use everyday objects to do experiments to answer those questions. The film Between the Folds is a 2009 work by filmmaker Vanessa Gould. Between the Folds chronicles ten artists and scientists who have devoted time to the unlikely medium of modern origami. Vanessa Gould, who has degrees in physics and architecture, explores the expression of mathematics through origami. She became captivated by the art and science of transforming sheets of paper into three-dimensional geometric shapes — and exposed a hidden subculture. The film will screen at the Exploratorium on Saturday, October 18th, at 2pm. Exploratorium staff physicist Thomas Humphrey reveals why size does matter, at least in physics.