Washington NASA Space Grant Consortium

Expanding Frontiers Spring 1997

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Table of Contents:

Students Fly Like Birds in NASA Aircraft

microgravity team

Two student teams from the University of Washington and the Washington State University "floated" through school from April 7 - 19 aboard a NASA research aircraft. They joined 23 other student teams at the Johnson Space Center to attend SURF Academy (Students Understanding Reduced-gravity Flight) a pilot program funded by NASA and administered by the Texas Space Grant Consortium.

Each team consisted of two to four undergraduate-level college students, a supervising professor, and a local journalist. The Washington teams all received travel support from the Washington NASA Space Grant Program.

The students developed and flew experiments aboard a KC-135A reduced gravity aircraft that flies a roller-coaster-like flight over the Gulf of Mexico. During each two to three hour flight, the aircraft maneuvers through steep climbs and descents. At the top of each ascent, passengers inside the aircraft will experience 25 to 40 seconds of zero gravity. This stomach turning experience will happen 30 to 50 times during the flight. In addition to performing the experiments, each team developed a program for sharing its research results with teachers, students, and the general public.

The teams and projects from Washington state were:

From the UW: The Effects of Micro-gravity on Single-Bubble Sonoluminescence by students, Jarred Swalwell, Vassilious Bezzerides, Mike Chittick, Paul Hilmo with Coach: Physics Prof. Tom Matula;

Microgravity Test of a Magnetic-Optical Trap by students, Shanti Rao and Kevin Strecker,with Coach: Physics Prof. Rich Mittleman.

From WSU: Gravitational Dependence and Stable Conditions of Single Bubble Sonoluminescence by students, Susan Richardson, Nathaniel Hicks, Jeremy Young, Arthur Binmer with Coach: Physics Prof. Mark Kuzyk.

Teachers may arrange for SURF Academy students to share their experiences with their students by calling the Space Grant office at 1-800-659-1943, or in the Seattle area at 543-1943.

State's High School Seniors Compete for a NASA Scholarship

Now in its sixth year, the Washington NASA Space Grant Scholarship Competition continues to draw top students from all over the state. This fall, 250 high school seniors vied for a chance to study science, engineering or math at the University of Washington. Based on academic records and aptitude, Space Grant selected 30 finalists. Thanks to matching funds provided by the UW Office of Student Affairs, the Mary Gates, Donnergaard Family and the Sigurd Olsen Endowments, each finalist was offered a scholarship. The awards, which are renewable for up to four years, included waivers for room and board or tuition, and book scholarships. Congratulations to the new NASA Space Grant Scholars!

Applications for next year's scholarships are due on January 19, 1998.

The NASA Space Grant Scholars for 1997


Kelsey Baber
Sarah Beal
Lindsay Davis
David Dorwin
Daniel Forshee
Marilee Glenn
Jessica Hughes
Mohana Kumar
Christiana Pierce
Paige Randall
Brant Robertson
R. Stotts-Johnson
Janelle Taves
Jessica Trantham
Michael Vargas
Tim Wilbur
Janice Wu


Forest Ridge
Federal Way
Des Moines

High School

Auburn High School
Issaquah High School
Forest Ridge
Puyallup High School
Thomas Jefferson
Charles F. Adams
Central Kitsap High
Mount Rainier High
Lewis and Clark
Issaquah High School
Lake Washington
North Central High School
Wapato High School
Waterville High School
Redmond High School
Anacortes High School
Sammamish High School

NASA Space Grant Scholars to Launch

The third crew of Washington NASA Space Grant scholars will graduate in June and boldly go into "the real world" of research or industry. Our 15 graduates have pursued their chosen majors at the University of Washington with signature style, intelligence and grace. We wish them well as they embark for new horizons.

  • Fulcanelli Chavez (Chemical Engineering) will continue his studies as a graduate student at the University of Washington.
  • Jasper Halekas (Physics and Math) is taking a year to travel around the world.
  • Sungeeta Jain (Electrical Engineering) will enter the UW Law School in the Fall.
  • Patrick Lee (Math) is awaiting word of a Peace Corps placement beginning next year.
  • David Lucas (Civil Engineering) will continue his studies as a graduate student at the University of Washington.
  • Quang Luu (Biochemistry) will attend medical school at Oregon Health Sciences University in Portland.
  • Tobias Mann (Computer Science, Math, Philosophy) will be joining the technical staff at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, assisting with research in statistical pattern recognition.
  • Lucas Mix (Biochemistry and Comparative Religion) will begin a job doing Gene Sequencing in Seattle's Nickerson Lab--the Dept. of Molecular Biotechnology.
  • Kara Nakata (Oceanography)
  • Valerie Peyton (Physics and Russian) will travel to Yale to start graduate studies in Geophysics.
  • Lisa Reid (Aeronautics and Astronautics) will begin work at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, designing Mars rovers and microprobes.
  • Alysha Reinard (Physics) will begin graduate studies in Space Science at the University of Michigan.
  • Bethany St. Clair (Computer Engineering)
  • Victoria Vaughn (Chemical Engineering) will continue her studies as a graduate student at the University of Washington.

Free Internet Workshop for Teachers

The Live from Earth and Mars project is offering a free World Wide Web workshop for teachers at the University of Washington this summer from 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. July 9-10. The workshop is sponsored by NASA's Information Infrastructure Technology and Applications Program and will be co-led by Prof. Janice DeCosmo, Washington NASA Space Grant's Associate Director. Registration is due by June 15, 1997. Space is limited--applications are being accepted on a "first-come" basis. An online application form is available at http://www-k12.atmos.washington.edu/k12/application.

The intensive two-day workshop is for teachers of all curriculum backgrounds and grade levels who are eager to explore the power of the Internet and sample educational materials that are powerful, accessible, and inexpensive. Participants will work with live data from the Mars Pathfinder mission (scheduled to land July 4, 1997), investigate atmospheric & space concepts, apply science standards & benchmarks, and explore authentic assessments. Workshop attendance will also enable participants to be part of an ongoing curriculum development project which includes on-site support for classroom implementation of Web-based lessons and regular follow-up meetings during the academic year.

The Live from Earth and Mars project focuses on atmospheric and space sciences with a special emphasis on K-12 education. Seven complete modules, representing 30 age-appropriate science lessons and engaging activities for grades 2-12 are currently available at the project website (http://www-k12.atmos.washington.edu/k12). Classroom-tested and kid approved topics range from: Way Cool Tools for Mars Exploration, examining current Pathfinder and historic Viking missions, to Tillman's Treehouse, a story encouraging youngsters to invent contraptions, experiment and explore, and Let It Snow, capitalizing on personal experiences with the weather. Kids are challenged to do the work of scientists, creating their own interpretation of real-time data.

For more information about the Live From Earth and Mars project or their summer workshop, visit the Live from Earth and Mars Website or contact Rich Edgerton at 543-1456 or by email: edge@u.washington.edu.

The Council on Undergraduate Research Poster Session

Valerie Peyton, a senior majoring in Physics and Russian at the University of Washington, represented the University and the Washingon NASA Space Grant Program at the Undergraduate Research Poster Session on Capitol Hill on April 10, 1997. Valerie's abstract was one of 46 accepted from a pool of 215 submissions from student all over the country. Her poster on underwater acoustics was based on her work with Prof. Bob Odom of UW's Applied Physics Lab.

This national poster session was hosted by the Council on Undergraduate Research (CUR) and is designed to help members of Congress better understand the importance of undergraduate research by talking directly with the students these programs impact. With funding for science and science education under increasing pressure, the words and stories of these top student researchers effectively demonstrated the role that undergraduate research programs can play in training new generations of scientists.

Senator Patty Murray responded to Valerie's abstract in a letter. She said, "Your project...obviously represents the thorough work of a dedicated student. Taking part in this important research as an undergraduate will serve you well as you embark on achieving future goals."

The Washington NASA Space Grant Consortium
University of Washington
352 Johnson Hall, Box 351650
Seattle, Wa 98195
Hours: Monday-Friday, 8:30 a.m.-5:30 p.m.
(800)659-1943/(206) 543-1943

George Parks, Director
George Nelson, Associate Director (on leave for 97/98)
Janice DeCosmo, Associate Director
Mary Edmunds, Coordinator/Student Advisor
Naomi Sterling, Editor/Public Information Specialist

Consortium Members
University of Washington
Northwest Indian College
Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction
Pacific Science Center
Seattle Central Community College
Washington State University

Industry Affiliates
The Boeing Company
Penwest Corporation