Washington NASA Space Grant Consortium

Expanding Frontiers Winter/Spring 2001

Expanding Frontiers is a publication of Washington NASA Space Grant Consortium. To join our mailing list, please send us an e-mail with your request.

Table of Contents:

It's a solar blast!

Sun-Earth Day - a national celebration of the Sun, the space around Earth and how all of it affects life on our planet - takes place April 27. Teachers can receive a Sun-Earth Day Education Kit, support materials for the classroom and e-mail mentoring. For more information, see: http://solarevents.org/

SURP gives undergraduates research skills

Professor Winglee and student

SURP student Ben Warrick and Professor Robert Winglee at NASA Marshall Space Flight Center in Alabama where they tested a prototype of the M2P2 system which may allow the solar wind to push a craft into deep space.

The Space Grant Summer Undergraduate Research Program is entering its eighth year, matching undergraduate students with some of the top math and science researchers at the University of Washington.

SURP allows undergraduate students to participate in cutting edge projects, giving them research experiences that they normally wouldn't get as freshmen or sophomores. The summer program also gives students a chance to develop mentoring relationships and explore possible career options.

"SURP has given me the opportunity to focus on research as a priority and not just an activity I do with my free time," says senior and biochemistry major Christine Palermo. "In addition, my SURP experiences have informed my decision to pursue biomedical research as a career." Summer research projects run the gamut from applied physics to zoology. Although the program is open to undergraduate students from around the country , first priority is given to UW students.

SURP participants attend weekly meetings, do an oral presentation of their work to their peers and produce written abstracts on their projects. They also create a research poster summarizing their work. The posters are presented at a fall reception and again in the spring. Many of the abstracts have been published later in scientific journals in their fields.

Applicants need a letter of recommendation from an instructor familiar with their course work or prior research experience. Additional information, including an application, will be posted on the Space Grant Web site in early March.

SG Scholars' Achievements

Emma Brunskill, a former Summer Undergraduate Research Program participant, was selected as a 2001 Rhodes Scholar. She is the UW's first Rhodes Scholar in 20 years. Emma, who is now pursuing graduate studies at MIT, worked on six research projects in the UW departments of computer science, physics, geophysics and chemistry. She also worked as a summer research student at the European Center for Particle Physics.

"Optimization of a circular piezoelectric bimorph for a micropump driver" co-authored by Space Grant graduate fellow Christopher Morris appeared in the September issue of Journal of Micromechanics and Microengineering. Morris, who also attended UW as an undergraduate, is working toward a master's degree in mechanical engineering and continues to pursue his microfluids research in collaboration with his co-author Dr. Fred Forster.

Former graduate fellow John. C. Withey's paper on the effects of tagging and location error in wildlife radiotelemetry studies is the third chapter of the book, Radiotelemetry and Animal Populations, which is slated for publication this spring.

The bylines of UW Space Grant undergraduate scholars also showed up in a number of academic publications this winter. Junior Misty Bentz co-authored "Measuring Plasma Properties for the M2P2 System" for the UW McNair Program Journal. Sudhi Tyagi, a sophomore, is part of the team whose article "Parent Stars of Extrasolar Planets VI: Abundance Analyses of 20 New Systems" will appear in the Astronomical Journal.

Last fall, freshman B. Race Roberson appeared on the list of authors for an abstract presented at a meeting of the American Geophysical Union. The presentation, made by Dr. Mitch Brittnacher, was an outgrowth of their summer research work on the aurora borealis.

Space Grant sophomore Mandy Carr has been accepted as a counselor with U.S. Space Camp at the U.S. Space & Rocket Center in Huntsville, Ala.

Summer teacher workshops focus on stars and volcanoes

Columbia River

Members of last year's workshop survey the Columbia River gorge from above Crescent Bar. The stop was part of a four-day field trip to explore the similarities between the geology of Eastern Washington and Mars.

This summer Space Grant offers two in-depth workshops for teachers. The first one, geared to middle school and high school teachers, will focus on volcanoes. The second, designed for elementary and middle school teachers, explores astronomy topics.

Planetary Volcanism, scheduled for July 7-14, is modeled on last year's combination of field trips and classroom work. Participants and instructors will spend four days touring the Cascades volcanic range, beginning at Mount Rainier and ending at Crater Lake.

The field trip is followed by three days on the University of Washington campus developing hands-on lessons to share their new knowledge with their students. The workshop features instructors from UW and the Lunar and Planetary Institute in Texas. Workshop space is limited. Credit and clock hours are available.

Astronomy 2001, geared to grades 3-8, will take place July 30-Aug. 3 at the UW Olympic Natural Resources Center in Forks. Workshop content and activities are aimed at EALR Levels 1 and 2 for astronomy and related subjects.

This approach is inquiry-oriented with a wealth of ideas for incorporating science into other subjects such as reading, writing, math, art, and social studies. Topics include stars and constellations; the day, year, time and the seasons; the scale and contents of the solar system; phases of the moon; and life in the universe, including a brief glimpse beyond our solar system.

For information on either workshop, call 206-543-1943, or tollfree, 1-800-659-1943. You can also e-mail us at nasa@u.washington.edu


NASA ERC adds evening hours

The NASA Educator Resource Center (ERC) is now open from 5-8 p.m. on Wednesday nights. The addition of evening hours will make it easier for K-12 teachers to utilize the wide range of science and mathematics materials available at little or no cost.

These include curriculum packets, education briefs, posters, lithographs, bookmarks, videotapes, slides and books. Some items such as curriculum packets and posters are free; others such as books and slides may be borrowed for up to one month. Videotapes may be copied for $5.

The ERC is located in Room 401, Johnson Hall, on the University of Washington campus. Daytime hours are 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday to Friday. Materials can also be mailed to teachers. For more information, contact Dr. Julie Lutz by phone at 206-543-0214, or by e-mail at nasa@u.washington.edu

Observing the World Around Us series

Threads of Inquiry: Observing the World Around Us" is a series of 10 hands-on investigations focused on the changing seasons and other aspects of our everyday experience.

The lessons, geared to grades K-6, look to answer questions such as why the Sun doesn't always rise in the same place each day and where does it go at night.

The Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory developed the curriculum working with elementary schools in Massachusetts and it meets National Science Education Standards. Each Thread is divided into sections based on three grade level divisions: K-2, 2-4, and 4-6. For more information, including curriculum downloads, go to http://www.strategies.org/ESEReview.html

Planets, planets and more planets

Windows on the Universe offers students and teachers an in-depth look at the moon with topics ranging from the phases of the moon and its affect on tides to its atmosphere and geological history.

Visitors can pick between beginner, intermediate and advanced levels. The site also includes a wealth of information and hands-on activities related to other planets. To visit Windows on the Universe, go to http://www.windows.ucar.edu/

Mini-grants awarded to 35 state teachers

The Washington NASA Space Grant Consortium awarded $250 grants to 35 Washington teachers. Winning projects ranged from building telescopes to exploring the environment.

Mini-grants for K-12 teachers are intended to enrich the study of science and mathematics in the classroom. Grants must be matched by nonfederal funds.

Public, private, and certified home-school teachers are welcome to apply. Preference is given to schools with a high percentage of economically disadvantaged students and/or underrepresented minorities.

A complete list of 2001 mini-grant projects is available on the Space Grant Web site.

Explore complex ideas in simple math

The MegaMath site, sponsored by Los Alamos National Laboratory, provides opportunities for students and their teachers to experience mathematics in ways it is experienced by mathematicians and scientists.

Hands-on activities and story problems explore the fundamentals of topics such as primes, infinity, knot theory and graph theory. Lessons are designed for elementary class and up. Visit the site at http://www.c3.lanl.gov/mega-math/menu.html

Transfer Scholarship applications online

NASA Community College Transfer Scholarship applications are available online and must be postmarked by March 31.

Space Grant annually offers scholarships for transfer students to study science, engineering, or math at the University of Washington. These competitive scholarships are based on academic achievement, standardized test scores, personal essays, recommendations, and future academic promise.

Applications are available at http://www.waspacegrant.org

Free Saturday workshops

April 21 - Never Been to a NASA Workshop? Now's the Time (for teachers, grades 1-6) Orchard Heights Elementary teacher Ann Paoletti shares a variety of simple science activities and shows how you too can take advantage of the NASA summer programs.

May 19 - Rocket Science II (for teachers, grades K-12) Popular educator Ed Sobey returns with new rocket launching devices you can make and use with inexpensive materials.

Clock hours available. Workshops held from 1-4 p.m. in the Space Grant office, 401 Johnson Hall on the UW campus. Register by phone or e-mail. For more information, go to our Web site http://www.waspacegrant.org