I once again have a brief, but heartfelt, post to honor Ada Lovelace Day, an international day of blogging to celebrate the achievements of women in technology and science.
The first I heard of Jocelyn Bell Burnell was good reports of her as clerk of London Yearly Meeting. And then in 2000, I got to hear her speak at the annual Gathering of Friends General Conference. That is when I learned of her scientific accomplishments as an astrophysicist.
Burnell (then Bell), as a postgraduate student, discovered pulsars. As a student (and, I believe, as a woman), she was not included in the 1974 Nobel Prize in Physics that was awarded to her supervisor, Antony Hewish.
In Burnell’s address to Friends, several things particularly struck me: her generosity of spirit, tested by grief; her embrace of both science and spirit; and her vivid cosmological description of us (and everything around us) as being made of stardust.
Given the mental difficulties involved in deciphering sarcasm, it’s interesting to note that the right hemisphere has been repeatedly implicated as an essential component of sarcastic processing.
Ever wondered how big nebulae are? Go take a look at the April 11, 2009 Astronomy Picture of the Day for a great composite photograph that shows you.
The University of Nottingham has videos about the elements:
There’s a little graphic and such, but here’s the central, weird finding of a Pew study reported in The Climate Change Attitude Mystery | Wired Science from Wired.com
The confounding part: among college-educated poll respondents, 19 percent of Republicans believe that human activities are causing global warming, compared to 75 percent of Democrats. But take that college education away and Republican believers rise to 31 percent while Democrats drop to 52 percent.
The whole blog looks interesting, but this is the first post that caught my attention on Cabinet of Wonders: The Wonder of the Golden Proportions
Ever hear of the Golden Mean? Neither had I, until I was supposed to teach a graphic design course, and started (you know me) to do research on what, exactly, I should be teaching.
It’s really a lovely little essay (illustrated!) on these mathematical and design basics.
At Astronomy Picture of the Day, take a look at “A Spectacular Sky Over the Grand Tetons,” the image for August 14, 2007.
Astronomy Picture of the Day rationalizes including this really good optical illusion by relating it to the virtues of non-human observation in science.