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16 Apr

A Wonderful Week of Science – and It’s Not Over Yet!

Live Q&A This Morning at 10 a.m. with Steve Spengler, "America's Science Teacher"

This week has been very special. Not only did the President preside over his sixth and final White House Science Fair on Wednesday, but the bi-annual U.S. Science and Engineering Festival closes out the week. Both events emphasize nurturing an interest in curiosity, learning and exploring the fields of science, technology, math and engineering. Obama has called it the “Mars Generation.”

This generation is being taught that innovation and research is fun and confidence building. It’s not just something you have to wait to “aspire” to one day, but science and its various tracks are things children and teenagers can embrace at any time. When looking at the programs of both events, perhaps what’s most inspiring to me and the folks here at Science Channel, are the projects on display from these teens have in large part been driven by a desire to help others.PotusSciFair

From the White House Science Fair, there was the group of middle-schoolers inspired to computer design and 3-D print more flexible prosthetic limbs allowing the wounded veterans at a neighboring Air Force base to manage uneven terrain on hikes and other everyday activities. Tackling cancer detection through identifying circulating cancer genes and studying the effects of low doses of radiation on health care workers were two other projects generated by a desire to keep people healthy.

Robots, 3-D printing and code? They’re part of our future and natural tools for the Mars Generation. We loved the team that engineered a robot to clean the New York City subway system to make commuting healthier and more efficient. The girls that created an app to connect, entertain and battle anxiety in cancer patients waiting for treatment were impressive.

The President was joined by science celebrities, astronauts, mentors and science educators to talk and listen to the young participants. As usual, the event was widely covered on social media with VIPs taking to their devices to gush over kids that knocked their socks off with bold presentations and in some, the casual attitude that science isn’t some dusty pursuit but fun and rewarding.

President Obama acknowledged the need to make STEM careers accessible and interesting pursuits among the range of choices for careers. As he put it in his remarks,

“As a society, we have to celebrate outstanding work by young people in science at least as much as we do Super Bowl winners.”

President Obama genuinely believes in science and the Mars Generation. Not only did he host the White House Science Fair this week, but he also hosted a week of our daily news program “Science Presents DNews at 9” covering the topics he’s passionate about – from climate change awareness and space exploration to STEM education. We are honored he took the time to stop by, and you can catch up on his segments here on Sciencechannel.com.

 

Science Channel decided to not only keep an eye on the amazing give and take at the White House, we’ve also been busy communicating that science is something that can be hands on and fun! On Wednesday, my colleague Amber and I played an impromptu game of Sink or Float” via Facebook Live. Our biggest surprise was that a pineapple floated, despite being pretty darn heavy! In our first foray into demonstrating live science experiments, we had a lot of laughs, got very messy and learned a great respect for science teachers. We were FAR from perfect in our ability to communicate the variables of density, but that just made us want to sharpen our skills for the next time.

Until that happens we’ll continue to bring you real experts, like those visiting the U.S. Science and Engineering Festival here in Washington, DC. Our fans loved the Facebook Live Q&A with Astronaut Jessica Meir with over 3,000 thousand comments/questions. Everyone at the Science Channel was overwhelmed by how smart and curious our fans are, and the wonderful questions people asked.

The Festival continues today, Saturday the 16th and tomorrow, Sunday the 17th and is open to the public free of charge starting at 10am every day. All you need is your curiosity. There will be over 3,000 hands-on activities and demonstrations covering everything from aerospace and conservation paleontology and robots, with science celebrities and communicators taking the stage all weekend long. Follow what’s going on via Twitter with #SciFest and on here on Facebook.

Screen Shot 2016-04-15 at 9.09.10 PMWe’re even getting into the act by hosting “America’s Science Teacher,” Steve Spengler in another Facebook Live Q&A starting at 10 a.m. before he goes on stage at the event. Get your questions ready for a guy who has devoted his life to reminding us there is a lot of “wow” in science. There’s no need to be shy here at Science Channel. We’ll also be walking the floor of the Festival taking careful notes about the trends we see bubbling up in the science world so we can make sure to bring them to you.

While technically this special week of science kicked off by our President comes to an end on Sunday, we’re still your science buddy 24/7 on-air on Science Channel, online at Sciencechannel.com and all over the social space via @ScienceChannel. Reach out and say hello!

7 Feb

Is Your Child a Scientist or Problem Solver in The Making?

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Your child always has their head in their chemistry book, or is out in the garage inventing things. They count down the days to the science fair. Or maybe your child has simply seen a problem on TV and said, “someone should fix that.” Then it’s your child who should enter the Discovery Education 3M Young Scientist Challenge, now accepting entries.

We can think of so many different reasons kids with an idea should enter this video competition. Sure, the $25K prize is pretty attractive to tuck away for college, but there are personal wins ALL the children take away.

The Young Science Challenge is hands-on. This isn’t some boring lecture series. The finalists get to travel to 3M and see innovation labs. They each get a 3M mentor who helps them shape their idea into an application or solution that could actually affect change in the real world. Not only will participants have the friendship of their mentor, but they meet other science minded kids and can exchange ideas, make new friends, and our favorite part - simply geek out over science!

All the participants take away a fire for science, and new friends and contacts for the future. There is more however. Kids who participate learn to present their ideas to a distinguished panel of judges, and gain confidence to put themselves out there for their passions.

WinnerHow do we know this? Looking back at past participants and winners, some have gone on to demonstrate their ideas for the President at the White House. Their ideas generate interest from the news media and many have done local press and demonstrations. Several winners have even done national news like NBC News, Fox News and Friends, Mashable, TED Talks and much more. For some the Young Scientist Challenge is a jumping off point – many have gone on to win other awards for their ideas, and even patents.

At Science Channel we’ve watched this competition grow since 1999, and we are so excited each year to see the ideas from the next generation that will change our world. We are amazed at what today’s kids are thinking about and how involved they are in global solutions.

We hope you and your child will sit down and take a look at the Discovery Education 3M Young Scientist Page and Entry. You’ll find all the how-to’s, the rules and even some advice on thought starters to provide inspiration.

Go have a look, get inspired and talk with your kids about science. If they’ve got an idea or a question that leads them to a potential entry all you have to do is ENTER HERE.

15 Oct

Meet The Discovery Education 3M Young Scientist Challenge Winner!

Here at Science Channel we are always completely blown away by the ideas generated by younger kids today. Teenagers are sending things into space, developing apps, and questioning everything about the future. This year’s winner of the 2015 Discovery Education 3M Young Scientist Challenge is no different. She created an energy probe prototype.

Screen Shot 2015-10-15 at 4.39.23 PMYou read that correctly. 15 year-old Hannah Herbst from Florida Atlantic University High School, in Boca Raton, FL captured the title this year with her prototype that seeks to offer a stable power source to developing countries by using untapped energy from ocean currents. It’s a simple idea that could be revolutionary in the years to come.

Hannah’s inspiration for the project came from her desire to help her nine-year-old pen pal in Ethiopia. Her friend lacks reliable power and electricity; nor is her friend alone in this plight. According to the World Bank, 1.1 billion people around the world do not have access to electricity.

It makes you think how a teenager’s desire to help a friend could be the seed of an idea that helps people worldwide. We think her choice of project is pretty impressive – one that has personal relevance but also casts an eye to “How can I change the future?”

She’s wasn’t alone in her journey to becoming a winner. Herbst and nine other finalists from around the country had the chance over the past three months to work directly with a 3M scientist on their invention as part of a summer internship. Herbst was paired with Jeffrey Emslander, a 3M corporate scientist whose research and patents have helped 3M reduce emissions to the environment and use less energy in the making of products.

We love the ideas that come out of the competition, but we also love the underlying genesis of the competition, which was creating a structure filled with adults passionate about science who could mentor the next generation who are equally as passionate.

During the collaboration the students looked to their 3M expert mentors to help guide them through the scientific method of advancing their ideas from a theoretical concept into an actual prototype. Together they reviewed the scientific process and worked virtually through pre-assigned objectives, with resources and support provided by Discovery Education and 3M.

[149975] HannahHerbstand2014winner2.JPG_lowDuring the final competition hosted by Discovery Education's Lance Rougeux, the finalists shared their completed inventions with a panel of judges, including Hakeem Oluseyi, astrophysicist and star of our own hit show Outrageous Acts of Science.

Along with the title and the knowledge gained, Herbst took home a $25,000 prize. It’s a just reward for the serious challenge that she and her fellow competitors and finalists faced.

All of us here at Science Channel just wanted to say: “You Go Hannah!”

About The Discovery Education 3M Young Scientist Challenge:

Since its inception, the Young Scientist Challenge has awarded hundreds of thousands of dollars in student scholarships and prizes, paired students with world-renowned scientists to give them real-world insights and delivered much-needed science resources to millions of students, teachers and families across the country. Previous winners have met the President of the United States, addressed members of Congress, worked with the nation's top scientists and been featured in Forbes magazine's annual "30 Under 30" list.

Want to Make A Difference In A Young Person's Life? Get Involved In Support Our Science

Science is everywhere. It’s the DNA for progress and possibility.  Support Our Science is committed to igniting students’ passion for science, technology, engineering and math on-air, online, in the classroom and in local communities.  Science Channel and Discovery Education, together with partners, The Planetary Society, Girls Inc, and Maker Ed will ensure our kids are the next generation of innovators, problem solvers, and game changers.

29 Sep

Mars Mystery Solved: A Special Report

Tonight at 9p EST, Science Channel will be airing a special segment, including post-analysis from the confirmation there is liquid water on Mars. Mars: A Special Report discussing how they made the discovery and what it means for future Mars exploration.

I can’t wait to hear what the #NASA experts have to say. After viewing the NASA press conference and Q&A yesterday, it seems like at a basic level the mission is to keep moving forward and exploring just what liquid water on Mars means. In short, the discovery opens up more questions than there are answers.

The 900 lb. gorilla of a question in the room, on our website, and on our social media pages is: if there is water, is there life?

BlueMarsAliens. It seems to always comes back to that concept for many of us. My parents read comics about canals on Mars being made by a powerful civilization. I’m of the generation that has seen Hubble open up the vastness of the universe where the sheer odds point to the fact there must be some kind of life out there. Now scientists have done studies that show microbial life doesn’t always have to have oxygen and water to live. Still, if you’ve got water you are likely one step closer to finding something that could be defined as life.

That’s what had the scientists so excited about the future. Now they have been able to secure enough information to confirm the liquid water, they can focus on its composition, its activity, and how we might use it on future missions. There are just so many things to find out about our own life and planet as we start understanding Mars more. There are also new hopes of colonizing the planet in a different way than we might have before. Of course, even many scientists whoooped over the possibility of finding new life - even microbes to start!

I’m going to pump the brakes on speculating about the future for a minute and go back to the mystery and beauty of what we have just found out simply about the topography and nature of Mars.

They finally understand these dark streaks – called recurring slope lineae (RSL) – as being indicators of liquid water that drip down the sides of craters and slopes. This is something scientists had begun to observe and discuss for a few years with data from the Phoenix Lander and pictures from the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (MRO) showing the RSL over various sites.

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Add the Curiosity Rover into the mix and you have the perfect scientific storm for confirmation of liquid water. As the pictures got clearer, and the Curiosity Rover could take soil samples the story started to take shape. The NASA team mineral mapped the site from the MRO’s Compact Reconnaissance Imaging Spectrometer for Mars (CRISM). This data revealed hydrated salts and that brings us to the press conference yesterday and the beautiful photos we have been seeing.

So for all of you who in our forums who have said we’ve known about water on Mars for years, you are right in some ways. We HAVE known about ancient frozen water – not liquid. It is also true NASA has also been studying this current phenomenon since 2010. The announcement was not held for any other reason than it is only now when the perfect mix of technology and research allowed the scientists to put the pieces together. They like being right. They're funny like that.

As I saw how the pieces came together for them I took a moment to look out my window into the sky. I am so incredibly proud of NASA and the science community. The collective work of hundreds of people (likely a lot more) went into to this discovery and a few of the others I picked up yesterday. This is the information that will one day allow the next generation to explore Mars and beyond.

  • There is a water cycle on Mars; it doesn’t rain but it does snow
  • Mars has seasons, just like Earth. The RSL change dependent on the seasons, which was another clue.
  • The water probably pretty shallow more like trickles and drips rather than rolling streams – but we don’t know that didn’t happen in the past or what is happening under the surface.

That's what wowed little old me; what wowed you?

As you'd expect, we were all smiles here at Science Channel yesterday during the live broadcast because we loved seeing the scientists be able to share this breakthrough, and we loved being a part of sharing it. We can't resist sharing the faces of of those who produce such exciting live events and those who stand watch in our broadcast center to make sure everything is beautiful on our air!   Image1

We also love being able to bring you the update at 9P, will explain more about how they found the water, why is is so important to the future, what are they going to do next?

It’s also exciting we could share this experience with our colleagues around the globe. We have video from our colleagues at Discovery News. We’ve seen people in our worldwide divisions talk about it on social media. Here are a few posts for you to enjoy, and we hope to see you for a night of Mars programming, with our special update at 9P.

Discovery News Video

Discovery Networks International:

Discovery Science France:

Announcement

Reveal

Discovery Channel Turkey:

Photos

Discovery Channel South Africa: Photos

Discovery Channel Arabia: Photos

 

19 Jun

SCIENCE CHANNEL SALUTES THE NATIONAL FINALISTS IN THE 2015 YOUNG SCIENTIST CHALLENGE

See Videos of Their Incredible Projects

Harnessing ocean currents, curbing CO2 emissions, circular ion accelerators. How cool do these ideas sound? What’s even cooler is these are just a few of the real amazing projects the national finalists in the annual Discovery Education 3M Young Scientist Challenge are creating.

We here at Science Channel are in awe of the possibilities this next generation is embracing. Science, curiosity, and questioning everything will be how we embrace the challenges of the future. Clearly the ten students chosen have their eyes on that future, and are thinking about how we can make it a better place.

So how did these ten students get to this point? The annual Discovery Education 3M Young Scientist Challenge is the nation’s premier science competition for students in grades 5-8. Students all over the country submitted short videos communicating the science behind a possible solution to an everyday problem. The finalists rose to the top of the competition due to their science acumen, innovative thinking and exceptional communication skills demonstrated in their entry videos.

151126_YSC_JUNE_FACEBOOK_1_FINEach bright young student will now have the exclusive opportunity to work directly with a 3M Scientist during a unique summer mentorship program, where they will be challenged to develop an innovation that positively impacts them, their family, their community or the global population. As part of the world-renowned program, students will meet virtually with their mentors, who will provide guidance as the finalist develops his or her idea from a concept into an actual prototype.

Throughout the program, each student will have access to resources and support provided by 3M and Discovery Education. Students will then present their inventions during the competition’s final event at the 3M Innovation Center in St. Paul, Minn. October 12th and 13th.

Congratulations to the top 10 finalists in this year's Challenge:

  • Peter Finch, Harrisville, R.I., Homeschool
  • Arthur Frigo, III, Jupiter, Fla., Turtle River Montessori
  • Raghav Ganesh, San Jose, Calif., Joaquin Miller Middle School, Cupertino Union School District
  • Amulya Garimella, Pittsburgh, Pa., Dorseyville Middle School, Fox Chapel Area School District
  • Iris Gupta, North Potomac, Md., Robert Frost Middle School, Montgomery County Public Schools
  • Hannah Herbst, Boca Raton, Fla., Alexander D. Henderson University School, Florida Atlantic University Schools
  • Alec Lessing, New York, N.Y., Collegiate School
  • Conner Pettit, Lone Tree, Colo., Cresthill Middle School, Douglas County School District
  • Krishna Reddy, Wichita Falls, Texas, Kirby World Academy, Wichita Falls Independent School District
  • Sanjana Shah, Cupertino, Calif., John F. Kennedy Middle School, Cupertino Union School District

You can check out the finalists’ impressive entry videos by visiting the following YouTube playlist: Young Scientist Challenge 2015

For more information on the Discovery Education 3M Young Scientist Challenge, including photos and bios of the ten finalists and a list of the state merit winners, please visit www.youngscientistchallenge.com.

 

 

 

19 Apr

The Best Investment

Guest post by: Max Erik Tegmark

At a cost of about $30 per American, the Hubble Space Telescope is one of the best investments humanity has ever made. Its spectacular images have shed light on our cosmic origins and destiny and they have inspired us all, showing us that we’d underestimated the beauty and diversity of our cosmos.

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Max Erik Tegmark is a Swedish-American cosmologist. Tegmark is a professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and is the scientific director of the Foundational Questions Institute. He is also a co-founder of the Future of Life Institute.

Below: PIA08097

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Credit: NASA.gov

19 Apr

The Space Telescope That Transformed How We Do Science

Guest post by David Spergel

I got my PhD just before the Hubble Telescope launched so have followed its trajectory from disappointment to scientific triumph. I have been most impressed by how clever astronomers have used the telescope in ways that were not anticipated by its builders.Astronomers have used HST to discover stars stripping the atmospheres off of their planetary companions and to use supernova to trace the deceleration of the universe.   

While future space telescopes  will look even further back in time (James Webb Space Telescope, will survey much larger volumes of our universe  and begin the detailed study of exoplanets (Wide Field Infrared Space Telescope), Hubble will always be the space telescope that transformed how we do science.

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David Nathaniel Spergel, is an American theoretical astrophysicist and Princeton University professor known for his work on the WMAP mission. Professor Spergel is a MacArthur Fellow

Screen Shot 2015-04-19 at 7.34.42 PM

Credit: NASA.gov

19 Apr

Exoplanets!

Guest post by Sara Seager

Happy 25th! The “first ever” exoplanet atmosphere discovery in 2002 is your legacy for all time #HappyBirthdayHubble #ScienceChannel

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Sara Seager
Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Professor of Planetary Science

Below: Formalhaut A and Formalhaut B

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Credit: NASA.gov

19 Apr

Pluto's Demotion

Happy Birthday Hubble Telescope! It’s been an amazing 25 years of breakthroughs in understanding our galaxy and how the universe works. For me, the most memorable discovery from your journey came when you detected Pluto’s two moons, and other objects in the Kuiper Belt found to have more mass than little Pluto.

That meant these moons could classify as planets, and as a result this discovery demoted Pluto to a “dwarf planet.”

That Pluto was removed it from the line up of planets I had memorized so carefully for my fifth grade science class, shocked me. Hubble’s images are so clear and provide scientists a look at objects we had never seen before in deep space, leading to radical changes and new theories about the makeup of our universe. Hubble quite literally opened my eyes to the idea there was something beyond Pluto - our solar system is a big concept to grasp but what lies beyond became something more than just what I had imagined when I watched Star Trek or Star Wars.

For the first time I understood the universe is not a static thing. Its planets, exoplanets, comets, galaxies, and more are changing all the time. It fills me with excitement and wonder as we look to solve the mysteries behind how and why that happens. Thanks for the inspiration Hubble! 

Look for more posts from scientists, astrophysicists, and space experts on their Hubble moments.

Eileen Marable, Science Channel Digital Producer (Who still feels bad about Pluto)

Below: My favorite image, the Cat's Eye Nebula

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27 Mar

Astronaut Leland Melvin On The #YearInSpace

We are fortunate here at the Science Channel to have Astronaut Leland Melvin as a friend and adviser. As we contemplated the enormity of Expedition #43 and the #YearInSpace mission we turned to Leland to give us a reality check.

What does it feel like to be launched into space? As we watched the crew in the capsule during the various stages of launch they had nothing but the "RIght Stuff." Calm, composed, and punching their checklists. That doesn't mean they aren't feeling and noticing every change as the stages fall away, they get lighter and faster and feel those g's.

Leland tells us what it feels like to launch into space and what it's like to live and work in the ISS. Did you know that the ISS is about the size of a 747? It's that kind of perspective only an Astronaut would have and Leland shares that fact - and many more insights on the incredible opportunity of having traveled in space. Be sure to watch all three videos to get the scoop.

We are thrilled to share and promote his passion for space, exploration, curiosity, as humankind taking steps together to explore deeper into space.

 

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Welcome to the inSCIder, where you can connect with the people who bring Science Channel to life. Find out what's in the works here at SCIENCE, share your feedback with the team and see what's getting our attention online and in the news.

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