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Jeffrey Nee: Hello everybody. Happy Jules Verne day. I'd like to welcome you to this Universe of Learning Telecon hosted by the NASA Museum Alliance. It's Jules Verne's 190th birthday today and you can find more information and other fun dates on the Museum Alliance public calendar pages.
Thank you to all of you for joining us and to anyone listening to the recording in the future. Today we're talking about a window to the UV Universe, the engineering and science helmed by Dr. Caruthers. The slides for today's presentation can be found on the Museum Alliance and NASA nationwide sites.
As always, if you have any issues or questions now or in the future you can email Jeff Nee of the Museum Alliance at email@example.com. As a final reminder, please do not put us on hold even if you have to step away because some phones play holding music. Just be sure your phone is on mute so that no noises from your end interrupt the speakers. If you'd like to do one final check that you're in fact muted you may simply say your name into the phone right now.
If you can hold your questions until after all the speakers are gone that'd be much appreciated. We will have some brief time at the — for questions at the end so make sure you have a pen and paper to write down your questions as we go. And remember to note what slide number you're referencing. That helps a lot.
You can read the full bios of all of our speakers are on the websites but as a brief introduction I have to get right into it. Our facilitator today is Dr. Emma Marcucci from the Space Telescope Science Institute. Okay. Emma it's all yours.
Emma Marcucci: Okay great. Thanks Jeff. So, this is Emma Marcucci from the Space Telescope Science Institute. I am very excited to bring this science briefing to you guys. So for those of you who aren't aware Dr. (Caruthers) is the 2017 author BC Walker II Award winner. This award is given out by the Astronomical Society of the Pacific to an African-American scientist who demonstrated great achievement in astronomy research and outreach education efforts.
If you go to Slide 2, this is our standard resource list. It is also posted on NASA Wavelength. The first two up there, there is a little bit about the Walker Award. The second one is a very nice, five-minute video from NRL that goes into some of Dr. Caruthers research accomplishments as well for the outreach efforts which we'll hear a lot more about in detail today.
Looking in the ultraviolet side of things we have two activities related to detectors. The Ridder experiment is actually the 1801 original detection of UVing. We also have some resources related to seeing the invisible so seeing parts of the EM spectrum that our eyes cannot see. The after school universe is a very nice resource from our friends at Goddard Space Flight Center.
Specifically Session 4 is related to this idea of EM and how we can see the invisible. The 2nd resource there has some very nice videos by It's Okay to be Smart via PBS. There's some fun videos about how BC and UV and what they see, it's a very interesting video on perception.
The next section of UVBs in variation, you might be aware of these from the solar eclipse last summer. These are different variations of using paper or beads to detect UV. And then the last one there is a fun fact that Panton 2018 color of the year is ultraviolet, and I'll make a note that that is ultra-space violet. As many of you know — probably all of you know ultraviolet isn't a light that we can see but they chose this ultra-space violet as representative of UV.
If you read about it, they do actually connect it back to our exploration of the cosmos. If you go to Slide 3, this is just again that tribute video to Dr. Caruthers. These are some screenshots from it. In addition to being on Wavelength it's also the direct URL is on this slide. So now, if we go to Slide 4, we're going to get started with Dr. Kent Wood. He's employed at Praxis Inc., and is a resident at the Naval Research Laboratory where he worked until 2016 on a number of satellite experiments.
His career overlapped with Dr. Caruthers who was in the same division for more than three decades. So they've had many informal and collaborative interactions over that period and I know he has gone and talked to many of Dr. Caruthers past coworkers and has a great amount of information to share with us. So please take it away Kent.
Kent Wood: Okay. Can everyone hear me?
Emma Marcucci: Yes thank you.
Kent Wood: Okay good. Yes I'm — thank you for that introduction. I'm very honored to be presenting on behalf of George Caruthers. I knew him for more than three decades at the Naval Research Lab and I've tried to compress something that's 40 years of scientific work into about 15 slides. I hope I keep remembering to tell you to advance.
I'm now going from slide 4 to Slide 5, and some of what's here was already described by Emma but let me just go for it. George got his degree in Engineering at the University of Illinois in 1964. He had been interested in space from childhood like when he did things like read Buck Rogers comics and the writings of Brown and Billy Way and then he went to NRL because it was very active in the development of space including observation wavelengths you can't see from the ground.
Now I put this together with the help of a lot of other people, some of whom are listed on middle board on this slide. And I have to make the disclaimer that though I never really worked on one of George's space payloads, we were there in the same corporate culture which made us members of the same brotherhood of people developing space astrophysics for more than three decades. We had many opportunities for contact, particularly on the Air Force ARGOS satellite where we both had experiments.
So now I'm going to advance from slide 5 to Slide 6, and try to give you the — an overview of his career. When he arrived at NRL the laboratory was developing all kinds of techniques for observing non-optical wavelengths such as x-rays and ultraviolet. Ultraviolet you can not only see it with your eyes you can't see with any kind of instrument from the ground. You have to get above the atmosphere. There were a lot of incentives for developing new easy techniques and initially those would be tested out on sounding rockets that were launched from the White Sands missile range.
You could look at a target for a few minutes and then later that expanded to many other kinds of opportunities. So out of George's long career he did things such as space experiments, astronomy, other kinds of space-based measurements and he was always very interested in education. And so I can't really do it chronologically in this amount of time. I'm going to do it by categories, the instrumentation category, the astronomy category and the earth observation category.
I'm now going to Slide 7. About the instrumentation, in the Far Ultraviolet perhaps the thing to understand here is that it's not just the middle board, the detector. It's not just you develop a better detector and then everybody else takes care of the rest of it. No. George designed the optics. He worked with the coding and surface materials that'd reflect the UV light.
He worked with gradings and filters, allowed particular FUD wavelengths. He developed a whole series of detection techniques whereby the UV photon would be converted to electrons at a photo cathode and then the electrons would either be captured on electron sensitive film, let the film transport and the electron bombarded CCB. He had to work on the data acquisition systems, the supporting equipment.
In addition to that he had to sell the programs. He was mostly getting financed by NASA or by the Navy and under the DOD Space Test Program. All of his engineering background was very important. He was an engineer by PhD training who quickly became an important physicist, ambassador physicist.
This next slide Slide 8, is kind of a cartoon to give you an idea of how complex these systems were. In the upper left you see a light path for a FUV and the image at the right you see the GIMI experiment that flew on ARGOS which it looks like a big pair of binoculars. It's two different telescopes systems for two different wavelengths. So the systems themselves are very complex. Now I'm going to — I hope I didn't skip a slide. I'm going to Slide 9 now. I'm not sure I told you that I was just on slide 8 but I'm now on slide 9.
Emma Marcucci: You're all set. You're good.
Kent Wood: Okay. So on Slide 9, this is to bring out that he didn't just do sounding rockets. He put the Far Ultraviolet camera on the moon which was the first and I think still the only astronomical instrument ever placed and operated on a different celestial body than the earth. He used the space shuttle and the Spartan program of NASA and he also flew on satellite.
So now I'm going to turn from the space systems and FUV instrumentation to some of what he did with it. Slide 10 One of — the very first thing he worked on when he came to NRL was trying to find a way of detecting interstellar and molecular hydrogen H2 and the lab had been interested in trying to do that. Hydrogen exists in molecular form in the interstellar medium and he designed a spectrograph that could record the whole spectrum at once instead of scanning it through and then recording one wavelength at a time.
Emma Marcucci: Sorry. And this is on slide 10?
Kent Wood: Yes, slide 10. I'm sorry.
Emma Marcucci: Thank you, no worries.
Kent Wood: Advance to Slide 10. And you see the spectrum he recorded at the top here and the title and abstract from the paper. For this he received the Warner Prize from the American Astronomical Society in 1973 and he had flown the rocket in 1970. You see this was rather quick advance from his PhD to the Warner Prize in Astrophysics.
Now going to Slide 11. While was he engaged in doing that. He did something that I think is jaw dropping to think about today. He proposed to put a camera on the moon. The proposal was written in 1969 and three years later in 1972 the camera was on the moon having been built, tested, flown and was being operated by astronauts on the moon.
You see at the left in the laboratory George is standing at the right hand side there, and on the moon you see John Young, the astronaut standing there. And if you look just behind his right knee you'll see the camera sitting there. Now what did he do with it? Well it was aimed at different parts of the sky and then images were collected in the Far Ultraviolet. Slide 12 As an example of an image at the right and this is perhaps the most very infamous image that he took. You see if you look around the edges you see various stars and those stars had broad thermal spectrums where you could compare the UV flux with the flux in other wavelengths.
Right in the middle the thing you see in the middle that looks like a half moon with some spokes sticking out of it, that's the earth. I'll come back to that in a moment when I show it with the astronomy. The astronomy publications on these series of UV images continue to clear out into the 1980s. Sometimes the lunar data by themselves supported papers. Other times particular objects such as the Orion nebula, the North America nebula were selected for follow up observations for other instruments.
He had a long career that's just too lengthy to summarize in this length of talk. The next slide now is slide 13 which — are we all in sync on Slide 13?
Emma Marcucci: Yes thank you.
Kent Wood: It shows what he was doing when Comet Halley which comes back every 76 years made its 1986 passage near the sun. In that year he flew — George was one of — had one of the few groups in the world that were equipped to observe Comet Halley and the far out ultraviolet that year. He took — made two rocket flights, one to get the image that you see at the upper right showing the spatial distribution of the ultraviolet emission and the other to get the spectrum.
What you see at the lower left, it's a confusing thing. It's three different exposures. The lowest exposure is at the bottom where you just see two lines. The heaviest exposure is at the top where between the two bright dots you can start to see lines of carbon monoxide being exhaled by the comet. So this was — just another marvelous thing. I'm going to turn to some of the earth observations. Slide 14. The earth is surrounded excited hydrogen that glows in the ultraviolet. This is called the Lyman Alpha Geocorona. George had the first observation of the Lyman Alpha Geocorona with the cameras on the moon, and that was one of the follow up papers that came out of the Apollo 16 mission, but the next one has a tremendous long heritage. I'm now on Slide 15. This one shows the structure of the earth as seen in Far Ultraviolet in the — in shorter wavelengths like 1304 and 1300-56 Angstroms. What you see here on the left side, the earth is glowing. That's the side the sunlight is coming from and then there are other emissions that you can see on the night side.
At the lower right you see one of the polar auroras and then there are these two little horns sticking out in the middle which were something that had been known as early as 1927 or inferred from radio studies. There's something called the Appleton Anomaly and its transport of oxygen into the night side of the earth and you see the oxygen glowing there. This is a very famous image that has inspired a lot of later work because it implies that you can study the ionosphere and it's important to understand what the ionosphere is doing for various kind of communication.
The little thing down at the bottom is an image enhancement that shows how those two are since you go farther and farther to the right the two arcs of the Appleton Anomaly come together. I'll come back to some of the later influence of this in just a minute. The next slide — I'm now on slide 16 — shows a couple of images that came out of George's GIMI experiment which did for global imaging and monitoring of the ionosphere which was launched on the Air Force Argo satellite in 1999.
This was mainly to look at the earth itself in Far Ultraviolet and it studied some of the emissions like the ones you just saw, only in much finer detail. And so you can see at the upper right two ionospheric bubbles that are related to instabilities in the ionosphere. At the low — GIMI was by the way George's last experiment before he retired and it was a satellite experiment that was in orbit operating for well over a year. In 1999 at the lower right he got the first Far Ultraviolet image of a meteor.
So out of these things we've had a quick tour of George's results from the late 1960s to the late 1990s. There were many other aspects to George's life that I think I have to touch on in these last two slides. I'm now on Slide 17.
First of all he had — there's no one person who worked with George end to end in his career. Rather there was a succession of people who worked with him for a few years and then many of them went on to do great things in other places. An example would be Bob McCoy who helped with this presentation who's now the Director of the Geophysics Institute at the University of Alaska. George was Bob's mentor and got him started on his career.
George also had many younger students working in his lab and he wanted to inspire young people to science careers. Sometimes he would go over to Howard University which wasn't far from NRL and do lecturing there. A third category of his influence is just the follow ups to all of the kinds of measurements he did.
For example the work on the earth's ionosphere has led to entire NASA missions. At the lower right you see the NASA GOLD mission which has just been launched very recently and is doing activation stages but when it's operational, It's going to be imaging the ionosphere from space.
Before closing I want to just try to convey a little bit of what George was like as a person. I've been calling him because he was always George to everybody at NRL. In fact if you said George without specifying it was probably Caruthers by default. He'd be there unsinkable amount of time.
He'd bicycle to work from his home on Capitol Hill and he'd be there — 12 hours would be a short day for him. He'd be there early in the morning and he'd be there late at night. His lab was right across from his office so he was always one particular part of the building.
He was easy to find. He was deeply respected by his NRL colleagues for all of his accomplishments and there were a lot of interesting quirky features in his office. He had a big box of transparencies. If George needed to put together a talk he could it on very short notice.
He had a lot of books in his office which reflected his wide range of interests, and if you hung out and talked with him, you'd discover quickly that although he was very, very serious and diligent, and dedicated, he also had a wonderful sense of humor. The longer you were around him, the more you'd get to enjoy that sense of humor.
I am now coming to my last slide which is Slide 19. His career was really one of the pioneering careers in far ultraviolet measurements for astronomy, for aeronomy and for even other kinds of applications I've haven't talked about. And he did this with a wide variety of imagers and spectrometers on many kinds of space platforms. And in with this he maintained a commitment to education particularly in the later — in the 1980s and 90s he was working more and more on looking after education and beyond. He was just a wonderful colleague is very fondly remembered by many people who are at NRL. Thank you.
Emma Marcucci: Thank you Kent. That was such a great summary of all of his efforts and those — the personal insights were really interesting to hear. So we're going to go to our second speaker and then we'll have time for questions after that. But before I introduce our second speaker I wanted to see if (Nancy) had a chance to join us yet. I know she had something right before this.
(Nancy): Hello? Yes I'm here and I really enjoyed this last talk. So I'm so happy I got to hear that as well and looking forward to talking to you in a little bit.
Emma Marcucci: Okay great. Thanks so much (Nancy). Glad you were able to make it. So our next speaker if we go Slide 20 is Dr. Hakeem Oluseyi. Many of you may be familiar with him through his numerous outreach efforts. He's an astrophysicist and serves at the Space Science's Education Lead for the Science Mission Directorate at NASA Headquarters. He's also a distinguished research professor of physics and space science of the Florida Institute of Technology.
A fun connection, his PhD advisor was Art Walker who this award was named after. So I look forward to hearing about Hakeem's interactions with Dr. Carruthers. Hakeem if you'd like to take it away?
Hakeem Oluseyi: Thank you very much and I would like to say that was a wonderful overview of Dr. Carruthers' career. I'm talking on mentoring and inspiration. The previous talk finished up with some of George's activities in that area. It's really very important and that's why I have such a large public profile. I understand the importance of that work and how important it was to my own life.
So I'll start off telling a little bit about me and how George and Art Walker both impacted me. If you put my name in Google a couple of things you'll see are articles titled rise of a Gangster Nerd and the Gangster Physicist. The reason why those articles are titled that way is because in my young life I came from a background where, you know, people didn't have a strong educational background.
Neither of my parents finished high school. My father, he was an entrepreneur that is now — the business is now…how do I say? Legal in some states and — but at the time my life was very different. There is a saying, that is, to be it, you need to see it.
My life changed significantly when I was accepted to Stanford University and I met Art Walker. Art Walker really showed me a different way of being, and he's the guy who trained me to be a scientist. And, while I was a graduate student with Art Walker, you know, he so impressed me I wanted to know who were the other African-American pioneers in astronomy and astrophysics.
I had no idea the answer going into it. And what I found was that the first — if you look up the first African-American to get a PhD in the field of Astronomy it was Harvey Washington Banks. He got his PhD in Astronomy in 1961. Subsequent of this he didn't have an extensive research career. He became primarily an educator.
Before him there was a young man at Caltech named Carl Ralphs who got a PhD in Physics in 1956 from Caltech. Very shortly thereafter, his work wasn't in astrophysics but he turned to studying the sun, making computational models of the interior of the sun. He was the first person to do what we call solving the SAHA equation which is an equation that describes the state of ionization. How many electrons, ripped off atoms inside the sun?
And so we have Ralphs in 1956. Art Walker gets a PhD in Physics in 1962 and then we have Carruthers who gets his PhD in 1964. All of these people had incredibly impactful careers both in the scientific pioneering work they did but also the way they impacted young students like myself.
I looked up George Carruthers. I became the Chair of Astronomy and Astrophysics for the National Society of Black Physicists, and I decided to look up all the African-American astrophysicists and I was so impressed. I wrote an article about these early pioneers and it's in the Journal African Skies which is published out of South Africa. I talk about Ralphs, Walker and Dr. Carruthers.
Then I got to meet Dr. Carruthers at the National Society of Black Physicists meetings. Now, research is a very difficult field, right? When we talk about all the work and everything that George achieved you have to raise the money. You have to spend all those many hours in the lab. Slice flew rockets with Art Walker and I saw the work that George did.
George worked in the far ultraviolet. Art worked in the extreme ultraviolet and saw x-ray. And so I got to spend time talking to George about his work and you know, from George and Art I received, you know, the emotive to get going, to keep striving. And even in these early days I had no idea how my career would turn out.
Today I'm the only scientist, the only astrophysicist — African-American astrophysicist working in the Science Missions Directorate at NASA Headquarters. And I tell you, if I it weren't for these gentlemen I wouldn't be here today. You know, they inspired me. They taught me directly and they continued the inspiration once I got my PhD to stay in the fight. The universe doesn't give up its secrets quickly and easily. You — it's very subtle work and the instrumentation work is something that is — it requires great precision, great cleanliness to levels that if you haven't done it it's really difficult to understand.
You know, ultraviolet light is — it doesn't make it through the atmosphere very well. That's why you have to go to space to do it. This means that if you get any contamination on your mirrors or your instruments or your detectors you're done. It's going to absorb that light. You're not going to see anything.
You have to put incredible care and you have to be incredibly knowledgeable to know how to do this. There's a care that goes into taking care of the electronics, not just when they're on the ground but also having them operate successfully in space. Just that George was able to get this work funded was able to think of these ideas, was able to build these instruments and then successfully deploy them and do this amazing science, to — I understand why 12 hours a day was a short day for him because it was amazing.
I had the exact same experience. When I was a Chair of Astronomy and Astrophysics for the National Society of Black Physicists, I attended those meetings for almost a decade and a half. I'd only seen two talks by AfricanAmerican astronomers. Most of the astronomers who gave talks were, you know, of other races.
When I was a Chair I said, “I want to get George to come speak.” And he agreed to speak and in Huntsville, Alabama he was my first speaker. I got to spend a great deal of time with him and what really impressed me about him was just if I didn't know who he was and what he had done I wouldn't have gotten — you know, I had to pull it out of him. He was so gracious, so humble and so open to my questioning and admiration. He just blew me away.
I was able, you know, to become his colleague. That was — and so together we spoke in the same session in 2009 at the American Physical Society Meeting in Pittsburgh. It's one of those times where you feel like pinching yourself. Am I really here with George Carruthers as his colleague speaking on the same stage?
George, Art, Carl Ralphs, they've been an inspiration to me my entire career.
I got to speak with Carl as well at that same session. I also invited him, but I tell you the times I got to chat with George; however, brief they were, however, few they were, they meant the world to me, and you know, I translated my experiences with these gentlemen into action in my own life to pay it forward, to inspire the youth of today, and you know, and when we — when people see me on television and things like that, that's informal science education.
That's what was described as outreach. But, you know, what people don't see is the formal science education that we do in university classroom and the actual research work that we do which is long hours in the lab, oftentimes alone. Sometimes when you're advanced in your career you get to work with one student, young students and that's a delight of our lives to work with these students and bring them along as they once brought me along.
I just can't say enough about George but I only have 15 minutes. So to keep us on schedule I'm at my last minute. I think I want to congratulate the Astronomical Society of the Pacific for creating the Art Walker Award. I think George Caruthers is an excellent choice for one of the first two awardees and I'm honored to be able to speak on his behalf. With that I'm done.
Emma Marcucci: Thank you so much Hakeem. That was really great insight, really nice to hear. The article that you mentioned about these great astronomers, we'd love to get a hold of the link to that so that we're able to post it for the audience.
I'll touch base with you after the call so that we can share that with the group.
So now we're going to take some time for questions for either of our first two speakers. If you have a question you can un-mute and speak up.
Jeff Nee: It's Jeff. This is really great. I really like this. I guess my first question is for Hakeem. As an informal educator like you said there's a difference between formal education and informal education. As an informal educator myself I've always found it difficult to engage minorities in science.
You know, it — I can't help thinking that it's partly because I'm an Asian guy and, you know, there are no shortage of Asian guys in science and it was always assumed that I'd go to college and get a degree in Science. So I guess my question would be any advice or anything that I need to keep in mind in order to improve my engagement with minorities in science education?
Hakeem Oluseyi: You'd be surprised to learn that sometimes I have the same problem. I'll tell you why. One thing is to recognize that there's diversity to diversity. The African-American community is very diverse. You know, I started off in rural Mississippi. By the time I ended up in Stanford, you know, most of the Stanford African-American students had very different backgrounds than my own.
My colleagues, Nadia Mason and (Linfer) Goddard, for example both at the University of Illinois, their backgrounds were nothing like mine. We're both African-American. That's something to keep in mind, to meet people where they are one does have to have an open perspective.
Now what happened with me it's funny. When I was a graduate student, I attended the National Society of Black Physicists meeting and I was speaking to an undergraduate who was from Alabama A&M University. I was encouraging him to apply to one of the top universities. I told him, I said to him, “Look trust me. You couldn't be worse off than I was at the same point in development.” He said to me, he goes, “Yes, but you're pretty much a white guy.”
You know, in order to become a scientist, you know, I changed the way I spoke. I behaved differently than the young man who walked into Tougaloo College in the 1980s. I had to be cognizant of the fact that that if we're talking about African-American youth who come from the challenging background that I came from, you know, today I don't come across like I did then.
That's going to create a barrier. How do I break down that barrier? I tell you, there are few things. If you have inside knowledge, that helps. I also think that if you show people that you care about them as people, and also if you are yourself, enthusiastic about what you're doing and make it relevant. There's a phrase “Smile and the world smiles with you”. You know, there's a statement from Maya Angelou I believe that goes, “They're not going to remember what you said. They're not going to remember what you did. They're going to remember how you made them feel.”
I think that marketers and PR people understand that but in the sciences and education world we don't necessarily always recognize that humans are people of feeling before they're people of reason typically. And that is the avenue I think to reaching all people.
Jeff Nee: Thanks. And I had a specific — just two specific questions for Kent. On Slide 13, can you go over the color significances a little bit more on that photo on slide 13? What each color represents — you mentioned that it's the distribution of UV wavelengths but if you can elaborate a little bit more I'd appreciate it.
Kent Wood: Okay, yes. That image is a contour map. It's a broadband integrating those — a range of wavelengths. And so the — it's intensity contours and it's a preview display done this way.
There are various versions of this image, some of which have on it the length scale showing how many kilometers out and the comet itself, the ultraviolet emission and scaling. That's the significance of the colors there. By the way on the previous question I wanted to make a little comment that David DeVorkin did an oral interview with George Carruthers in 1992 for the American Institute of Physics.
You can read there George's own words about many of the issues that were just being discussed and DeVorkin asked him about role models and issues in his life, how he got to be there. I think what comes out of that is a huge amount is that just George, his personal character, and of how fascinated he was with space, and with technology from a very early age. A lot of it was George finding his own way. It's quite an amazing interview that I'd encourage anyone to read.
Emma Marcucci: Thanks for letting us know about that.
Kent Wood: The one who knew George's voice is really distinctive the way he answers the questions. Hakeem was saying what it was like speaking with him and that speaking side comes through him in the interview.
Emma Marcucci: All right excellent.
Man: There was supposedly another question coming.
Kent Wood: Yes.
Man: Go ahead.
Woman: Hello this is (Adrian) from Solar System Ambassadors, and I met Dr. Oluseyi (I hope I didn't seriously botch your name) at 100 year star ship event a few years ago. I was pleased to see how your career is progressing. This all makes me think a lot about Hidden Figures and I do a lot with Women's History and sharing those stories.
I'm just wondering how many more of these stories are out there and what your thoughts are — both of you are, really everybody on the panel today, are there other ways to get these stories in the public so that, you know the museums that have Apollo exhibits of these stories are being shared as well? It's all new to me.
Hakeem Oluseyi: That's a great question and it really is a challenge. I think that the museums are — might be a better way of approaching that than the typical media outlets, and also the Internet might be a better way.
I was just the subject of a documentary called Black Suns, an Astrophysics adventure. It's a documentary movie with Alphonse Sterling and me and other solar physicists. In the model of television right now, you know, it's pretty compartmentalized. And so I am a talent. I'm signed with Discovery Networks but for them their thing is we don't do documentaries.
You have to find a network that does documentaries. And, you know, I think it has to with the persistence of the story teller as well. I've been talking about Dr. Carruthers and Carl Ralphs and Art Walker forever. That African Skies article, I basically had to fight to get that in. It came out on conference and if you're persistent and you stick with these things even Kathleen Johnson, eventually it sticks and we get it out.
And so if you want to tell these stories they do exist. They're out there and I think learning about the people themselves, you know, is as interesting and for many people far more interesting than learning about the science, right?
Hakeem Oluseyi: And one thing I learned from Art, Art would always tell stories of the interactions of the people and how certain missions came into existence and what the challenges was. I loved it. I loved — he sparked in me this interest in the history of science and the history of astronomy.
One of my talks that I do, you know, academically is what happened before the Greeks and between Colony and Copernicus, not call it one of the greatest stories never told of how this astronomical knowledge developed to set the stage for the Greeks. And then after the, you know, the Greek civilization fail and you had the Persians and the Roman Empire how it was preserved in the Gupta Dynasty in India and then came back through the Muslim dynasties and it was reintroduced in Europe later on and the fights with the Church and all this sort of thing.
It's just amazing, and the stories of individuals that many of us Westerners never hear of like Ibn Al-Haytham, who was, you know the world's first true scientist, who wrote the Book of Optics, that when Newton said, if we're — if I've seen fathers because I stood on the shoulders of giants. Al-Haytham was one of the people he spoke of and other people like Aria Bata. So, it's so many wonderful stories out there.
Woman: Are you doing anything specifically to make products, books, video, whatever available for young people? It seems like they need to know these stories but there isn't enough material for them to access.
Hakeem Oluseyi: Only my personal live talks. You know, I'm developing things. Right now I'm writing books but when you have agents and all these things their interest is in marketing and so they want to do things in particular order and in a particular way. Certain products have to come out before others.
Woman: Okay well I look forward to it. Thank you.
Kent Wood: I just have two comments on this. One is I'm not really the person to speak to the media aspects but I would say if you think about one of the latest slide where I show that the NASA satellite is just launching is following up on things that George Carruthers began.
If you find yourself in a position where you were talking about things that have heritage back to people like this you can bring up that heritage. So if hypothetically you were talking about recent NASA launches you'd bring that out. If you're aware of the history you have to be aware of it.
The other comment, it's just an amusing thing. One of the earliest places where George developed his astronomy was working with in fact a museum. The Adler Planetarium in Chicago had a program for young people to come in and build telescopes. George commuted by subway to the Adler Planetarium and ground these mirrors there and then went home and put them into mounting so they're at his family's home.
Woman: That's great. Thank you.
Kent Wood: That's described in that DeVorkin interview that I mentioned.
Woman: That's great.
Emma Marcucci: Thank you. I think we have maybe one more question before we go to the next speaker.
(Joe Geppi): Yes hello my name's (Joe Geppi), SSA. I had a question. Amazing stories, amazing life and outlook on how everything is come to be and there sure is plenty of wonderful stories like this. This is great but I did have a question with the Appleton Anomaly. How did that come to be? What's the source of the Appleton Anomaly?
Kent Wood: Well the ionosphere is very complicated. If you just look up at the sky with your eyes it all looks blue. If you looked at the ionosphere of other parts of the spectrum you'd see all kinds of complex structures coming and going. And people who were studying radio communication in the 1920s began to become aware of the importance of the layers of the ionosphere, the D-layer, the E-layer, the F-layer and they understood that they weren't the same at daytime at nighttime. And there was a paper in 1927 that was inferring that there were very strangely stripe effects that were continuing into the night side from the terminator which is where the day side meets the night side.
So it was known that there was something like that but it was an a-ha moment for George Carruthers to have a camera on the moon that showed you a picture of what was going on. It's nowadays modeled in terms of transport that involves the electric and magnetic fields of high altitudes moving ions around and specifics get very complicated.
By the way George Carruthers, when he was doing his PhD in engineering was working on plasma physics even at that early stage of his career. So it was a keen run into a lot of his life. I hope that helps.
Man: Very good, thank you Doctor. Yes it's just amazing, how it all just happens in those (ectophoreal) regions and it's very interesting. Thank you.
Kent Wood: I should add the reason the Defense Department was so interested in studying the ionosphere is the Defense Department is very dependent on radio communication.
Man: Thank you.
Emma Marcucci: Great thank you. I think that was a great discussion. If anyone has questions that they weren't able to answer if you make a note of them and send them to Jeff then we can coordinate with our speakers to get those answered. We're going to go to…
Man: Could I ask a quick question to Hakeem?
Emma Marcucci: Sure.
Man: Did Art Walker and George Carruthers ever meet? I was wondering about that.
Hakeem Oluseyi: Yes. Art and George met, yes.
Emma Marcucci: All right great. All right so we're going to move to our last speaker for today.
We are on Slide 21. We will cap-off today's talk about — with some resources related to the UV.
Nancy Leon has the NASA Space Place. She's the manager of NASA Space Place which hosts STEM learning content for kids and she's going to tell us a little bit about Space Place and highlight some resources. Nancy if you'd like to take it away?
Nancy Leon: Thank you.
Nancy Leon: All right so when we talk about reaching kids we've got to simplify and put it into a whole lot context for something as complex as UV astronomy.
I want to just break that down a little bit and I'm on slide 21 but let's go to Slide 22. In order to reach out these young learners and our site is geared at upper elementary school-age kids it's not easy. And so we strive to provide simple and clear explanations of complex topics to be able to make these subjects accessible to this young audience.
The NASA Space Place website serves as a science — NASA science mission directorate kid's page and as such we cover both space and earth science topics. And also Space Place has a Spanish language companion site which is spaceplace.nasa.gov/sp for Spanish. And I believe that most of the resources that I will highlight later are also available on the Spanish language site. With that if we move to the next slide, Slide 23, the best place to start for the context that I think you need for talking to young kids about using astronomy is our universe area. You'll see it at the top of the page and it's marked with the icon that you see there on the lower right hand side. Of course the menu is NASA Space Place.
We have a variety of different topics on this — on the universe portion of the Space Place planet, galaxy, stars, supernova, interstellar space, gravitational waves so a variety of different topics there. In kid accessible language and illustrations, etc.
To further, you know, put the UV into context for this young audience you've got to help them to understand what the electromagnetic spectrum is. And for the topic of UV to have some meaning for the elementary school kid we have several different pages that I've noted here…
Emma Marcucci: This is on — I'm sorry. This is on 24 now?
Nancy Leon: We're on slide 24. I made that leap, didn't I?
Emma Marcucci: No worries.
Nancy Leon: Slide 24, cosmic colors activity. These are all oldies but goodies but the cosmic colors viewer is a neat exercise where the kids can select first a particular celestial object and then they select the wavelengths that they want to see it in.
And that's really cool for them and it really clearly demonstrates, you know, why we need all of the different spectrum telescopes. They can clearly see different things in different wavelengths. Also, you know, when you're there you'll see there are certain objects that haven't been studied in all wavelengths.
There's a little message there as well. I think an important science lesson for kids is that there's lots of science left to be discovered and the implication is you can be the one to do that. So we purposely left those blanks there where they were naturally occurring rather than just choosing the object that had imaged in every wavelength. We felt that was an important message. That is an oldie but goodie activity but I think it has a lot of strength to it.
We have another — Land of the Magic Windows — which explains the various parts of the spectrum and we have a really, nice, printable poster, the multi wavelength universe. That is on the page as well. And, then if you go to the last slide Slide 25, you'll see our resources that are specifically about UV astronomy on the Space Place. Again, none of these are new pages. They were all developed and contributed — developed by the Galax missions through their generosity. So that as you know was a while ago but I think, you know, there's — it's still good information and probably some of the only UV pages geared at this young audience.
You will see an article about — called — a page called A Real Shooting Star all about seeing mirrors, tailing UV, how it became visible only in the UV. So that's kind of neat and deals with the fact that really A Shooting Star isn't really a shooting star except in this case where a star has a tail.
Then we also have a page that deals with the issue of red shift and we have a really fun game called Photon Pileup which introduces the concept of packages of light of photons, etc. And lastly, we have six different Galax posters that are downloadable and they have UV related content on the back as well as beautiful — big beautiful images on the front. You have the URLs for where those can be found. So, I hope that you will explore some of these when you have the opportunity to meet young minds.
Emma Marcucci: Great thank you. Do we have any questions from those listening about these resources?
Jeff Nee: Hello Nancy. It's Jeff over at JPL and you know, I was telling someone this the other day of how NASA has this mountain of resources and even if some things came out a few years ago it's still great to remind yourself. I've never seen that multi wavelength poster for example and I literally had someone last week who was like I need a multi wavelength poster.
Nancy Leon: That's great.
Jeff Nee: Go hunt around and then I didn't even find this one because NASA just has so many resources. Thank you so much for this. I guess my question to you would be is there any advice you have for people who are looking for stuff like this and they don't know where to look and they don't have time to browse through all the different NASA websites. Is there some way that you — is there some little tip or trick that you use personally to find something for somebody if you need something specific?
Nancy Leon: Well I think the key here is if you're talking to a younger audience go to the site for the younger kids. Then you're going to find the materials that are either geared at that age group or at their teachers, the teachers for their level. The posters are really geared at the teachers but that's okay. And so I think I know if I'm looking for something that is– I'm looking for kid information then I'm going to go to Space Place or if it's earth science I'm going to go to Climate Kids or SciJinks.
I know those sites are geared for these young audiences. How to find stuff just general information in the huge collection of NASA other sites? I don't know. That one's such a tough one because there's such a plethora of materials for grownups.
Emma Marcucci: This is Emma. One thing I can recommend for looking for that is NASA Wavelength. It hosts — that's where we host our resource list and there's a lot of material within Wavelength that has been approved and gone through channels that span a broad range of topics and you can search by topics and filter them. We've also found that to be a helpful resource.
Nancy Leon: Emma you are right. Thank you for reminding me about that.
Emma Marcucci: Definitely. Well we are coming up on the hour here so I want to be respectful of people's time. Was there one last question that someone was going to ask there?
(Greg): Yes, this is (Greg). I just want to make one last comment. Today is another great birthday. The fall of the Allende Meteorite shower in February 8, 1969. That meteorite is one of the, you know, great meteorites that fell; tens of thousands of primary literature articles have been written on it, it has carbon in the form of graphite, nano diamond, fullerene and organic, a lot of organic molecules have been found on it; it dated the solar system, just a plethora of information. I have six specimens in my collection. I just love that meteorite. I just want to make everyone aware of it. Look it up.
Emma Marcucci: All right thank you for letting us know about that birthday there. All right. Yes thank you. So let's go to Slide 26, and we'll just do our little wrap up thing.
We do like to let our — the audience know about the ASTC partnership. This is a partnership between NASA Universe of Learning and ASTC to develop a community of practice. There are a series of webinars that will be archived.
They're currently ongoing now. If you are interested in joining any of these webinars or the community of practice the website's here on the slide. There will be some seed money following up from this webinar to create some programming related to that.
On the next Slide, 27, this is our last slide. We always want to make sure that these briefings and telecons are as beneficial to you as we can make them. As such we regularly send out evaluation forms to get your feedback on that. We do always like to get that feedback but if you don't like — if you prefer not to participate you can opt out by contacting Kay Ferrari.
I just like to thank all three of our speakers, Kent, Hakeem, Nancy. That was really a very interesting talk and I think we had a lot of good discussion. For the NASA's Universe of Learning, our next Museum Alliance science briefing will be the first Thursday of March. That happens to be March 1st., and we will be talking about some topics related to current exoplanet missions and relating that with national women's history month. I hope to see — I can hear you then and I will pass it back to Jeff for some final comments.
Jeff Nee: Thank you everybody again for joining us. And of course thank you to all of our speakers and the Universe of Learning team. We Alliance Members and Ambassadors really appreciate all the work you guys put into all of these to get the speakers and PowerPoints up.
Remember that all of our talks are recorded and posted, on the Member websites. You are encouraged to share this presentation as professional development with your colleagues including your education staff and your museum docents. If you have any further questions about this topic either now or in the future always feel free to email us.
Again, this is Jeff Nee from the Museum Alliance. My email is firstname.lastname@example.org. The next general Museum Allliance telecon will hopefully be on February 20th., where we will get an update from the Mars InSight mission and we hope to hear you there. As always, the most updated information will be on our website. Okay have a wonderful weekend everybody and thanks gain. We hope to hear from you.
Woman: Thanks Jeff.
Woman: Thanks Jeff.
Jeff Nee: Thanks everybody.