Archive for: October, 2016

Support this Project: Science Wide Open: Children's Books about Women in Science

Every once in a while, I'm happy to use this blog to throw my support behind a worthy project. And there's nothing like children's science books about women in science!

Check out the Kickstarter for Science Wide Open: Children's Books about Women in Science, and consider joining me in helping this amazing project come to fruition.

Science Wide Open: Children's Books about Women in Science

When children ask questions, their whole world becomes their experiment

Kids ask a LOT of questions. The inquisitive star of Science Wide Open is no different! Her questions about how the world works guide each unique story, while the resulting narrative teaches some of the fundamentals of Biology, Chemistry, and Physics.

What is Science Wide Open

Science Wide Open is a children's book series. This is a series that... First, explains and teaches some basic concepts in chemistry, biology and physics in simple and memorable terms by using the natural questions and curiosity of a young child. Second, does so by highlighting some of the mind blowing scientific advancements made by women scientists throughout history. The current series consists of three books:

  • Book One -- Women in Chemistry
  • Book Two -- Women in Biology
  • Book Three -- Women in Physics

Inside these books

Each book in the Science Wide Open series consists of more than 32 full color pages, featuring 4-5 female scientists of diverse time periods and backgrounds as well answering questions like:

  • What is DNA?
  • Why do things fall down?
  • What is an Atom?
  • What is a Cell?

The beautiful artwork is accurate to the history and science it represents. The text is fun to read and easy to understand, and there’s even a glossary for curious kids (and adults) who want to delve deeper into the science!

Instill a Sense of Wonder and Possibility

Science Wide Open makes science accessible for all. You don’t need a science background to enjoy these books, but you’ll still appreciate them if you do. The series weaves narration, history, and science together to celebrate the power of curiosity and resilience.

Why these stories matter

If asked for a list of famous women in science, most people would start and end with Marie Curie. The truth is that countless women have made astonishing contributions to science, but many of their stories have been obscured or downplayed.

This is not the future we want for our kids.

Science Wide Open...

  • Engages readers in the amazing science behind how the world works in terms kids can understand and enjoy.
  • Introduces female role models for aspiring young scientists of any gender.
  • Shares inspirational stories of women who have changed the world through their scientific discoveries.

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Reading Diary: The jazz of physics: The secret link between music and the structure of the universe by Stephon Alexander

Oct 11 2016 Published by under book review, music, physics, science books

The jazz of physics, the physics of jazz, the chemistry of jazz, the jazz of chemistry, the jazz of computer science, the computer science of jazz, the math of jazz, the jazz of math, the jazz of biology, the biology of jazz, the jazz of engineering, the engineering of jazz.

And why not the jazz of history and the history of jazz? The sociology of jazz and the jazz of sociology? The jazz of political science, the political science of jazz. The jazz of philosophy, the philosophy of jazz, the literature of jazz, the jazz of literature.

And why not the jazz of religion, the religion of jazz, the theology of jazz and the jazz of theology.

All of which would make fantastic books, each and every one of them. Art and science are interrelated, inevitably interrelated really, when you think about. Humans exist in a world that can (contingently) be described by science, humans themselves being subject to that description. Art is something that humans do, so studying how humans do art is part of science. Science is the subject of art, and not just peripherally -- witness the genres of science fiction or lablit for example.

Which brings us to the absolutely wonderful book by Stephon Alexander, The jazz of physics: The secret link betweetn music and the structure of the universe. A rare beast, a scientific and artistic autobiography. A memoir of discovery, both of jazz and theoretical physics.

The most wonderful thing about the book is how perfectly it fits in the "how I learned and grew and experienced the thing I became really good at mostly thanks to mentoring and educational opportunities." Common in both science and art, with recent examples being Bruce Springsteen and Hope Jahren. I've read the Jahren and it's also beyond wonderful (review coming, I promise) while the Springsteen is so new I haven't had a chance yet. It's an Xmas holiday read it there ever was one.

In fact, if I had to pick my two science books of the year, they would be Jahren's Lab Girl and The Jazz of Physics.

So what kind of books are all these? Well, on the science side they are the stories of how someone became interested in their scientific field and the trials and tribulations of studying the subject, becoming situated in the culture of the field and, ultimately finding one's place in that field, usually in academia but also in other walks of life as well. And of course, finding the kind of success in the field that will lead someone to want to write a book about that process. That description certainly fits The jazz of physics. Alexander recounts in fascinating detail how he overcame all the obstacles set before him and overcame his limitations and became a professional physicist.

But the book is also like a good music biography in that we also learn about Alexander's immersion into the jazz field, how he learned to play an instrument, how he learned to improvise, the joys and challenges of the jazz bandstand. But uniquely to this book, Alexander can ultimately show us that these two processes are really the same. Learning to be an artist and learning to be a scientist are really the same thing, with similar obstacles and similar rewards, at least intellectually.

And most importantly, if there's one message that I think Alexander wants us to take from his book and his life experiences, is that the creativity and mind-set that drive scientific and artistic accomplishment are really the same. That the dedication and drive, the improvisational and creative mindset that make a jazz musician successful is ultimately the exact same as will make a physicist successful. Musical or mathematical or physical or rhythmic, it's really the same. Vibration, resonance, symmetry, the biggest and the smallest. It's all there in both domains.

I recommend this book without hesitation to any academic, public or high school library.

Alexander, Stephon. The jazz of physics: The secret link betweetn music and the structure of the universe. New York: Basic Books, 2016. 272pp. ISBN-13: 978-0465034994

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Around the Web: What About the Planet?, Partisan polarization on climate change and more on the science and politics of climate change

Oct 08 2016 Published by under around the web, climate change, environment

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Around the Web: The 100 greatest music books of all time, Does the music business need musicianship and more tales of the music business

Oct 01 2016 Published by under around the web, music

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