Thursday: Fabulous Documentary!

The remarkable Oscar award nominated documentary Encounters At The End Of The World will be screened 7-8:45 p.m. Thursday at the downtown library. Directed by Werner Herzog, the film reflects life in very cramped quarters of 1,000 men and women pursuing advanced science in Antarctica. This 2008 Oscar-nominated documentary is rated G for general audiences. Bring a friend and learn about science, human nature, and Antarctica.

Author's Forum: A World Without Ice

U-M geophysicist Henry Pollack – who shared the 2007 Nobel Peace Prize with Al Gore – will join U-M weather and climate scientist Richard Rood in a conversation called A World Without Ice on Wednesday, April 14, from 5:30-7 p.m. at U-M Harlan Hatcher Library. Topics covered will include why ice matters, the delicate geological balance between ice and climate, and the pending crisis of a world without ice. The discussion is being presented by the Author’s Forum, a collaboration between the U-M Institute for the Humanities, University Library, Great Lakes Literary Arts Center, and the Ann Arbor Book Festival.

The Best Minds of Our Generation

The 52nd Annual Southeast Michigan Science Fair is taking place this Saturday and Sunday, March 13 - 14, from Noon - 4pm. Middle and High School students from the area compete at WCC’s Morris Lawrence building for the top two individual and team prizes in a variety of projects, from models and collections at the middle school division to microbiology and chemistry at the senior division. Top science projects will move on to the Intel International Science Fair in San Jose, CA in May.

If your child is working furiously on an upcoming science fair project, check out the AADL's robust collection of science fair books, ranging from encyclopedias of project ideas to specific project ideas for different forces in the physical world. To find out what your local branch has right now, follow the link earlier in this paragraph, and then click the check box next to "limit to items available at," and then click on the drop down menu to find your branch name. Create this list by clicking "Search."

Celebrate National Mole Day!

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Today, October 23, is National Mole Day from 6:02 a.m. to 6.02 p.m. "Molar Express" is the theme for 2009. The "mole" is a way of counting the Avogadro number which is 6.02x10 to the 23rd power of anything. Amedeo Avogadro was a 19th century phycisist who discovered that the number of molecules in a mole is the same for all substances. This information is incredibly helpful to chemists who measure quantities of chemicals in their labs. Mole Day is celebrated to get students enthused about chemistry. The above website provides all kinds of nifty ideas on how to celebrate.

So impress your friends with this new bit of knowledge if you haven't heard of it already and....start counting! (I knew those moles were good for something besides tearing up the garden).

Nonfiction Finds -- Winter Stargazing


Expert astronomers know that in the winter the stars are clearer and brighter than they are in the summer. Several spectacular meteor showers will also take place in the upcoming months, so grab your overcoat and take advantage of the clear skies with some great nonfiction resources!

New arrival "Phases of the Moon" by Gillia Olson is a great place to start, including a list of websites for further information.

More experienced stargazers can graduate to Anton Vamplew's "Simple Stargazing" or Fran Lee's "Wishing on a Star". These guides to the constellations require no telescopes!

And once you're done and curled up with a cup of tea, you can read the stories behind the constellations with Jacqueline Mitton's "Zodiac", "Zoo in the Sky", and "Once Upon a Starry Night", all beautifully illustrated by Christina Balit.

Fear Itself

Ask OctoberAsk October

Just in time for the scariest month of the year, Ask magazine has come out with a special issue guessed it... fear.

Ask magazine goes beyond the usual scary story collection, however, with an article on how the brain processes and produces fear as well as a guide to controlling and dealing with fear -- useful for kids and adults! This issue also includes the instructions for Ask's latest contest -- to design a Monster so terrifying it will frighten other monsters. Winners will get published in a future issue of Ask!

Fabulous Fiction Firsts #181


In Chemistry for Beginners*, for Dr. Steven Fisher, the female orgasm is his life’s work. At the brink of the breakthrough of a miracle drug that could cure female sexual dysfunction (think Viagra), one of his test subjects – Annie G is wracking havoc with his data, his scientific mind and his carefully guarded heart.

This engaging and smart, romantic comedy (no longer an oxymoron, thanks to Anthony Strong - a pseudonym for Anthony Capella) is presented in the form of a scientific paper, complete with footnotes (totally believable and absolutely hilarious) and illustrations. The uniquely contemporary male perspective, memorable quotes, satirical jabs at academia, clinical research, and the drug business will surely entertain. The tentative and problematic courtship is tantalizing (think D.H. Lawrence's Lady C.), at times heartbreaking, and oh so itchy sexy.

Easily the best romance of the year, from a newcomer to the genre. Best quote: "Sex is biology, love is chemistry". And some of the best sex scenes since Meg Ryan in When Harry Met Sally.

* = Starred review

It is Tree Time!


It is that time of year again, when students are studying trees and learning to identify leaves. On Saturday, September 26, 2:00-3:30pm, join the staff of the Leslie Science and Nature Center at the Traverwood Branch for hands-on activities and discover how to use a scientific key to identify trees. Weather permitting, we will take a leafy walk through the nearby Stapp Nature Area directly following the program. Program is designed for students grades k-3. Join us and learn more about the trees all around you?

Archaeology for Kids

Looking for a book on archaeology for children that is packed with detailed information, fabulous photographs, and a link to an educational website? Pick up a copy of The Usborne Introduction to Archaeology : Internet-Linked here at the AADL. Even without access to the internet, this book is a complete reference work on its own. Readers will learn about archaeological techniques (like dendrochronology and thermoluminescence dating), and a variety of archaeological sites around the globe. Explore Teotihuacan, ancient Persepolis, Harappa, Mesa Verde, and Egypt's Valley of the Kings, just to name a few. Access to the internet will link you to Usborne's educational website where you can take virtual tours of famous ancient sites, follow finds from discovery to restoration, participate in activities like unwrapping a virtual mummy, or follow links to other great archaeology sites for kids like the American Museum of Natural History's ArchaeOlogy: Clues from the Past.

"One giant leap for mankind..."

On July 20, 1969, 40 years ago today, man first set foot on the moon. Guided by Apollo 11's orbiting command astronaut Michael Collins, Neil Armstrong and Edwin Aldrin landed the lunar model, Eagle, at 4:17 p.m., EDT on the surface of the moon. They walked on the moon's surface for 2 1/2 hours, bringing home photos and moon rocks and gaining the adoration of the American public.

The Library has some wonderful books and dvds on the landing. If you're old enough to remember, they may evoke an "I was there" (just watching, of course) memory. Or young people may be inspired to take another giant leap to the great beyond.

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