“The Big Freeze”

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Discover the science of cold at the Ann Arbor Hands-On Museum December 26 through December 31. Make ice cream, try on blubber gloves and watch liquid nitrogen demonstrations (12, 2, and 4 PM), as well as enjoy other games and activities. All activities are free with museum admission.

Also check out these special days:
Dec. 27 Artic Artifacts (1 and 3 PM)
Experience Artic culture while viewing artifacts from the Toledo Zoo

Dec. 28 Cold Blooded Encounters (1-3 PM)
See live reptiles you can touch with Brian Cressman

Dec. 31 IceScapes (1-3 PM)
Free ice cream treats from IceScapes

Whitefish Wipeout Worries

Anyone who’s spent even one weekend Up North knows that whitefish is the mainstay of lakeshore restaurants. A Great Lakes Radio Consortium story warns that our beloved whitefish are threatened by an invasion of Quaggas who are eating the whitefish’s favorite food, diporeia. The Great Lakes Environmental Research Laboratory is researching the invasion and what we can do to assure the whitefish maintains its hallowed status on Michigan menus.

Ever wondered . . .

how a jet's black box works, how a skin graft is grown, or how a pet translator interprets the mood of your dog or cat? Take a look at Cool Stuff and How it Works. This full color picture book uses advanced imaging technology such as X rays, scanning electron micrographs, and infrared thermograms, along with traditional graphics, to reveal the workings of all this and more. A feast for the eye and brain!

Discovery Launch Tonight!

STS-116 is scheduled to launch tonight, Thursday, December 7th, at 9:36pm ET. Their mission is to rewire the space station. Since 1998 it has been running on a temporary electrical system. Two new solar panels were successfully installed in September, so everything should be set to switch to the permanent system.

You can watch the launch live at NASA’s website.

Among the crew will be Sweden's first astronaut, Christer Fuglesang.

25th Anniversary of Columbia's STS-2 Flight

STS-2 LaunchSTS-2 Launch

Twenty-five years ago today, the Shuttle Columbia launched for the second time. Columbia was the first Space Shuttle to fly into Earth orbit in 1981. This mission launch proved that the space shuttle was the first reusable manned space vehicle.

Columbia's 28th and last mission was STS-107, which launched January 16, 2003. The crew and vehicle were lost on re-entry on February 1, 2003.

A Salty Story

Mark Kurlansky is back with another magical tale for children, The Story of Salt, an adaptation of his best-selling book, Salt, for grown-ups. Kurlansky spins the history of the compound, “the only rock we eat,” in fascinating historical vignettes accompanied by lovely illustrations, earth tones accented with white echoing throughout the book. Though it’s meant for kids, (ages 8-12), there’s plenty to whet the appetite of adults, too.

Soyuz 3 Anniversary

Soyuz 3Soyuz 3

Thirty-eight years ago, on October 26, 1968, the Soviet Union launched Soyuz 3, piloted by cosmonaut Georgi Beregovoi. The mission was to dock with Soyuz 2, an unmanned spacecraft that had been launched October 25, 1968. This was to be the first manned space docking for the Soviet Union; the United States had already accomplished this during the Gemini VIII mission in March of 1966. Even though Beregovoi was able to maneuver Soyuz 3 to within 1 meter of Soyuz 2, docking attempts failed.
The library has many items on the space race. For even more information visit the databases on the research section of our website. The New York Times Historical database is a good place to find exciting articles that were printed when the events were taking place. General Reference Center Gold will find you periodical articles.

Fans of Mercury, mark your calendars!!!

Mercury TransitMercury Transit

On Wednesday, November 8, the planet Mercury will pass directly in front of the Sun. This event is known as the Transit of Mercury and occurs 13 to 14 times per century. Mercury will appear as a very tiny black dot as it makes its way across the Sun’s face. Since only a tiny spot will be covered, it is still dangerous to look directly at the Sun. Some ways to safely view solar events are through eclipse glasses or by means of a pinhole projector. The best way to see the movement of Mercury would be through a telescope equipped with a sun-safe H-alpha filter. If this isn’t possible, don’t fret. You can visit the SOHO website to watch it from the comfort of your nearest computer.

The University of Michigan Angell Hall Observatory, complete with a 0.4-m (16-inch) diameter reflecting telescope equipped with a CCD camera, will be hosting an open house for the event. Click here for information.

If you miss it this time you will have to wait 10 years for another opportunity. The next Transit of Mercury is expected to occur May 9, 2016.

Yes. Scientists can laugh at themselves.

You've heard of the Nobel Prize awards. In fact, the 2006 awards for chemistry, medicine and physics have already been announced. But this Thursday, October 5th, the Annals of Improbable Research Magazine will present the 2006 Ig Nobel Prize winners at the 16th First Annual Ig Nobel Prize Ceremony at Harvard's Sanders Theater. The prizes are awared by Nobel laureates to scientists whose research "makes people laugh." Examples of past winners' papers include: for economics in 2005, the invention of an alarm clock that runs away and hides so that people have to get out of bed. For chemistry, the award was given for research to determine whether people swim faster in syrup or in water. And my favorite for that year, an experiment begun in 1927 in which a glob of black tar has been dripping through a funnel, a drop every nine years.

For two enjoyable if not outrageous books on science, try 101 things you don't know about science and no one else does either by James Trefil or The Pleasure of Finding Things Out by Richard Feynman.

Gold Mine for Teachers at the UM Exhibit Museum of Natural History

If you are looking for fun and educational field trips for your class, check into what the University of Michigan Exhibit Museum of Natural History has to offer. There are guided tours exploring how fossils form and the cultures of Native Americans indigenous to the Michigan area. The museum also has planetarium shows, with shows specific for a wide age range of students. Located on the museum website are links to teacher and student resources with scavenger hunts and crossword puzzles, as well as the schedule of current program offerings.

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