samedi 29 juin 2013

Summer Teen Workshop Day 4 : Cool Science

The first thing our teens did today was learn a little about some of 

The World's Great Scientists

 Albert Einstein

Even when very young, Einstein showed great ability in both maths and science. He was naturally curious and had a brilliant analytical mind.

 He produced perhaps one of the most famous equations ever: E = mc² (energy equals mass multiplied by the speed of light squared). He is also well known for his theory of relativity.

Einstein won the 1921 Nobel Prize in Physics for his work on theoretical physics.

Isaac Newton

Born in England, Isaac Newton was a highly influential physicist, astronomer, mathematician, philosopher, alchemist and theologian.

In 1687, Newton published Philosophae Naturalis Principia Mathematica, what is widely regarded to be one of the important books in the history of science. In it he describes universal gravitation and the three laws of motion, concepts that remained at the forefront of science for centuries after.

Newton was known to have said that his work on formulating a theory of gravitation was inspired by watching an apple fall from a tree. A story well publicized to this very day.


Galileo was a ground breaking astronomer, physicist, mathematician, philosopher and inventor. Among his inventions were telescopes, a compass and a thermometer.

With these telescopes, Galileo was able to observe the skies in ways previously not achieved. 

In 1610 he made observations of 4 objects surrounding Jupiter that behaved unlike stars, these turned out to be Jupiter’s four largest satellite moons: Io, Callisto, Europa and Ganymede.

Charles Darwin

He is most famous for his work on natural selection, the idea that all species of life have evolved over time from common ancestors.

His 1859 book ‘On the Origin of Species’, detailed much of his research on natural selection, it contained a large amount of evidence to back up his ideas and became a landmark work in the field of evolutionary biology.

Darwin’s ideas created a lot of discussion regarding the impact on various scientific, religious and philosophical viewpoints.

Louis Pasteur

He is well-known for inventing a process to stop food and liquid such as milk from making people sick. This method is called Pasteurization.

Many of Pasteur’s experiments supported the germ theory of disease, they helped show that microorganisms are the true cause of many diseases.

In honor of his work and influential contributions, Pasteur was made a Grand Croix of the Legion of Honor, a prestigious French order.

Pierre & Marie Curie

Marie Curie was a chemist and physicist famous for becoming the first person to be awarded two Nobel Prizes.

Pierre Curie was a French physicist who made many breakthrough discoveries in radioactivity, crystallography and magnetism.

They discovered polonium and radium.

Nicolas Copernicus

The astronomical model that Copernicus developed was called heliocentrism (helios = Sun). It has the Sun motionless at the center of the Universe while the Earth and other planets rotate around it in circular paths.

A much earlier geocentric model (geo = Earth) created by Ptolemy featured Earth at the center of the Universe. This model was used by astronomers and other scientists for centuries before Copernicus developed his heliocentric model.

Many believe that the theory and ideas put forward by Copernicus started modern astronomy and were the beginning of a scientific revolution.

Alexander Graham Bell

He is widely credited with the invention of the first practical telephone.

Bell experimented with sound, working with devices such as a ‘harmonic telegraph’ (used to send multiple messages over a single wire) and a ‘phonautograph’ (used to record sound).

Then the teens took a fun, short quiz to test what they remembered.  Can you match the names (below) to the short bio ?

Great Scientists Quiz

__________ changed the world of science with his brilliant work in theoretical physics. His theories, equations and ideas became the stuff of legend and his image is known around the world.

__________developed the theory of universal gravitation as well as his famous three laws of motion, forever leaving his mark on physics, astronomy and mathematics.

Italian scientist ________developed telescopes and used them to make revolutionary observations about our solar system, discovering new objects like the moons that orbit Jupiter.

________introduced the idea of natural selection to the world, backing up his theories on evolution with substantial observational data recorded on his long sea voyages.

French chemist and microbiologist _______created a new level of understanding regarding microorganisms, the causes of disease and disease prevention.

The husband and wife combination of _________contributed much to science through both their own individual work and their combined research efforts in the field of radioactivity.

At a time when astronomers believed the Earth was at the center of the Universe, ___________developed a radical new theory, kick starting modern astronomy in the process

___________studied the human voice, experimented with sound and is credited with the invention of the first practical telephone among other scientific achievements.

Albert Einstein – Alexander Graham Bell – Nicolas Copericus – Charles Darwin – Galileo – Louis Pasteur – Isaac Newton – Pierre & Marie Curie

Next we checked out   Volcanoes


with Bill Nye The Science Guy

Of course, we had to build a volcano of our own and make it explode !

More experiments followed, such as paper chromatography, to answer the question "Are black markers really black ?"

Start : black marker line on coffee filter...

place in water, wait 10 minutes and voilà ! A spectrum of colors 

Joe shows us that you can make an egg squeeze through the narrow opening of a plastic bottle


The enormously popular mentos-coca cola rocket explosion experiments

 At lunchtime we made spaghetti and meatball volcanoes and discussed digestion, answering the question "Where does my spaghetti go when I eat ?"


The final experiment was the impressive imploding (collapsing) coca cola can :

 We filled a large bowl with some cold tap water, added some ice and let the ice melt. 
This made the water nice and cold.

We took an empty soda can and poured a tablespoon of water into it. This 
was just enough to cover the bottom of the can.

We turned on the electric stove-top burner to high 

Carefully and using oven mitts, we placed the can on the stove-top and heated the can until the water 
began to boil. A cloud of 
vapor steamed up from the opening in the can to show it was boiling.

We let the water boil inside the can for 30-40 seconds.

Then we grasped the can using metal tongs. Very quickly we turned the can upside down and 
shoved it deep into the bowl of cold water. 

The can collapsed almost instantly with a loud crushing sound.

The Science Behind The Collapsing Can:

Why did the can collapse? We heated the can on the burner and made the water 
inside boil. As we did this the water vapor from the boil forced air out of the can. 
Once the can was filled with hot water 
vapor, it was cooled quickly  by turning it 
upside down and submerging it in the cold water. The cooling process caused 
the water vapor inside the can to condense. Which in turn created a partial 
vacuum. The partial vacuum generated low pressure inside the can (lower than 
the 14.7 pounds per square inch that surrounds us). Then the higher air pressure 
of 14.7 pounds per square inch outside the can crushed it.

The can was crushed / collapses when the 
air pressure outside became  greater 
than the pressure inside. That pressure difference was greater than the can was 
able to withstand. The same thing happens when you collapse an aluminum can 
with your hand. Squeezing the sides of the can makes the pressure outside 
greater than the pressure inside. If you squeeze really har the can is crushed. 
Normally, air pressure inside a open can equals the pressure outside. But in this 
demonstration, all of the air was foreced out of the can by water vapor. Once the 
water vapor cooled and condensed, the air pressure inside the can became much 
less than the air pressure outside. Next the greater pressure outside the can 
crushed it. 

We ended the day with a trip to the Palais de la Découverte to discover more COOL things about SCIENCE

Foucault's Pendulum

A lesson in Chemistry :  "La matière dans tous ses états !" (chaleur et fluides)

Nothing like a little liquid nitrogen to wow a crowd !

Pretty cool (cold !) stuff !!

The infrared camera amazed the guys  

1 commentaire: