Archives for August 2006

Optional—Your SAT Test Score

Suppose colleges and universities stopped using the SAT as part of their admission process into undergraduate school? Decades ago, Bates College and Bowdoin College eliminated the use of the test in the admission process, and now, nearly one-fourth of the top undergraduate schools in the USA no longer use the test. Why? Is the test […]

Was New Hampshire Once Part of Africa? Roadside/Roadcut Geology

The title is very tantalizing, isn’t it? I grew up just a few miles from New Hampshire, and studied earth science in undergraduate school. I can tell you that in our courses taught by very fine professors of geology, I never heard anyone make that claim. It would take many years after my undergraduate studies […]

Activity on this Blog—Past Two Months

Although I started this science teaching blog more than a year ago, it wasn’t until June 16, 2006 that I installed a page counter (site statistics) to give me an idea how many people were hitting the site, and what pages were hit more frequently than others. First, I was surprised that the site received […]

Pluto is a Dwarf Planet

Astronomers at IAU Congress in Prague reached agreement that the planets and planet like-bodies in the Solar System (and in other solar systems) will be categorized into three groups, meaning that Earth is still a planet, but Pluto is now a “Dwarf planet.” Here is what they decided. 1. The classic eight planets of the […]

Planet Redefinition Fails!

In the first open discussion of the redefinition of the meaning of planet (held today in Prague), the proposal set forth by the Executive Committee of IAU was voted down by planetary scientists by a vote of 60 to 40! According to a report that I read, “most of the speakers during the discussion favored […]

Does our Solar System have a Double Planet?

It appears so! According the redefinition of the meaning of planet, Pluto and Charon would be the only double planet system in the Solar System. At least according to the proposed redefinition. According to IAU’s new definition, a “planet is a celestial body that (a) has sufficient mass for its self-gravity to overcome rigid body […]

Planet Definition—Emergence of New Solar System Mobiles

On Tuesday, August 22 at the International Astronomical Union Conference in Prague, the IAU Executive Committee will hold a general meeting to discuss the meaning of the concept of planet. As in an earlier post, the definition that has been proposed, and that will be discussed tomorrow has raised perhaps more questions than it answers. […]

From New England to Georgia—Geology & Other Stuff on the Road

We recently traveled to New England by air for a family visit, and to attend antiques shows held during the “New Hampshire Antiques Week.” Because of the terrorist threat in London, we decided to drive back to Georgia traveling from Concord, New Hampshire, through Brattleboro, Vermont into Connecticut, then into New York and Pennsylvania down […]

From New England to Georgia—Geology & Other Stuff on the Road

We recently traveled to New England by air for a family visit, and to attend antiques shows held during the “New Hampshire Antiques Week.” Because of the terrorist threat in London, we decided to drive back to Georgia traveling from Concord, New Hampshire, through Brattleboro, Vermont into Connecticut, then into New York and Pennsylvania down […]

What is the definition of a Planet? Teaching about the nature of science.

I recently heard a science teacher say that the astronmers’ current debate and formulation of a new definition for a planet was great because it could be used to teach students about the nature of science. Right on! In a recent New York Times article, Dennis Overbye wrote that “a committee of astronomers and historians […]

Evolution of Kansas?

Tuesday’s vote in the State School Board elections in Kansas resulted in the ouster of the conservative majority which favored putting evolution under review (and only evolution—no other science concepts and ideas need such critical reveiw). According to observers of this election, and the ongoing debate between evolution and intelligent design, this was another major […]

Toto: I Think We ARE in Kansas!

Yes, Kansas is back in the news again regarding the nature of science, evolution, and the Kansas State School Board. Elections for half of the seats on the board are next Tuesday. In a New York Times article, Evolution’s Backers in Kansas Start Counterattack, a contentious election is being played out among the 16 candidates […]