Science and nature on the coast: East coast and Gulf of Mexico

By | June 20, 2017

In my last post, I mentioned some of the factors that have shaped the tectonically active west coast of the US. The east coast and Gulf coast are another story entirely. Interactions with other tectonic plates are a thing of the past (at least for the time being); instead, the Atlantic coast is receding from the mid-Atlantic ridge.… Read More »

Science and nature on the coast: West coast, Alaska, Hawaii

By | June 13, 2017

Is there anything that says summer like a trip to the beach? When you think of the beach, though, you’re probably not imagining a generic place, but a particular landscape: rocky tide pools, sandy barrier islands, the warm bathtub of the Gulf of Mexico, or the dramatic cliffs and sea stacks of the Pacific coast. Luckily, you have… Read More »

Exploring America’s nuclear history

By | June 6, 2017

The United States has a long and complex history of applying nuclear science. This post focuses on places you can visit to learn more about the early days of nuclear weapons and nuclear energy. Destinations include museums covering nuclear weapons, nuclear testing, and peaceful uses such as nuclear energy. You can also visit the nuclear reactor, long since decommissioned, where electricity was first generated from… Read More »

Climate change exhibits at science museums

By | June 2, 2017

Climate change is one of humankind’s most pressing concerns. The following exhibits in science museums explain the causes and effects of climate change. I also list one science-inspired art exhibit for good measure and mention a new climate museum that is currently being developed. The Koshland Science Museum of the National Academy of Sciences (Washington, DC) has an interactive exhibit called Earth… Read More »

Where to see US spaceships

By | May 31, 2017

Most of America’s crewed spaceships, from the earliest days through the space shuttle, are on display someplace in this country. You can visit the Mercury and Gemini spacecraft, most of the Apollo command modules, and the space shuttles. There are even a few unflown lunar modules and lunar rovers on exhibit. These spacecraft are distributed over 20 museums in… Read More »

Insectariums and butterfly houses

By | May 30, 2017

Bugs, bugs, bugs! Whether you’re interested in butterflies, beetles, scorpions, or some other type of arthropod, there’s probably a bug zoo you’ll enjoy. An arthropod, incidentally, is an invertebrate (it has no spine) with an outer shell and jointed legs. Insects are one type of arthropod; their bodies have three segments (a head, a thorax, and an abdomen) and six… Read More »

Where to see a model Solar System

By | May 30, 2017

You may recall that Douglas Adams, in the Hitchhiker’s Guide series, warned of the dangers of having an accurate perspective on your place in the universe. He was speaking tongue-in-cheek, of course; there is nothing more bracing than getting a sense of the scale of something huge, even the solar system, which is pretty provincial as the universe goes.… Read More »

Maria Mitchell’s legacy in Nantucket

By | May 29, 2017

The Maria Mitchell Association of Nantucket hosts visitors at two observatories, an aquarium, and a natural history museum. These sites continue the educational work and research of Maria Mitchell (1818–1889), an American astronomer and educator. Tutored by her father, who believed that girls should be educated as well as boys are, Mitchell became America’s first professional female astronomer. She was also a strong advocate for women’s education and… Read More »