Program
How do we grasp the vastness of the universe?
How do we grasp the vastness of the universe?

SESSION DESCRIPTION:

The human mind has its limits. The universe may be infinite. How then can students begin to wrap their minds around it? Phil Sadler of the Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory shows how to bring the cosmos down to size by using the processes of any scientific investigation: selecting a specific problem, collecting data, and building a model that both explains our observations and accurately predicts future findings.

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SMITHSONIAN EXPERT:

Phil Sadler earned a B.S. in physics from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and taught middle school science, engineering, and mathematics before earning a doctorate in education from Harvard and going on to teach Harvard’s courses for students preparing to be science educators. He is a winner of the Journal of Research in Science Teaching Award, the Astronomical Society of the Pacific’s Brennan Prize for contributions to astronomy teaching, and the American Astronomical Society Education Prize. Executive producer of the video A Private Universe, originator of the MicroObservatory network, and inventor of many devices for the teaching of astronomy, his materials and curricula are used by an estimated 15 million students every year.

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4 Comments
  1. Martha Ann Rinderle
    4:25 pm on April 13th, 2010

    I have been an active teacher for 52 years and like the energizer bunny, I just keep going.
    I have been teaching in the Earth Sciences for over 35 years. The only area that has never been thoroughly understood by me (to my satisfaction) is astronomy. I do teach a high school course in Astronomy and am constantly updating myself and bringing into the classroom whatever will inspire and amaze my students. These days it is difficult to excite and energize
    high school seniors, so I use any means at all to get them immersed. Whatever is cutting edge at any given moment is what we strive to incorporate. I look forward to sharing thoughts and ideas with others in the same position that I currently work. Martha Ann Rinderle, Erie, PA

  2. Martha Ann Rinderle
    4:27 pm on April 13th, 2010

    I look forward to meeting with other like minded and interesting people. This type of program ihas long been needed.

  3. Martha Ann Rinderle
    4:28 pm on April 13th, 2010

    I have been an active teacher for 52 years and like the energizer bunny, I just keep going.
    I have been teaching in the Earth Sciences for over 35 years. The only area that has never been thoroughly understood by me (to my satisfaction) is astronomy. I do teach a high school course in Astronomy and am constantly updating myself and bringing into the classroom whatever will inspire and amaze my students. These days it is difficult to excite and energize
    high school seniors, so I use any means at all to get them immersed. Whatever is cutting edge at any given moment is what we strive to incorporate. I look forward to sharing thoughts and ideas with others in the same position that I currently work.

    Eric Ekman Reply:

    I would say Astronomy is fascinating all on its own. The nearest stars are light years away, meaning that when we look up at the night sky we are really seeing light from years ago that just reached our planet. With just the naked eye, we can look up at the sky and on a really clear night, see the Andromeda Galaxy 2.5 million light years away. When you look up at the night sky you can see 2.5 million years into the past and with advanced telescopes, scientists are able to look all the way back to the big bang! Astronomy isn’t simply what’s out there, it is an exploration into the very creation of our universe. I was never much into the hard sciences, being a literature and psychology student my entire college career, but astronomy was always something that inspired my imagination.