Saturday Morning Physics Winter 2015 Schedule

Beginning on Saturday, February 7th, the University of Michigan Physics department will resume hosting their weekly Saturday Morning Physics lectures.  The lectures will be held Saturday mornings, 10:30-11:30 AM in 170 Dennison on central campus. These events are free, and refreshments will be served from 10:00 to 10:30 AM prior to the lecture.

Designed for general audiences, the lectures are an opportunity to hear physicists discuss their work in easy-to-understand, non-technical terms. The multimedia presentations include hands-on demonstrations of the principles discussed, along with slides, video, and computer simulations.

You can find out more information by clicking here, including parking suggestions and seminar guidelines.

Here are the topics for this term’s lectures.

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Saturday Morning Physics Fall 2014 Schedule

Beginning on Saturday, October 11th, the University of Michigan Physics department will begin hosting their weekly Saturday Morning Physics lectures.  The lectures will be held Saturday mornings, 10:30-11:30 AM in 170 Dennison on central campus. These events are free and refreshments will be served from 10:00 to 10:30 AM prior to the lecture.

Designed for general audiences, the lectures are an opportunity to hear physicists discuss their work in easy-to-understand, non-technical terms. The multimedia presentations include hands-on demonstrations of the principles discussed, along with slides, video, and computer simulations.

You can find out more information by clicking here, including parking suggestions and seminar guidelines.

Continue reading

Camelopardalis – Meteor Shower on May 24th

Camelopardalis

Courtesy of the University of Michigan Museum of Natural History

“In the early morning hours of May 24, we have an opportunity to observe a brand new meteor shower, the “Camelopardalids,” named after the constellation (Camelopardalis) they will radiate from. The origin of the meteoritic debris is a comet called 209P. It has been around for a while, shedding debris as it goes, and this debris has been stacking up in the inner solar system for a long time.

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Between about 1:40 AM and 4:50 AM Eastern Daylight Time on the morning of May 24, the Earth will pass through some of this debris. Forecasts range from 1000 “shooting stars” per hour to 100 per hour. Here in North America, we will be in a pretty good place to observe them. The downside has to do with where the radiant is located.

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The radiant is about one third of the distance between the North Star and the nose of Ursa Major, the Great Bear. During the prime event time, this point will be fairly low on the northern horizon, meaning that tall trees and close-by houses could block your view. It may be necessary to find a location with a clear horizon in the north.

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Of interest with this shower is that the objects are moving relatively slowly, about 40,000 miles per hour, or about half as fast as many “shooting stars.” While fast by our standards, it means a better chance to spot and follow one as it streaks across the sky.

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A new meteor shower is rare and worth the effort to observe. The peak duration is short, and it isn’t sub-zero outside! There are a number of websites with information and history related to this event, but be sure to convert the Universal Time to Eastern Daylight Time. Subtract four hours.”

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For more information you can visit these websites.

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http://www.space.com/25768-new-meteor-shower-comet-linear.html

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http://science.nasa.gov/science-news/science-at-nasa/2014/06may_newshower/

Download Now – “Observing the Universe: Telescopes and Dark Matter Skepticism

Mario-Mateo-HeadshotThis is the audio recording of the 04/19 meet-up with Dr. Mario Matteo, professor of Astronomy at the University of Michigan.  In this meet-up, Dr. Matteo discusses the importance of instrumentation in cosmology and astronomy, including his own development of several powerful telescopes.  And Dr. Matteo also explains why some of his work challenges current models of dark matter as an explanatory reason of the distribution of mass in nearby galaxies.

Some of the highlights of the conversation:

(12:50) What is meant by measuring velocities when using a telescope, (20:00) The skepticism of dark matter as an explanation for the distribution of mass in galaxies, (36:50) The excitement over the Gaia Satellite Mission, (45:00) What is a dwarf galaxy, (49:10) How gravitation lensing is used as data, and (1:08:50) Why Dr. Matteo doesn’t speculate on dark energy.

“Scientists Fair 2014” (Saturday, May 31st)

A2 S&S Logo - for Blog

On Saturday May 31st, the Ann Arbor Science & Skeptics are hosting the third annual “Scientists Fair,” a science fair where the exhibits are actual scientists.  The event will take place from 1:00pm to 3:00pm. This will be free and open to both Ann Arbor Science & Skeptics members and the public.

Located in the Multi-Purpose room (in the lower level of the main branch), there will be several professors and researchers from the University of Michigan with expertise in general fields of knowledge, available to answer your questions. Some of the topics will include: Astrochemistry, Geology & Earth Science, Exploring Mars, Climate Science, Medical Research, Nuclear Power, and more

You can watch a short video about the Scientists Fair here (video)

The purpose of this event is two-fold:

  1. For our members and the public to not only acquaint people to scientific knowledge, but also to how that knowledge is obtained.
  2. For the scientists and professors to talk about their research with you, and to share with you their excitement and passion.

There is no reservation limit for this meet-up. And we are encouraging you to invite as many of your family and friends who enjoy science. This year the library is sponsoring our event, and we’d really like to get a big turnout.

(04/19) Observing the Universe: Telescopes

Mario-Mateo-HeadshotThe Ann Arbor Science & Skeptics is having a meet-up on Saturday, April 19 from 4:00 to 7:00pm at Cubs AC. We’ll be in the back room located down the short hallway past the bar.

Our special guest will be Dr. Mario Matteo, professor of Astronomy at the University of Michigan.  We will be discussing his research into studying the universe through telescopes and other survey instrumentation.  Dr. Matteo is one of the leading developers of some of the most sophisticated instruments of observation in the world.  And very recently, some of his work challenges the current models of dark matter as an explanatory reason of the distribution of mass in nearby galaxies.

This should be an exciting topic of conversation, so I urge you to RSVP early.  And if you do RSVP, and learn that you will be unable to attend, please update your RSVP.  There will be a limit of 35 people.

The first part of the event will be for general socializing and ordering of food and beverages. After which, there will be some announcements, and then we will start the conversation at approximately 4:30.

There is no cost to attend but donations to cover the guest speaker’s meal and beverages, as well as general group expenses (including our upcoming Scientists Fair event), are appreciated.

You can RSVP here or on our Meetup page.