Monday, September 12, 2005

Fun With Ms. Science

For years, I suppressed my scientific tendencies. Outwardly, I shunned all things scientific or mathematical. They were too abstract, too dry, too intellectually demanding for my feeble brain, which clearly preferred art. I was a writer. I was an actor. I just “didn’t have a head for math or science.” Secretly, though, I was enthralled by science and its promise to unravel the greatest mysteries of the universe. I gazed at the stars by night, and was mesmerized by the wonders of photosynthesis by day. Now, that childhood fascination has returned.

As I mentioned in a previous post, my inner science geek has awakened, and she refuses to go back to sleep. Rather than fight this surprising development in my personality, I have embraced it. For the past several months, I have devoted myself to as intensive a study of science as I could squeeze in around my writing, reporting and dog, cat and bird parenting duties. Because I believe information is more valuable when it’s shared, I have decided to pass along some of what I’ve learned. As cynical as I like to believe I am, I can’t resist saying “Gee whiz!” to much of it.

Cool Science Facts:

1. Albert Einstein left a blueprint for traveling to the future. (I should be marveling at the possibility of knowing what Earth will be like in 10 million years, but my annoying practical side just wants to look far enough into the future to find out if I’ll pay off my credit debt. Wait--I don’t need physics to know that’s highly improbable. Oh well.)

2. Two particles, separated by hundreds or even millions of miles, can be entwined so that they do the same thing at the same time despite their physical distance. Physicists call this entanglement. Einstein called it spooky. I prefer Einstein’s definition.

3. The Solar System formed about 4.5 billion years ago. (About the same time I last did laundry.)

4. It is believed that a collision with an asteroid caused the extinction of the dinosaurs about 65 million years ago.

5. The Sun controls the seasons, ocean currents and weather on Earth.
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