Sara Does Science

Sporatically posting thoughts and amusements from a pretty rad (if I don't say so myself) lady physicist.
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Scientifically Accurate Ninja Turtles

Just as catchy as “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles” but way, way creepier. Also, turtle junk is really weird and these turtles would make very inappropriate action figures for children.

via io9

Good thing I don’t have any nieces/nephews/offspring because they would have been pushed aside for my new favorite kid. Meet Sylvia Todd, hostess of Sylvia’s Super-Awesome Maker Show, who was recently profiled in the New York Times. She’s an 11 year old who loves electronics, crafts, and science. Her parents help her put together a really fun web series where she demonstrates how to make different projects.

Here’s her most popular show: how to etch copper to make both jewelry and circuit boards. This puts my childhood Perler bead and paint by numbers projects to shame.

Sylvia also does a really great job of explaining some of the engineering and scientific principles behind her projects. Check out this video where she makes a strobe light and a finger flute for an Arduino. I just watched it with my lab mates and we all learned something new about circuitry. Also, she uses puppets to explain different parts of the circuit. PUPPETS! And they are super cute and hand drawn and also very funny.

At 11 years old, this girl is already a fantastic role model. If I have kids they better turn out like her!

alisonannestitch:

In honour of term paper season, I fixed up my pattern from last year with simpler stitches and brighter colours. Perfect for passive-aggressively stitching in the grad lounge.

Pattern and finished stitching both available in my new Etsy store.

I need to make one of these for my lab before I leave. A legacy of sorts.

Know the musical Mamma Mia? It’s a delightful jukebox-musical based on Abba songs and some Maury Povich style paternity hijinks. It’s also one of my biggest guilty pleasures. Approximately 1 to 3 times a year I open a bottle of white wine, drink most of it, and sing along. Once while doing this, I got the brilliant idea that since all three actors playing potential baby-daddies had different hair and eye colors, I could use Punnett Squares and some basic probability to get to the bottom of this investigation. But because I was kind of drunk I got a bit lost along the way. So after another entertaining viewing last night (where I realized that not only have I memorized all the songs by now but all the dialog, too!) I decided to revisit my quest.

As a disclaimer: I am well aware that this is not high quality genetics by any means. But hey, my Ph.D. is in condensed matter experiment and Mrs. Kenny’s eighth grad science class was the last time I studied anything about inheriting genetic traits. And now that my necessary “I am not a geneticist” statement is out of the way…let’s go!

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Love and marriage and telescopes, oh my!
Check out this adorable couple from this week’s NY Times wedding section (my guilty pleasure every Sunday morning). Sara Schechner, the curator of Harvard’s scientific instruments collection, met Kenneth Launie, a telescope enthusiast, when she needed help restoring an antique scope to celebrate the 2004 Transit of Venus.
Both their courtship and wedding were filled with astronomy and the bride even embroidered a wedding canopy with the Transit of Venus! Also, this quote is super nerdy but it makes me all happy inside:
"He added that the previous women in his life had tolerated his own collection of telescopes, which numbers more than 60. Yet here was someone who would line up Zeiss diagonal prisms with him on a Saturday night, measure their differences, measure their similarities and take pictures of them for posterity."
Man, science love is the best kind of love.

Love and marriage and telescopes, oh my!

Check out this adorable couple from this week’s NY Times wedding section (my guilty pleasure every Sunday morning). Sara Schechner, the curator of Harvard’s scientific instruments collection, met Kenneth Launie, a telescope enthusiast, when she needed help restoring an antique scope to celebrate the 2004 Transit of Venus.


Both their courtship and wedding were filled with astronomy and the bride even embroidered a wedding canopy with the Transit of Venus! Also, this quote is super nerdy but it makes me all happy inside:

"He added that the previous women in his life had tolerated his own collection of telescopes, which numbers more than 60. Yet here was someone who would line up Zeiss diagonal prisms with him on a Saturday night, measure their differences, measure their similarities and take pictures of them for posterity."

Man, science love is the best kind of love.

It’s slightly terrifying…slightly exciting…but here it is! My official Ph.D. defense announcement! I defend in a little over two weeks which means I should probably get my power point ready.

Learning about electricity with an electric fence. I’m actually impressed by the narrator. I think most high school (?) aged students would just want to see their friends get a shock, but this one correctly describes the physics behind it. Enjoy!

Some of the ladies over at the fantastic Ladies of Science reddit posted this "50 Sexy Scientists" article on Business Insider.

Luckily, it’s less of this:

image

and more of this:

(Thanks for finding an adorable science hipster, Business Insider!)

But overall it still feels kind of weird to me.

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Many of you reading this may be familiar with ArXiv.org and many of you may not be. ArXiv is an open access library where scientists, mostly of the physics, math and computer science varieties, put up papers or pre-prints for all the world to see. Many of these are not yet peer reviewed (and maybe never will be), so you can often find papers that are fun, pop culture based, or just plain crazy-pants (I’m going to suggest a search for papers with the word “god” in the title here.) Since I like to turn to ArXiv when I have some downtime and want to explore the lighter side of science, I thought I’d share some of my favorite findings here.

If you want to join in the fun, many of my most fruitful searches come from me poking around in the “General Physics”, “Popular Physics”, and “History and Philosophy of Physics”. You can see the week’s most recent submissions under each category. 

So without further ado, here’s a round-up of some fun papers from this past week.

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OMG NERD LOVE!!!!

I wish this proposal in the form of a physics paper happened to me but sadly it didn’t. But it did happen to redactor bogus_wheel, a physicist who was proposed to by her physicist boyfriend (now fiancé). It makes my feel all happy in my insides.