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24
April
2013

New Maker Initiative Launching At COSI This Summer

At the 2013 White House Science Fair this week, President Obama spoke about the new commitments in the Educate to Innovate campaign, including the Maker Corps initiative. "This summer, the Maker Education Initiative will launch the first-ever Maker Corps. These volunteers will give more young people the opportunity to design and build something that is personally meaningful to them. In its first year, over 100 Maker Corps members - in 19 states and Washington D.C. - will work with 34 partner organizations such as schools, libraries, and science centers."
22
April
2013

Going Green at COSI

Happy Earth Day from COSI! As the new Manager of Energy and Environmental Initiatives I'm excited to take this opportunity to highlight some of the great work COSI has committed to in the name of sustainability.

One way that COSI has gone green, is through composting. If you have been to COSI in the last year, you may have noticed that we collect food scraps in our Atomic Café. But, our composting efforts don't stop there! Many of our service items (such as napkins and condiment cups) are compostable too. COSI's commitment to compost doesn't end with our visitors. Our food service staff practices what we preach in the kitchen by separating out food waste from other waste items. These efforts lead to the collection of 18.14 tons of compostable material in 2012!
Photo of composting bins in Atomic Cafe.
22
April
2013

Know Your Mother

Some Incredible Earth Facts to Celebrate on Earth Day

1) The Earth isn't round!

Actually, (like a lot of us) the Earth is a bit plump about the middle. Why? Because it's spinning so fast! The Earth's rotation creates stress on the rocks and the oceans, causing the planet to bulge around the equator. In fact, because the Southern Hemisphere is mostly ocean and because water is easier to move than land, the Earth is a little bit pear-shaped!

2) The tallest mountain is . . . well . . .

You probably said Mount Everest right away. It's true that Everest is the point on Earth farthest from sea level. However, there are at least two challengers to Everest's claim. If you measure base to peak, then Mauna Kea in the Hawaiian Islands is actually about four thousand feet taller than Everest. Of course, Mauna Kea begins on the bottom of the Pacific Ocean and doesn't even break sea level until it's already almost 20,000 feet high. But if you put the two side by side, Mauna Kea would actually be larger.
Gorgeous view of Pacific Ocean.
19
April
2013

For Carl: Three New Worlds in the Cosmos

It seems like just yesterday. In 1980, astronomer Carl Sagan presented Cosmos, his PBS series about the joy and beauty of scientific discovery. More than anything else (yes, I have to admit, even more than my childhood visits to COSI), Cosmos awakened in me a love and a passion for science that has never dimmed.

In one of my favorite scenes, Sagan visits his old sixth grade classroom in the Bensonhurst section of Brooklyn. Sagan talks to the students there (who, coincidentally, were just my age at the time) about what a special time this was, the first time that humans had begun to explore the universe. In particular, Sagan talks about the beginning of our search for planets beyond the solar system.
18
April
2013

The Electroscope, Dark Matter, and Mystery

We have a new toy in the Electric Workshop at COSI. It's called an electroscope.

On the 1898 side of Progress, you might happen upon our Electric Workshop Show (check your daily schedule for show times). The Electric Workshop is one of COSI's hidden gems, a live demonstration all about the history (and future) of electricity. You can become an electric generator, make real lightning with our Wimshurst machine, and discover the mysterious power of a new kind of energy called radio waves.

Now we've added an antique electroscope to help reveal one of science's great discoveries: the entire universe is electrical. With the electroscope we discover the effect of separating electric charge.

But there's a further story to be told. The electroscope lies at the heart of another mystery of science – one that, believe it or not, we still haven't solved even in 2013.
A photo of the amazing electroscope.
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