New Texas science education source, Teach Them Science

January 15, 2009

Joint project of the Clergy Project and the Center for Inquiry, Teach Them Science debuted on-line just a few weeks before the next round of science curriculum decisions by the State Board of Education.

Science education is at risk in Texas and across the country.
If you are a parent, educator, or concerned citizen, the information on these pages will help you understand the importance of a 21st Century science education. Particularly important in the 21st Century is a scientific understanding of evolution. These pages will also show you how you can help in Texas.

Center for Inquiry and The Clergy Letter Project are secular and religious communities who have come together to protect our children’s future in science. We call on you to help defend science education.

Joe Lapp, who I know through Texas Citizens for Science, played a big role in getting this site up and running.  Go look.  Pass the link on to all the science teachers you know, especially in Texas.

(Go see this wonderful, wry photo by Ralph Barrera of the Austin American-Statesman.)

Tip of the old scrub brush to Texas Citizens for Science.

World History Compass — R.I.P?

January 15, 2009

Found a link to this site — it looked pretty good, and I was starting to get excited, when I noticed the last update appeared to have been in 2001.

That explains why I hadn’t seen that material before (some of the links work, still.  good.).

Whatever happened to World History Compass?  Anybody know?

Scientists of a feather (& Big Bang resources)

January 15, 2009

Gamow and Myers.

From a report on Simon Singh’s presentation on Big Bang to the New York Academy of Sciences, reported by William Tucker:

There is much, much more to Singh’s chronicle. Did you know, for example, that helium was discovered in the sun before it was found on earth? Most terrestrial helium had long since drifted into space—hence the name, derived from “helios,” Greek for the sun. Then there is story of George Gamow’s first scientific experiment, when he took home the communion wafer in his cheek and put it under the microscope. He found no evidence of the Transubstantiation. “I think this was the experiment that made me a scientist,” he later wrote.

The report on Singh’s presentation is itself a good, concise history of Big Bang theory development, accompanied by this long list of top-notch, on-line resources about Big Bang.



The Structure of Scientific Revolutions, by Thomas S. Kuhn. 1996. University of Chicago Press.
Amazon | Barnes & Noble

Big Bang: The Origin of the Universe, by Simon Singh. 2005. Harper Collins, New York.
Amazon | Barnes & Noble

The Code Book, by Simon Singh. 2000. Anchor, New York.
Amazon | Barnes & Noble

Fermat’s Enigma, by Simon Singh. 1998. Anchor, New York.
Amazon | Barnes & Noble

Web Sites:

The Astronomy Cafe
Subtitled “The website for the astronomically disadvantaged,” Sten Odenwald’s site includes answers to many frequently asked questions about the universe and its origins and describes a number of books and articles he has written on the subject.

“Big Bang” on Wikipedia
An encyclopedic overview of the subject, including the history of the theory, problems it has faced, and questions remaining to be investigated. The essay includes extensive hyperlinks to other related topics.

Creation of a Cosmology: Big Bang Theory
A concise scientific explanation of the Big Bang theory.

Curious About Astronomy? Ask an Astronomer
This Web site for laypeople provides an archive of questions and answers about the Big Bang, and allows visitors to pose their own questions on the subject.

“A Day Without Yesterday”: Georges Lemaître & the Big Bang
Extensive biography of Georges Lemaître (1894-1966).

The First Three Minutes
Review of Steven Weinberg’s The First Three Minutes, a book about the very early development of the universe.

Sir Fred Hoyle
Extensive biography of astronomer, mathematician, and novelist Sir Fred Hoyle (1915-2001).

Great Debates in Astronomy
A series of debates held at the Smithsonian’s Museum of Natural History among leaders in the astronomical community. Features background information, educational material, and published proceedings for each debate.

The History Guide: Giordano Bruno
Links to resources about the life of philosopher and astronomer Giordano Bruno (1548-1600).

Brief biography of Edwin Hubble.

Physics: Cosmology and Astronomy
A collection of links to popular information on the subject, from

Science & the Arts
A program organized by the City University of New York New Media Lab that bridges the two worlds. Expert speakers and performers—including recent participants like Laurie Anderson, Wallace Shawn, Michel Gondry, Brian Eno, and Todd Haynes, as well as Mighton and Greene—present examples of the interplay of science and the arts in dance, art, and theater. A calendar of upcoming events is available, as well as information about past offerings.

The Ten Big Questions: Big Bang Theory
This page ponders philosophical questions related to the Big Bang theory.

Theories Section—Big Bang
Concise article on the subject, written for educated non-astronomers, from Astronomy Today.

From the Academy:

What Caused the “Bang” of the Big Bang?, featuring Alan H. Guth, Massachusetts Institute of Technology. 2001. New York Academy of Sciences eBriefing.

A 50-50 Chance of Making It to the 22nd Century? Martin Rees Asks Scientists to Help Improve the Odds. 2003. New York Academy of Sciences eBriefing.

String Theory: A Conversation with Brian Greene. 2003. New York Academy of Sciences eBriefing, co-sponsored by NOVA.

Mirror, Mirror: Robin Kerrod and the Romance of Astronomy. Reported by William Tucker. Author: Robin Kerrod. 2004. New York Academy of Sciences Readers & Writers article.

Cosmic Questions
Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences
Volume 950, published Dec 2001
Edited by James B. Miller
description | full text

Faber, S. M. The Big Bang as Scientific Fact. 2001. Annals Online 950: 39-53 abstract | full text

Guth, A. H. Eternal Inflation. 2001. Annals Online 950: 66-82 abstract | full text

Russell, R. J. Did God Create Our Universe? Theological Reflections on the Big Bang, Inflation, and Quantum Cosmologies. 2001. Annals Online 950: 108-127 abstract | full text

George Gamow
Encyclopedia entry on the life of physicist George Gamow (1904-1968).

A small collection of annotated links on the big bang theory.

Also, see Simon Singh’s website.

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