Down to a Science

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The Volume of the Ocean

Blog Author:  Kerri Provost On 2.21.20

Walking up the stairs in the Deep Sea section of Science Alley, you might notice calming ocean sounds, but is it always this relaxing below the waves? Actually, it’s noisy! Between natural and industrial sources, sound types and decibels vary. Natural sounds are created by animals (including whales and seals), storms, and earthquakes. Popular Science …

Shopping to Support Sustainability

Blog Author:  Amy Isenberg On 2.19.20

In the midst of climate change, a growing plastic pollution crisis, and depleting natural resources, it seems like an obvious decision to rethink our consumption habits. While it’s unlikely that we quit shopping altogether, we can support companies whose values align with our own, and choose products that are gentler on the planet. Did you …

Science Sunday: The Broom Challenge is Basic Physics

Blog Author:  Mark Dixon & Aoife Ryle On 2.17.20

For this special edition of Science Sunday, we are taking on a challenge that seems to have swept over social media recently. Today, we are going to look at the science behind the broom challenge.  According to the challenge, you can balance a broom to stand up all on its own- but only on February …

The Bittersweet Science and History of Chocolate

Blog Author:  Kerri Provost On 2.14.20

Happy Valentine’s Day, or as I like to call it, One-More-Day-Until-All-the-Chocolate-Goes-On-Sale Day. But seriously, I have no interest in the drek that passes for milk chocolate. Give me something spicy or bitter, or both. Up until recently, the Mayan civilization was credited with gifting chocolate to the world. A 2018 study by Sonia Zarrillo et …

Down to a Science Book Club: Archaeology from Space

Blog Author:  Kerri Provost On 2.12.20

If you’ve ever played with Google Earth, you can almost call yourself a space archaeologist. This is a fairly new and totally real career, Sarah Parcak explains in her book Archaeology from Space: How the Future Shapes Our Past. She describes how the “story of everyday past people across the globe, is only now better …

Science Sunday: Experimenting with Bubbles

Blog Author:  Mark Dixon & Aoife Ryle On 2.10.20

Is it possible to make non-spherical bubbles? If so, how? Watch this Science Sunday video to see Mark and Aoife experiment with bubbles. Want even more fun with bubbles? BubbleMania is coming to the Connecticut Science Center from February 15 through February 17, 2020. Take swing music, add humor, and mix it with bubbles!   …

Fighting Fire with Fire

Blog Author:  Kerri Provost On 2.7.20

With seemingly non-stop fires raging, it’s hard to remember when people’s homes, the rainforest, kangaroos, or California’s wine country weren’t being threatened. Lately, the conversation has turned to fire management, namely, how we should look to the indigenous communities for advice on how to work with, instead of against, fire. On the surface this seems …

How Turning Down the Lights Opens Doors

Blog Author:  Kerri Provost On 2.5.20

If you are not sensitive to sound or light, then you could visit the Connecticut Science Center on a Sensory Friendly Day and not notice any change. For those of us who feel easily distracted or put on edge by what we interpret as chaotic noise, the difference is obvious and wonderful. Calm. That’s what …

Science Sunday: Pranks!

Blog Author:  Mark Dixon & Aoife Ryle On 2.3.20

It’s never too early to start thinking about April Fools’ Day. Get inspired by this week’s episode of Science Sunday as Aoife Ryle and Mark Dixon demonstrate three pranks.   Watch the video by clicking here!   Do you like the kind of tricks that make people gasp? Aoife explains how to pretend to burn …

Down to a Science Book Club: Inconspicuous Consumption

Blog Author:  Kerri Provost On 1.31.20

Author Tatiana Schlossberg asserts that “our daily activities don’t exist in a vacuum,” and spends the next 236 pages of Inconspicuous Consumption digging into minutiae like the role athleisure plays in microplastic fibers entering our waterways. This is the product of a journalist who asks question after question. She investigates everything from how we are …

A Quick Start Guide to Using NGSS

Blog Author:  Lindsey Sullivan On 1.29.20

It is no secret that the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) cannot be learned overnight. The NGSS fundamentally alters the way science has been taught in our school systems for years, and developing a strong familiarity with its concepts will likely require reading more than just this blog post.  That said, here are a couple …

Science Sunday: Earth’s Magnetic Pull

Blog Author:  Mark Dixon & Aoife Ryle On 1.27.20

Today, we are going to talk about the science of Earth’s magnetic field and navigation. The Earth has a magnetic field because of the molten iron in the outer core. There is a lot of molten iron present in the North and South poles of the Earth, creating this magnetic field. The magnetic field has …

Relieving Climate Anxiety

Blog Author:  Kerri Provost On 1.24.20

Before the New South Wales National Parks and Wildlife Service began air-dropping food in Yengo National Park and other sites ravaged by fire, prompting viral videos of adorable Brush-tailed Rock-wallabies munching carrots, we were inundated with weeks-upon-weeks of horrifying images: scorched earth and charred wildlife carcasses. Although I have never stepped foot on Australia, I …

Paving the Way to STEM: Layers of the STEM Career Connections Initiative

Blog Author:  Kelsey Ballard On 1.22.20

More than ever, we need a robust pipeline of qualified future employees. Jobs in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) fields — statistics, advanced manufacturing, health sciences, information technology, and more — are on the rise in Connecticut. The state is returning to its roots as a hotspot for innovation, ranking fourth nationally on the …

Science Sunday: All Things That Hover

Blog Author:  Mark Dixon & Aoife Ryle On 1.21.20

Remember when we all thought by the year 2020 we would be flying around on hovercrafts? Well, that hasn’t quite happened yet but on this edition of Science Sunday, we explored how an object can hover. First, we explore a mini toy hovercraft. On the bottom of the hovercraft are fans that blow air out …

Women in Science Spotlight: Dr. Shelly M. Jones

Blog Author:  Kerri Provost On 1.17.20

As part of the Connecticut Science Center’s Women in Science Initiative, each month we will highlight local Connecticut women in a variety of science fields. This month’s Women in Science Spotlight features Dr. Shelly M. Jones, a Professor of Mathematics Education at Central Connecticut State University. She is the author of Women Who Count: Honoring …

Australian Wildfires, Climate Change, and Why Your Choices Have Global Consequences

Blog Author:  Bryan Avery On 1.15.20

The scale of devastation caused by the wildfires in Australia is difficult to comprehend.  Who can picture over 26 million acres or 41,000 square miles, and over 5,500 buildings laid to waste?  The only way we can come close is by using satellite photos and videos. Smoke billows over areas far larger than the fire …

Science Sunday: Harry Potter and the “Invisible” Spell

Blog Author:  Mark Dixon and Aoife Ryle On 1.13.20

Did someone say invisible messages? Taking a look at Harry Potter for inspiration, this week on Science Sunday we bring the magic to, what we commonly now know as, direct messaging. What is the science of Harry Potter? The first way we have lined up for you to cast this “invisible spell” revolves around an …

Brownie Mix: STEM with Toddlers

Blog Author:  Julia Pistell On 1.11.20

My daughter is freshly two. Like many parents, I’m trying to keep her open to a life in the sciences. To be honest, I’m also trying to keep her open to a life in the arts, literature, languages, historical perspective, emotional intelligence, and everything else… and of course, she mostly loves to play basketball. But …

NASA: The Space Agency That Studies Earth

Blog Author:  Kerri Provost On 1.8.20

When I hear “NASA” I think of astronauts and moonwalks, but it turns out that NASA has been investigating Earth. Who knew?! From 2008-2017, NASA and Centre National d’Etudes Spatiales used the Cloud-Aerosol Lidar and Infrared Pathfinder Satellite Observations satellite to track Diel Vertical Migration, a daily journey by creatures that feed on phytoplankton. Moving …

Science Sunday: Homemade Confetti Launchers

Blog Author:  Mark Dixon & Aoife Ryle On 1.6.20

Happy New Year! For the first Science Sunday of 2020, we decided to keep in the festive spirit by showing you how to make your own confetti launchers. The supplies are simple: an empty toilet paper tube, a balloon, and confetti. Leave a little bit of space at the end and stretch the balloon over …

Exquisite Epiphytes

Blog Author:  John Meszaros On 1.4.20

The biggest draws of the Science Center’s Butterfly Encounter are, of course, the butterflies themselves. But the plants that they flit and fly amongst deserve their own attention. Particularly interesting are the abundant orchids, air plants, and Spanish moss that grow in our tropical garden. Take a closer look at these plants and you’ll see …

Following Connecticut’s Garnet Trail

Blog Author:  Kerri Provost On 1.2.20

Welcome to a new year and a new month. Garnet is the birthstone for January, and the almandine garnet happens to be Connecticut’s state mineral. You’ve probably heard of the Connecticut Wine Trail, but have you heard of the Garnet Trail? The Connecticut Garnet Trail was funded by the DEEP Greenways program to promote awareness …

I’m Not a Scientist, Why Should I Care About Science?

Blog Author:  Aoife Ryle On 12.27.19

Science can feel exclusive – reserved only for those with the highest degrees and the most laboratory hours. But it shouldn’t feel this way. Science is at the very core of what makes us human. It is a desire to explore and understand everything around us. Science is a curiosity-driven, awe-inspiring yearning to know. You …

Out of Bounds in the Science Center

Blog Author:  Kerri Provost On 12.26.19

Out of Bounds: Mountain Adventure is a little like a Warren Miller film, but with more science. Featuring Olympian Torah Bright, this movie is a journey along the American Cordillera, from Antarctica to Kaktovik, Alaska — with stops in California’s Sierra Nevada mountains, British Columbia’s Revelstoke, and Alaska’s Chugach Mountains. Between Torah’s snowboard runs, we …

Gremlins: The Holiday Magic of Mogwai

Blog Author:  Zac Zemantic On 12.25.19

The rules of the mogwai have become as much a part of my Christmas tradition as Nakatomi Plaza and The Wet Bandits. Don’t get them wet, Don’t expose them to bright light, and most importantly Don’t feed them after midnight. Something about those rules stuck with me, and this holiday season we will break down …

Connecticut Science Center PJ Day Has Been Declared!

Blog Author:  Katelyn Rutty On 12.23.19

We have been so inspired by all of the holiday parties hosted this holiday season that we declared Friday official Connecticut Science Center staff PJ Day! The Science Center-branded pajama and hoodie ensemble was such a hit that we made it the team uniform last Friday. During this cold time of year, we very much …

Tool School with Bryan: Driving Screws

Blog Author:  Bryan Avery On 12.21.19

Renovators, makers, inventors, and anyone who desires the pure unbridled satisfaction of doing it yourself, this is the blog for you. Here we will be taking a closer look at some of the tools that help you create all those Pinterest projects you’ve been saving. Are these tools dangerous? Yes! Do they multiply your effort …

Connecticut Science Center: Decade of Dedication to the Planet

Blog Author:  Kerri Provost On 12.19.19

With its Green Mission and eye toward innovation, the Science Center “didn’t just stop with the LEED certification” awarded in 2010, says Cherie Sweeney, Vice President of Operations. As technology advances, creating opportunities for energy savings, there are adjustments to make — like changing light bulbs. Multiple different types of inefficient light fixtures were retrofitted …

Science Sunday: Experimenting with Heat and Air Pressure

Blog Author:  Mark Dixon and Aoife Ryle On 12.16.19

We’ve talked about air pressure before here on Science Sunday, and today we are going to talk about how heat can affect air pressure.  In the first demonstration, we used balloons, a container of hot water, and a container of cold water.  Both balloons are inflated, but what happens to them when one is submerged …

Experiencing Our Changing Earth

Blog Author:  Kerri Provost On 12.13.19

If the bridge by Our Changing Earth’s entry looks familiar, there’s a reason. According to recent freeway counts by FHI and Connecticut’s Department of Transportation, 51 million vehicles cross the Bulkeley Bridge every year. Chances are, you have been in one of them. This scale version of the Bulkeley Bridge actually bridges several themes from …

“Our Changing Earth” Explores Implications of Climate Change

Blog Author:  Aoife Ryle On 12.11.19

A version of this commentary was previously published in the Journal Inquirer on Nov 5, 2019 Issuing a clear and compelling warning to residents of every country on every continent across the planet, the United Nations has delivered a comprehensive report outlining the stark “signs of harm caused by climate change. Coral reefs are dying, …

Science Sunday: Science of Snow

Blog Author:  Mark Dixon and Aoife Ryle On 12.9.19

This time last week, the state of Connecticut saw the first major winter storm of the 2019 season. Winter Storm Abel inspired us to explore a little bit more of the science behind a common winter occurrence for us here in New England.  The first snow science we explored was the water content in snow, …

Getting to Know Glacial Lake Hitchcock

Blog Author:  John Meszaros On 12.7.19

During the last Ice Age a massive glacier covered Connecticut all the way down to Long Island. As the ice slowly melted back about 18,000 years ago, the water cascading off its edge filled the Connecticut Valley, creating a vast lake. This body of water would have been long and relatively narrow, similar to Lake …

Women in Science Spotlight: Heather Dionne

Blog Author:  Kerri Provost On 12.5.19

As part of the Connecticut Science Center’s Women in Science Initiative, each month we will highlight local Connecticut women in a variety of science fields. This month’s Women in Science Spotlight features Heather Dionne, City Forester. She chairs the Connecticut Urban Forest Council and serves as a board member of the Tree Wardens Association of …

Science Sunday: Generating Sparks

Blog Author:  Mark Dixon & Aoife Ryle On 12.2.19

Today, we are making sparks without using any fire. How exactly are we going to do this? Through the use of metal and movement. When we smash the chrome spheres together very fast, they generate enough heat to burn a small hole through the paper placed in between them. Another way we can generate some …

Visitor Services: Decade of Dedication with Patricia Faulds and Eva Cintron

Blog Author:  Amanda Coletti & Kerri Provost On 11.29.19

Patricia FauldsDirector of Visitor Services   What is your favorite exhibit (past or current) at the Connecticut Science Center? Mind Ball. The game measures each player’s brain activity via a band of electrodes worn around the forehead. These pick up the electrical signals that emanate from our brains and move the ball. It is a …

Giving Thanks for the Maillard Reaction

Blog Author:  Kerri Provost On 11.27.19

Thanksgiving dinner is a production. One cousin is in charge of both roasting and deep-frying the turkeys. Because the crispy Brussels sprouts with apples and cranberries I brought one time were a hit, I am expected to deliver those every year. Two countertops are covered in desserts, from Connecticut-made chocolates to the requisite pumpkin pies. …

Science Sunday: Experimenting with Nylon

Blog Author:  Mark Dixon & Aoife Ryle On 11.25.19

It’s Monday, so you know what that means. Another edition of Science Sunday came out yesterday and we are so excited to share it with all of you. Nylon, a synthetic fiber, has been around since World War II and is seen almost everywhere. It is in our clothing, tents, ropes, and more. For this …

Reducing the Heat Island Effect, Even During Sweater Weather

Blog Author:  Kerri Provost On 11.23.19

The urban heat island effect (UHI) may not be at the forefront of your mind in November. This year-round phenomena is more noticeable in the summer, when cities are anywhere between 1.8 to 5.4°F warmer than surrounding rural areas, on an average day. A 2014 study found Hartford to be, on average, 2.5°F warmer than …

Down to a Science Book Club: The Uninhabitable Earth

Blog Author:  Kerri Provost On 11.21.19

How do you get people to care? That’s the question of the day when it comes to climate change. It’s asked by everyone from political organizers to authors like David Wallace-Wells, who grapples with this at length in The Uninhabitable Earth: A Story of the Future. Wallace-Wells comes to this topic as deputy editor of …

STEM Career Connections: Green Business Development

Blog Author:  Kerri Provost On 11.19.19

As we contend with how to manage our changing planet, demand for professionals in environmental fields is increasing. The Bureau of Labor Statistics has identified solar photovoltaic installer and wind turbine technician as the two fastest growing occupations, with forest fire inspectors and prevention specialists ranking within the top twenty. But what happens if you …

Science Sunday: Using Eggs to Learn About Inertia

Blog Author:  Mark Dixon & Aoife Ryle On 11.18.19

Today we are going to have some eggcellent fun with inertia. How can we tell if an egg is hard-boiled or raw without cracking it? By using the laws of inertia, of course! This is something you can try for yourself at home. We will spin both eggs and try to stop them by lightly …

Women in Science Spotlight: Dr. Ayana Elizabeth Johnson

Blog Author:  Kerri Provost On 11.15.19

This month’s Women in Science Spotlight features Dr. Ayana Elizabeth Johnson, a marine biologist, policy expert, and Brooklyn, NY native. She earned her PhD in marine biology at the University of California at San Diego and a bachelor of arts in environmental science and public policy at Harvard University. She is founder and CEO of …

Meet Your Makers: MakerspaceCT

Blog Author:  Kerri Provost On 11.14.19

Nothing happens overnight. Devra Sisitsky, a serial entrepreneur and the Executive Director of MakerspaceCT, read an article about makerspaces in 2014 and felt moved to create one here in her native state of Connecticut. Supporting a societal move from conspicuous consumption to innovation and creation appealed to her, having come from a “family of makers” …

Crayon Rock Cycle

Blog Author:  Andrew Fotta On 11.12.19

The phrases “solid as a rock,” “written in stone,” and “between a rock and a hard place” all evoke images of rocks as permanent and unchanging. But the truth is, nothing lasts forever. Rocks do change, but it can take a long time. It is difficult for humans to think of time on a geological …

Science Sunday: Talking About Tesla Coils

Blog Author:  Mark Dixon & Aoife Ryle On 11.11.19

Greetings and welcome to another edition of Science Sunday! Today we are talking about electricity- specifically about one of Nikola Tesla’s most notable inventions. Many of you have probably heard about the car company Tesla, but have you ever heard of the Tesla coil? We can use the Tesla coil to make electricity. Tesla coils …

21 Day Earth Challenge: 21 and Done

Blog Author:  Kerri Provost On 11.8.19

It’s been three weeks since Science Straight Up nudged me toward swapping throwaway coffee cups with a reusable mug. How did I do? It was around the beginning of the third week that I cracked. Somehow I left both travel mugs at work, and in the midst of a particularly stressful morning, decided I could …

Meet Your Makers: MakeHartford

Blog Author:  Kerri Provost On 11.7.19

After a forty year hiatus, the Jumping Frog Contest returned to the Mark Twain House & Museum, only with a twist: the 2019 winner was a robot. All the contestants, actually, were robotic. Bill Hoover, a MakeHartford member and retired biochemist, created the first prize hopper through trial and error. Bill took pride in spending …

Science Sunday: Density

Blog Author:  Mark Dixon & Aoife Ryle On 11.4.19

We are trying to solve a mystery on this weekend’s edition of Science Sunday. Look at the picture of this bottle with liquid and beads inside. The beads are suspended right in the middle of the bottle. How is this possible? Well, it all comes back to density. The liquid inside looks like it’s just …

21 Day Earth Challenge: Flexing

Blog Author:  Kerri Provost On 11.1.19

Something that “Our Changing Earth” drives home is the need for resilience. Extreme weather events are increasing in frequency and intensifying in impact, and it is becoming more likely that we will be facing multiple hazards at once. The exhibit emphasizes preparing for natural disasters; could it hurt to be more flexible in our personal …

Women in Science Spotlight: Dr. Anji Seth

Blog Author:  Katelyn Rutty On 10.30.19

We are continuing our Women in Science Spotlight with Dr. Anji Seth. Dr. Seth spoke in October at Science Straight Up: Hartford’s Smartest Happy Hour. MEET DR. ANJI SETH Dr. Anji Seth is a Professor in the Department of Geography and leads the Atmospheric Science Group at the University of Connecticut. With funding from the …

Science Sunday: Hydrogen Fuel Cells

Blog Author:  Mark Dixon & Aoife Ryle On 10.28.19

This edition of Science Sunday is all about a really awesome alternative energy source- hydrogen fuel cells. Hydrogen fuel cells can be used to power cars, as another alternative to clean energy and electric cars. What you may not know is that there are hydrogen fuel cell refueling stations located across the state of Connecticut …

21 Day Earth Challenge: Mugs For Days

Blog Author:  Kerri Provost On 10.25.19

It’s been one week since we started the #21DayEarthChallenge and I am in it to win it. Day One: It’s not as if there were no mugs in my cupboards, and that fact has gnawed at me. Why has it been so difficult to open a door, take out a mug, and carry it when …

A Human’s Place in Space

Blog Author:  Nick Villagra On 10.23.19

The question is as old as the space program itself: what is the point of sending humans into space? Not everyone has been an enthusiastic supporter of manned spaceflight. Speaking about the Apollo moon program, two-time Nobel prize-winning chemist Linus Pauling had this to say: “It is a pitiful demonstration…For the same investment, it would …

Science Sunday: How Telegraphs Work

Blog Author:  Mark Dixon & Aoife Ryle On 10.21.19

Today, almost everyone you see owns a smartphone, but the smartphone did not magically appear overnight. It has taken time to get to where we are today in the field of long-distance communication. Do you know where it all started? Well, on this edition of Science Sunday, we are going to explore the device that …

21 Day Earth Challenge: Our Changing Earth, Ourselves

Blog Author:  Kerri Provost On 10.18.19

Is there a better way to celebrate the opening of the Connecticut Science Center’s “Our Changing Earth” exhibit than to plunge right into the hard stuff and explore climate change? With a little levity, that’s exactly what we did at Science Straight Up, the adults-only happy hour event. Because I’m still an eight year-old at …

Planning a Greener Holiday Office Party

Blog Author:  Kerri Provost On 10.16.19

Tasked with planning the office holiday party, but don’t want to ruin it, Dwight Schrute style? It needs to be fun — but not so fun you get fired — and as environmentally sustainable as your budget will allow. After chatting with Trevor E. Furrer, Managing Partner of Riverhouse Hospitality, I have a better idea …

Science Sunday: Playing an Instrument without Touching It

Blog Author:  Mark Dixon & Aoife Ryle On 10.14.19

On this edition of Science Sunday, we are making music without even touching the instrument we are playing. No, this is not magic. It is a theremin. How does this work? The theremin has an electromagnetic field around it, with two antennas located in different spots on the instrument. Each antenna serves a different purpose, …

Puzzled By Goal Setting?

Blog Author:  Kerri Provost On 10.10.19

Bleak and frigid January may be when you think about setting new goals, but several cultures celebrate the new year in Autumn. Today is as good a day as any to begin, especially if you are already making a change to your environment. As Teal Burrell explains in New Scientist, “the best times to break …

Science Sunday: Experimenting with Candy

Blog Author:  Mark Dixon & Aoife Ryle On 10.7.19

Halloween is right around the corner. It is only fitting that we do a couple of experiments using candy. Here is what you will see when you watch this episode of Science Sunday: Skittles and M&M Experiment: For this experiment, line up Skittles or M&Ms on a plate in any pattern you would like. Then …

Looking Back at 10 Years of the Connecticut Science Center: A Decade of Dedication with Matt Fleury

Blog Author:  Amanda Coletti On 10.3.19

Matt Fleury President & CEO of the Connecticut Science Center My role is to help shape and articulate the vision and strategy of the Science Center and advance our objectives by engaging, organizing, and supporting our talented team and Board of Trustees.   What is your favorite memory of the Connecticut Science Center? My boys …

Science Sunday: Mazes & Brain Games

Blog Author:  Mark Dixon & Aoife Ryle On 9.30.19

This past weekend, we opened our brand-new traveling exhibit, Mazes & Brain Games, at the Connecticut Science Center. To mark the occasion, we decided to share with you some fun activities to show how your brain can be tricked with your own vision.  Our first test uses an old whirligig fidget toy with a different …

Celebrating Hispanic Heritage Month

Blog Author:  Lisette Velasquez On 9.26.19

Every year many Americans observe National Hispanic Heritage Month from September 15th through October 15th. Being Puerto Rican, it’s always felt like this is our time as Latinos to be  “# trending.” School children may study a Latin American country or do a report on Latino artists, entertainers or sports figures. When I’ve asked young …

Science Sunday: Learning About Pendulums

Blog Author:  Mark Dixon & Aoife Ryle On 9.23.19

Note: As you watch this edition of Science Sunday, we encourage you to follow along and let us know what you discover using your homemade pendulum.   Pendulums are important in our everyday lives. They are used for timing, playground swings, a metronome in music, a wrecking ball and so much more. Now, you might have …

Science Sunday: Why Invisible Gases Can Be So Dangerous

Blog Author:  Mark Dixon and Aoife Ryle On 9.14.19

We are suiting up with protective gear for this latest edition of Science Sunday: gloves, lab coats and, of course, goggles. Why? Because today we are working with invisible gases to show how they can be so dangerous, and why — especially firefighters — warn us about the dangers of gas leaks. First, we used …

ACCESS Granted – Creating an Opportunity for Diversity and Access

Blog Author:  Lisette Velasquez On 9.12.19

Mother of three, caretaker of her grandchildren, and an educator, Lilian Polanco has always been surrounded by the curious minds of young people who often are no taller than her hips.  As a paraprofessional, Lilian knows firsthand the impact of hands-on learning outside of a classroom setting and how experiential learning is vital to a …

Science Sunday: Meteorites

Blog Author:  Mark Dixon & Aoife Ryle On 9.7.19

Have you found a unique-looking rock in your backyard and wondered where it came from? Could it be a meteorite from outer space? In this edition of Science Sunday, Aoife describes three simple tests to see if that cool rock you found truly is a meteorite.  IS THE ROCK PATTERNED? One of the biggest telling …

What is the Mandell Academy?

Blog Author:  Lindsey Sullivan & Holly Hollander On 9.5.19

Whether you are an educator, parent, or member of the community, most people know that the Connecticut Science Center is a premier destination for student field trips (in 2018 we served more than 30,000 K-12 students on field trips!). Educators bring their students here to support classroom learning and create rewarding experiences with tools that …

How to Protect Our Native Bees: A Lazy Lawn Care Guide

Blog Author:  Jessie Scott On 8.29.19

 While you are winding down your summer activities, getting ready to head back to school, and thinking about the cooler weather, let me introduce you to some of our native pollinating bees and give you some tips and tricks on how you can help them prepare for the cooler weather as well. A quick note …

Getting Back to The Past in Avengers: Endgame: The Science Behind Science Fiction

Blog Author:  Zac Zemantic On 8.29.19

WARNING: The following article contains spoilers for Avengers: Endgame, Avengers: Infinity War, Spider-Man: Far From Home and the first issue of The Avengers (1963). Jack “King” Kirby. If you’ve seen a Marvel movie (or a DC one for that matter), you have already been touched by his ideas. Born Jacob Kurtzberg on August 28, 1917 …

Science Sunday: Explaining What a Robot Is

Blog Author:  Mark Dixon & Aoife Ryle On 8.18.19

Robots are becoming more and more a part of our everyday lives, but what defines what a robot truly is? In this edition of Science Sunday, Mark and Aoife explain it all! Looking at our robotic monkey, Bananas, would you think he is a robot? Well, he has mechanical moving parts so yes right? No, …

Women in Science Spotlight: Kristen Govoni, PhD

Blog Author:  Amanda Coletti & Katelyn Rutty On 8.15.19

As part of the Connecticut Science Center’s Women in Science Initiative, each month we will highlight local Connecticut women in a variety of science fields. This month’s Women in Science Spotlight features Dr. Kristen Govoni, our 2019 Petit Family Foundation Women in Science Leadership Award Honoree. This award is presented to a woman working in …

Science Sunday: Outrageous Reptiles

Blog Author:  Mark Dixon & Aoife Ryle On 8.11.19

Here at the Science Center, we have a blue-tongued skink named Pat. Pat is known as a mimic because he himself is not poisonous or venomous, but he is mimicking another reptile that is- a death adder. Pat did not make a conscious choice to mimic this deadly predator, it was a random mutation that …

Inspiring Tomorrow’s STEM Workforce

Blog Author:  Bernard Kavaler On 8.7.19

Launching a major new initiative aimed at inspiring Connecticut’s young people to embrace expanding career opportunities in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM), the Connecticut Science Center has kicked-off STEM Career Connections.   Describing the Science Center as uniquely equipped to motivate young students and set them on a path to pursue in-demand careers in the …

Science Sunday: Science Behind Cracking an Egg

Blog Author:  Mark Dixon & Aoife Ryle On 8.5.19

This Sunday morning, as you make scrambled eggs or incorporate a couple of eggs into your pancakes, take a closer look at your egg cracking technique. In this edition of Science Sunday, Mark and Aoife crackdown on a scientific way to break open an eggshell.  When you crack an egg on the edge of a …

Greyhound Superpowers with Connecticut Greyhound Adoption

Blog Author:  Amanda Coletti On 8.2.19

When Gracie, a nimble black greyhound, first walked around Kelly and Chris Orts’s small apartment, her ears perked up with curiosity and Kelly and Chris’s hearts melted.  To continue our “Dog Days of Summer” celebration, we have teamed up with Connecticut Greyhound Adoption to explore the superpowers of greyhounds and share the stories of Gracie …

Women in Science Initiative: Spotlight on Amy Sailor

Blog Author:  Amanda Coletti On 7.31.19

The Connecticut Science Center’s Women in Science initiative encourages girls and young women to pursue studies and career paths in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) and celebrates the achievements of women in the sciences.  The Celebrating Women in Science initiative was launched in 2013 with the help of founding sponsor the Petit Family Foundation, …

Science Sunday: Electromagnets

Blog Author:  Mark Dixon & Aoife Ryle On 7.29.19

In this magnetizing segment of Science Sunday, Mark and Aoife show you how to turn a magnet on and off, as well as highlight the different types electromagnets we encounter in our lives. Unlike a regular magnet, an electromagnet runs on electricity, which means you can change the strength of the magnet by controlling how …

Designing and Redesigning the Science Center

Blog Author:  Matt Fleury On 7.26.19

Editor’s Note: Since this article was published in the Association of Science and Technology Center’s magazine, Dimensions, the architect of the Connecticut Science Center building, Cesar Pelli, passed away at the age of 92. Science Center President & CEO Matt Fleury issued the following statement: “Cesar Pelli played a gigantic role in the creation of …

Insects in Your Backyard: Celebrating Bug Week

Blog Author:  Ellie Clark On 7.24.19

This year, the Connecticut Science Center is celebrating Bug Week July 21 through 28 in collaboration with UConn Extension and the Connecticut Museum of Natural History. We’ll be bringing you bug-themed programming all week in honor of insects and all that they do. Why celebrate insects? Insects are the most diverse group of animals, meaning …

Science Sunday: Dog Days of Summer

Blog Author:  Mark Dixon & Aoife Ryle On 7.22.19

Ever wonder what our dogs see as they explore the world? In this week’s Science Sunday, Mark and Aoife talk about the differences between dog and human vision with eye anatomy models and a specially-designed camera to let you see how your dog sees.  https://www.wfsb.com/weather/science_sunday/ If you want to learn more about the science behind …

Supporting Life in Space: An Interview with Ed O’Connor

Blog Author:  Amanda Coletti On 7.19.19

“Do you wear a snowsuit to keep warm in the winter? Or bring a backpack to school?” asks Science Center volunteer Ed O’Connor as a young girl stares up at the space suit replica in the Connecticut Science Center’s Space Gallery. “Well, this suit does the same thing for astronauts; it has everything to keep …

Waiting for the Amazing: Reflection on the 50th Anniversary of Apollo 11

Blog Author:  Nick Villagra On 7.16.19

As an experienced space nerd, you learn to be patient. The Universe doesn’t make it quick or convenient for us Earthlings to visit other planets or witness far-off celestial events. Want to catch a shuttle to Mars but missed your flight? Too bad; you’ll have to wait two years for the next optimal launch when …

Science Sunday: Protecting Astronauts from the Sun

Blog Author:  Mark Dixon & Aoife Ryle On 7.15.19

As the Connecticut Science Center celebrates the 50th Anniversary of the Apollo 11 moon landing, Science Sunday has a new space-themed edition asking the question: How do we protect our astronauts from the harmful radiation of the sun?  Once astronauts leave the protective magnetic field surrounding our earth, they can be left vulnerable to health …

NASA’s Women in STEM: Then & Now

Blog Author:  Katelyn Rutty & Amanda Coletti On 7.12.19

From Margaret Hamilton and Katherine Johnson in the 1960s to Katie Bouman in 2019, women have been a central, if too-long overlooked, part of the space field. To celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 moon landing, we recognize the contribution of women in STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) in a fast-fact comparison …

Sniffing Out Your Dog’s Superpowers

Blog Author:  Melissa Garafola On 7.10.19

We’re having a great time celebrating the “Dog Days of Summer” and judging by the response, there are lots of dog lovers out there. There are countless reasons why dogs have fascinated us through the years.  As the proud owner of a Golden Retriever/Lab mix named Zoe, I know I am definitely captivated. Let’s see …

Science Sunday: Experiment Showcases Danger of Hot Cars

Blog Author:  Mark Dixon & Aoife Ryle On 7.8.19

Good Morning and Happy Fourth of July to everyone. Summer is officially underway and we have seen our first heat wave of 2019, meaning it’s time to talk once again about the danger of hot cars; especially for our furry friends. Mark and Aoife showcase how hot a car can get, and how quickly it …

Top 4 Out-of-this-World Space Events to See in July

Blog Author:  Amanda Coletti On 7.3.19

Get ready to explore new phenomena in space this summer, right from your own backyard! In honor of the 50th Anniversary of the Apollo 11 moon landing on July 20th, Down to a Science is featuring content about space all through the month of July. Take your summer stargazing to the next level and check …

Experiencing Spidey-Sense in Spider-Man: The Science Behind Science Fiction

Blog Author:  Zac Zemantic On 7.2.19

Spider-Man. Is he strong? Listen bud. He’s got radioactive blood. He‘s agile too, these things go without saying. Under the mask, Peter Parker is a spectacular scientist and engineer as well; having developed countless inventions and gadgets, including his signature Web-Shooters, to take down an unending gauntlet of super villains. Spider-Man works tirelessly to save …

Science Sunday: Mess Fest at the Science Center

Blog Author:  Mark Dixon & Aoife Ryle On 7.1.19

Greetings and welcome to another edition of Science Sunday! To help celebrate our big weekend event, Mess Fest, Aoife brought a little bit of the mess to the WFSB studio. No there isn’t any slime or bubbles for this one– today she brought the Science Center’s vacuum cannon to show the power of air resistance. …

Bubble Bonanza: Science At Play

Blog Author:  Kate Saulsbery On 6.28.19

Welcome to summer everyone! We finally made it! It’s time to get outside, run through the sprinklers, and play with science. That’s right, get ready to have some good clean fun and explore the world of bubble science with your family, friends, and neighbors.  Top Secret Recipe: So far, the best recipe we have come …

Decoding Dinosaur Genetics in Jurassic Park:The Science Behind Science Fiction

Blog Author:  Amanda Coletti On 6.26.19

When I read Jurassic Park for the first time in 8th grade, genetics came alive. Just like the moment in the 1993 film where Dr. Grant and Dr. Satler first saw their fossilized dinosaurs come to life on the island, I saw just how interesting genetics could be. A few years later in my high …

Science Sunday: Equipment standards when it comes to golf

Blog Author:  Mark Dixon & Aoife Ryle On 6.24.19

To celebrate the final round of play in the Traveler’s Championship at TPC River Highlands in Cromwell, CT, this week’s Science Sunday explores the science behind equipment standards in golf. Using the science of water displacement, Mark and Aoife test out the standards of golf club heads to ensure that they follow the rules laid …

From Designing Exhibits to Data Analysis: A Decade of Dedication with Richard Thomas and Caity Leamy

Blog Author:  Amanda Coletti On 6.21.19

Richard Thomas  Exhibit Design Director My primary role is to create concepts, provide design direction, and manage fabrication and installations for new Science Center exhibits.    What is your favorite memory of the Connecticut Science Center? I have a lot of favorite memories.The one with the most lasting impression is being a part of the creation …

Autobiography of a Transgender Scientist: Down to a Science Book Club

Blog Author:  Amanda Coletti On 6.20.19

Who are the scientists behind the research? What are their lives like? What are the stories of their discoveries, failures, and successes? To celebrate Pride Month, June’s book club read is Autobiography of a Transgender Scientist by Ben Barres. As a neuroscience masters student, I often read scientific articles on brain development written by Ben …

Spilling the T. (rex) on Dinosaur Behavior in Jurassic Park: The Science Behind Science Fiction

Blog Author:  Samantha Hall, with an Introduction by Amanda Coletti On 6.19.19

While watching my favorite science fiction movies and TV shows, I’m often left with more questions than answers. Can we actually clone ancient animals like the dinosaurs in Jurassic Park? Does gamma radiation change our DNA, like the process behind The Hulk’s angry, green transformation? What are the quantum mechanics behind “Pym Particles” and the …

Science Sunday: How balls bounce

Blog Author:  Mark Dixon & Aoife Ryle On 6.17.19

Check out this sports-themed edition of Science Sunday for Father’s Day as Mark Dixon and Aoife Ryle illustrate the physics behind how balls bounce. Try out some simple experiments using balls around your house to see how force and energy transfer work together to make balls bounce in your favorite sports. https://www.wfsb.com/science-sunday-how-balls-bounce/video_8b783b06-793f-57d6-b836-92ff0199f608.html Mark Dixon is …

From Exhibits to Executive Finance: A Decade of Dedication with Liam Cawley and Lisa Mottola

Blog Author:  Amanda Coletti On 6.14.19

Liam Cawley Exhibit Specialist What is your favorite memory of the Connecticut Science Center? Watching the first tractor trailer loaded with exhibits pull into the loading dock during a snowstorm in early 2009. What is your favorite exhibit/event (past or current) at the Connecticut Science Center? Table-top puzzles in Invention Dimension. I love watching people …

10 Years of Partnership with the Connecticut Science Center & WFSB

Blog Author:  Amanda Coletti On 6.13.19

With a robot-assisted countdown and a shower of confetti, the Connecticut Science Center officially kicked off a year-long celebration of ten inspiring years. After opening to the public on June 12th, 2009, the Science Center has experienced ten years of successes, challenges, and opportunities, developing many lasting partnerships along the way. One such partnership is …

Happy 10th Birthday, Connecticut Science Center! A Timeline Celebrating 10 Inspiring Years

Blog Author:  Amanda Coletti On 6.12.19

With the help of two robots, the Connecticut Science Center cut the red ribbon and welcomed its first customers on opening day ten years ago, June 12, 2009.  The Connecticut Science Center has a rich history spanning from the initial conceptual designs and building construction to the development of educational programing, scientific initiatives, and the …

Celebrating 10 Years of the Connecticut Science Center: A Decade of Dedication with Ed Lane and Claudia Davis

Blog Author:  Amanda Coletti On 6.11.19

In 2009, the Connecticut Science Center opened its doors as a place of scientific discovery, innovation, and exploration; a centerpiece of the community in Hartford, CT. The Science Center was built by scientists, educators, and business, government, and community leaders who shared a vision to inspire children and adults to increase joy and interest in …

Science Sunday: What to do if you encounter a snake?

Blog Author:  Mark Dixon & Aoife Ryle On 6.10.19

Did you know that there are 12 species of snakes that can be found in CT? Check out the latest edition of Science Sunday to hear Aoife’s PSA (Public Science Announcement) about what to do if you encounter a snake in the wild (or in the Critter Corner on Level 6 of the Connecticut Science …

Experiencing REAL BODIES: an overview of the REAL BODIES exhibit at the Connecticut Science Center

Blog Author:  Amanda Coletti On 6.7.19

When you enter Real Bodies: The Exhibition at the Connecticut Science Center, you’re faced with a few questions: What are we made of? Where do we come from? Why are we here? Throughout history, the study of human specimens has shown us the intricate details of our bodies, giving rise to new knowledge and treatments …

Down to a Science Book Club

Blog Author:  Amanda Coletti On 6.6.19

If you’ve spent many afternoons getting lost in a good book, it’s not hard to imagine how a compelling narrative can transport you to another world. When it comes to science, both non-fiction and science fiction books can inspire you, freeing your imagination to explore limitless scientific possibilities. Reading a great science book can even …

Top 10 Must-Listen-To Science Podcasts

Blog Author:  Amanda Coletti On 6.5.19

When my co-worker first suggested to me that I should listen to science podcasts, I was initially a bit skeptical. As a neuroscience graduate student, I used to read and talk with people about science all day long, why would I want to listen to more people talk about science in my free time? Eventually, …

President’s Welcome

Blog Author:  Matt Fleury On 6.3.19

Welcome to Down to a Science, the Connecticut Science Center’s brand-new blog. As we kick off our tenth anniversary, we are excited to launch this blog to bring together experts, beginners, partners, educators, and the community with one topic we are all passionate about: science. We all know that knowledge can carry us forward, and …