Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Schools : Do you know the scientific genius of Beatrice Tinsley ?

Beatrice Tinsley
credits: Ilustración de Ada Peña

"Today’s Google celebrates the scientific genius of Beatrice Tinsley, whose work in cosmology and astrophysics made fundamental contributions to our understanding of the universe and the way galaxies behave within it."

Doodles team

If you’ve never heard of Beatrice, don’t feel bad. Just as her career was really beginning to take off, she developed cancer and died shortly after her 40th birthday. Though her life was short, her influence on cosmology is long-reaching.

Beatrice Tinsley

A world leader in modern cosmology and one of the most creative and significant theoreticians in modern astronomy. Her scientific work has been described by biographer Christine Cole Catley in The Book of New Zealand Women: Ko Kui Ma Te Kaupapa as “opening doors to the future study of the evolutions of stars, galaxies and even the Universe itself.” 

The Book of New Zealand Women: Ko Kui Ma Te Kaupapa 
Christine Cole Catley

Beatrice Tinsley has profoundly affected what scientists know about the origin and size of the universe.

Before Beatrice began her research, little was known about life cycles of galaxies and the stars within them. In particular Beatrice studied how different groups of stars age and what observable effects those changes have on a galaxy.

Tinsley's research changed the standard method for determining distances to galaxies. This was significant in determining the size of the universe and its rate of expansion - leading ideas behind the development of the Big Bang theory

Beatrice Tinsley

She pointed out to her professors as a PhD student that factors such as how many chemical elements, the mass of the galaxy and the rate of star birth had all been overlooked in determining how fast a galaxy was expanding.

Her work was so important that she received the Annie Cannon Award in Astronomy in 1974. 

Beatrice Tinsley

January 27, 2016 would have been the 75th birthday of Beatrice TinsleyDespite her enormous intellect—she completed her PhD and wrote an “extraordinary and profound” dissertation on the evolution of galaxies in only two years - Tinsley was initially overlooked in the male-dominated world of astronomy. 

Beatrice Tinsley "Queen of the Cosmos" was born on this day in 1941. English-born & educated in New Zealand, she produced groundbreaking work as an astronomer & cosmologist. She was the first woman appointed Professor of Astronomy at Yale!

She eventually made her way to Yale University and in 1978 became a professor of Astronomy and the chairman of the Conference on Cosmology’s organizing committee. 

Beatrice Tinsley
Primary school

Beatrice wrote many verses a young child. This describes the view from her bedroom:
    "I see the dainty blue sea lightly tipped with foam
    Over these wide waters I'd some day like to roam."
Born in England, she spent most of her schooling in New Zealand before moving to Texas, achieving recognition for her work by the late 1970s.

Beatrice in her first year at high school won the prize for strings when she was encouraged to become a professional musician. Music did, in fact, become a serious lifetime avocation. 

Beatrice Tinsley

Beatrice decided to become an astrophysicist by the age of 14. One of her teachers, Joyce Jarold recalls when Beatrice was in fifth form: 

"Beatrice asked me if she could borrow some physics books, 7th form reference books. I was skeptical at first although I knew she was bright. When you teach, you're mostly trying to din something in. Very occasionally you realise that you are dealing with a great mind that is infinitely superior to your own."

Beatrice Tinsley
    The cosmologist was not given a university job because she was a married woman, so she divorced and became emancipated.

    It was mid-August in 1978 that Beatrice received official notice that she was the first female Professor in Astronomy at Yale

    "Even though I'm not teaching a course this term I will be very busy with students and other duties - i.e. occupations other than research, which is what I want to spend most of my time on! I now have three Ph.D. theses to supervise and two term projects, as well the scientific business of all graduate students."

    Beatrice Tinsley

    Beatrice Tinsley
    via Kristina Panos

    She served as Director of Graduate Studies. "Even though I'm not teaching a course this term I will be very busy with students and other duties - i.e. occupations other than research, which is what I want to spend most of my time on! I now have three Ph.D. theses to supervise and two term projects, as well the scientific business of all graduate students."

    Only four years after leaving her family behind, Yale University made her professor of astronomy. 

    In the six years she was there, she published many scientific papers which cosmologists today have said make her world-leading in the field. 

    But, aged 40, she died of cancer on 23 March 1981. 


    "In the early nineteenth century there were no 'professional' scientists (indeed, the word 'scientist' was only coined by William Whewell in 1836), but the participation of noble women in intellectual pursuits was not widely encouraged." 

    And what about in the 21st century? 

    Here we are! The reason why I began my post about Beatrice Tinsley. Look at this young  astronomer  Dr Meghan Gray how she was inspired by Tinsley.

    I am not a woman of Sciences. But as an educator of Humanities, I recognize the great value of this cosmologist. Beatrice Tinsley can  inspire girls and young women to achieve their goals in science, cosmology, astronomy and other STEM.

    However, it's so interesting that a great number of scientists, men an women are gifted to Music. Beatrice Tinsley is not the only one.

    Wondering how music and science are so near in our spirit or natural skills.

    Beatrice Tinsley is a wonderful example to our young students (girls) motivating them to pursuit Science studies. And music, why not?

    The gap of girls and young women in science and techonology in the 21st century is still a problem. 

    That's why the European Commission launched a campaign to encourage more young women (secondary education, college, young researchers) to choose Science in their future careers. 
    Several countries took part, the cornerstone of the campaign is a fresh and lively webpage, called Science: It’s a girl thing!

    Some thoughts:

    The aim is to encourage creativity in the field of science new technologies or musichighlights  the importance of developing innovative skills at an early age.
    Constantly evolving education at all ages and levels in our ever-changing world is crucial.
    "A generation of motivated interdisciplinary young women who are critical thinkers capable of connecting theory and practice with proven experience in conceiving and managing innovative projects will serve as the backbone for the society of knowledge by integrating and reviving basic and developmental research as well as education at all levels."
    The graduate school mentors are to guide the process by providing the appropriate background and filling the gaps where needed through a dialogue with the students rather than through frontal courses.
    Girls and women are more and more proving in different situations at school and in business that they are equal to men in the intelligence and capacity.

    This begins early in school where girls must be encouraged to access to science.

    The aim is to encourage creativity in the field of science and new technologies and highlight the importance of developing innovative skills at an early age.

    Beatrice writing to her father "all mathematicians do their best work before they were forty." 

    Resources for teachers & students:

    bright Star
    Beatrice Hill Tinsley Astronomer
    by Christine Cole Catley

    • Beatrice Tinsley: 5 facts you need to know about the (uncelebrated) astronomer
    • Beatrice Tinsley, Queen of the Cosmos
    • The Life of Beatrice Tinsley
    • Beatrice Tinsley (1941-1981)


    Copyright © 2016G-Souto'sBlog,®

    Creative Commons License
    Schools : Do you know the scientific genius of Beatrice Tinsley ? by G-Souto is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.

    Thursday, January 21, 2016

    Schools : Watch out ! Five planets at a time?

    credits: Sky & Telescope

    Do you remember Venus Mars and Jupiter, October 23, 2015? Oh! Well, the time is to watch Mercury, Venus, Mars, Jupiter and Saturn. 

    Yes. The time is now! Five planets Mercury, Venus, Mars, Jupiter and Saturn can be seen simultaneously before dawn beginning around January 20, 2016 in a rare celestial spectacle set to repeat every morning until late next month. 
    And they’ll remain visible before dawn from about January 20 to February 20, 2016. They will be simultaneously visible to the naked eye for the first time in more than a decade according to Jason Kendall, who is on the board of the Amateur Astronomers Association of New York.
    The last time that all five visible planets appeared in the same sky together was from about December 15, 2004, to January 15, 2005. That was 10 years ago.

    Sources: NASA; Jet Propulsion Laboratory; Sky & Telescope
    By The New York Times
    The show was expected to run from Jan. 20 until Feb. 20, but the peak time to see all five is from the end of January until the first week of February, when Mercury is at its highest points, according to Sky & Telescope. The display is made possible by the uncommon alignment of all five planets along what is called the “ecliptic” plane of their orbits, according to Jim Green, the planetary science division director at NASA.
    In fact, during the next two weeks you'll have a good chance to view five planets at once. It's a real visual treat, so don't pass up the chance to see it.

    credits: Ken Christison, USA

    Ken Christison of North Carolina caught four of the five visible planets before dawn on January 18, 2016. 

    It's expected Mercury to become visible in the morning sky during the last week of January (or perhaps sooner). 

    Seek for Mercury near the horizon and on line with Venus and Saturn.
    By bright or visible planet, astronomers mean any planet in our own solar system that’s easily viewed without an optical aid and that has been watched by our ancestors since time immemorial.

    In their outward order from the sun, the five bright planets are Mercury, Venus, Mars, Jupiter and Saturn. These planets are easily seen in our sky because their disks reflect sunlight, and these relatively nearby worlds tend to shine with a steadier light than the distant, twinkling stars.


    January 2016 is a month full of stars and planets. How lucky we are! After Catch some Falling Stars, the Quadrantis, here we have five planets Mercury, Venus, Mars, Jupiter and Saturn to be seen simultaneously.

    Since yesterday, 20 January 2016, we have the possibility to admire the five planet conjunction.

    Wow! And this time, students are all at school. No excuses. Propose your students this new scientific event.

    Most of us were excited about the Quadrantid shower. Of course, teachers and students, specially if you teach sciences and your students learn sciences, you will be even more enthusiastic

    My usual readers know I don't teach sciences. I'm a Humanities specialistBut I'm a huge fan of science. Astronomy is my passion.

    So don't miss this good live educational resource in the sky to enhance your Sciences lesson! Five planets at a time! Wow!

    You have a perfect resource to include into your curriculum, in different moments, during almost twenty days until 20 February, more or less.

    credits: Sky & Telescope diagram

    How to view?
    Moreover, people around the globe can use the moon to help guide them to this showcase of planets from January 27 to February 6. The charts below are for mid-northern North American latitudes, although these planets can be seen in the morning sky from anywhere around the world.

    From left: Europa, the moon of Jupiter; Titan, the moon of Saturn; a composite image of the Valles Marineris across Mars; a mosaic of Venus's surface. Credit

    Venus is obvious as it lingers above the southeastern horizon. It's actually in decline, not nearly as high uo as we saw it toward the end of 2015. But Venus has no equal for brightness among the night's planets and stars. 

    Follow the charts above and below, they show the moon’s position on the sky’s dome relative to these five bright planets from January 27 to February 6. Read more here

    credits: Sky & Telescope diagram

    What time?
    You'll need to be outside about 45 minutes before sunrise. This time of year, if you go to school, you're are up by then. May be well positioned to scan thepredawn eastern horizon as head oof to school.
    Don't let the vastness of interplanetary space keep you from enjoying for the simple visual beauty that awaits you before dawn.

    We haven't this opportunity since 2005.Eleven years ago. Some of your students were not even born!

    Back then their order in the sky briefly matched their relative order outward from the Sun.

    This time, Mars and Saturn apparently didn't get the memo, but we'll happily overlook that, right? 

    credits: EarthSky


    Observing the sky and following this awesome event  will enhance your sciences courses and your students will  understand better than on a textbook or a video the real scientific fact.

    From today, 21 January until 20 February seeing all five bright planets simultaneously, teachers and students must take some good shots, even making some videos taking their tablets, iPhones, smartphones. 

    The event will be discussed in several lessons.

    Don't forget to make a good plan to aply every lesson. Each teacher will adapt the activities to the level they teach.

    Social media:

    Facebook : ; Sky&Telescope ; EarthSky

    Google + : ; EarthSky
    Hope you will enjoy the Five Planets at once, admiring the beauty of this awesome event. 


    Copyright © 2016G-Souto'sBlog,®

    Creative Commons License
    Schools : Watch out ! Five planets at a time ? by G-Souto is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.

    References: Sky & Telescope/ EarthSky