Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Education : Do you know Beatrice Tinsley ?

"Today’s homepage 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

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

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 starbirth 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 Tinsley. Despite her enormous intellect—she completed her Ph.D 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. 

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 of astronomy at Yale. 

    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 can 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 giftd 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:


    Copyright © 2016G-Souto'sBlog,®

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    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

    Tuesday, January 19, 2016

    Education : Talking about Dada movement with Sophie Taeuber-Arp

    Sophie Tauber-Arp
    Google Doodle 127th anniversary
    Doodler: Mark Holmes

    Once again Google the search engine and its doodler team is honoring women in Arts. The last one was the Brazilian Lygia Clark on the 23 October 2015. And I can't forget the French Niki de Saint Phalle on the 29 October 2014.

    Today, 19 January 2016 the Swiss artist Sophie Taeuber-Arp, one of the foremost figures in the rebellious Dada art movement, has had her 127th birthday honoured with a Google Doodle.

    Sophie Taeuber-Arp

    The Swiss artist Sophie Taeuber-Arp is the latest individual to receive a special Google Doodle celebrating her life and work.

    "This was an especially fun doodle because Sophie Taeuber-Arp was such a prolific and diverse artist. I almost couldn’t make up my mind which of her works to draw inspiration from, and I just wanted to keep going. Hopefully in the end, I was able to capture the spirit of at least one aspect of her work, and help draw a few more eyeballs to her many contributions to the arts."

    Doodler:  Mark Holmes

    Composition of Circles and Overlapping Angles, 1930

    Sophie Taeuber-Arp

    Sophie Taeuber-Arp was a leading figure in Zürich and Paris Dada. Taeuber-Arp pushed the limits of abstraction in paintings, sculpture, and textiles. She also danced and designed sets for Dada performances. 

    She was known as one of the foremost artists of geometric abstraction - which forms the style of today's doodle.

    Her work is like dance music – liberating and joyful. Abstract art is often said to originate in the heavily spiritualist ideas of artists like Wassily Kandinsky (my post on 16 December 2014) and Piet Mondrian. Yet Sophie Taeuber-Arp invented, along with Hans Arp, a different kind of abstraction that accepts chance and roots itself in the physical rather than spiritual world. It is like a utopian game.
    So why is she important? She showed that abstract art was child’s play.

    Sophie Taeuber-Arp
    Born in Davos, Switzerland in 1889 as Sophie Henriette Gertrude Taeuber, Taeuber-Arp is now recognised as one of the key figures in the Dada artistic movement, though in her lifetime she fought for her less figurative style of art to be recognised as fine art.

    Kompozycja, 1931

    Sophie Taeuber-Arp

    Born in Davos, Switzerland, Taeuber-Arp left home at eighteen to study textile design in Munich. Returning to Zurich in 1915, she began to produce non-representational paintings, which she referred to as “concrete” paintings. The paintings were influenced by her training in textile design, as well as Cubism. 
    From 1916–1928, Taeuber-Arp taught textile design at the Zurich School of Arts and Crafts. Taeuber-Arp was active in Zurich’s Dada group between 1916 and 1919; she danced in avant-garde performances at the Cabaret Voltaire, an important center of Dada activity.

    Sophie Taeuber-Arp & Jean Arp
    At the same time, she met Jean Arp, French sculptor, painter and collagist in 1922. The pair famously created vast, abstract multimedia works under the umbrella Duo Collages.
    After World War I, many of Taeuber-Arp’s friends and colleagues moved to Paris. She continued teaching in Zurich until 1928 when she and Jean Arp moved to Meudon, near Paris. Together with her husband and artist Theo van Doesburg, Taeuber-Arp received a commission to design the interior Café de l’Aubette (destroyed and rediscovered), one of the first modernist spaces to unify form and function, in Strasbourg, France.

    Strasbourg Ciné Bal de l'Aubette
    The café commission marked the beginning of the most productive period in the artist’s life. She joined several artists’ organizations, edited and wrote for radical publications, and exhibited her work throughout Europe.
    Arp was a friend of the celebrated Surrealist Max Ernst, and is considered a founder member of the anarchic Dada movement, which celebrated the avant-garde, conceptual approach to creating art, often resulting in unorthodox materials appearing in abstract, unusual compositions.

    Taeuber-Arp on the 50 Swiss Francs note
    Taeuber-Arp and her husband fled to southern France when the Nazis invaded Paris. In late 1942, they returned to Zurich, where she died in 1943, the 12 January.

    What is Dadaisme?

    • The Dadaist movement was an art movement of the European avant-garde in the early 20th century.

    • The movement sprung up in Zurich, Switzerland during and immediately after World War I, largely in reaction to the 10 million dead killed during the conflict.

    Cabaret Voltaire, Zurich

    • In 1916 the Dadaists - the nonsense poet Hugo Ball and the maverick writer and drummer Richard Huelsenbeck  - began to put on performances in the Cabaret Voltaire club in Zurich, expressing their disgust with the war.

    • The artists blamed rational society for bringing European civilisation to the brink of destruction so they created art that was anything but rational: it was absurd and playful and it often meant nothing.

    Tristan Tzara, the poet

    «'Doodling’ other artists gives us the chance to truly appreciate their work through the study and deconstruction of their art

    Doodler: Mark Holmes

    The same quote can be aplied when we include the Doodle into our courses. The students will appreciate an artist's work beginning to admire and later it understand the artist, his work, and the 'epoque' or artistic mouvement he integrated.

    As I always write, Arts are absolutely necessary to a complete and better education of children and young adolescents. 

    Discovering Arts in school education, some students can pick their inner path on Arts and later they will choose Art colleges and Higher Schools of Arts to develop their aptitude by a real leaning of Arts.

    Digital culture is well-come into the the curricula as an important tool to tackle the world's toughest problems creating bridges and establish a truly intercultural world, where diversity can be celebrated, a world where different cultures not only coexist but value each other for their contributions and potential.

    Level: All levels. 
    • Focus on Arts (Vocational Education) ; School of Arts (Higher Education.
    • Secondary education: cross-curricular Literature & Arts.
    Curricula: Arts ; Literature ; Design ; Digital Arts.

    Resources for teachers & students:
    Note video: This is an excerpt from Brain Caplan's documentary-in-progress on the dada movement, titled, Random Acts of Beauty: The Story of Dada.

    Museo Correr:
    MoMA: Artists

    National Museo of Women in Arts:

    "Dada is for dreams, colourful paper masks, kettledrums, sound poems, concretions, poem statistics, for things that are not far from picking flowers and making bouquets." 
    Hans / Jean Arp


    Copyright © 2016G-Souto'sBlog,®

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    Education : Talking about Dada movement with Sophie Taeuber-Arp bG-Souto is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.