Speed of Light


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Did you know that in 1676 the Danish astronomer, Ole Rømer proposed that there was a measurable speed of light? Before this, people thought that light traveled instantly or had infinite speed. Ole Rømer noticed that when the distance between Earth and the moon Io was greater, the amount of time it took for Io to ‘appear’ from Jupiter’s shadow after an eclipse was slightly longer. This led Rømer to the idea that light did not travel instantaneously; if light traveled instantly, Io would reappear in the same amount of time, even with a greater distance to travel. Ole Rømer calculated that the speed of light was 220,000 km/s.

We hope that you instantly brighten someone’s life today. Remember to think kind thoughts, use kind words, and do kind things. We Love You.

Bonus Facts:
Ole Rømer’s papers were destroyed during the Copenhagen Fire of 1728, but some of his observational data and ideas survived in a letter to Christiaan Huygens.

Ole Rømer’s idea about the finite speed of light helped to explain why the calculated predictions related to Io’s eclipses did not match up with the observations. In some cases, Io emergence from Jupiter’s shadow was fifteen minutes off from calculated times.

Many natural philosophers, such as Christiaan Huygens and Isaac Newton, at the time supported Ole Rømer’s ideas. Others, such as Cassini did not support the idea, since there were other explanations for the irregularities such as imperfect orbits for the Earth, Jupiter, or Io.

Currently, the speed of light is calculated as 299,792.458 km/s.


International Space Station


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Did you know that the first module of the International Space Station, Zarya / Заря́(‘Sunrise’ in Russian), launched in 1998? A module is a part or ‘room’ that can be added or removed from the station. The International Space Station is currently about the size of a football field and has 15 main modules. 222 astronauts and scientists from 18 countries have worked at the International Space Station. The International Space Station moves at a speed of 5 miles per second and orbits the Earth every 90 minutes. At night, you can see the International Space Station as it orbits; it looks like a very fast airplane.

We hope that you find ways to cooperate with your classmates today. Remember to think kind thoughts, use kind words, and do kind things. We Love You.

Bonus Facts:
The name of first module was “Zarya” (Заря́), which means ‘aurora’ or ‘sunrise’; it was named for the dawn of international cooperation in space exploration and discovery. The first module is also known as the “Function Cargo Block”. Zarya provided storage, propulsion, guidance and electrical power during the assembly of the International Space Station. It is currently used for storage.

There are currently 5 new modules scheduled to be added to the International Space Station. Since the end of the Space Shuttle program, space agencies and private companies have developed new methods, capsules, and ways to resupply the International Space Station.

The main countries and regions involved with the International Space Station are the United States, Russian, Europe Union, Japan, and Canada. As this is an international space station, there are mission control centers located all around the globe.

The scientists and astronauts conduct scientific research in many fields. They also take time to reach out to students all over the Earth; they conduct student-developed experiments, record videos of what it is like to live in microgravity; speak with students directly via video or audio links, and much more.

Crew members usually sleep in sleeping bags that are tethered to a wall; this keeps them from bumping into sensitive equipment. Sleeping quarters need to be well-ventilated, if not the astronauts can become oxygen-deprived as a bubble of the carbon dioxide they exhale forms around their head.

One of the greatest threats to the International Space Station is orbital debris. Large pieces of debris have predictable orbits and can be avoided, but pieces smaller than 1 cm cannot be detected easily. Despite their size, these small pieces of debris can still have great amounts of kinetic energy and can cause damage to the station or to astronauts in spacesuits.

In the event of an emergency, a Soyuz spacecraft is docked to the International Space Station as a ‘lifeboat’.

For information on the International Space Station, click here.

For more information on how to spot the International Space Station at night, click here.

Nicolas Appert


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Did you know that Nicolas Appert was born today in 1749? He was a French chef and also known as the “Father of Canning”. In 1795, Nicolas Appert started experimenting with methods of preserving food. He found that he could preserve food by placing food in a clean glass jar, heating the jar of food in boiling water, and then sealing the jar with a cork and wax. Nicolas Appert did not know this at the time, but the heating process killed the bacteria and sterilized the food. Nicolas Appert’s technique, which was easy and effective, quickly spread through the world.

We hope that you find ways to preserve happiness today. Remember to think kind thoughts, use kind words, and do kind things. We Love You.

Bonus Facts:
In the 1800’s Napoleon’s government offered a prize of 12,000 francs for a new method of preserving food. One of the major hurdles facing Napoleon’s armies was providing an adequate supply of food. The seasonal flux of food availability in the warmer months limited his military’s ability to fight during winter months, when food was scarce. In 1806, Nicolas Appert presented a selection of bottled fruits and vegetables.

Nicolas Appert successfully preserved fruits, vegetables, soups, jellies and jams, dairy products, meat products, and more.

Sometimes canning is called ‘appertisation’ in honor of Nicolas Appert.

La Maison Appert, located in the town of Massy, became the first food bottling factory in the world. His factory was destroyed by allied forces during the Napoleonic Wars, but his techniques for preserving food had spread to the rest of Europe and England where others experimented with other containers, such as tin cans, to preserve food.

It would be years before people understood why canning worked to preserve food. It wasn’t until 1864 when Louis Pasteur discovered the link between heat and killing the microbes present in food to prevent foods from spoiling, that people understood how canning worked and how they could improve canning processes to make canned foods more nutritious and appealing.

Nicholas Appert was also a confectioner, or someone who made sweet foods such as candies or sweet baked goods.

James McHenry


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Did you know that James McHenry was born today in 1753? During the American Revolution he was a medical doctor and surgeon with the Continental Army. After the American Revolution, James McHenry was one of the delegates sent by the State of Maryland to the Continental Congress and was one of the signers of the United States Constitution. He served as the Secretary of War for President Washington and President John Adams. Fort McHenry, located in Baltimore, Maryland is named after James McHenry.

We hope that you have an industrious day today. Remember to think kind thoughts, use kind words, and do kind things. We Love You.

Bonus Facts:
James McHenry and his family came to the colonies from Ireland.

During the American Revolution, James McHenry also served as one of the aides-de-camp for General Washington from May 1778 to August 1780. From August 1780 to the autumn of 1781, he served on major-general Lafayette’s staff.

One of James McHenry’s assignments as George Washington’s Secretary of State was to oversee the transition of military posts located in the west from Great Britian’s control to the United States.

James McHenry is credited with establishing the United States Department of the Navy.

Being active in the establishment of the United States of America, James McHenry was familiar with or friends with many other notable people in the American Revolutions such as the Marquis de Lafayette, Alexander Hamilton, Timothy Pickering, Benjamin Tallmadge, and more.

James McHenry is buried at the Westminster Hall and Burying Ground in Baltimore, Maryland. Other notable individuals buried here are Phillip Barton Key (son of Francis Scott Key) and Edgar Allen Poe.

Word day – tang / tact / tag


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Did you know that the word roots ‘tang’, ‘tact’, and ‘tag’, com from the Latin words ‘tango’, ‘tangere’, and ‘tactum’ which mean to grasp or touch? A few example of English words using these roots include tactile, which describes something related to the sense of touch. Tangible describes something that can be touched or felt. Contact describes when two things or people meet or touch. Something that is contagious is transferred after people come in contact with someone who is already infected. Can you think of any other tang/tact/ or tag words?

We hope that come in contact with some great people today. Remember to think kind thoughts, use kind words, and do kind things. We Love You.

Bonus Facts:
The different forms of the word roots may come from the other forms of the word ‘tango’. They include ‘tangere’ and ‘tactum’.

A mathematical tangent is the point when a line touches a curve or a plane touches the surface of a 3D object like a sphere.

Robert Fulton


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Did you know that Robert Fulton was born today in 1765? He was an American inventor, engineer and artist. While living in Europe and Britain, Robert Fulton designed canals, bridges, construction equipment, submarines, and torpedoes. However, he is best known for designing the first successful steamboat in America. The North River Steamboat of Clermont travelled between New York City and Albany. The 150-mile trip took about 32 hours, much less than the previous 4-day trip by sailing ship.

We hope that your day at school is filled with wonderful ideas today. Remember to think kind thoughts, use kind words, and do kind things. We Love You.

Bonus Facts:
Initially Robert Fulton worked as an artist. He painted miniatures, portraits, and other paintings. Eventually, he gained enough prestige that local merchants financed a trip to London. There he continued to paint and study. He lived with Benjamin West, a family friend. However, he discovered that his artistic talents would probably never garner enough interest to be able to provide him with a sizable income. But, living in England did reacquaint him with another interest: steam engines and other feats of engineering.

Fulton’s steamship, The North River Steamboat of Clermont, was 150-feet long. It had two paddle wheels on the side of the ship, each about 15-feet in diameter. The 150-mile trip took about 32 hours, a vast improvement over the 4-day trip on a wind-powered sailing sloop. Aside from the expected mechanical difficulties that needed to be ironed out, the North River Steamboat was also harassed by the resentful crews of the sailing sloops; often these boats would ‘accidently’ ram the paddle wheels of the steamboat. Fulton constantly redesigned the boat to address mechanical and tactical issues, as well as to provide more comfortable accommodations for passengers.

Steamships and boats designed by Fulton were built and used in many areas including the Hudson River, Ohio River, and Mississippi River.

Robert Fulton was a proponent of building the Erie Canal.

Robert Fulton designed the first practical submarine, the Nautilus, for Napoleon Bonaparte. Later he designed naval torpedoes for the British Navy. Then, even later during the War of 1812, Fulton designed the world’s first steam warship for America. It was called the Demologos, and protected New York Harbor from the British Fleet.

5 US Navy ships have been named after Robert Fulton.

A statue of Robert Fulton is one of the two statues donated by the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania to the National Statuary Hall in the United States Capitol.

For more information about Robert Fulton, click here.

Hope Diamond


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Did you know that the Hope Diamond was donated to the Smithsonian Natural History Museum and has been on display since 1958? The source of the Hope Diamond comes from India, where it was purchased by a French gem merchant in 1666. The large blue diamond became part of jewels belonging to the French Monarchy, but was eventually stolen during the French Revolution and cut into smaller pieces. The largest piece eventually became the Hope Diamond. The blue color of the diamond comes from small amounts of boron atoms mixed in with the carbon atoms.

We hope that you have a brilliant day at school today. Remember to think kind thoughts, use kind words, and do kind things. We Love You.

Bonus Facts:
The initial diamond was known as the Tavernier Blue. It weighed about 112 carats. Around 1671 it was recut into a 68-carat diamond called the French Blue and became part of the French Crown Jewels. The jewel was stolen during the French Revolution. Later the French Blue was cut into what became the 45-carat Hope Diamond. For the next 100 years, the diamond was purchased and sold my numerous owners. In 1949, Harry Winston, a gem merchant, purchased the Hope Diamond. He toured It for several years before donating it to the Smithsonian in 1958.

The insured price of the Hope Diamond is $250 million.

The Hope Diamond is also known as Le Bijou du Roi (“the King’s Jewel”).

The Hope Diamond acquired its name from a London banking family who purchased the diamond in 1839.

While it has a blue color in normal light, the Hope Diamond glows with a red phosphorescence under ultraviolet light.

The Hope Diamond weighs about 45.52 carats. It is about the size of a walnut; about 1 inch by 7/8 inch by 15/32 inches.

For more information visit: https://www.si.edu/spotlight/hope-diamond 




Did you know that chemical element 110 was first created in 1994? The name of this element is darmstadtium (Ds). It is named after the city where the research team that discovered the element is located, Darmstadt, Germany. This element does not occur naturally and is made by fusing the atoms of two smaller elements together. It is extremely unstable; the longest-lasting version of this element only exists for 10 seconds before decaying or breaking apart.

We hope that you are bombarded by great experiences today. Remember to think kind thoughts, use kind words, and do kind things. We Love You.

Bonus Facts:
Many research teams around the world tried synthesizing element 110. These teams had their own suggestions for the name for this element. Suggested names included hahnium and becquerelium.

Darmstadtium’s characteristics have not been studied. However, scientists have made predictions based on its location in the periodic table. Scientists theorize that darmstadtium would be a noble metal like other group 10 elements such as platinum and nickel. Under normal conditions, darmstadtium would be a solid and have very high density (about 34.8 g/cm3).

Word day – soci


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Did you know that the word root ‘soci’ comes from the Latin words socius or sociare which mean joined, shared, related, or to unite? Many English words with the ‘soci’ root are related to the idea of being in a group. Society is a group of people that have shared beliefs or interests. An association is an organization with a united or common purpose. The associative property in math deals with how numbers can be grouped together when adding, subtracting, multiplying or dividing. Can you think of any other ‘soci’ words?

We hope that you are sociable and friendly today. Remember to think kind thoughts, use kind words, and do kind things. We Love You.

Bonus Facts:
The associative property in math deals with how numbers can be grouped together when adding, subtracting, multiplying or dividing. When 3 or more numbers are added or multiplied together, the associative property shows that the grouping of the numbers does not affect the result. (1+2) + 3 = 1 + (2 + 3). However, this is not true of subtracting or dividing.

Marie Curie


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Did you know that Marie Curie was born today in 1867? She was a Nobel prize-winning physicist and chemist. Marie Curie was the first woman to win a Nobel Prize and the only person to win a Nobel Prize in two different sciences (chemistry and physics). She researched and developed the theory of radioactivity, which describes what happens when unstable atoms break apart. Marie Curie also discovered two new elements and named them polonium and radium. During World War I, she used what she discovered about radioactivity to develop mobile x-ray machines that treated millions of wounded soldiers.

We hope that you stay ‘Curie’-ous today and everyday. Remember to think kind thoughts, use kind words, and do kind things. We Love You.

Bonus Facts:
The Curie Family has a total of five Nobel Prizes. Marie Curie’s Nobel Prizes were awarded in 1903 for Physics and 1911 in Chemistry.

Polonium is named after Marie Curie’s home country, Poland.

The Curie’s discovery of radioactivity rocked the scientific world. It did not seem to adhere to the idea of the conservation of energy, which made the scientists rethink what they knew about physics.

Marie Curie was also the first woman to become a professor at the University of Paris.

Albert Einstein once said that Marie Curie was a person that could not be corrupted by fame. She donated much of her prize money and awards to family, friends, associates; or insisted that the money be donated to research organizations. She did not patent their radium-isolation process, which made it easier for other scientists to conduct research.

A unit of radioactivity the curie (Ci) is named in honor of the Curies as well as element 96 curium.

Sadly, her research on radioactivity may have played a role in her death. She worked very closely with radioactive substances both in and out of her lab. During World War I she developed mobile X-ray vehicles to help treat wounded soldiers. She carried the radium needed for the x-ray machines in a pocket. Her lab notebooks from 1890 are still considered too dangerous to handle and are stored in a lead-lined box. Scientists that wish to review her papers must wear protective clothing.