Sir William Ramsay

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Did you know that Sir William Ramsay was born today in 1852? He was one of the chemists that discovered noble gases. A noble gas is also called an ‘inert gas’, they do not change or respond in chemical reactions, except in extreme circumstances. In 1904, he and his colleague Lord Rayleigh, were awarded the Nobel prize in Physics for finding this new type of element. A new section of the periodic table was created for the noble gases he separated and identified.

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

Bonus Facts:
Sir William Ramsay isolated argon, helium, neon, krypton, xenon, and radon. He also isolated helium, which had been observed on the Sun, but not previously on Earth.

The noble gases are colorless, odorless, and are monoatomic in standard conditions. The naturally occurring noble gases are: helium (He), neon (Ne), argon (Ar), krypton (Kr), xenon (Xe), and the radioactive radon (Rn). Oganesson (Og) is sometimes included, but is under further investigations.

In 1894 Lord Rayleigh noticed that there was a difference between nitrogen gas created from chemical synthesis and nitrogen isolated by removing other known elements (such as oxygen) from air. Working from this, Ramsay was able to isolate an unknown component of air. He found that this component was inert. He called it ‘argon’, after the Greek word for ‘lazy’.

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Penicillin

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Did you know that in 1928, Sir Alexander Fleming discovered penicillin? Penicillin is an antibiotic and is used to fight bacterial infections. The discovery of Penicillin’s antibiotic capabilities was a lucky accident. One of the bacteria cultures Fleming was working with became contaminated with a mold. Fleming then noticed that the bacteria did not grow well around the spots of mold. Other scientists used Fleming’s discovery to create a medicine that gave doctors a way to fight infections and continues to save millions of lives today.

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

Bonus Facts:
In 1945, Alexander Fleming, Howard Florey, and Chain were awarded the Nobel Prize in Medicine for their work with penicillin.

There are many different kinds of antibiotics in the penicillin family. The original penicillin is known as benzylpenicillin or penicillin G.

Many kinds of penicillin class antibiotics disrupt a bacteria’s ability to build strong cell walls; when the bacteria attempts to divide and reproduce, the cell walls break.

Although the antibacterial properties of Penicillium fungi were discovered in 1928, Penicillin was not used to treat infections until 1942. Fleming’s initial findings and experiments did not generate much interest, which caused the delayed development of the medicine.

After Fleming’s discovery, other scientists researched how penicillin could be used. In 1930, Cecil George Paine successfully treated an eye infection using penicillin. In 1939, Howard Florey and his team of researchers showed that penicillin could cure bacterial infection in mice. Finally, in 1942 pharmaceutical companies started mass producing penicillin.

Word Day Wednesday – aqu

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It’s word-day Wednesday! Did you know that some words share basic meanings? We call these ‘roots’ and many come from ancient languages such as Greek and Latin. For example, the root aqu, which comes from ‘aqua’, Latin for ‘water’. Many English words with this root are related to water. An aquatic animal lives in water. Aquamarine is a light bluish-green color like the ocean. Aqueducts carry water to cities. An aquifer stores water underground. Can you think of any other ‘aqu’ words?

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

Bonus Facts:
Aqua regia or ‘royal water’ or ‘king’s water’ is the name given to a mixture of nitric acid and hydrochloric acid. It was given this name by alchemists because it could dissolve noble metals such as gold and platinum. Aqua regia was used by Niels Bohr and George de Hevesy to hide the Nobel prizes of two of their colleagues persecuted by and fleeing the Nazis.

Sir Francis Drake

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Did you know that Sir Francis Drake was an explorer, naval captain, and privateer? A privateer is someone who receives permission from a government to attack and steal cargo from ships that belong to another country. Queen Elizabeth I gave Sir Francis Drake permission to attack and plunder ships from Spain, a country they were at war with. In 1580 Sir Francis Drake became the first Englishman to circumnavigate the Earth. The journey took 3 years, partly because he had been given orders to harass and plunder treasure from the Spanish colonies he encountered on the way!

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

Bonus Facts:
On September 26, 1580, Sir Francis Drake and his crew returned to England after a 3 year journey circumnavigating the Earth. In 1577, he was dispatched by Queen Elizabeth I, to harry and plunder Spanish colonies in the new world. Drake returned to England with a cargo of Spanish treasure and spices from the Indies. The queen owned half of the cargo; the value of that half-share surpassed the rest of the Queen’s income for that entire year!

The queen awarded Drake with a knighthood and a jewel. The jewel had a portrait of Elizabeth I carved on it. It is called the Drake Jewel and is displayed in the Victoria and Albert Museum.

Sir Francis Drake also helped protect England when the Spanish Armada threatened. He destroyed or captured enemy ships and provisions.

Sir Francis Drake also served as the Mayor of Plymouth and as a member of Parliament.

Sir Francis Drake’s home Buckland Abby belonged to his family for generations. Now it is maintained by the National Trust and serves as a museum.

Thomas Hunt Morgan

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Did you know that Thomas Hunt Morgan was born today in 1866? He was a biologist. In 1933, Morgan won the Nobel Prize for explaining what role chromosomes have in heredity. A chromosome is a ‘package’ of DNA. Different organisms have different numbers of chromosomes; humans have 23 pairs. Heredity is the idea that parents can parents can pass on traits to their children; for example, your height, or the color of your eyes and hair. Morgan’s work showed that the chromosomes inherited from parents, carry the genetic information (genes) that control what traits appear in their children.

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

Bonus Facts:
Thomas Hunt Morgan used the fruit fly Drosophila melanogaster in his genetic studies. The fruit fly is still one of the major model organisms used in genetics.

During his career, Morgan wrote 22 books and 370 scientific papers. He studied and researched at many institutions including Bryn Mawr College, Columbia University, Johns Hopkins University, University of Kentucky, and California Institute of Technology.

Thomas Hunt Morgan established the Division of Biology at California Institute of Technology, which has produced 7 Nobel Prize winners!

Thomas Hunt Morgan’s daughter was Isabel Morgan (Mountain). She studied at Johns Hopkins as a virologist with a specialty in polio research.

Thomas Hunt Morgan was the great-grandson of Francis Scott Key. He was also the nephew of the Confederate General, John Hunt Morgan. After the Civil War, his family suffered socially and financially for aiding the Confederacy.

John Loudon McAdam

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Did you know that John Loudon McAdam was born today in 1756? He was a Scottish civil engineer. At the time, roads were either dirt and mud paths or made with very large and very expensive stone slabs; both kinds of roads easily broke and fell apart. McAdam developed a way to build roads out of rocks and crushed gravel that was inexpensive to build and maintain, and more durable as well. His method worked so well, it quickly spread throughout the world.

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

Bonus Facts:
Traditionally John Loudon McAdam’s family name was actually McGregor, but it was changed during the 1600’s.

John Loudon McAdam wrote two books on road building: Remarks on the Present System of Road-Making and Practical Essay on the Scientific Repair and Preservation of Roads.

The process John Loudoun McAdam created for constructing roads is known as macadamisation. The raised and slightly convex shape of the road allowed for good drainage and the materials needed greatly simplified the process of building and maintaining the road. His process led to the modernization of road building and has been called one of the greatest advancements since Roman technology was introduced.

The word ‘tarmac’ is short for tarmacadam, a macadamized road bound together with tar.

Fabian Gottlieb Thaddeus von Bellinghausen

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Did you know that Fabian Gottlieb Thaddeus von Bellingshausen was born today in 1778? He was an explorer, officer in the Russian navy, and a cartographer (a person who creates maps). In 1803 – 1806 he was part of the crew that completed the first Russian circumnavigation of the Earth. In 1819-1821 Bellingshausen was in charge of a journey to explore the Southern Ocean. They traveled around the ice fields of Antarctica twice and on January 28, 1820, he became one of the first explorers to actually see the land of Antarctica.

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

Bonus Facts:
The name of the ship that made the first Russian circumnavigation was Nadezhda (hope).

In his naval career, the highest rank Bellingshausen earned was vice-admiral. He also served as the military governor of Kronstadt.

Bellingshausen was a prominent cartographer. He also published a book on his Antarctic travels, Double Investigation of the Southern Polar Ocean and the Voyage Around the World.

Some of the Antarctic features discovered and named by Bellingshausen and his crew include Peter I island, Zavodovski Island, Leskov Island, and Alexander Island. There are also many geographical features in the Antarctic region that are named after Bellingshausen and the other explorers in his expedition.

Puppis

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Did you know that the southern hemisphere constellation Puppis used to be part of a larger constellation, Argo Nevis? Argo Nevis represented the ship of Jason and the Argonauts from Greek mythology. However, that constellation was enormous. In 1752 Argo Nevis was split into 3 constellations: Carina, Vela, and Puppis. Puppis is also known as the Poop Deck or Stern. The stern is the back part of a ship. ‘Poop’ comes from the French word la poupe, which means stern, or back part of a ship.

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

Bonus Facts:
Argo Nevis, was described by the astronomer Ptolemy in the 2nd century. Nicholas Louis de Lacaille was the French astronomer that divided Argo Nevis into 3 separate constellations in 1752.

There are 9 main stars in the constellation Puppis. The brightest star in the constellation is Naos, it is a blue supergiant star and the 62nd brightest in the sky.

Puppis is the 20th largest constellation in size. It is one of the 88 modern constellations recognized by the International Astronomical Union.

Carina represents the keel of Argo Nevis. Vela represents the sails of Argo Nevis.

Léon Foucault

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Did you know that Léon Foucault was born today in 1819? He was a French physicist. Léon Foucault performed an experiment that made an early measurement of the speed of light and gave the scientific instrument, ‘gyroscope’ its name. One of his other experiment is displayed in many science museums or universities. As a pendulum swings slowly back and forth, the Earth rotates beneath it causing it to move in a ‘star-like’ path instead of a side-to-side line. Many museums have a circle of pins the pendulum knocks over each day to show the path of the pendulum.

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

Bonus Facts:
Léon Foucault’s full name was Jean Bernard Léon Foucault.

Léon Foucault initially studied medicine, but switched to physics because he had a blood phobia.

Léon Foucault also discovered eddy currents, and how to tell if mirrors are perfectly spherical. The speed of light he calculated from his experiments was 298,000 km/s, about 0.6% error from the currently accepted value.

Léon Foucault also studied the light emitted from the sun and other sources. He found that if you applied a very thin, almost transparent, layer of silver on telescope glass, you could view the sun without injuring the eye.

The wire suspending a Foucault Pendulum needs to be very long; they are usually 39-98 feet long. The largest Foucault Pendulum is located in the Oregon Convention Center. A Foucault Pendulum makes a full rotation each day, clockwise in the northern hemisphere and counter-clockwise in the southern hemisphere. To avoid affecting the motion, a tradition way of starting the pendulum is to move the pendulum bob to its starting position and secure it with a thread; then to use a flame to burn through the thread.

Cassini’s Grand Finale

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Did you know that today is the last day of Cassini’s Grand Finale? The Grand Finale started back in April, when scientists maneuvered Cassini to travel between the planet’s surface and its rings. Cassini has orbited the planet 22 times now. Scientists chose Cassini’s final plunge as a way to prevent Cassini from accidently crashing into and contaminating one of Saturn’s moons. Today, Cassini will dive into Saturn’s atmosphere and eventually burn up like a meteor. A spectacular end for an extraordinary mission. Thank you Cassini!!

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

Bonus Facts:
During the Grand Finale, Cassini is also expending as much fuel and propellant as possible.

During the Grand Finale, Cassini has skimmed the surface of Saturn as well as the inner edge of the rings. Aside from close-up images of the rings and planet, Cassini has sent back data that helps scientists understand Saturn’s gravity and magnetic fields as well as how quickly Saturn is rotating. It also has given scientists a better idea of how much and what kind of material the rings are composed of.

As Cassini plunges into Saturn’s atmosphere it will continue to collect and broadcast data, for as long as the spacecraft can.

For more information visit:

Cassini’s Grand Finale

Why Cassini Matters