Growing Bacteria Experiment Helps BJ and Howie from Alice 105.9 Search for "Things" in the Studio

BJ and Howie are familiar voices to morning listeners of Alice 105.9. Whenever their conversation veers off on a science tangent, I know that my phone might ring. Several months ago, Howie was so certain that the studio was infected with mold spores that he paid to have his workplace tested. Any guesses? That's right... no mold of any significance. Today's [...]

Science Chat on Irish Talk Radio

Sean Moncrieff is the host of the Afternoon Show on Newstalk 106-108 FM in Ireland. This nationally syndicated show features news stories ranging from the serious to the zany... maybe that's why they called. While waiting for my segment, I listened to the show and quickly realized how much I want to speak again in Ireland. I first lectured at the [...]

Facebook and Myspace for Teachers

I recently recorded a conversation held between me and Stephan Spencer, president of search engine optimization company, Netconcepts. Spencer talks about the basics of both social networking sites, such as whether or not you should make your profile private if you are worried about your job, or prospective jobs. There are plenty of cases where exactly this has happened. I can recall myself [...]

Science Fair Boot Camp reporting for duty, sir!

Doubling the number of participants in science fairs is a personal goal of mine, mainly because of the approach taken to it by teachers. We often tell kids that they have to participate in the upcoming science fair, but we haven't shown them how to do it. It's difficult to get good results when the process hasn't been modeled and the expectations [...]

The Deep Voice Gas – Sulfur Hexafluoride (SF6)

It was fun to see David Willey on The Tonight Show this evening doing some nice variations on the classic sulfur hexafluoride (SF6) demo. This is the inert gas that is six times heavier than the air we breath. If you breath in helium (six times lighter than the air we breath), the pitch of your voice goes up. However, if [...]

Make Fire! Viewer Answers a Challenge

I felt like Tom Hanks in Cast Away as I raised my bundle of tinder and exclaimed, "I made fire!" Several months ago, I mentioned on air that I had never seen anyone who could rub two sticks together and make fire. By the time I stepped off the set, I already had nine emails from people who claimed to be [...]

Water Jelly Crystals – Superabsorbent Polymers

There's always a buzz this time of year about ways to conserve water as we head into the hot and dry summer months (but remember that there's no such thing as global warning!) Aside from reducing the amount of water we use, the water-wise are turning to water-absorbing polymers as a way to reduce watering times by 50 to 80%. These [...]

Disappearing Ink and a Fire Extinguisher

Disappearing Ink is a great tool for chemistry teachers to demonstrate acid-base indicators. Just squirt a little on your shirt and the carbon dioxide in the air turns it from blue to colorless. If your breath works well, it only makes sense that a shot of carbon dioxide from a fire extinguisher works great... and it does. Here's the Fire Extinguisher [...]

Leprechauns Strike Again with Green Water

I will never forget St. Patrick's Day 2006. This morning I woke to the screams of our almost four year old twins, Mark and Scott. "Daddy, wake up! Look at what those Leprechauns did," yelled Scott. I jumped out of bed to find the twins picking up green and gold coins that peppered the living room floor. Traces of gold dust [...]

The Bike Helmet Myth: Slow Riders Don’t Need to Wear Helmets

The Colorado State science fair judges were not the only ones who were impressed with Raleigh Burt, an 8th grader from Sargent Junior High School in Alamosa, Colorado. His first place, award-winning project caught the attention of many people who often wondered if they really needed to wear a bicycle helmet. After recording a podcast interview with Raleigh several weeks ago, [...]