Saturday, January 29, 2011

Sudbury Star Article: The Science Behind Exercise

Be sure to pick up a copy of today's The Sudbury Star to read an article by SCOM student Josh Osika regarding the dynamics and mechanics of exercise - an especially interesting read for those of us who've resolved to exercise more in 2011. 

The article is also available online, but so far only in "Print View" (I will update the link when the article is reposted).

Read it here .

Thursday, January 27, 2011

"Sky's the Limit!" : SCOM teams up with M.Sc. Biology Students

This year, our program is taking on an innovative new project:  our class has partnered with M.Sc. Biology students at Laurentian University (led by Dr. John Gunn) to develop a series of TED talk-style short films.  These films will feature individual M.Sc. students discussing science topics as they relate to excerpts  of selected books (listed below):

[Click on the book title for more information]

1. Catching Fire - Richard Wrangham
2. Our Choice - Al Gore
3. Your Inner Fish - Neil Shubin
4. Survival of the Sickest - Sharon Moalem
5. Guns, Germs and Steel - Jared Diamond
6. Oxygen -  Nick Lane

So, where does the SCOM class fit into this project?  We've been divided into three production teams (Reel Science, Biofilms, and SciMax), and we're in charge of realizing these films.  It's a great opportunity for everyone involved to develop skills in teamwork, organization, pre-production, filming, editing, and post-production (and of course, it's fun!) - and it gives us a chance to work and interact with people outside of our program.  For the M.Sc. students, it's an exciting opportunity to gain science communication skills to apply to future endeavours.

The final videos will be posted online in early April.  Further details TBA.

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Update: Super-Cooled Liquids (Beersicles)

For those of you who missed SCOM students on The Daily Planet this past Thursday, you can watch the clip (and the full episode) here:


Enjoy!  Stay tuned for more SCOM segments on The Daily Planet soon!

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Update: Catch Us on The Daily Planet Tonight!

Our Alan Nursall segments for the Daily Planet will be airing tonight at 7 pm and 11 pm EST on The Discovery Channel.  Don't miss it!

Alan also posted some photos from our shoot on his Facebook page.

Monday, January 17, 2011

The Alan Nursall Experience: Scommies Team Up with The Daily Planet

This past week, The Daily Planet was in Sudbury for a four-day shoot for a segment of the Alan Nursall Experience.  The Scommies were invited to participate in two parts of the shoot.  It was a great opportunity for all of us to experience the works behind filming television programming.  So, in short, we were wired with mics. and sent in front of cameras to communicate science!

Day One: Super-cooled Liquids

Six of us (Lorraine, Brandon, Josh, Karen, Susie, and Nina) got to hang around outdoors on Laurentian University campus to answer a viewer question: Say you've put a bottle of water into the freezer.  Why is it that sometimes, even though the temperature of the water is below freezing (below 0 degrees Celsius), the water is still liquid, but if you shake or squeeze the bottle, it freezes almost instantly? 

Thanks to chilly Sudbury weather, we got to answer the question by experimenting with bottles of super-cooled water and beer (and of course there was no shortage of LU students walking by and exclaiming "There's beer on that table!").  We got to work with infrared thermometers (to read the surface temperatures of the bottled liquids without disturbing them), and watch water that remained liquid at -7 Celsius flash freeze before our eyes!  I won't spoil all of the details, but I will say that the results of our experiments were super-cool.

Nina, Brandon, and Karen - along with Alan Nursall - create ice with super-cooled water. Photo courtesy of Laurentian Alumni on Twitter (@LaurentianAlum).

Day Two: Spa Day

While some of us got to freeze our butts on the previous shoot, Jalyn, Sarah, and Steph got to spend their shoot in the sauna at the  Laurentian University gym.

From Steph:

If you had been taking a shower in the LU women’s locker room on Wednesday morning of last week, you would have been interrupted by a strange announcement: “Quiet please, we’re filming!!” 

That would have been quite the excuse to wrap up in a towel quickly and get out!  But there was nothing strange going on, just a shoot of The Alan Nursall Experience in the sauna for Daily Plant.  Maybe a bit strange for a science show, but that’s what makes the experience so much fun.  Alan and friends (including a few of our very own Sci. Comm. students) were exploring the reason why you get hot while enjoying the sauna. 

Steam you say?  Well yes, sort of.  In order to make water boil and become water vapor (steam), you must add heat.  Therefore, when this water condenses into its liquid form again, heat is released.  You are the coolest surface in a sauna, so the evaporated water condenses on your skin, releasing heat, and making you feel warmer.  Interesting stuff! 

Experiencing filming for television was very interesting.  It is a time consuming practice, which is especially noticeable when sitting in a sauna with a robe on.  Nonetheless, it was a lot of fun and a great addition to the “Scommie’s” list of adventures!

Stay tuned for more photos and showtimes.  The Daily Planet airs everyday on the Discovery Channel at 7 pm and 11 pm EST.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Sudbury Star Article: The Slippery Science of Skating

Happy 2011, everyone!

To kick off the new year, I have an article written by SCOM classmate Lorraine that was published today in The Sudbury Star.  As a class, we have been given the opportunity to write science-based pieces ("Science in the North") for the weekend edition of Sudbury's local newspaper - great practice for communicating science through writing!

You can read the article online here, or by picking up a copy of today's paper.


EDIT: Here are some past pieces by this year's class that have been published in The Sudbury Star:

From Steph:  Freezing for Survival
From Margaret: Avoiding Winter Weight Gain
From Jalyn: Santa at the Speed of Sound