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Editor's Blog

Welcome to the SB&F Editor's Blog. I am Maria Sosa, Editor-in-Chief of SB&F. Through this blog I hope to interact with the SB&F community and post news and information related to science books, videos, authors, opportunities and other topics of interest to our readers. I hope you find the blog useful and entertaining. Please, join the conversation by posting a comment on our Facebook page. I'd love to hear from you!


Syndication
  • Now in its 25th year, Shark Week has become a highly anticipated television event. For many, Shark Week is a chance to experience the terror of a shark attack from the comfort (and safety) of their reclining sofas. One of the highlights of Shark Week is "Sharkzilla", premiering Monday, August 13, a team of engineers and paleontologists work together to recreate the largest shark to ever swim in our oceans: the mighty Megalodon. (See picture below.) It will be followed by "Mythbusters' Jawsome Shark Special", during which hosts Adam Savage and Jamie Hyneman count down their 25 biggest shark myths. Throughout its history, Shark Week 's popularity has made it a positive...      Read more...
    Published 12 Aug 2012 6:05 PM by Maria Sosa
  • Like many people, I am fascinated by tardigrades, small invertebrates with 8 legs, segmented bodies, and mouth parts that make them look like nothing else in nature. Also known as water bears or moss piglets, they always capture my attention because they are certainly extraordinary looking. One might say that they are 50 parts grotesque and 50 parts adorable. While it's true that I always stop and stare at photos or videos of tardigrades, I actually know very little about them. This morning, a friend shared a link to a story about 3D-printed tardigrades . This inspired me to go on a quest for more information about the real thing, and here are some interesting facts I discovered: Tardigrades...      Read more...
  • In our August issue we published Linda Weiner's review of Loree Griffin Burns' book Citizen Scientists: Be a Part of a Scientific Discover (see below), which tells the story of four actual research projects that invite members of the public to participate in "real" science. While Citizen Science projects have been around for a long time, their resurgence in popularity could have something to do with the growth of crowdsourcing , a distributed problem-solving and production model such as that used by Wikipedia and TripAdvisor. One of the earliest Citizen Science Projects was the Cornell Lab of Ornithology's PigeonWatch in which participants counted pigeons and recorded the...      Read more...
  • This is the second in a series of posts that takes a closer look at the 2014 Finalists for the AAAS/Subaru SB&F Prize. Mary Kay Carson's Beyond the Solar System: Exploring Galaxies, Black Holes, Alien Planets, and More (Chicago Review Press, 2013) is sure to be a big hit with history of science buffs like me. She hooked me right away with the first few sentences of the Introduction: "The next time you look up at the 3,000 or so stars visible in the night sky, put yourself in the place of a prehistoric person. Looking up at all those little lights in the darkness, imagine what you think they are. Tiny, faraway campfires that never burn out? Flying creatures carrying torches?"...      Read more...
  • Guest Blogger: Ann Williams, Art Director, SB&F This image is from Ken and Julia Yonetani's recent exhibition, Crystal Palace: The Great Exhibition of the Works of Industry of All Nuclear Nations. The chandelier frame is made up of uranium glass beads, wire, UV light bulbs, and electric components. Science has always been an integral part of art. Albert Einstein said, "Imagination in more important than knowledge." Leonardo da Vinci engaged in the art of science and the science of art. Andy Warhol used film in his portraits. If not entirely engaged in the arts, scientists throughout history have at least engaged in science with an artistic spirit. Scientists and artists use...      Read more...
    Published 4 Apr 2013 3:53 PM by Maria Sosa
  • Guest Blogger: Neela White, Outreach and Awards Editor, SB&F When I was asked to coordinate book donations for DC-area schools as part of my role as Outreach and Awards Editor with SB&F, I thought, "this is perfect!" I currently work with area elementary and middle schools on two other grants that are partnered with AAAS, and I knew that each of these schools would greatly benefit from the highly-recommended, peer-reviewed books offered by SB&F . My first school was an easy, and quick decision. I contacted a colleague that I've worked with for the past three years, Mr. Javaris Powell. Mr. Powell is the SMARTLab Facilitator at Friendship, Blow Pierce in N.E. Washington...      Read more...
  • Today is the last day of Women’s History Month and tomorrow National Poetry Month begins. I know I’m not the only one who tries to mark these occasions while at the some time wondering if doing so somehow contributes to the compartmentalizing of things that we care about. But if it somehow helps to bring attention to things we care about, then I will continue to do so as long as I have a platform. It is in that spirit that I blog today about women’s science authors. Earlier this month on Huffington Post, Sten Oswald asked the question why there are so few science women popularizers? Well, in fact there is a shortage of female science popularizers, but men do seem to be more...      Read more...
  • In case anyone out there doesn't already know, the Mars Science Laboratory (MSL) launched by NASA on November 26, 2011, successfully landed the Curiosity rover on August 6, 2012. Curiosity's successful landing, and all of the excitement that surrounded it, has inspired me to immerse myself in all things Mars, including reading Kim Stanley Robinson's award-winning science fiction trilogy, which is included in the list of resources below. By no means definitive and certainly not complete, I've tried to include a little bit of something for everyone on this list of resources. If you are looking for easy access to all the latest space information as it happens, there's a NASA...      Read more...
  • Shimer College , my alma mater, is considered one of the Great Books colleges , of which there are only a few. At Shimer, there is a core curriculum that every student must follow. While this curriculum has been modified somewhat throughout the years, it remains substantially the same as when I attended some 40 years ago. The core curriculum includes a four course sequence in the natural sciences that examines natural science in the context of its historical development. There are labs, but the focus is more on the study of original sources, such as the writings of scientists and philosophers who made significant contributions to the history of science. Below are the reading lists from the four...      Read more...
    Published 18 Jul 2012 4:46 PM by Maria Sosa
  • The National Science Foundation (NSF) and NBC Learn, the educational arm of NBC News, recently released five new videos in the Science Behind The News series. Science Behind The News is a relatively new, fast-paced video series supported by NSF that explores the science, technology, engineering and mathematics behind current events. Each video features at least one interview with an NSF-funded scientist or researcher. The five new videos highlight work funded by NSF's Directorate for Mathematical and Physical Sciences. The scope of scientific and educational activity supported in the directorate is enormous, ranging from phenomena at cosmological distances, to environmental science on the...      Read more...
    Published 2 Apr 2013 5:23 PM by Maria Sosa
  • The following is a guest blog post written by Andrew Fraknoi , Chair, Astronomy Program, Foothill College, Los Altos Hills, CA As students return to school this fall and the media and web hype about Doomsday 2012 reaches a final, fevered pitch, all of us in science education will need to be prepared to respond to concerns from those who are genuinely worried or confused. Two new resources are now available for educators, parents, youth group leaders, and science communicators to address fears that world-wide disaster is coming on Dec. 21, 2012: A guide to accessible written and audio-visual materials (most of them freely available on the Web) has just been published in the journal " Astronomy...      Read more...
  • Kudzu was introduced from Japan into the United States at the Japanese pavilion in the 1876 Centennial Exposition in Philadelphia. It is a prototypical invasive species, adapting so well to its new environment that today grows throughout most of the southeastern United States. A deadly invader, it kills or damages other plants by smothering them under a blanket of leaves. It can completely encompass tree trunks or even uproot an entire tree. So why not eat it? Though it lends itself to pithy headlines, the idea of eating invasive species is somewhat complex and not necessarily the "easy" solution to the problem that it can appear to be on the surface. Eating invasive species made news...      Read more...
    Published 17 Aug 2012 1:30 PM by Maria Sosa
  • I am proud to be part of the team that helped put together the exhibition Beauty and the Brain Revealed currently on display at the AAAS Gallery. The exhibition builds on a 2010 collaboration between the Zanvyl Krieger Mind/Brain Institute at the Johns Hopkins University and the Walters Art Museum to examine how the brain perceives abstract sculpture. As part of the experience, viewers can put on a pair of 3D glasses to explore digitally morphed versions of sculpture and learn how 3D shape characteristics relate to your own aesthetic preferences! The interactive exhibition explores the aesthetic theory of “significant form,” which includes the idea that certain aesthetic experiences...      Read more...
  • International Literacy Day, traditionally observed annually on September 8, focuses attention on worldwide literacy needs. More than 780 million of the world's adults (nearly two-thirds of whom are women) do not know how to read or write, and between 94 and 115 million children lack access to education. This year the International Reading Association's celebration of International Literacy Day will commence on Friday, September 7, 2012 with a special event at the Library of Congress Jefferson Building in Washington, DC. "There are currently more than 780 million illiterate adults and over 100 million children without regular access to education," IRA President Carrice Cummins...      Read more...
    Published 5 Sep 2012 3:43 PM by Maria Sosa
  • In the August issue of SB&F we included a list of some of our favorite YouTube channels. Since August 4-10 is Geek Week on YouTube, we decided to publish the list on our blog too, with some additions. If you want to recommend a channel not on the list, please leave a comment on our Facebook page. And don't forget, we have our own SB&F Youtube Channel that features videos mainly about science books and authors, especially focused on the AAAS/Subaru SB&F Prize for Excellence in Science Books . You can find us at Bytesize Science : Produc ed by the American Chemical Society (ACS), this channel features a series of award winning videos that uncover the chemistry of everyday life,...      Read more...
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