McDonnell Center Inaugural Poster Session
55 posters presented by faculty, research scientists, post docs and graduate students display the diversity and vibrancy of the Center’s research and academic interests ranging from Exobiology to Astrophysics. The exhibit was on display from January 13–February 6, 2009 on the first floor of the earth and planetary sciences building. Ramanath Cowsik, Professor of Physics and Director, McDonnell Center for the Space Sciences, adds “Space sciences has entered into everyone’s lives through television, remote sensing of the earth’s resources, and GPS-navigation. Origins of life and origins of the Universe are some of the main themes of research at the Center.”
Robert Behnken, Lieutenant Colonel, United States Airforce and NASA astronaut visits McDonnell Center for the Space Sciences on February 20, 2009
Behnken received a dual major in Mechanical Engineering and Physics from Washington University in 1992. He was in town to receive the 2009 Young Alumni Award from Washington University’s School of Engineering & Applied Science. Professors Ramanath Cowsik, Randy Korotev, Alex Meshik, Slava Solomatov, and Clifford Will met with Robert Behnken to give him an overview of the current activities of the McDonnell Center.
L to R: Alexander Meshik, Research Professor of Physics; Randy Korotev, Research Professor, Earth & Planetary Sciences; Ramanath Cowsik, Professor of Physics and Director, McDonnell Center for the Space Sciences; Robert Behnken; Clifford Will, James S. McDonnell Professor of Physics; and Slava Solomatov, Professor, Earth & Planetary Sciences
John McDonnell, James McDonnell and William Danforth visit the McDonnell Center, May 22, 2008
Ramanath Cowsik, Director, hosted a tour of six of the labs within the McDonnell Center community. The focus of the tour was based on the complex research questions within the theme of “From Big Bang to Life and Beyond”. This overview covered the “tip of the iceberg” of the vast research efforts in space related science some 33 years after the inception of the McDonnell Center.
Mr. John McDonnell, Mr. James S. McDonnell III and William Danforth join Ramanath Cowsik, Director, McDonnell Center for the Space Sciences for a tour of seven labs within the Center. The distinguished visitors are pictured with graduate students from the departments of Physics and Earth & Planetary Sciences in front of the Mars Rover replica in the lobby of the Earth & Planetary Sciences building.
Members of the McDonnell Center are actively involved in inspiring the next generation of young scientists about their passion for space! Many of our activities have been coordinated with Science Outreach, Washington University http://www.so.wustl.edu/. If your organization is interested in assistance with an educational event, please contact us.
June, 2009 - ExxonMobil Bernard Harris Summer Science Camp
Sarah Thibadeau and Benjamin Burch, members of the McDonnell Center for the Space Sciences and graduate students in the Physics Department, spent two weeks working with students attending the ExxonMobil Bernard Harris Summer Science Camp. The Camp is a free, two-week academic residential camp designed to boost middle school students' skills in math and science and their interest in related careers. It is also an introduction to college life, and a special opportunity to meet students from other districts and schools. Each day, campers participate in activities that involve problem solving, research, writing, and communication, incorporated with biology, chemistry, physics, and field excursions. Experienced teachers lead units on various science topics, including robotics, computers, engineering challenges, astronomy, and math.
I was the lead instructor for the physics portion of the ExxonMobil Bernard Harris Summer Science Camp. During the camp, fellow graduate students and I led the campers on inquiry-based experiments and demonstrations covering a variety of physics concepts. Lessons included making and launching rockets, constructing hot air balloons, designing a mission to Mars, building solar cars, using pinhole cameras, and observing dry ice and liqiud nitrogen demonstrations. I am grateful to have had the opportunity help kindle the little spark of inquisitiveness driving the campers.
February, 2009 - Junior Academy of Science visits McDonnell Center
On February 16, 17 students from the Junior Academy of Science attended a special event entitled, “Meet me at the Mars Rover”. Students were treated to a presentation of the Mars research efforts and a close look at what is involved in an actual mission by reviewing the current Phoenix Mars Mission. Students and parents participated in the presentation and the students then met with Washington University students to plan their own mission to Mars. Kirsten Siebach, Amy Shaw and Ben Burch participated in this outreach event.
November, 2008 – Brittany Wood Middle visits McDonnell Center
An important aspect of the McDonnell Center for the Space Sciences distinguished lecture series was the addition of an outreach event. As part of the inaugural Robert M. Walker Distinguished Lecture Series, several Washington University undergraduate and graduate students from both the Physics and Earth & Planetary Sciences Departments collaborated to bring the Mars mission to life for approximately 40 8th graders from Brittany Woods Middle School. During the students’ visit on November 5, Amy Shaw (EPSc graduate) student gave a tour and overview of the Mars Rover replica housed in the Earth & Planetary Sciences building. Our guests were given a tour of campus, followed by a Powerpoint presentation of the Mars research efforts and overall Phoenix Mission by Kirsten Siebach (EPSc undergraduate student). Kirsten and Amy were just two of the five students that joined Professor Raymond Arvidson during the summer at the Phoenix landing mission headquarters at The University of Arizona-Tucson. After lunch the students broke into small groups to plan their own missions to Mars. This required them to coordinate the selection of mission experiments, consider weight and space factors for the launch vehicle, calculate costs, and other such aspects of planning a mission to space. The 8th grade students planned their missions with the assistance of Amy Shaw and Kirsten Siebach as well as Maitrayee Bose, Ben Burch, Nick Mauro, Brett McArthur and Kasey Wagoner (Physics graduate students). Special thanks are accorded to the Washington University students and the Science Outreach office for coordinating this event.