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30 Scientists

November 1 – December 19, 2015

In partnership with the Detroit Institute of Arts and its exhibit, 30 Americans, the Michigan Science Center’s 30 Scientists program teaches some of the world’s most significant, yet largely unknown, scientific works. This program enhances the discussion begun by the DIA around the themes of defiance, sampling, freestyling, confronting, signifying, transforming and representing. Activities including workshops, demonstrations, at-home projects and more are scheduled in each category November 1 – December 19.

November 1 – 7: Defying … Scientific Assumption

  1. Home activity: Create a star finder

    Giordano BrunoGiordano Bruno
    (1548 – 1600)
    Bruno proposed that the stars were just distant suns surrounded by their own exoplanets. He also insisted that the universe is in fact infinite and could have no celestial body at its “center.” Bruno was tried for heresy by the Roman Inquisition and in 1600 he was burned at the stake.
  2. Visit MiSci: Experience the Nano exhibit

    DemocritusDemocritus
    (460 – 370 BC)
    Democritus held that there are small indivisible bodies from which everything else is composed, and that these move about in an infinite void space. This challenged the notion that change is impossible, since it would require something coming from nothing.
  3. Visit MiSci: Experience the U.S. Steel Fun Factory

    Ada LovelaceAda Lovelace
    (1815 – 1852)
    Ada Lovelace was a pioneer of computing science. She took part in writing the first published program and was a computing visionary, recognizing for the first time that computers could do much more than just calculations.
  4. MiSci Workshop: Fascinating Fossils (November 7)

    Alfred Wegener
    Alfred Wegener (1880 – 1930)
    An astronomer and geologist, Alfred Wegener challenged the orthodox belief that land bridges had once connected the continents. He suggested that the similarities might be due to the continents having been joined together.

November 8 – 14: Confronting … Scientific Power

  1. Home activity: Snack tectonics

    Marie TharpMarie Tharp
    (1920-2006)
    As a female scientist, Tharpe encountered plenty of discrimination. She created the first scientific map of the entire ocean floor and revealed the presence of the Mid-Atlantic Ridge. This led to the acceptance of plate tectonics and continental drift.
  2. Visit MiSci: Experience the As Time Goes By exhibit

    Anton Willhelm AmoAnton Wilhelm Amo 
    (1703 – ca. 1759)
    A native of what is now Ghana, Amo was taken to Amsterdam as a child. He was the first African known to have attended a European university. He earned a doctorate in philosophy; his thesis was “On the Absence of Sensation in the Human Mind and its Presence in our Organic and Living Body.”
  3. Visit MiSci: Experience the Dassault Systèmes Planetarium

    Benjamin BannekerBenjamin Banneker
    (1731 – 1806)
    Banneker was a free African American scientist, surveyor, almanac author and farmer during a time when slavery was still legal in the United States. Largely self-taught, Banneker used his knowledge of astronomy to create a commercially successful series of almanacs and to survey the borders of the original District of Columbia.
  4. Visit MiSci: Experience the alternative energy display

    Augustin MouchotAugustin Mouchot
    (1825 – 1911)
    Math teacher Mouchot created the earliest solar-powered engine, converting solar energy into mechanical steam power. The French government backed his research, but determined the project was too expensive to be practical and eventually ended his funding.

November 15 - 21: Transforming … Science Practices

  1. Home activity: Learn a clever math trick

    al-Khwarizmial-Khwarizmi
    (8th – 9th centuries)
    al-Khwarizmi was a Persian mathematician, geographer and astronomer and is regarded as the greatest mathematician of Islamic civilization. He was instrumental in the adoption of Arabic numerals and developed algebra by introducing methods of simplifying the equations.
  2. Home activity: Experiment with magnetic food

    Shen KuoShen Kuo
    (1031 – 1095)
    Shen Kuo, a Chinese statesman, believed that land was reshaped over time due to perpetual erosion, uplift, and deposition of silt based on his observance of horizontal strata of fossils. Shen also discovered the concept of true north and magnetic declination towards the North Magnetic Pole, which would aid navigators in the years to come.
  3. Visit MiSci: Learn the scientific method in Centennial Lab (November 21)

    Ibn al-HaythamIbn al-Haytham
    (965 – 1039)
    This Muslim scholar is considered by some to be the father of modern scientific methodology due to his emphasis on experimental data and reproducibility of its results.
  4. Visit MiSci: Locate all of MiSci’s six simple machines

    Christoper WrenChristopher Wren
    (632 – 1723)
    Christopher Wren’s interest in architecture developed from his study of physics and engineering. At a time when architecture was considered a hobby for the wealthy and educated, Wren was one of the few architects to have a sound knowledge of the structure of buildings.

November 22 - 28: Sampling … Multi-Sourced Science

  1. Home experiment: Tangrams

    EuclidEuclid
    (300 BC)
    Euclid was a Greek mathematician, often referred to as the “Father of Geometry.” One of his greatest contributions was to collect in one book, all the important parts of the work done by the Greek mathematicians who preceded him.
  2. Visit MiSci: Experience the Solar System Distance Scale

    AryabhataAryabhata
    (476 – 550)
    Aryabhata, an Indian mathematician and astronomer, published a compendium of math and astronomy, which has survived to modern times. The book covers arithmetic, algebra, plane trigonometry, spherical trigonometry, and more. Aryabhata’s work was influential among Indian astronomers and influenced neighboring cultures.
  3. and 16. Visit MiSci: Experience the Heliostat

    Cecilia PayneAnnie Jump CannonCecilia Payne and Annie Jump Cannon
     (1900s)
    Cecilia Payne built on the work of previous astronomers, including Annie Jump Canon, to determine the composition of stars. Her thesis, “Stellar Atmospheres” has been called “the most brilliant Ph.D. thesis ever written in astronomy.”
  1. MiSci Workshop: Magnetic levitation (November 28)

    James Cook
    James Cook (1728 – 1779)
    A sailor by trade, James Cook contributed significantly to the body of scientific knowledge during his lifetime. He commanded a mission to Tahiti with the hopes of observing the transit of Venus, a once-in-lifetime occurrence. With the information from his trip, Cook hoped to help other scientists determine the size of the known universe.

November 29 – December 5: Representing … Science for the Masses

  1. Visit MiSci: Experience Math Mountain

    HypatiaHypatia
    (355 — 415)
    Hypatia was the world’s leading mathematician and astronomer and a popular teacher and lecturer whose students included pagans, Christians, and foreigners. She also worked to preserve the Greek mathematical and astronomical heritage in extremely difficult times.
  2. MiSci Demo: Watch the spinning seat demo (December 5)

    LucretiusLucretius
    (99 BC – 55 BC)
    In his legendary poem, On the Nature of Things, Lucretius aimed to explain physics to the Roman world and to free people from the fear of the supernatural. He had a lasting influence on both science and philosophy.
  3. Visit MiSci: Attend a DTE Energy Sparks Theater show

    Michael FaradayMichael Faraday
    (1791 – 1867)
    Michael Faraday, best known for his contributions to the understanding of electricity and magnetism, was a great popularizer of science. He created popular science lectures for children and general audiences at the Royal Institution. Faraday aimed to “amuse and entertain as well as educate, edify and above all, inspire.”
  4. Visit MiSci: See a documentary in the Chrysler IMAX® Dome Theatre

    David AttenboroughDavid Attenborough
    (1926 – present)
    David Attenborough’s career as a nature documentarian has spanned 60 years. He has brought nature and science to countless people through his films and his work with the BBC. He may be the most well-respected and best-known nature documentarian alive.

December 6 - 12: Freestyling … Spontaneous Science

  1. MiSci Experiment: Learn about germs in Centennial Lab (December 6)

    Alexander Fleming
    Alexander Fleming (1881 – 1955)
    When Scottish biologist Alexander Fleming returned from a vacation, he found a strange fungus on lab work with staphylococci, known commonly as staph. This fungus killed off all surrounding bacteria in the culture. The result was penicillin.
  2. Visit MiSci: Experience the Lumenarium

    Joseph von FraunhoferJoseph von Fraunhofer
    (1787-1826)
    Joseph von Frauhofer was born to a poor family, was orphaned at age 11 and received no formal education. Yet, he took the skills he learned as a glass-maker’s apprentice to become a successful glassmaker himself, becoming an expert in optics. Using self-designed instruments, he independently rediscovered dark lines in the solar spectrum, which eventually was used to reveal the chemical composition of the sun’s atmosphere.
  3. and 25. MiSci Demo: Watch the gravity well demo

    wilson_smpenzias_smRobert Wilson and Arno Penzias 
    (1900s)
    During their research, radio astronomers Robert Wilson and Arno Pernzias discovered a mysterious background noise. After ruling out many simple explanations, they determined that this noise is proof of cosmic radiation left over from a “universe-forming big bang.” Penzias and Wilson went on to receive the Nobel Prize.
  1. MiSci Experiment: Conduct an oil spill experiment (December 12)

    Clair Patterson
    Clair “Pat” Patterson (1922 – 1995)
    In his quest to discover the age of the earth – a task at which he succeeded – Patterson also discovered an alarming amount of lead in the environment. He traced this contamination to leaded gasoline and fought to correct the assumption that lead is safe.

December 13 - 19: Signifying … Scientific Implications

  1. MiSci Workshop: Optical illusions (December 19)

    Mozi
    Mozi (470 BC – 391 BC)
    This Chinese philosopher correctly asserted that the image in a camera obscura – the precursor to photography – is flipped upside down because light travels in straight lines from its source. His disciples later developed this into a minor theory of optics.
  2. Home experiment: Carbon dioxide

    Guy Stewart CallendarGuy Stewart Callendar
    (1898 – 1964)
    Callender developed the theory that linked rising carbon dioxide concentrations in the atmosphere to global temperature. He concluded that over the previous fifty years the global land temperatures had increased, and proposed that this increase could be explained as an effect of the increase in carbon dioxide.
  3. Home experiment: Weather vane

    Wallance BroeckerWallace S. Broecker
    (1931 – present)
    Broecker was among the pioneers in radiocarbon and isotope dating – the quintessential processes for creating maps of the Earth’s past climate fluctuations since as early as the Pleistocene period.
  4. Visit MiSci: Participate in space trivia on the Chrysler Science Stage

    Vera RubinVera Rubin
    (1928 – present)
    Vera Rubin was an American astronomer who established the presence of dark matter in galaxies. She is credited with proving the existence of “dark matter,” or nonluminous mass, and forever altering our notions of the universe.

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