Friday, May 30, 2008

News; Beijing Prepares For The 2008 Olympic Games

This summer, China will host the Beijing Olympics. Thousands of top athletes and millions of fans will pour into Beijing starting in August. To prepare, the city has planned a lot of new buildings, including stadiums, hotels for all the fans, and an entire village within the city where the athletes and coaches will live.

Some of the new buildings are like no others in the world. The National Stadium, for example, is called the “Bird’s Nest". Even though it’s made of steel and concrete, the stadium looks just like a giant nest made of sticks.

At one point, as many as 7,000 workers were building the huge stadium! It has 91,000 seats for fans who want to watch competitions in sports including archery, BMX biking, and wrestling.

The National Aquatics Center is nicknamed the “Water Cube”. The outside of the building looks like a shimmering pile of soap bubbles, with 624 pillow-like sections that fit together to cover it. The special covering helps keep the temperature and humidity inside the structure just right.

Swimmers, divers, and water polo teams will all compete here. And when the summer games are over, the building won’t stand empty. It will be “recycled” into a water park.

The Olympic Village, where more than 15,000 athletes and coaches will live during the games, has a dining hall that can serve 5,000 people. The village also has its own shops, entertainment center, library, and even a fire station.

The Chinese have worked hard to try to make sure the Olympics aren’t bad for the environment. In the Olympic Village, solar panels provide some of the electricity to keep the lights on. Rain will be collected to help provide water for drinking and bathing. Lots of city buses and trains will mean fewer people driving around in cars and taxis that cause pollution.

Unfortunately, China is already one of the most polluted countries in the world. The government has tried to reduce air pollution from cars and factories in Beijing, but many athletes worry that the air is still unhealthy and could make them sick. Some are planning to keep their visits as short as possible.

The Chinese have thought of everything to make their Olympic guests more comfortable—including the weather. They even plan to use special techniques to keep rain clouds from spoiling the Opening Ceremony.

Today In History; Lincoln Memorial Is Dedicated

1922: The Lincoln Memorial in Washington, D.C., is one of the most visited memorials in the United States. That's due in part to its dramatic architecture by Henry Bacon. Based on a Greek temple, the memorial is 99 feet tall and includes 36 doric columns that symbolize the number of states in the Union at the time of President Abraham Lincoln's death (1865). Inside, a 19-foot sculpture of Lincoln seated on a throne (by Daniel Chester French) greets visitors. Lincoln's famous Gettysburg Address is engraved in the south wall; above it is a mural of the "Angel of Truth" freeing a slave.

Lincoln, beloved as the emancipator of slaves and protector of the Republic, has become a symbol of leadership and freedom for Americans. Because of the special place Lincoln holds in people's hearts, the Lincoln Memorial is often chosen for political speeches. Martin Luther King, Jr. gave his famous "I Have a Dream" speech at the memorial in 1963.

Ironically, at the dedication of the memorial in 1922, Tuskegee Institute president Robert Moton, a black lawyer and educator, gave an eloquent speech, but was not given a seat beside the other speakers on the platform. He sat in the segregated "Negro" section.

Word of The Day

Garrulous: Pointlessly or annoyingly talkative; wordy.

Thursday, May 29, 2008

News; Colombia Signs Up For XO Laptop

About 65,000 children in the Caldas region of Colombia will soon be getting an XO laptop.

It has signed up to the One Laptop Per Child programme which puts cheap PCs into the hands of schoolchildren.

OLPC aims to boost the educational prospects of children in developing nations through technology.

Small towns and rural areas will get the first 15,000 XO laptops. The rest will be distributed over the next 18 months to the region's larger towns.

XO and XP

Unveiling the deal Caldas's Governor Mario Aristizabal said the region was "committed to giving each and every child of primary school age the same opportunity to access knowledge as the most privileged children in New York, Berlin or Tokyo".

A separate deal with OLPC is being negotiated to buy XO laptops for schools in and around the state capital Manizales.

In a statement announcing the deal, OLPC founder Nicholas Negroponte said the organisation was starting to get "good traction" from countries keen to sign up and buy the distinctive green and white XO laptops in large numbers.

The OLPC's declared aims in its early days was to create a machine that only cost $100 and sold in the millions. So far it has failed to deliver on both those objectives.

Currently each machine costs $188 and OLPC has sold about 600,000 of them.

In mid-May the OLPC group unveiled a deal with Microsoft to put the Windows XP operating system on the XO. Professor Negroponte said many nations wanted the laptops to run Windows before they signed up.

The project has also unveiled reference designs for a second generation machine, which will take the form of an e-book with twin touch screens.

Mr Negroponte said he hoped the device could be released in 2010 and cost $75.

Today In History; Empress of Ireland Sinks

1914: While the 1912 sinking of the Titanic made headlines, the sinking of the Empress of Ireland was relatively unpublicized - even though its disastrous collision with the Norwegian coal freighter Storstad cost more lives. The Empress was not as fashionable or expensive as the Titanic, its passengers not as well known, but the damage was of epic proportions.

As the Empress sailed the icy St. Lawrence River, a thick fog rolled in suddenly. When the captain of the Empress saw the Storstad coming, he sounded the whistle to tell the Storstad he was altering course to pass the ship on the starboard (right) side. But the helmsman of the Storstad, confused by the bright lights of the cruise ship in the fog, thought the Empress was passing on the port (left) side. The bow of the Storstad, fashioned to slice through ice, cut into the Empress's side. Within minutes the Empress of Ireland sank. Of the 1,477 passengers, 1,012 died - eight more than in the Titanic tragedy. The wreck of the Empress of Ireland still lies at the bottom of the St. Lawrence, off the shore of St. Luce, Quebec. It was proclaimed a protected historic and archeological site by Quebec in 1999. Today the Empress of Ireland has become a popular attraction for scuba divers, but she is still claiming lives. The frigid temperatures, fast changing currents, and low visibility make this shipwreck dive one of the most dangerous in the world.

Word of The Day

Redoubtable: Arousing fear or awe; formidable. Worthy of respect or honor.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

News; Straw Houses: No Need to Fear the Big, Bad Wolf

In the story of the three little pigs, the one who built his house of straw did not fare well; the big, bad wolf huffed and puffed and blew his house down.

But builder Michael Furbish, who made his own home from bales of straw and an elementary school of the same material, says in reality, straw houses are not only sturdy but also good for the environment.

Straw—the stalks of plants like wheat, oats, and barley—is considered a waste material and is commonly used for farm animal bedding. But more and more people are discovering that straw baled into rectangular blocks is an excellent, inexpensive building material.

"Our mental picture is that a straw bale is light," says Furbish. "But each bale weighs about 40 pounds (18 kilograms). We stack them like bricks and then spray plaster—mud, essentially—on the inside walls to coat them one and a half to two inches [3.8 to 5.1 centimeters] thick. Then we put stucco on the outside. So a straw building is really like a fortress, and it is not going to rot as long as water is kept out of the bales."

There are two ways to make a straw-bale structure. You can build load-bearing walls with them, which means the walls support the roof. Or you can build a post-and-beam wooden frame that supports the roof and fill in the walls with straw bales.

Either way, the walls are there to stay. And they provide great insulation, helping keep straw homes in cold climates cozy in winter and those built in hot places like the desert cool in summer.

Straw is considered a "green" (good for the environment) building material because it is a renewable resource: A whole new crop can be grown and harvested every year, easily "renewing" the supply.

Also, planting and harvesting straw uses relatively little energy. "Most other building materials require a lot of energy use in production and manufacturing at a factory," explains Furbish. "With straw-bale construction, you are getting a building product without using much energy at all."

Furbish used about 900 straw bales for his family's two-story, three-bedroom house. His company provided straw-bale walls for the Friends Community School of College Park in Maryland. That project used about 4,000 bales.

When asked if there are any drawbacks to living in a straw house, like mice nibbling on the walls, Furbish points out that the straw is completely covered with plaster and stucco. Besides, he has a couple of cats on mouse patrol, just in case.

"It would be hard to find a wall system that will outperform straw," he says. Looks like the big, bad wolf is just out of luck.

Today In History; Restored Da Vinchi Painting on Display

1999: Always at the cutting edge of art, Leonardo Da Vinci was experimenting when he painted the famous mural The Last Supper (1498). Da Vinci decided to use oils on wet plaster - a most unusual combination. Due to the technique, the mural started to erode as soon as he completed it.

The painting, which depicts Christ and his disciples sharing the Jewish Passover seder just before his arrest and crucifixion, is considered a masterpiece. Art experts have restored it many times over the centuries. The most recent restoration took 20 years! When the experts carefully removed the paint of previous restorations, they uncovered sublime details in the faces of Jesus and the apostles, the food, and the tablecloth. Although no restoration is perfect, most art admirers feel that the latest restoration is very close to the original. The restored painting was first unveiled at the Milan monastery in 1999. You can still view it there today.

Word of The Day

Heliolatry: Sun worship.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

News; Polar Bears Listed As Threatened

Polar bears were added to the list of threatened species and will receive special protection under U.S. law. In his statement, Secretary of the Interior Dirk Kempthorne noted that the decline of Arctic sea ice is the greatest threat to the bears.

Polar bears live in the Arctic and hunt seals and other fatty marine mammals from sea ice. They also travel, mate, and sometimes give birth on the ice. But sea ice is melting as the planet warms, and it is predicted to continue to do so for several more decades.

"Because polar bears are vulnerable to this loss of habitat, they are—in my judgment—likely to become endangered in the foreseeable future," Kempthorne said.

Although many scientists say that human activity is directly responsible for the melting sea ice, the new polar bear protections will not change U.S. climate policy.

The U.S. classifies the polar bear as a marine mammal, which means that the bear's new threatened status will not stop oil exploration within its habitat. Hunting of polar bears as a food source by certain native people and trade in native handicrafts made from polar bears will also continue. However, importing polar bear products from Canada (where trophy hunting is legal) will be banned.

Scott Bergen is a landscape ecologist with the New York-based Wildlife Conservation Society and a contributing author to U.S. Geological Survey studies released in 2007 that found two-thirds of the world's polar bears could go extinct by 2050. He and other WCS staff are "almost elated" with the decision, he said.

"Even though it doesn't directly influence carbon emissions so to speak, we think it is a definite decision in the right direction and we're pleased to see the Fish and Wildlife Service is supporting the best science on this species," he added.

Bergen noted that saving the polar bear will depend on international cooperation. Permanent sea-ice habitat is likely to remain in areas outside of the U.S., particularly in Canada and Greenland.

Scientists view these areas as refuges that could allow some polar bear populations to survive over the long term and repopulate the Arctic if temperatures decrease and sea ice returns.

"If you take a long-term view—meaning a hundred-year view into the future," he said, "polar bears' existence is not necessarily totally dependent on what happens in the United States."

Today In History; First Joint Meeting of U.S. & European ALGOL Definition Committee

1958: ALGOL is a computer programming language which was named for the algorithmic process of defining a programming problem. It uses words to bracket blocks and was the first to use begin-end pairs. ALGOL was developed jointly by a committee of European and American computer scientists, whose first meeting took place on this day in 1958. Three different syntaxes made it more versatile than its predecessor, FORTRAN, permitting it to use different keyword names and conventions for decimal points (commas vs. periods) for different languages. Of the three versions of ALGOL - ALGOL 58, 60, and 68 - 60 was considered the most useful. ALGOL was used primarily for mathmatical purposes. Later languages, such as Pascal and C, built on ALGOL.

Word of The Day

Intrepid: Brave, nervy.

Monday, May 26, 2008

News; Akshay Rajagopal From Nebraska Wins The 20th National Geographic Bee

Akshay Rajagopal, an eleven-year-old sixth-grader from Lincoln, Nebraska, won the 2008 National Geographic Bee held today at the National Geographic Society's Grosvenor Auditorium. He did not miss a single question in yesterday's preliminary rounds or today's final and championship rounds. He is taking home a $25,000 college scholarship and lifetime membership in the National Geographic Society.

The winning question was: "The urban area of Cochabamba has been in the news in recent years due to protests over the privatization of the municipal water supply and regional autonomy issues. Cochabamba is the third largest conurbation in what country?" Do you know the answer? It's Bolivia. The dictionary definition of a conurbation is "a continuous network of urban communities."

The second-place winner and recipient of a $15,000 college scholarship is Alabama's Hunter Bledsoe, 13, an eighth-grader. Third place and a $10,000 college scholarship went to William Lee of Massachusetts. He is a 13-year-old eighth-grader.

The seven other finalists were Nikhil Desai of California; Benjamin Geyer of Washington, D.C.; Erik Troske of Indiana; Isaac Pasley of Missouri; Joseph Perea of Montana; Milan Sandhu of New Hampshire; and Taylor Morris of North Carolina.

Nearly five million students take part in the National Geographic Bee each year. Fifty-five state and territory winners took part in the preliminary rounds of the 2008 National Geographic Bee on Tuesday, May 20. The top 10 contestants met in today's final round, which was moderated for the 20th year by "Jeopardy!" host Alex Trebek.

Today In History; Indian Removal Act Passed

1830: The Indian Removal Act was Jackson-era legislation authorizing the president to transfer eastern Indian tribes to the western territories in a supposed land exchange the government promised (falsely) "in perpetuity." The passing of the legislation was fueled by greed for land along with Andrew Jackson's notorious prejudice against Indians, whom he claimed he was "protecting" while they "adjusted to white culture." The president turned a blind eye to the resulting Native American disputes over land in the states where they resided including the Cherokees in Georgia, the Seminoles in Florida and the Creeks in Alabama. Even when the law was ruled unconstituional by the U.S. Supreme Court, Jackson challenged the decision, telling the justices to "enforce it if [you] can." Eventually the relocation plan became a forced march to Oklahoma led by federal troops - the infamous "Trail of Tears" in 1838-39, during which thousands of people died. Despite the horrors of that journey, the government continued to relocate Native American tribes throughout the rest of the century.

Word of The Day

Decorous: Marked by propriety and good taste : correct.

Friday, May 23, 2008

News; Scream Painting Back On Display

Edvard Munch's The Scream, damaged by armed robbers who took the masterpiece in 2004, is back on display in a Norwegian museum.

The expressionist painting, which has been restored by experts, was recovered in August 2006. It had been damaged when it was pulled out of its frame.

It is being shown complete with a damp spot in the lower left hand corner.

The Scream was taken alongside the artist's Madonna, which is also back on display at Oslo's Munch Museum.

The museum says it has increased security for the Scream and Madonna - Revisited exhibition, which will run until 26 September.
It was a challenge because we didn't know anything about what these two paintings had been through
Mette Havrevold
Restoration expert

Mette Havrevold, head of Oslo city's art conservation department, said the process of restoring the paintings had been a meticulous one.

"It was a challenge because we didn't know anything about what these two paintings had been through," she said.

"There were a lot of unknowns, in particular about where the humidity stain [in the bottom corner] came from."

She said that, as she and her team were not certain they could repair the stain, it would remain because "it would be stupid to do something that would worsen the damage".

Ripped canvas

Unveiling the paintings to reporters on Wednesday, museum chief Ingebjoerg Ydstie said it was now thought The Scream had been painted in 1910 - not in 1893 as was previously thought.

"Written sources, combined with style studies and, to a certain extent, technical observations made during the restoration of the painting, point to a more recent dating," she added.

The theft and restoration of Edvard Munch's most famous painting

The Scream and Madonna were stolen by two armed men who threatened a member of staff before ripping the paintings off the wall.

It is believed they later ripped the paintings out of their frames because they thought they could contain tracking devices.

The Madonna painting suffered worse damage than The Scream, including a ripped canvas.

Madonna, shown as a nude woman with long, dark hair, will undergo further restoration when the exhibition ends.

Three men were jailed last April for the robbery.

But one, Bjoern Hoen, had his conviction overturned by the Norwegian Supreme Court in January because of procedural lapses.

The Scream - one of the world's most recognisable images - and Madonna were part of Munch's Frieze of Life series in which sickness, death, anxiety and love were central themes. The artist was a major influence in the modern expressionist movement and died in 1944 at the age of 80.

Today In History; Abie's Irish Rose Opens

1992: Abie’s Irish Rose, one of the most popular American plays of all time, opened at the the Fulton Theatre in New York City. Its simple story of how the marriage of a Jewish boy and an Irish Catholic girl inspires first anger then tolerance in their respective families struck a chord with audiences witnessing a flood of new immigrants and the problems resulting from prejudice. The play continued for 2,327 performances and numerous revivals as well. It is estimated that some fifty million people have seen the play performed somewhere in the world.

Word of The Day

Thews: Well-developed muscles; Strength; Vitality.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

News; A Much More Different Way To Wake Up

When Matty Sallin, 34, was working on a degree in art and technology at New York University, he got an interesting assignment in electronics class: Create something for the household. He decided to create an alarm clock.

"Everybody has to deal with these every day, and they are extremely unpleasant!" he says. He asked different people what they'd like to wake up to instead of a clanging, noisy alarm. A lot of them said, "The smell of bacon."

So Sallin and two classmates invented a new kind of alarm clock: a wooden box with a pig face and a digital clock that uses the smell of cooking bacon rather than sound to wake someone up. He explains, "There's no danger of burning, because I built it carefully. It uses halogen light bulbs instead of a flame for cooking and turns off automatically after ten minutes." Just a few easy steps are required to set the "alarm."

"What you do is put a couple of frozen strips in the night before," says Sallin. Bacon is cured, or preserved, so there is no danger of it spoiling overnight.

"If you set the alarm for 8:00, it will turn on at 7:50 and slow cook for ten minutes under the halogen bulbs," he says. Then the bulbs turn off and a fan blows the scent out through the nostrils of the pig.

"So instead of an alarm or a beep or a radio, you smell yourself awake," says Sallin. "Then you can open the door on the side and pull the bacon out and eat it."

When Sallin was a kid, he spent a lot of time making drawings of inventions. "I wanted to make an elevator in my back yard and a special tree house," he says. "But I never really thought I'd be called an inventor!"

Sallin got an A in the class and went on to other things—but people continue to hear about his invention and email him every day asking where they can buy his alarm clock.

These days he designs computer software, but if he decides to produce and sell his aroma alarm, maybe he can develop some other models. Any votes for cinnamon buns?

Today In History; Mary Cassatt, American Painter

1844: Mary Cassatt was born in Pittsburg, Pennsylvania, to a prosperous French-American businessman. A brief stay by the family in Paris when she was seven impressed her deeply and awakened her desire to become an artist. Like almost any ambition at that time, this goal was very difficult for a woman to achieve. After studying painting at the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts in Philadelphia, she eventually returned to Paris, where she made the acquaintance of Edgar Degas, an Impressionist painter who would influence her strongly throughout her career. As one of the few females among the Impressionists, Cassat's quality of work earned her a place in that movement, which she promoted in America by persuading her wealthy friends to buy paintings by her fellow artists Claude Monet, Pierre-Auguste Renoir, Degas, and others. Her early paintings are marked by soft, sentimental lighting and color, but later, after viewing an exhibition of Japanese prints, she began to use more vivid color and precise drawing and to make her own prints, a technique she mastered beautifully. Though she never married, her subjects were often women and children engaged in the ordinary tasks and pleasures of life. She participated in a number of exhibitions in both Europe and America, and well-known museums in Chicago, Philadelphia, and New York still house her works.

Word of The Day

Daunt: Cause to lose courage.


Don't be so daunted by ghosts!

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

News; Tricky Pics!

These are tricky pics because of photo manipulation, which combines and alters images using a computer.

Tricky Tools
Many of the images in this article were created by separately photographing each animal’s body parts as well as the props in the picture. Then artists used a computer program called Photoshop to “cut-and-paste” the images together. The Photoshop program has a lot of tools. The “blur” tool makes things appear to be in motion, while “distort” functions stretch or squash images like a fun house mirror. Want to make pics bigger or smaller? One solution is to use the “scale” tool. To bring out details, hit “sharpen.” And when one orangutan isn’t enough, use the “clone” tool—no scientists necessary!

Serious Changes
Computer artists use photo manipulation for many reasons. Some may fiddle with color to make flowers on a greeting card look extra-bright. Others are just having fun. Sometimes, though, people will use photo manipulation to fool you. For instance, last year a magazine published a picture of a TV celebrity. The problem was the photo made the celebrity look thinner than she really was. Someone had taken the original photo and put the celeb on a controversial Photoshop diet! As for these silly shots? There’s no question that they’re just for fun. But they look almost real enough to believe. Here are some secrets to what makes these pics so tricky.

Dessert’s on You
These pieces of cake were never airborne—or on the dog’s face. “I photographed the cake bits lying on a sheet of paper,” says photographer John Lund. To get the cat to lean in toward the cake, Lund tempted him with a treat. The cake, candles, and smoke were distorted to make the scene look like a birthday blowout.

Mouse Slide
How do you photograph a speedy mouse? “We constantly put him in the shoe until he sat still for a split second,” says photographer Chris Collins. “As I took the picture, he tried to push himself out, which is why his front paw is on the shoe.” The other paw and the blur were added later.

Dog Bowl
The shoes were photographed at the bowling alley—without the dogs in them. “I shot the shoes dogless,” Lund says. To get the belly pics, one dog lay on his back, while the other was held up under his front legs. Humans originally held the bowling balls—but the people were replaced by the dogs.

Tweety’s Revenge
This bird didn’t have to worry: The cat was never near him. “The cat was added to the cage on the computer in parts,” says Lund, who photographed the bird on an empty cage. To make the fur seem as if it were poking out of the cage, Lund leaned an oven rack against the cat’s side.

Fooled Ya!
Sometimes it can be hard to tell if a photo has been manipulated, but these clues will help you spot a fake.

Part of the Picture Stands Out
“If the photographer used the sharpening tool too much, the subject will look almost like a sticker that’s been slapped onto a background,” says photographer Jill Enfield of

Everything is Too Detailed
“Whatever the photographer focused on—a building, for instance—should be the most detailed part of the picture, and the background should be a little out of focus,” Enfield says. “If they’re both in sharp focus, that could be a giveaway that multiple photos were combined.”

The Light is Wrong
“Look at the shadows,” says photo editor Steve Larese of New Mexico magazine. “Are they all going in the same direction?” If they’re not, you can bet something was cut-and-pasted. It’s out of proportion. Ever seen an orangutan-size skate? Neither have we. Chances are, if the size doesn’t make sense, it was changed on the computer.

It Couldn't Happen in Real Life
Even if it wanted to, a dog couldn’t hold a bowling ball. “If it looks impossible, it probably is,” Larese says.

Today In History; Charles Lindbergh And The Spirit of St. Louis Arrive In Paris

1927: Thirty-three hours after Charles Lindbergh took off from New York in his single engined plane, The Spirit of St. Louis, he arrived in Paris. This first nonstop solo crossing of the Atlantic earned the American aviator the Distinguished Flying Cross and the Medal of Honor.

Word of The Day

Helve: The handle of an ax, adz, hatchet, etc.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Today In History; First U.S. Atomic-Powered Lighthouse Begins Operating

1964: The first U.S. atomic-powered lighthouse was in Baltimore, Maryland. Located in Chesapeake Bay, the lighthouse was designed to provide a continuous flow of electricity, making it possible for it to operate for ten years without refueling. Built with a safe radioisotope, the nuclear generator stood 34.5 inches high and was only 22 inches in diameter. The nuclear division of Martin-Marietta Corporation built the 6-watt unit, which used lead telluride thermocouples to convert the heat into electricty.

Word of The Day

Plage: A sandy beach at a seaside resort. A bright and intensely hot area in the sun's chromosphere, usually associated with a sunspot.

Monday, May 19, 2008

News; National Geographic Kids Selects Winners of The Third Annual Hands-On Explorer Challenge

Fifteen kids who love to explore the world have been selected as members of the third annual National Geographic Kids Hands-On Explorer Challenge Expedition Team. This July, the talented and lucky kids, along with two winning teachers, will travel to Australia to explore the natural wonders of Queensland’s Great Barrier Reef and prehistoric Daintree Rainforest. Then the explorers will visit Tasmania, where they will participate in a conservation project with local students to help protect the Tasmanian devil, and explore Mt Field National Park. Throughout the expedition, the team will update a blog with pictures and details of the trip.

The six boys and nine girls were chosen from thousands of entries nationwide. Kids were asked to write an original essay of no more than 300 words telling National Geographic Kids magazine how they actively explore their world and the most interesting things they have found in it. Students also submitted a photograph, shot by themselves, that illustrated what, where or how they explored the subject of their essay. A panel of National Geographic experts selected 15 kids whose essays and photographs expressed the most interest in and passion for exploring, while adhering to the judging criteria.

The expedition team is sponsored in part by the marketers of Purell® Instant Hand Sanitizer, Tourism Australia and Nikon®, who will be outfitting each winner with a D60 digital SLR camera to document their adventure.

Click here to read excerpts of the winners' essays:

Alexander Bentley, 14, of Salem, Va.

Elisabeth Coons, 14, of Sadieville, Ky.

Casey Densmore, 11, of Inwood, W.Va.

Adam DeSerio, 13, of Cornville, Ariz.

Grace Hubbard, 14, of Whitinsville, Mass.

Mara Klecker, 13, of Sioux Falls, S.D.

Missy McDonough, 12, of Englewood, Fla.

Kat Musen, 11, of Stanford, Calif.

Abbie Faye Olson, 13, of Lewiston, Idaho

Savanna Reid, 13, of Mercer Island, Wash.

Maya Rundio, 10, of Santa Cruz, Calif.

Zach Sherrod, 12, of Cove, Ore.

Michael Suhey, 13, of Horseheads, N.Y.

Benjamin Wilken, 8, of Honesdale, Pa.

Veronica Wilson, 12, of Omaha, Neb.

The winning teachers are Joshua Stitzinger, a fifth-grade teacher in Philadelphia, and Wendy Gorton, a fourth-grade teacher from Los Angeles. The trip to Australia and Tasmania is scheduled for July 16-28, 2008.

Today In History; World's Longest Railroad Tunnel Opens

1906: The Simplon Tunnel, the world’s longest railroad tunnel, winds through twelve miles of the Alps between Italy and Switzerland and boasts 64,927 feet of rail. The tunnel was cut through the solid rock of the Simplon Mountains, shortening the European trade route between Italy and Switzerland. The engineer who invented an efficient rock drill, Alfred Brandt, spearheaded the tunnel’s construction, which began in the 1890s. The president of the Swiss Republic and the King of Italy opened the Simplon Tunnel on this day in 1906.

Word of The Day

Yuk: An exuberant laugh. One, such as a joke, that causes such a laugh.


He yukked so hard that he passed out.

Friday, May 16, 2008

Today In History; Elizabeth Peabody, Educator/Founder

1804: Elizabeth Palmer Peabody was one of nineteenth century America's most important Transcendentalist writers and educational reformers. A prominent figure in Transcendentalism, Massachusetts-born Peabody ran a foreign language bookstore where other Transcendentalists gathered and published The Dial, the movement's newspaper. In 1859, she became involved in the kindergarten movement. Peabody believed that children's play has a developmental and educational value and worked toward providing formal schooling to children younger than six. She opened the first English-language kindergarten in the U.S. and went on to organize many more. As a result of Peabody's efforts kindergarten has become an accepted institution in U.S. education.

News; The First Laser

When the first working laser was reported in 1960, it was described as "a solution looking for a problem." But before long the laser's distinctive qualities—its ability to generate an intense, very narrow beam of light of a single wavelength—were being harnessed for science, technology and medicine. Today, lasers are everywhere: from research laboratories at the cutting edge of quantum physics to medical clinics, supermarket checkouts and the telephone network.

Theodore Maiman made the first laser operate on 16 May 1960 at the Hughes Research Laboratory in California, by shining a high-power flash lamp on a ruby rod with silver-coated surfaces. He promptly submitted a short report of the work to the journal Physical Review Letters, but the editors turned it down. Some have thought this was because the Physical Review had announced that it was receiving too many papers on masers—the longer-wavelength predecessors of the laser—and had announced that any further papers would be turned down. But Simon Pasternack, who was an editor of Physical Review Letters at the time, has said that he turned down this historic paper because Maiman had just published, in June 1960, an article on the excitation of ruby with light, with an examination of the relaxation times between quantum states, and that the new work seemed to be simply more of the same. Pasternack's reaction perhaps reflects the limited understanding at the time of the nature of lasers and their significance. Eager to get his work quickly into publication, Maiman then turned to Nature, usually even more selective than Physical Review Letters, where the paper was better received and published on 6 August.

With official publication of Maiman's first laser under way, the Hughes Research Laboratory made the first public announcement to the news media on 7 July 1960. This created quite a stir, with front-page newspaper discussions of possible death rays, but also some skepticism among scientists, who were not yet able to see the careful and logically complete Nature paper. Another source of doubt came from the fact that Maiman did not report having seen a bright beam of light, which was the expected characteristic of a laser. I myself asked several of the Hughes group whether they had seen a bright beam, which surprisingly they had not. Maiman's experiment was not set up to allow a simple beam to come out of it, but he analyzed the spectrum of light emitted and found a marked narrowing of the range of frequencies that it contained. This was just what had been predicted by the theoretical paper on optical masers (or lasers) by Art Schawlow and myself, and had been seen in the masers that produced the longer-wavelength microwave radiation. This evidence, presented in figure 2 of Maiman's Nature paper, was definite proof of laser action. Shortly afterward, both in Maiman's laboratory at Hughes and in Schawlow's at Bell Laboratories in New Jersey, bright red spots from ruby laser beams hitting the laboratory wall were seen and admired.

Maiman's laser had several aspects not considered in our theoretical paper, nor discussed by others before the ruby demonstration. First, Maiman used a pulsed light source, lasting only a few milliseconds, to excite (or "pump") the ruby. The laser thus produced only a short flash of light rather than a continuous wave, but because substantial energy was released during a short time, it provided much more power than had been envisaged in most of the earlier discussions. Before long, a technique known as "Q switching" was introduced at the Hughes Laboratory, shortening the pulse of laser light still further and increasing the instantaneous power to millions of watts and beyond. Lasers now have powers as high as a million billion (1015) watts! The high intensity of pulsed laser light allowed a wide range of new types of experiment, and launched the now-burgeoning field of nonlinear optics. Nonlinear interactions between light and matter allow the frequency of light to be doubled or tripled, so for example an intense red laser can be used to produce green light.

I had a busy job in Washington at the time when various groups were trying to make the earliest lasers. But I was also supervising graduate students at Columbia University who were trying to make continuously pumped infrared lasers. Shortly after the ruby laser came out I advised them to stop this work and instead capitalize on the power of the new ruby laser to do an experiment on two-photon excitation of atoms. This was one of the early experiments in nonlinear optics, and two-photon excitation is now widely used to study atoms and molecules.

Lasers work by adding energy to atoms or molecules, so that there are more in a high-energy ("excited") state than in some lower-energy state; this is known as a "population inversion." When this occurs, light waves passing through the material stimulate more radiation from the excited states than they lose by absorption due to atoms or molecules in the lower state. This "stimulated emission" is the basis of masers (whose name stands for "microwave amplification by stimulated emission of radiation") and lasers (the same, but for light instead of microwaves).

Before Maiman's paper, ruby had been widely used for masers, which produce waves at microwave frequencies, and had also been considered for lasers producing infrared or visible light waves. But the second surprising feature of Maiman's laser, in addition to the pulsed source, was that he was able to empty the lowest-energy ("ground") state of ruby enough so that stimulated emission could occur from an excited to the ground state. This was unexpected. In fact, Schawlow, who had worked on ruby, had publicly commented that transitions involving the ground state of ruby would not be suitable for lasers because it would be difficult to empty adequately. He recommended a different transition in ruby, which was indeed made to work, but only after Maiman's success. Maiman, who had been carefully studying the relaxation times of excited states of ruby, came to the conclusion that the ground state might be sufficiently emptied by a flash lamp to provide laser action—and it worked.

The ruby laser was used in many early spectacular experiments. One amusing one, in 1969, sent a light beam to the Moon, where it was reflected back from a retro-reflector placed on the Moon's surface by astronauts in the U.S. Apollo program. The round-trip travel time of the pulse provided a measurement of the distance to the Moon. Later, ruby laser beams sent out and received by telescopes measured distances to the Moon with a precision of about three centimeters—a great use of the ruby laser's short pulses.

When the first laser appeared, scientists and engineers were not really prepared for it. Many people said to me—partly as a joke but also as a challenge—that the laser was "a solution looking for a problem." But by bringing together optics and electronics, lasers opened up vast new fields of science and technology. And many different laser types and applications came along quite soon. At IBM's research laboratories in Yorktown Heights, New York, Peter Sorokin and Mirek Stevenson demonstrated two lasers that used techniques similar to Maiman's but with calcium fluoride, instead of ruby, as the lasing substance. Following that—and still in 1960—was the very important helium-neon laser of Ali Javan, William Bennett, and Donald Herriott at Bell Laboratories. This produced continuous radiation at low power but with a very pure frequency and the narrowest possible beam. Then came semiconductor lasers, first made to operate in 1962 by Robert Hall and his associates at the General Electric laboratories in Schenectady, New York. Semiconductor lasers now involve many different materials and forms, can be quite small and inexpensive, and are by far the most common type of laser. They are used, for example, in supermarket bar-code readers, in optical-fiber communications, and in laser pointers.

By now, lasers come in countless varieties. They include the "edible" laser, made as a joke by Schawlow out of flavored gelatin (but not in fact eaten because of the dye that was used to color it), and its companion the "drinkable" laser, made of an alcoholic mixture at Eastman Kodak's laboratories in Rochester, New York. Natural lasers have now been found in astronomical objects; for example, infrared light is amplified by carbon dioxide in the atmospheres of Mars and Venus, excited by solar radiation, and intense radiation from stars stimulates laser action in hydrogen atoms in circumstellar gas clouds. This raises the question: why weren't lasers invented long ago, perhaps by 1930 when all the necessary physics was already understood, at least by some people? What other important phenomena are we blindly missing today?

Maiman's paper is so short, and has so many powerful ramifications, that I believe it might be considered the most important per word of any of the wonderful papers in Nature over the past century. Lasers today produce much higher power densities than were previously possible, more precise measurements of distances, gentle ways of picking up and moving small objects such as individual microorganisms, the lowest temperatures ever achieved, new kinds of electronics and optics, and many billions of dollars worth of new industries. The U.S. National Academy of Engineering has chosen the combination of lasers and fiber optics—which has revolutionized communications—as one of the twenty most important engineering developments of the twentieth century. Personally, I am particularly pleased with lasers as invaluable medical tools (for example, in laser eye surgery), and as scientific instruments—I use them now to make observations in astronomy. And there are already at least ten Nobel Prize winners whose work was made possible by lasers.

There have been great and good developments since Ted Maiman, probably a bit desperately, mailed off a short paper on what was then a somewhat obscure subject, hoping to get it published quickly in Nature. Fortunately, Nature's editors accepted it, and the rest is history.

Word of The Day

Surrogate Mother: A woman who bears a child for another person, often for pay, either through artificial insemination or by carrying until birth another woman's surgically implanted fertilized egg. One that acts as, serves as, or is a mother substitute.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

News; Story of 'Unseen' Lennon Lyrics

A woman from London is set to make a fortune when John Lennon's handwritten lyrics for the anti-war song Give Peace a Chance go up for auction this summer.

They are expected to fetch between £200,000 and £300,000.

Gail Renard was a student in Montreal in May 1969, when Lennon and wife Yoko Ono arrived to hold a "bed-in" at the city's Queen Elizabeth Hotel.

She and a friend sneaked into the hotel - Renard calls it a "Mission: Impossible" routine - and up to their door.

"Yoko answered and I asked if I could have an interview for my school newspaper.

"She graciously said yes. She asked us in, and I was suddenly face-to-face with John Lennon."
On the last day, John wanted to record a song. We didn't know what it was at the time
Gail Renard

Renard and Lennon became instant friends, and he asked her to stay and help with the "bed-in".

"It was Alice in Wonderland," Renard says of the eight-day experience.

"I was a 16-year-old, with a Beatle who was my hero, and it was just a circus every minute.

"On the last day, John wanted to record a song," Renard recalls.

"We didn't know what it was at the time."

Lyrics moved

After recording Give Peace a Chance, Lennon gave Renard his original lyrics for her to keep.

These spent years hanging on a wall in Renard's study but were then moved for safety, ending up in a vault.

"I thought, this is ridiculous," she said.
Give Peace a Chance reached number 14 in the US Billboard chart

"They should be out with somebody who can enjoy them, and they should be seen again."

She also believes the song and Lennon's message have a particular resonance now.

"It's my way of thanking him, to get his message and his song out there again, and have people thinking about it and talking about it."

The piece is the highlight of Christie's rock and pop memorabilia auction on 10 July in London.

"Beatles lyrics, and particularly in John Lennon's hand, rarely surface on the auction market, so it's very much a unique opportunity," said Helen Hall, head of popular culture at the auction house.

Other items being sold will include a collage made by Lennon as a birthday card for Elton John in the 1970s, plus an amplifier played on stage by Jimi Hendrix.

Word of The Day

Titivate: To make or become smart or spruce.


It does take quite awhile to titivate a baby.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

News; Ten Amazing Archeological Sites

Archaeologists are scientists that study objects from the past to understand human history. Sometimes they find amazing things. Here’s a list of ten cool archeological sites from around the world.

Angkor Wat, Cambodia
A temple built in the 12th century, Angkor Wat (meaning “capital monastery”) was a temple in the ancient Khmer capital city of Angkor. It is Cambodia’s best-known tourist attraction and appears on the country’s flag. The temple is known for its beautiful architecture and reliefs.

King Tutankhamun’s Tomb, Egypt
Tutankhamun was one of ancient Egypt’s minor kings, but his tomb is very famous. When Howard Carter discovered the tomb in 1922, it was almost completely undisturbed—and filled with treasure!

Machu Picchu, Peru
Machu Picchu was built high in the Andes mountains by the Inca in the 15th century. Its exact purpose is unknown. It has been designated one of the New Seven Wonders of the World and is threatened by over-tourism.

Stonehenge, England
The entire Stonehenge site was constructed over thousands of years. The reason for building the monument and the construction techniques are still a mystery.

Terra-cotta Warriors, China
The famous army of terra-cotta soldiers were created to protect Qin Shi Huang, the first emperor of China, in the third century B.C. The statues are life-size and were even given individual features.

Pompeii, Italy
When Mount Vesuvius erupted in 79 A.D., Pompeii was buried under many layers of ash, preserving the city exactly as it was when the volcano erupted. Because so many objects were preserved, archaeologists are able to better understand daily life in the ancient Roman Empire.

Teotihuacan, Mexico
The mysterious city of Teotihuacan, laid out in a grid, had been built and abandoned before the Aztec settled in central Mexico. The Aztec named the site and guessed about the purposes of the buildings, but archaeologists are only now beginning to understand the importance of the temples here.

Petra, Jordan
Unknown to Westerners until its discovery by Johann Ludwig Burckhardt in 1812, Petra was a caravan crossroads and the capital of the Nabataean kingdom 2000 years ago. Today, more tourists are visiting the site, making preservation more important.

Moai Statues of Easter Island, Chile
The massive statues of Easter Island, called moai, were carved between 1400 and 1600 A.D. out of compressed volcanic ash. Many of these statues are still standing at different sites around the island.

Nazca Lines, Peru
The Nazca lines are giant drawings in Peru’s Nazca Desert. The drawings can be seen clearly from the sky, but not from the ground. The lines may have religious significance according to some theories. The drawings depict many different things such as humans and different kinds of animals.

Today In History; First Performance of Strauss's Ballet Josephslegende

1914: Richard Georg Strauss' first ballet, Josephslegende (Legend of Joseph), was first performed in Paris. The ballet was based on the biblical story of Joseph and was considered one of Strauss's more opulent and striking scores. Born in Bavaria, Richard Strauss demonstrated his musical genius at an early age. He began playing the piano at age 4 and composing by age 6; by age 21 Strauss was conducting. The German classical music composer was best known for his tone poems and operas. Among his most famous works are the operas Salome (1905) and Der Rosenkavalier (The Rose Cavalier, 1911) and the orchestral tone poem Also sprach Zarathustra (Thus Spake Zarathustra, 1896).

Word of The Day

Foursquare: Square; marked by boldness and conviction.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Claude Monet


I am a Parisian of Paris. I was born there in 1840, under the reign of the good king Louis-Philippe which was an epoch centred on business interests and in which the Arts were regarded with real derision. As it was, my childhood was spent at the Havre where my father had settled in 1845 in order to better pursue his own business interests and as it happened, this childhood of mine, was essentially one of freedom. I was born undisciplineable. No one was ever able to make me stick to the rules, not even in my youngest days. It was at home that I learned most of what I do know. I equated my college life with that of a prison and I could never resolve to spend my time there, even for four hours a day when the sun was shinning bright, the sea was so beautiful and it was so good to run along the cliff-tops in the fresh air or frolic in the sea.

Up until the age of fourteen or fifteen, much to my father's great disappointment, I continued this very irregular but healthy way of life. Somehow, in between, I did acquire the rudiments of a basic education including some proficiency at spelling. My studies went no further and did not cause me too much trouble, as I was able to interweave them with a number of distractions. I ornamented the margins of my text books, I decorated the blue paper of my exercise books with ultra fantastic designs and represented in the most irreverant manner possible, the features of my masters - either drawing their faces in front view or in profile.

I became very quickly adept at this game. At fifteen, I was known by the whole of Le Havre as a caricaturist. My reputation was so well established that I was commissioned by everyone for these types of portraits. It was in effect, in consideration of the sheer number of commissions that I received as well as the insufficiency of the allowance that I received from my mother, that prompted the audacious decision that I made to charge a fee for my portraits. This of course, scandalised my family. I would charge ten to twenty francs depending on whether I liked the look of my clients or not and this method worked extremely well. In a month, the number of clients had doubled and I was able to charge a fixed rate of twenty francs without reducing in any way the demand. Had I continued this way, I would today be a millionaire!

Thus, by this means, I became someone of importance in the town. There, along the shop front of the only framers in business at Le Havre, were my caricatures, insolently sprawled-out in groups of five or six, to be seen in full in little gold frames, under glass like real works of art. Moreover, when I saw strollers gathering to gap at them with admiration and cry "It is so and so!", I was bursting with pride.

I should say, however, that there was a flaw to this otherwise perfect situation. There was often, in this same shop window, hanging just above my own works, a number of maritime scenes that I found, along with most of the inhabitants of the Havre, revolting. I was so vexed at having to endure this enforced contact, that I did not tary to slander this idiot who, thinking himself an artist had dared to sign his works "Boudin". For me, who had been used to Gudin's seascapes - with their arbitrary colourations, false touches and invented perspectives so much in use by fashionable artists at the time - Boudin's sincere little compositions with his correctly deliniated little figures, his pleasant boats, his ever so perfect skies and water, drawn and painted only from nature, held no artistic value for me. His fidelity seemed suspect. Hence, his paintings inspired me with a terrible aversion and without even having met the man, I disliked him intensely. Often, the framer would say: "You should meet Mister Boudin. Despite what is said about him, he is a professional who knows his work. He studied in Paris at the Academy Beaux-Arts. He could give you some useful advice."

But I resisted, dug my heals in . What could I possibly learn from such a ridiculous fellow?

Despite myself, however, the day did arrive when fate thrust me into Boudin's presence. He was at the back of the shop and I had not noticed him as I entered. The framer immediately took the opportunity to introduce me saying: "See here, Mister Boudin, this is the young man with so much talent for caricature!" Boudin immediately coming towards me, complimented me with his gentle voice and said: "I always look at your sketches with pleasure; they are amusing, animated, they seem to have been done with ease. You have talent, one can see that straight away. But you are not, I hope, going to keep doing the same thing. It is very good for starting off, but you will get bored with just doing caricatures. Study, learn to look, paint and draw. Do some landscapes. It is so beautiful the sea and sky, animals, people and trees just as nature made them, with their characters, their true essence of being, in the light, within the atmosphere, just as things are."

But Boudin's exhortations left no impression on me even if, after all, the man himself was agreable to me. He was convinced, sincere. I could feel it, but I could not appreciate his paintings and when he offered to take me with him to paint outdoors in the open countryside, I always found a pretext and refused politely. But when summer came, I was more or less free to dispose of my time as I wished and I had no feasible excuse left to give him and gave in. Thus it was, that Boudin - with his inexhaustable kindness - took it upon himself to educate me. With time, my eyes began to open and I really started to understand nature. I also leaned to love it. I would analyse its forms with my pencil. I would study its colourations. Six months later - not withstandings my mother's objections who was seriously becoming worried about my frequentations of a man like Boudin, I squarely announced to my father, that I intended to become a painter and was moving to Paris to learn.

"You will not get a penny!"

"I shall do without."

In effect, I was able to do without. I had already, long ago, managed to 'line my purse'. The sales from my caricatures had taken care of that. I had often been able to execute in one day , seven or eight commissioned portraits. At a "Louis" for each, my income had flourished and I had taken the habit from the start, to deposit the revenue with one one of my aunts, keeping for my pocket money only insignificant amounts. At sixteen, with two thousand francs, one believes onself to be rich! Armed with references acquired through admirers of Boudin who had connections with Monginot, Troyon and Amand Gautier, I promptly left for Paris without a care in the world.

To begin with, it took a while for me to find my feet. I went to visit the artists to whom I had been introduced. I received some excellent advice but also some appalling suggestions. Was it not the case that Troyon had tried to make me attend Couture's workshop? Needless to say, how vehemently I had refused that idea. It even had the effect of cooling my estimation of Troyon, at least for a short while. I stopped seeing him and associated instead only with artists who were looking for something. At that time, I met Pissarro who had not yet thought of being a rebel and was simply working in Corot's style. I felt this to be a good model to emulate and I followed suit. Having said this, for the whole duration of my four years in Paris - which was interdispersed with frequent visits to Le Havre anyhow - it was mainly Boudin's advice that I adhered to, even given my inclination to enlarge upon nature.

I reached my twentieth year and the time when I should be conscripted into the army was drawing near. This did not provoke fear in me nor did it worry my family. My escape had not been forgiven and if they had let me live my life as I wished for those four years, it was only because they hoped to bring me back to the fold once faced with military service. They assumed, that having had the opportunity to try and make my own way in the world, I would soon tire of it and return home, sensibly, getting-down to my family's business interests. If I refused, they would cut-off my allowance or should I turn-out badly, they would simply let me go.

They were wrong. The seven years which to many others seemed so difficult, appeared to me to be full of charm. A friend - who was a "chass d'Af" and who loved military life, had communicated to me his enthusiasm and suffused me with his sense of adventure. Nothing seemed more attractive than the endless trekking under the sun, the raids, the crackle of the gun-powder, the sabre-rattling, the nights spent under canvass in the desert and I imperiously waved aside all my father's objections. I was 'bad news' and I obtained, on demand, that I should be sent to a regiment in Africa and left.

I spent two really charming years in Algeria. There was always something new to see and in my spare time, I tried to capture what I saw. You cannot imagine the extent of what I learned and how much my ability to see improved. I was not immediately aware of this. The impressions of light and colour that I gained there were, to some extent, put aside later, but the kernal of my future researches came from them.

At the end of the two years, I became seriously ill. I was sent back home. My six months of convalescence were spent drawing and painting with renewed fervour. Seeing me thus, so determined despite the fact that I was very weak with fever, my father became convinced that nothing would sway me from my resolve and that no obstacle could stand in the way of my chosen vocation, so that as a result of both lassitude as well as fear of losing me should I go back to Africa (as the doctor had warned), he relented and decided towards the end of my leave, to buy me out.

"But, it must be well understood that you are to work seriously this time. I want to see you in a workshop, under the discipline of a well-known master. If you return to your previous independence, I will cut off your allowance without any concessions. Is that understood?" His plan only half satisfied me, but I was well aware that since my father was for once, prepared to consider things from my point of view, it was necessary not to refuse.

I accepted and it was settled that I should, in Paris, be under the artistic tutelage of the painter Toulmouche, who had just married one of my cousins. He would guide me and would provide regular reports on my work.

One sunny morning, I arrived at Toulmouche's with a pile of my sketches which he greatly appreciated. "You have promise but you will have to channel your impetus. You will be sent to Mister Gleyre. He is the kind of sedate and wise master you need." So I set up my easel, grumbling, in the studio that this famous artist ran for students. The first week, I worked there conscientiously and produced with as much application as dash, a life-drawing that Mister Gleyre corrected on the Monday.

The following week, when he passed in front of me, he sat down and squarely positioned on my chair, looked at my piece. I could then see him turn around, inclining his serious face with a satisfied air and I heard him say to me while smiling: "Not bad, not at all bad this, but it is too much like the real model. You have a stocky man and you depict him as stocky. He has enormous feet and you reproduce them. It is very ugly. Remember, young man, that when one executes a face, one should always think back to the Classical. Nature, my friend, serves well as a means to study but offers no real interest. Style is the only thing that matters."

I was flabbergasted. The truth, life, nature - all that provoked emotions in me - all that constituted for me the real essence and the unique "raison d'être" of art, did not exist for this man! I would not stay with him. I did not believe myself to have been born to follow his pursuit of lost illusions and other nonsenses. What was the use of persisting?

I did however, wait a few weeks so as not to exasperate my family. I did continue to attend but just stayed long enough to execute a rough sketch copied from the model and to be there for the correction. I then cleared out. I had in any case, found some companions that I liked at the studio. They had nothing superficial about their natures. These were Renoir and Sisley whom I would not from then on, loose sight of. There was also Bazille, who immediately became an intimate friend and would have made a name for himself, had he lived. Neither of them manifested any more than I did, any enthusiasm for an education, which both contravened their sense of logic as well as their temperaments.

I immediately preached revolt to them. Our exodus resolved upon, we left and took a studio which we shared, Bazille and I.

I forgot to tell you that I had recently made the aquaintance of Jongkind. It was during my convalescence-leave, one beautiful afternoon when I was working near Le Havre at a farm. A cow was grazing in a field and the idea came to me to draw the animal. But this animal was capricious and kept moving with every second that went by. With my easel held in one hand and my stool in the other, I would follow her in order to regain as best as was possible, my point of view. My antics must have been very funny to be sure, as I heard behind me, a great roar of laughter. I turned around and saw a giant bursting out with laughter. But this giant was a good sort. "Wait for me to help you", he said. The giant then, with enormous strides came up to the cow and got hold of its horns in order to contraint it to 'pose'. The cow, naturally, not being used to this sort of thing, resisted. This time, it was my turn to explode with meriment and the giant, crestfallen, let go of the beast and came over to me for a little chat.

He was an English man, just passing through, greatly in love with painting and very informed about what was going on in our country.

"So, you paint landscapes", he said.

"Well, yes."

"Do you know Jongkind?"

"No, but I have seen some of his paintings"

"What do you think about it?"

"It is very good"

"Too right, do you know that he is here?"

"Are you sure?"

"He lives at Honfleur. Would you like to meet him?"

"Certainly, I would. Are you one of his friends ?"

"I have never seen him, but as soon as I learned he was here, I sent him my calling card. It is a good opportunity and I am going to invite him and yourself, for lunch."

To my great surprise, the English man kept to his word and the following Sunday, the three of us had lunch together. Never was a meal so gay. It took place outdoors in a little country garden under some trees and the food was wholesome country fare. But, with a full glass of wine in his hand, sitting between two obviously sincere admirers, Jongkind did not quite feel at ease. The unexpected aspect of this meeting amused him but he was not accustomed to this sort of thing. His painting was too new and far too artistic to be appreciated in 1862 at his prices. Moreover, no one was as bad at making himself valued, as he was.

He was a straight-forward and simple kind of man, who could hardly speak bad French and was very shy. But he was very outgoing that day. He asked to see my sketches, invited me to come and work with him, explained the whys and wherefores underlining his work and thereby, completed the training that I had already received from Boudin. He became from this moment, my true master and it to him, that I owe the definitive training of my eyes.

I saw him again often in Paris. No need to say how much my painting improved. The progress that I made was rapid and three years later, I was exhibiting. The two seascapes that I had sent were received and given pride of place, hung high-up in good view. It was a great success. The same unanimous praise was given in 1866 for a large portrait that you saw at Durand-Ruel and which was there for a long time "The Woman in Green". The newspapers carried my name right to Le Havre and my family, at last, granted me some estimation. With this estimation came a renewed allowance. I was swimming in opulence, at least, for a while as we were to fall out again later. I was ready to recklessly hurl myself into the open.

It was a rather dangerous novelty. No one had attempted it, not even Manet, who innovated only later, after me. His painting was still very conventional and I still remember the contemptuous way in which he spoke of my beginnings. It was in 1867, my style had began to stand out, but for all that, it was far from revolutionary. I was still a long way off from my adoption of the principle of the division of colours - which turned so many people against me, but I was partially trying it out and would practice different effects of light and colour which contravened received ideas. The selection committee, which was all in my favour in the beginning, turned against me and when I presented my new painting to the 'Salon', I was shamefully rejected.

I did however, find a means of exhibiting, but elswhere. Touched by my entreaties, a dealer who had his shop at the 'rue Auber', did consent to show a seascape of mine which had been refused by the 'Palais de L'Industrie'. There were cries of indignation. One evening as I stopped in the road, joining a group of strollers to hear what was being said of me, I saw Manet arriving with two or three of his friends. The party stopped, looked and Manet shrugging his shoulders, cried-out contempteously: "Look at this young man who wants to paint from nature; as though the ancients had never thought about it!"

Manet held an old grudge against me. At the 'Salon' of 1866, the day of the opening, he had been met from the start, with acclamations. "Excellent, my friend, your picture!" Hand-shakes, 'bravos' and felicitations ensued. Manet - as you can imagine - was exultant. You can also imagine his surprise when he discovered that the canvas which was getting so much praise, was one of mine. It was "The Woman in Green". As fate would have it, just as he was trying to slip away, he stumbled on a group of people made up of Bazille and myself. "Ah, my friend, it is disgusting, I am furious! One is only complimenting me on a painting that is not even by me. One would think it is a hoax."

When, the next day, Astruc informed him that he had voiced his disatisfaction in front of the author of the painting and proposed to introduce him to me, Manet with a shrug, flatly refused. He retained the grudge for the bad turn I had played on him, entirely unwittingly. For once he had been praised for a masterly touch and this touch was not his. This was a bitter blow for someone which such sensitivity.

It was not until 1869 that I met him again, but this time, we became friends immediately. From the first meeting, he invited me to join him every evening in a café of the 'Batignolles' where he and his friends would gather to talk at the end of a day spent at their studios. I would meet there, Fantin-Latour and Cézanne, Degas - who arrived shortly afterwards from Italy, the art critic Duranty, Emile Zola who was just starting-off in the literary world and a number of others. I would take Sisley, Bazille and Renoir. There was nothing more interesting than these discussions with their perpetual differences of opinion. Our mind and souls were stimulated. We would encourage each other to make unbiased and sincere researches. We would nourish each other with enthusiasm which had the power to sustain us for weeks on end, until we were able to give definite form to the idea. One would always leave, all the better immersed, the will stronger, our thinking more defined and clear.

The war came. I had just got married. I went to England and found, in London, Bonvin and Pissarro. I also experienced poverty there. England did not want our paintings and things were hard. But as fate would have it, I met Daubigny who, in the past had shown some interest in me. At the time, he was doing views of the Thames which were very well liked by the English. My situation stirred his compassion. "I can see what you need. I will find a dealer for you", he said. The next day, I made the acquaintance of Durand-Ruel.

Durand-Ruel, became for us, our saviour. For more than fifteen years, my painting as well as that of Renoir, Sisley and Pissarro had no other market than through him. One day came when he was forced to restrain himself and buy from us less regularly. We thought ruin was facing us but it was success that was just about to come. Offered to Petit and the Boussod, our works found through them some buyers. They were judged not to be quite as bad as previously thought. At Durand-Ruel, they were not wanted, but once placed with others, confidence increased and people bought. The 'pendulum was in motion'. Today, everyone wants to know us.


Claude Monet was born November 14, 1840 in Paris, France. Monet was the leader of a group of French artists called the "Impressionists," which included such painters as Pierre-Auguste Renoir and Camille Pissarro.

Monet's family moved to the port town of Le Havre in 1845. He took his early art lessons from the painter, Eugene Boudin. Boudin, who worked up sketches out-of doors, encouraged Monet to do the same. "Suddenly the veil was torn away.... My destiny as a painter opened out to me," he later said. For the next 60+ years Monet explored the effects of light on outdoor scenes. He was the first artist to let his initial impressions stand as completed works, rather than as "notes" done in preparation for work in the studio.

Monet moved to Paris in 1859, where he met and befriended Pissarro and Edouard Manet. He married in 1870, and in 1871 settled in Argenteuil. He fixed up a boat with an easel and painted his way up and down the Seine River, capturing his impressions of the interplay of light, water and atmosphere.

In 1874 Monet and a group of painters including Pissarro and Renoir banded together to form a society of artists. They gave a public exhibition of their work at the studio of a Paris photographer. Monet exhibited a painting called "Impression: Sunrise." His painting gave the group its name, coined in derision by critic Louis Leroy referring to the entire exhibition as "Impressionistic." Despite the financial failure of this first exhibit, the Impressionist continued to exhibit together until 1886. Monet slowly achieved recognition in the years after the Impressionists disbanded. In 1883, he settled in Giverny, France and continued to paint, and explore his fascination with light until his death on December 5, 1926.


Claude Monet was born in Paris on November 14, 1840 but all his impressions as a child and adolescent were linked with Le Havre, the town to which his family moved about 1845. His father had a grocery store there. In his youth he painted caricature portraits and exhibited them in the art supplies store in which Eugène Boudin worked at the time. Eventually Boudin persuaded the young Monet to paint in the open air with him and become a landscape painter. His family was not against his wish to become a painter, but his independent views, criticism towards academic art and refusal to enter a decent school of art led to constant quarrels with his family. After finishing his military service in Algeria (1860-1861) Monet attended the Académie Suisse and there made the acquaintance of Pissarro and Cézanne. Later, in 1862, he entered the Atelier Gleyre, where he met Bazille, Renoir and Sisley. In 1860s, the young artists frequented the Café Guerbois, a place often visited by Emile Zola and Edouard Manet.

An important turning point in Monet’s artistic career came in 1869, when he and Renoir painted La Grenouillere, a floating restaurant at Bougival. The canvases they produced marked the emergence of a new artistic movement, Impressionism, called so later.

In 1870, Monet married his model Camille Doncieux (died in 1879), who bore him his son Jean (1868-1914); in 1879 their second son, Michael, was born. Camille sat for many of Monet's pictures, e.g. The Walkers, Women in the Garden (all four are Camille), The Walk. Lady with a Parasol, La Japonaise, and many others. During the Franco-Prussian War of 1870-71 and a short civil war (Commune) that followed, Monet lived in London and was introduced to Paul Durand-Ruel, a celebrated art dealer, who did much to popularize Impressionist works. In 1874, in an atmosphere of increasing hostility on the part of official artistic circles, Monet and his friends formed a group and exhibited on their own for the first time. One of his works at this exhibition, Impression: Sunrise, gave its name to the Impessionist movement.

The following years saw a flourishing of Impressionism. Monet took part in the group’s exhibitions of 1874, 1876, 1877, 1879 and 1882. In those years he created such masterpieces as La Gare Saint-Lazare and Rue Saint-Denis, Festivities of 30 June, 1878. However, his canvases found few buyers. Desperately poor, he constantly looked for places where life was cheaper, and lived at Argenteuil from 1873 to 1878, at Vétheuil from 1879 to 1881, at Poissy in 1882, and at Giverny from 1883 until his death.

In the late 1880s, his painting began to attract the attention of both the public and critics. Fame brought comfort and even wealth. During that period the artist was absorbed in painting landscapes in series: The Rocks of Belle-Ile (1886), Cliffs at Belle-Ile (1886), Poplars on the Bank of the River Epte (1890), Poplars on the Banks of the Epte (1891), Poplars on the Bank of the River Epte (1891). Light is always the ‘principal person’ in Monet’s landscape, and since he was always aiming at seizing an escaping effect, he adopted a habit of painting the same subject under different conditions of light, at different times of day. In this way he painted a series of views, all of the same subject, but all different in color and lightning.

In 1890, Monet bought the property at Giverny and began work on the series of haystacks, which he pursued for two years. Monet painted the stacks in sunny and gray weather, in fog and covered with snow: Haystack, Snow Effects, Morning (1890), Haystack. End of the Summer. Morning. (1891), Haystack at the Sunset near Giverny (1891). In 1892 he married Alice Hoschedé (died in 1911) his old friend.

Monet’s renowned series of the cathedral at Rouen seen under different light effects was painted from a second-floor window above a shop opposite the façade. He made eighteen frontal views. Changing canvases with the light, Monet had followed the hours of the day from early morning with the façade in misty blue shadow, to the afternoon, when the sunset, disappearing behind the buildings of the city, weaves the weathered stone work into a strange fabric of burnt orange and blue: The Rouen Cathedral. Portail. The Albaine Tower. 1893-1894, The Rouen Cathedral at Noon (1894), The Rouen Cathedral (1893-1894), The Rouen Cathedral at Twilight (1894), The Rouen Cathedral in the Evening (1894).

In 1899, Monet first turned to the subject of water lilies: The White Water Lilies (1899), The Japanese Bridge (1899), Water-Lilies (1914), Water-Lilies (c.1917), Water-Lilies (1917), the main theme of his later work. Fourteen large canvases of his Water lilies series, started in 1916, were bequeathed by him to the State. In 1927, shortly after the artist’s death, these canvases were placed in two oval rooms of the Musée de l’Orangerie in the Tuileries Gardens.


His youth was spent in Le Havre, where he first excelled as a caricaturist but was then converted to landscape painting by his early mentor Boudin, from whom he derived his firm predilection for painting out of doors. In 1859 he studied in Paris at the Atelier Suisse and formed a friendship with Pissarro. After two years' military service in Algiers, he returned to Le Havre and met Jongkind, to whom he said he owed `the definitive education of my eye'. He then, in 1862, entered the studio of Gleyre in Paris and there met Renoir, Sisley, and Bazille, with whom he was to form the nucleus of the Impressionist group. Monet's devotion to painting out of doors is illustrated by the famous story concerning one of his most ambitious early works, Women in the Garden (Musée d'Orsay, Paris; 1866-67). The picture is about 2.5 meters high and to enable him to paint all of it outside he had a trench dug in the garden so that the canvas could be raised or lowered by pulleys to the height he required. Courbet visited him when he was working on it and said Monet would not paint even the leaves in the background unless the lighting conditions were exactly right.

During the Franco-Prussian War (1870-71) he took refuge in England with Pissarro: he studied the work of Constable and Turner, painted the Thames and London parks, and met the dealer Durand-Ruel, who was to become one of the great champions of the Impressionists. From 1871 to 1878 Monet lived at Argenteuil, a village on the Seine near Paris, and here were painted some of the most joyous and famous works of the Impressionist movement, not only by Monet, but by his visitors Manet, Renoir and Sisley. In 1878 he moved to Vétheuil and in 1883 he settled at Giverny, also on the Seine, but about 40 miles from Paris. After having experienced extreme poverty, Monet began to prosper. By 1890 he was successful enough to buy the house at Giverny he had previously rented and in 1892 he married his mistress, with whom he had begun an affair in 1876, three years before the death of his first wife. From 1890 he concentrated on series of pictures in which he painted the same subject at different times of the day in different lights---Haystacks or Grainstacks (1890-91) and Rouen Cathedral (1891-95) are the best known. He continued to travel widely, visiting London and Venice several times (and also Norway as a guest of Queen Christiana), but increasingly his attention was focused on the celebrated water-garden he created at Giverny, which served as the theme for the series of paintings on Water-lilies that began in 1899 and grew to dominate his work completely (in 1914 he had a special studio built in the grounds of his house so he could work on the huge canvases).

In his final years he was troubled by failing eyesight, but he painted until the end. He was enormously prolific and many major galleries have examples of his work.

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Studio Corner. 1861. Oil on canvas. Musée d'Orsay, Paris, France.

Hunting Trophy. 1862. Oil on canvas. Musée d'Orsay, Paris, France.
Farm Courtyard in Normandy. c.1863. Oil on canvas. Musée d'Orsay, Paris, France.
La Rue de la Bavolle in Honfleur. 1864. Oil on canvas. Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, MA, USA.

Still Life: Piece of Beef. c.1864. Oil on canvas. Musée d'Orsay, Paris, France.

Shipyard near Honfleur. 1864. Oil on canvas. Private collection.
Road to the Saint-Siméon Farm. 1864. Oil on canvas. National Museum of Western Art, Tokyo, Japan.
The Cape de la Hève at Low Tide. 1865. Oil on canvas. The Kimbell Art Museum, Fort Worth, TX, USA.

The Walkers (Bazille and Camille). 1865. Oil on canvas. National Gallery of Art,
Washington DC, USA.

The Picnic (Le dejeuner sur l’herbe). 1865-1866. Oil on canvas. The Pushkin Museum of
Fine Arts, Moscow, Russia.

Women in the Garden. 1866. Oil on canvas. Musée d'Orsay, Paris, France.

Garden in Bloom at Sainte-Addresse. c.1866. Oil on canvas. Musée d'Orsay, Paris, France.

Camille Doncieux (Lady in Green). 1866. Oil on canvas. Kunsthalle, Bremen, Germany.

Saint-Germain l'Auxerrois. 1866. Oil on canvas. Staatliche Museen zu Berlin, Gemaldegalerie, Berlin, Germany.

Woman in the Garden (Saint-Adresse). 1867. Oil on canvas. The Hermitage, St. Petersburg, Russia.

Terrace at Saint-Adresse. 1867. Oil on canvas. Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, USA.

The Entrance to the Port of Honfleur. 1867. Oil on canvas. N. Simon Fund, Los Angeles, CA, USA.

The Beach at Sainte-Adresse. 1867. Oil on canvas. The Art Institute of Chicago, Chicago, IL, USA.

Ice on the Seine near Bougival. 1867. Oil on canvas. Private collection, France.
The Cart; Snow-Covered Road at Honfieur, with Saint-Simeon Farm. c.1867. Oil on canvas. Musée d'Orsay, Paris, France.

Quai du Louvre. 1867. Oil on canvas. Haags Gemeentemuseum, the Hague, Netherlands.

The Garden of the Infanta. 1867. Oil on canvas. Allen Memorial Art Museum, Oberlin, OH, USA.

The Regatta at Saint-Adresse. 1867. Oil on canvas. Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, USA.

The Luncheon. 1868. Oil on canvas. Stedel Art Institute, Frankfurt-on-Maine, Germany.

Madame Gaudibert. 1868. Oil on canvas. Louvre, Paris, France.

The Dinner. 1868. Oil on canvas. Private collection, Zurich, Switzerland.

The River, Bennecourt. 1868. Oil on canvas. The Art Institute of Chicago, Chicago, IL, USA.

Thursday, May 1st, 2008

The Magpie. c.1868-1869. Oil on canvas. Musée d'Orsay, Paris, France.

Rough Sea at Etretat. c.1868-1869.Oil on canvas. Musée d'Orsay, Paris, France.

Flowers and Fruits. 1869. Oil on canvas. Private collection, New York, USA.

Le Grenoillère. 1869. Oil on canvas. Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, USA.

On the Beach at Trouville. 1870. Oil on canvas. Musée Marmottan, Paris, France.

The Road to Louveciennes, the Effect of Snow. 1870. Oil on canvas. Private collection, Chicago, USA.

Train in the Country. c.1870. Oil on canvas. Musée d'Orsay, Paris, France.
Hôtel de Roches Noires, Trouville. 1870. Oil on canvas. Musée d'Orsay, Paris, France.

Meditation: Mme. Monet on a Sofa. c.1870-1871. Oil on canvas. Musée d'Orsay, Paris, France.

To see more works (and their pictures) go to:

Mae Jemison

Mae C. Jemison blasted into orbit aboard the space shuttle Endeavor, September 12, 1992, the first woman of color to go into space. This historic event was only another in a series of accomplishments for this dynamic African-American women.

Dr. Jemison was Science Mission Specialist (a NASA first) on the STS-47 Space lab J flight, a US/Japan joint mission. She conducted experiments in life sciences, material sciences, and was co-investigator in the Bone Cell Research experiment. Dr. Jemison resi
gned from NASA in March 1993.

Chemical engineer, scientist, physician, teacher and astronaut, she has a wide range of experience in technology, engineering, and medical research. In addition to her extensive background in science, she is well-versed in African and African-American Studies and is trained in dance and choreography.

Prior to joining the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) in 1987, she worked as a General Practitioner, in Los Angeles with the INA/Ross Loos Medical Group. She then spent two and a half years (1983-85) as an Area Peace Corps Medical Officer for Sierra Leone and Liberia in West Africa. Returning to Los Angeles, she resumed her medical practice, working with CIGNA Health Plans of California.

Dr. Jemison, the youngest of three children, was born in Decatur, Alabama and raised in Chicago, Illinois. She has always followed her dreams, undaunted by a lack of role models in her fields of endeavor, or roadblocks to women and minorities. She is committed to ensuring that science and technology fields represent the full gender, ethnic, and social diversity of this United States, and encourages all people, especially women and minorities, to pursue careers in science and any other fields of their choice.

An advocate of science and technology, Dr. Jemison's focus is on improving the status, quality, and image of the scientist. She offers something new and innovative to the scientific arena: a blend of social and "hard" sciences. In today's technological world, it is imperative that the scientist is cognizant, concerned and active in social issues. It is also necessary for all people to have a "feel" for and knowledge of how science and technology affect their everyday world. Dr. Jemison founded The Jemison Group, Inc., located in Houston, TX, to research, develop and implement advanced technologies suited to the social, political, cultural and economic context of the individual, especially for the developing world. Current projects include: Alpha, (TM) a satellite based telecommunication system to improve health care in West Africa; and The Earth We Share, (TM) an international science camp for students ages 12 to 16, that utilizes an experiential curriculum.

This attitude and her high achievements in historically exclusionary fields led Dartmouth College to invite her to its Hanover campus in 1993 where she taught a course on Space Age Technology and Developing Countries. Dr. Jemison is currently a member of the Dartmouth faculty in the Environmental Studies Program and is Director of The Jemison Institute for Advancing Technology in Developing Countries at Dartmouth College. The Institute was established as an agent for identifying, assessing, researching and implementing advanced technologies that may be employed advantageously to the development of less industrialized nations.

Dr. Jemison is the host and a technical consultant to "World of Wonders" series produced by GRB Entertainment and seen weekly on the Discovery Channel. She is also in demand as a speaker to civic and government organizations, schools and corporations around the country and internationally.

Because her excellent educational foundation was acquired in the Chicago public schools, Dr. Jemison strongly believes that US public schools must be kept viable. Many of her interests and skills for what she has accomplished emerged during these early years. She feels very honored by the establishment (1992) of the MAE C. JEMISON ACADEMY, an alternative public school in Detroit.

At sixteen, she entered Stanford University on scholarship where she graduated with a Bachelor of Science degree in Chemical Engineering, and fulfilled the requirements for an A.B. in African and Afro-American Studies. She attended Cornell Medical College where she earned her Doctorate in Medicine in 1981. In medical school, her interest and knowledge in Third World countries evolved into a commitment to effectively contribute. She traveled to Cuba, rural Kenya, and spent a medical clerkship in Thailand at a Cambodian Refugee Camp. She completed her internship at Los Angeles County/USC Medical Center in 1982.

Awards and honors she has received include Essence Award (1988); Gamma Sigma Gamma Women of the Year (1989); Honorary Doctorate of Science, Lincoln College, PA (1991); Honorary Doctor of Letters, Winston-Salem, NC (1991); McCall's 10 Outstanding Women for the 90's (1991); Pumpkin Magazine's (a Japanese Monthly) One of the Women for the Coming New Century (1991); Johnson Publications Black Achievement Trailblazers Award (1992); Mae C. Jemison Science and Space Museum, Wright Jr. College, Chicago, (dedicated 1992); Ebony's 50 Most Influential women (1993); Turner Trumpet Award (1993); and Montgomery Fellow, Dartmouth (1993); Kilby Science Award (1993); Induction into the National Women's Hall of Fame (1993); People magazine's 1993 "50 Most Beautiful People in the World"; CORE Outstanding Achievement Award; National Medical Association Hall of Fame.

Dr. Jemison is a member of the Association for the Advancement of Science; Association of Space Explorers: Honorary member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc.; board of Directors of Scholastic, Inc.; Board of Directors of Houston's UNICEF; Board of Trustees Spelman College; Board of Directors Aspen Institute; board of Directors Keystone Center; and the National Research Council Space Station Review Committee. She has presented at the UN and internationally on the uses of space technology, was the subject of a PBS Documentary, THE NEW EXPLORERS; ENDEAVOUR by Kurtis Production and appeared in an episode of STAR TREK: THE NEXT GENERATION.

She resides in Houston with her cats Sneeze and Little Mama.

Medical doctor, engineer, astronaut - Mae Jemison's skills and expertise reflect a determined individual whose contributions to the nation and the world make a difference.

Jemison, determined from childhood to explore space, became the first African-American woman in space when she traveled on the Endeavor on September 12, 1992. Earlier, Jemison spent several years as a Peace Corps physician in West Africa and opened a private practice in Los Angeles. After her space flight, Jemison took leave from NASA to lecture and teach at Dartmouth College, focusing on space-age technology and developing nations. She says that space "is the birthright of everyone who is on this planet. We need to get every group of people in the world involved because it is something that eventually we in the world community are going to have to share."

Jemison heads her own firm in Houston, and travels throughout the world. Jemison encourages women and minorities to enter scientific fields: "I want to make sure we use all our talent, not just 25 percent." In 1999 Jemison accepted appointment as the President's Council of Cornell Women Andrew D. White Professor-at-Large at Cornell University.


Wednesday, April 16th, 2008

NAME: Mae C. Jemison (M.D.)
NASA Astronaut (former)

PERSONAL DATA: Born October 17, 1956, in Decatur, Alabama, but considers Chicago, Illinois, to be her hometown. Recreational interests include traveling, graphic arts, photography, sewing, skiing, collecting African Art, languages (Russian, Swahili, Japanese), weight training, has an extensive dance and exercise background and is an avid reader. Her parents, Charlie & Dorothy Jemison, reside in Chicago.

EDUCATION: Graduated from Morgan Park High School, Chicago, Illinois, in 1973; received a bachelor of science degree in chemical engineering (and fulfilled the requirements for a B.A. in African and Afro-American Studies) from Stanford University in 1977, and a doctorate degree in medicine from Cornell University in 1981.

ORGANIZATIONS: Member, American Chemical Society, Association for the Advancement of Science, Association of Space Explorers. Honorary Member, Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority. Board Member, World Sickle Cell Foundation, American Express Geography Competition. Honorary Board Member, Center for the Prevention of Childhood Malnutrition. Clinical Teaching Associate, University of Texas Medical Center.

SPECIAL HONORS: National Achievement Scholarship (1973-1977); Stanford representative to Carifesta '76 in Jamaica; 1979 CIBA Award for Student Involvement; American Medical Student Association (AMSA) study group to Cuba; grant from International Travelers Institute for health studies in rural Kenya (1979); organized New York city-wide health and law fair for National Student Medical Association (1979); worked refugee camp in Thailand (1980). Recipient of Essence Award (1988), and Gamma Sigma Gamma Woman of the Year (1989). Honorary Doctorate of Sciences, Lincoln College, Pennsylvania (1991). Honorary Doctorate of Letters, Winston Salem College, North Carolina (1991). DuSable Museum Award (1992). The Mae C. Jemison Academy, an alternate public school established in 1992 in Detroit, Michigan. Montgomery Fellow 1993 Dartmouth College.

EXPERIENCE: Dr. Jemison has a background in both engineering and medical research. She has worked in the areas of computer programming, printed wiring board materials, nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy, computer magnetic disc production, and reproductive biology.

Dr. Jemison completed her internship at Los Angeles County/USC Medical Center in July 1982 and worked as a General Practitioner with INA/Ross Loos Medical Group in Los Angeles until December 1982.

From January 1983 through June 1985, Dr. Jemison was the Area Peace Corps Medical Officer for Sierra Leone and Liberia in West Africa. Her task of managing the health care delivery system for U.S. Peace Corps and U.S. Embassy personnel included provision of medical care, supervision of the pharmacy and laboratory, medical administrative issues, and supervision of medical staff. She developed curriculum and taught volunteer personal health training, wrote manuals for self-care, developed and implemented guidelines for public health/safety issues for volunteer job placement and training sites. Dr. Jemison developed and participated in research projects on Hepatitis B vaccine, schistosomaisis and rabies in conjunction with the National Institute of Health and the Center for Disease Control.

On return to the United States, Dr. Jemison joined CIGNA Health Plans of California in October 1985 and was working as a General Practitioner and attending graduate engineering classes in Los Angeles when selected to the astronaut program.

NASA EXPERIENCE: Dr. Jemison was selected for the astronaut program in June 1987. Her technical assignments since then have included: launch support activities at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida; verification of Shuttle computer software in the Shuttle Avionics Integration Laboratory (SAIL); Science Support Group activities.

Dr. Jemison was the science mission specialist on STS-47 Spacelab-J (September 12-20, 1992). STS-47 was a cooperative mission between the United States and Japan. The eight-day mission was accomplished in 127 orbits of the Earth, and included 44 Japanese and U.S. life science and materials processing experiments. Dr. Jemison was a co-investigator on the bone cell research experiment flown on the mission. The Endeavour and her crew launched from and returned to the Kennedy Space Center in Florida. In completing her first space flight, Dr. Jemison logged 190 hours, 30 minutes, 23 seconds in space.

Dr. Jemison left NASA in March 1993.

Astronaut, physician. Born October 17, 1956, in Decatur, Alabama, the youngest child of Charlie Jemison, a roofer and carpenter, and Dorothy (Green) Jemison, an elementary school teacher. Her sister, Ada Jemison Bullock, became a child psychiatrist, and her brother, Charles Jemison, is a real estate broker. The family moved to Chicago, Illinois, when Jemison was three to take advantage of better educational opportunities there, and it is that city that she calls her hometown. Throughout her early school years, her parents were supportive and encouraging of her talents and abilities, and Jemison spent considerable time in her school library reading about all aspects of science, especially astronomy. During her time at Morgan Park High School, she became convinced she wanted to pursue a career in biomedical engineering, and when she graduated in 1973 as a consistent honor student, she entered Stanford University on a National Achievement Scholarship.

At Stanford, Jemison pursued a dual major and in 1977 received a B.S. in chemical engineering and a B.A. in African and African-American Studies. As she had been in high school, Jemison was very involved in extracurricular activities including dance and theater productions, and served as head of the Black Student Union. Upon graduation, she entered Cornell University Medical College to work toward a medical degree. During her years there, she found time to xpand her horizons by visiting and studying in Cuba and Kenya and working at a Cambodian rfugee camp in Thailand. When she obtained her M.D. in 1981, she interned at Los Angeles County/University of Southern California Medical Center and later worked as a general pactitioner. For the next two and a half years, she was the area Peace Corps medical officer for Sierra Leone and Liberia where she also taught and did medical research. Following her return to the United States in 1985, she made a career change and decided to follow a dream she had nurtured for a long time. In October of that year she applied for admission to NASA's astronaut training program. The Challenger disaster of January 1986 delayed the selection process, but when she reapplied a year later, Jemison was one of the 15 candidates chosen from a field of about 2,000.

Joins Eight-Day Endeavor Mission

When Jemison was chosen on June 4, 1987, she became the first African American woman ever admitted into the astronaut training program. After more than a year of training, she became an astronaut with the title of sciencemission specialist, a job which would make her responsible for conducting crewrelated scientific experiments on the space shuttle. On September 12, 1992, Jemison finally flew into space with six other astronauts aboard the Endeavour on mission STS47. During her eight days in space, she conducted experiments on weightlessness and motion sickness on the crew and herself. Altogether, she spent slightly over 190 hours in space before returning to Earth on September 20. Following her historic flight, Jemison noted that society should recognize how much both women and members of other minority groups can contribute if given the opportunity.

In recognition of her accomplishments, Jemison received several honorary doctorates, the 1988 Essence Science and Technology Award, the Ebony Black Achievement Award in 1992, and a Montgomery Fellowship from Dartmouth College in 1993, and was named Gamma Sigma Gamma Woman of the Year in 1990. Also in 1992, an alternative public school in Detroit, Michigan—the Mae C. Jemison Academy—was named after her. Jemison is a member of the American Medical Association, the American Chemical Society, the American Association for the Advancement of Science, and served on the Board of Directors of the World Sickle Cell Foundation from 1990 to 1992. She is also an advisory committee member of the American Express Geography Competition and an honorary board member of the Center for the Prevention of Childhood Malnutrition. After leaving the astronaut corps in March 1993, she accepted a teaching fellowship at Dartmouth and also established the Jemison Group, a company that seeks to research, develop, and market advanced technologies.

First African American Woman in Space
Founder and President of Two Medical Technology Companies

Mae C. Jemison blasted into orbit aboard the shuttle Endeavour on September 12, 1992 as the first woman of color to go into space. Now the Founder and President of two technology companies, the space flight was just one in a series of accomplishments for this dynamic woman.

Born in Decatur, Alabama and raised in Chicago, she entered Stanford University at the age of sixteen on a scholarship, graduating with a B.S. in Chemical Engineering and fulfilled the requirements for an A.B. in African and Afro-American studies. She earned her doctorate in medicine at Cornell University Medical College.

Prior to joining NASA in 1987, Dr. Jemison worked in both engineering and medicine. She was a General Practitioner in Los Angeles with the INA/Ross Loos Medical Group. She then spent two and a half years (1983-1985) as Area Peace Corps medical officer for Sierra Leone and Liberia in West Africa. On her return to Los Angeles, she worked as a General Practitioner with CIGNA Health Plans of California.

Dr. Jemison served as a National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) astronaut for six years. As the science mission specialist on the STS-47 Spacelab J flight, a US/Japan joint mission, she conducted experiments in life sciences, material sciences and was a co-investigator of the Bone Cell Research experiment.

Dr. Jemison resigned from NASA in March 1993 and founded The Jemison Group, Inc. The company was established to focus on the beneficial integration of science and technology into our everyday lives. Company projects have included consulting on the design and implementation of solar thermal electricity generation systems for developing countries and remote areas and the use of satellite-based telecommunications to facilitate health care delivery in West Africa.

Most recently, Dr. Jemison developed a new business, BioSentient Corporation, a medical technology company that creates and markets mobile equipment worn to monitor the body’s vital signs and train people to respond favorably in stressful situations. BioSentient was created in July 1999 by The Jemison Group, Inc., which holds the exclusive license from NASA to commercialize this exciting new technology. Originally designed to control motion sickness, BioSentient’s technology presents significant opportunities across a wide spectrum of health and human performance areas.

In 1994, Dr. Jemison founded and currently chairs The Dorothy Jemison Foundation for Excellence, a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization. The Earth We Share Ô (TEWS), a program of the foundation is an annual international science camp. Students from around the world, ages 12 to 16, work together to solve current global dilemmas, like "How Many People Can the Earth Hold?" and "Predict the Hot Public Stocks of The Year 2030." The four-week residential program builds critical thinking and problem solving skills through an experiential curriculum developed by Dr. Jemison.

Dr. Jemison also serves as Bayer Corporation's national science literacy advocate.

As an A.D. White Professor-at-Large at Cornell University, Dr. Jemison manages to stay connected to her Alma Mater though this program which brings select individuals to the campus to supplement the activities of permanent faculty. Dr. Jemison is a former professor of Environmental Studies at Dartmouth College. Between 1995 – 2002, she directed the Jemison Institute for Advancing Technology in Developing Countries. the Future: Science, Engineering and Education, an institute project and workshop, is a White Paper compiled and edited by Dr. Jemison that discusses a framework for prioritizing governmental funding of science and engineering research that was released in Spring 2002. She was the moderator for an IEEE-USA Technical Symposia Space Technologies for Disaster Mitigation and Global Health.

Dr. Jemison was elected into the National Academy of Sciences’ Institute of Medicine in 2001. She serves on the Board of Directors for Scholastic, Inc. and Valspar Corporation and the Texas Governor’s State Council for Science and BioTechnology Development. Dr. Jemison has received numerous awards and honors including: induction into the National Women's Hall of Fame; selection as one of the People magazines' 1993 "World's 50 Most Beautiful People"; Johnson Publications Black Achievement Trailblazers Award; the Kilby Science Award; National Medical Association Hall of Fame; selection as a Montgomery Fellow, Dartmouth College; Texas Science Hall of Fame; Rotary Club Chicago’s ROTARY/One Award; a number of honorary doctorates including Doctor of Humanities from Princeton University.

Dr. Jemison has presented to the U.N. on the uses of space technology, appeared weekly as the host and technical consultant of the World of Wonder series on the Discovery channel in 1994-1995, appeared in an episode of Star Trek: The Next Generation and was the subject of the PBS documentary The New Explorers. She is an honorary member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority and is the namesake of an alternative public school in Detroit. In January 1999, she was selected as one of the top seven women leaders in a Presidential Ballot national straw poll conducted by The White House Project.

Dr. Jemison’s first book, Find Where the Wind Goes: Moments From My Life, autobiographical anecdotes about growing up, was written for teenagers and was published in Spring 2001.

In her speeches, Dr. Jemison inspires and encourages audiences. A fierce advocate of a liberal arts education with a natural aptitude toward the sciences, Dr. Jemison addresses a myriad of topics, from general motivation, to science literacy, to technological and medical innovations, always bringing her sense of humor to each story she tells. The product of a middle American upbringing, Dr. Jemison, a precocious student who found her role models in teachers, parents and mentors who guided her along life's path, traces her education from her mother’s school teacher encouragement, through her undergraduate years as a science major at Stanford, into Cornell and her “humbling” as a medical student. She takes the audience on an exciting and diverse voyage which mirrors her life, encompassing a journey from Africa to Outer Space – focusing on exploration of the frontiers of science and human potential.

Dr. Jemison resides in Houston.


This remarkable woman made world history in 1992 when, as a NASA Science Mission Specialist, she became the first black woman to go into space. In addition to her career as an astronaut and scientist, Mae Jennison speaks six languages, is a professor at Dartmouth College in the USA and spent several years with the US Peace Corps working as a doctor in Cambodia, Cuba and Western Africa.

"I use the Internet off and on. I am not one of those people who gets on it and stays on it, or has to go there every day. Right now I'm probably on the Internet much more than I usually am because we have the 'Earth We Share' program or 'Tews 2000' which we're putting up new web sites and I need to go in and look at them and make sure that they're where we want them to be. I also use it, of course, for information gathering, to see what new things are out there, and occasionally when I'm bored I just sort of browse and look up people I'm interested in."

The Earth We Share - "I started it because I was interested in how we improve science literacy for all students. Science literacy really isn't about the next generation of professional scientists, but rather about how you get everyone with a base line level of information about science and technology because we all need it, and increasingly so. We started it to create problem solving and critical thinking skills. The Earth We Share is about solving global dilemmas and it's important that students from all around the world work together because our world is no longer just in Chicago or London. It's important for students to have interactions with folks from around the world."

Women's History Month - "I was probably much more who I am by the time I went up on the space shuttle that it wouldn't have altered me that significantly, because you take up so much of who you are. But there are so many other things that you encounter in life that take a hold of you and you don't let them go. Going up in space was one of them, but it wasn't the only one."

Making Science Make Sense - "They're a group that I've worked with for the past 5 years that talk about making science accessible. Their scientists go into classrooms around the country. They also have a program out in Berkeley, California, where they take students in high school who aren't expected really to graduate, and they teach them biotechnology."

Monday, May 5th, 2008

Her Crewmembers:

Space Shuttle flight 50 (STS-47), narrated by the astronauts (16 minutes).
Launch: September 12, 1992.
Crew: Robert L. Gibson, Curtis L. Brown, Jr., Mark C. Lee, N. Jan Davis, Jay Apt, Mae C. Jemison, Mamoru Mohri.
Vehicle: Endeavour.

Mark C. Lee:

Lee was selected as an astronaut candidate by NASA in May 1984. In June 1985, he completed a one-year training and evaluation program, qualifying him for assignment as a mission specialist on future Space Shuttle flight crews. His technical responsibilities within the Astronaut Office included extravehicular activity (EVA), the Inertial Upper Stage, Spacelab and Space Station systems. Lee also served as a spacecraft communicator in the Mission Control Center, as Lead Astronaut Support Person at the Kennedy Space Center, Chief of Astronaut Appearances, Chief of the Astronaut Office Mission Development Branch, Chief of the EVA Robotics Branch, and Chief of the EVA Branch. He also worked Space Station assembly issues for the Astronaut Office.

In total, during his four space flights, Lee traveled over 13 million miles going around the world 517 times and spending 33 days in orbit. Lee's first shuttle mission was as a mission specialist on STS-30 (May 4-8, 1989). This mission involved the launch of the Magellan probe, a Venus-exploration spacecraft and experiments involving life sciences and crystals.

In his second flight, mission STS-47, running from September 12 - 20, 1992, Lee was payload commander with overall crew responsibility for the planning, integration, and on-orbit coordination of payload/Space Shuttle activities. This cooperative mission between the United States and Japan included 44 Japanese and U.S. life science and materials processing experiments and the shuttle carried spacelab-J. Lee also initiated a unique distinction with STS-47: his wife, N. Jan Davis, was a mission specialist on the flight, making Lee and Davis the first married couple to be in space at the same time.

Lee was a mission specialist on his third flight, mission STS-64, running from September 9 - 20, 1994. During this flight he logged 6 hours and 51 minutes of EVA to test a self-rescue jetpack, undertook the first untethered spacewalk in 10 years and deployed and retrieved a solar science satellite. Lee's final flight was STS-82, running from February 11 - 21, 1997. This was the second Hubble Space Telescope maintenance mission and Lee again served as payload commander. He was a member of one of two spacewalk teams who installed two new spectrometers and eight replacement instruments, as well as replacing insulation patches over three compartments containing key data processing, electronics and scientific instrument telemetry packages. Lee's contribution amounted to three space walks totaling 19 hours and 10 minutes of EVA.

Mamoru Mohri:

Mamoru "Mark" Mohri (毛利衛 Mōri Mamoru, born 29 January 1948 is a Japanese scientist, a former NASDA astronaut, and a veteran of two NASA space shuttle missions.

Born in Yoichi, Japan, Mohri earned degrees in chemistry from Hokkaido University and a Doctorate from Flinders University in Adelaide, South Australia, in 1976.

Most of Mohri's work has been in the field of materials and vacuum sciences. From 1975 to 1985, Mohri was a member of the nuclear engineering faculty of Hokkaido University, where he worked on nuclear fusion-related projects.

Mohri was selected by the National Space Development Agency of Japan to train as a payload specialist for a Japanese materials science payload. He flew his first space mission aboard STS-47 in 1992 as chief payload specialist for Spacelab-J. Mohri subsequently made another trip into space as part of mission STS-99 in 2000.

As of 2007, Mohri is the Executive Director for the Miraikan (National Museum of Emerging Science and Innovation) in Tokyo.

N. Jan Davis:

Davis became an astronaut in June 1987. Her initial technical assignment was in the Astronaut Office Mission Development Branch, where she provided technical support for Space shuttle payloads. She then served as a CAPCOM in Mission Control communicating with Shuttle crews for seven missions. After her first space flight, Davis served as the Astronaut Office representative for the Remote Manipulator System (RMS), with responsibility for RMS operations, training, and payloads. After her second space flight, she served as the Chairperson of the NASA Education Working Group and as Chief for the Payloads Branch, which provided Astronaut Office support for all Shuttle and International Space Station payloads. A veteran of three space flights, Davis has logged over 673 hours in space. She flew as a mission specialist on STS-47 in 1992 and STS-60 in 1994, and was the payload commander on STS-85 in 1997.[1]

After her flight on STS-85, Dr. Davis was assigned to NASA Headquarters as the Director of the Human Exploration and Development of Space (HEDS), Independent Assurance Office for the Office of Safety and Mission Assurance. In that position, Dr. Davis managed and directed independent assessments for the programs and projects assigned to the HEDS enterprise. In July 1999, she transferred to the Marshall Space Flight Center, and is currently Director of the Flight Projects Directorate. Her Directorate is responsible for the International Space Station (ISS) Payload Operations Center, ISS hardware and the Chandra X-Ray Observatory Program. After the Columbia accident, she was named head of Safety and Mission Assurance at Marshall, where she assured the safe return to flight of the Space Shuttle. Dr. Davis retired from NASA in 2005, and currently works for Jacobs as a Vice President and Deputy General Manager.

Space flight experience

STS-47, Spacelab-J, was the 50th Space Shuttle mission. Launched on September 12, 1992, this cooperative venture between the United States and Japan conducted 43 experiments in life sciences and materials processing. During the eight-day mission, she was responsible for operating Spacelab and its subsystems and performing a variety of experiments. Davis's husband Mark C. Lee was payload commander on STS-47. After completing 126 orbits of the Earth, STS-47 Endeavour landed at Kennedy Space Center on September 20, 1992.

STS-60 was the second flight of Spacehab (Space Habitation Module) and the first flight of the Wake Shield Facility (WSF). Launched on February 3, 1994, this flight was the first Space Shuttle flight on which a Russian cosmonaut was a crew member. During the eight-day mission, her prime responsibility was to maneuver the WSF on the RMS, to conduct thin film crystal growth and she was also responsible for performing scientific experiments in the Spacehab. The STS-60 Discovery landed at Kennedy Space Center on February 11, 1994, after completing 130 orbits of the Earth.

Davis was the payload commander for STS-85, which was launched on Discovery on August 7, 1997. During this 12-day mission, Dr. Davis deployed and retrieved the CRISTA-SPAS payload, and operated the Japanese Manipulator Flight Demonstration (MFD) robotic arm. The mission also included several other scientific payloads for the conduct of research on astronomy, Earth sciences, life sciences, and materials science. The mission was accomplished in 189 Earth orbits, traveling 4.7 million miles. The STS-85 Discovery landed at Kennedy Space Center on August 19, 1997.

Curtis L. Brown Jr.:

STS-47 Spacelab-J (September 12-20, 1992) was an eight-day cooperative mission between the United States and Japan focused on life science and materials processing experiments in space. After completing 126 orbits of the Earth, the mission ended with Space Shuttle Endeavour landing at Kennedy Space Center, Florida. Mission duration was 190 hours, 30 minutes, 23 seconds.

STS-66 (November 3-14, 1994) was the Atmospheric Laboratory for Applications and Science-3 (ATLAS-3) mission. ATLAS-3 was part of an ongoing program to determine the Earth's energy balance and atmospheric change over an 11-year solar cycle. Following 175 orbits of the Earth, the 11-day mission ended with the Shuttle Atlantis landing at Edwards Air Force Base, California. Mission duration was 262 hours and 34 minutes.

STS-77 (May 19-29, 1996) was a ten-day mission aboard Space Shuttle Endeavour. The crew performed a record number of rendezvous sequences (one with a SPARTAN satellite and three with a deployed Satellite Test Unit) and approximately 21 hours of formation flying in proximity of the satellites. During the flight the crew also conducted 12 materials processing, fluid dynamics, and biotechnology experiments in a Spacehab Module. STS-77 deployed and retrieved a SPARTAN satellite, which carried the Inflatable Antenna Experiment designed to test the concept of large, inflatable space structures. A small Satellite Test Unit was also deployed to test the concept of self-stabilization by using aerodynamic forces and magnetic damping. The mission was concluded in 160 Earth orbits, traveling 4.1 million miles in 240 hours and 39 minutes.

STS-85 (August 7-19, 1997) was a 12-day mission during which the crew deployed and retrieved the CRISTA-SPAS payload, operated the Japanese Manipulator Flight Demonstration (MFD) robotic arm, studied changes in the Earth's atmosphere and tested technology destined for use on the future International Space Station. The mission was accomplished in 189 Earth orbits, traveling 4.7 million miles in 284 hours and 27 minutes.

STS-95 (October 29 to November 7, 1998) was a 9-day mission during which the crew supported a variety of research payloads including deployment of the Spartan solar-observing spacecraft, the Hubble Space Telescope Orbital Systems Test Platform, and investigations on space flight and the aging process. The mission was accomplished in 134 Earth orbits, traveling 3.6 million miles in 213 hours and 44 minutes.

STS-103 (December 19-27, 1999) was an 8-day mission during which the crew successfully installed new instruments and upgraded systems on the Hubble Space Telescope (HST). Enhancing HST scientific capabilities required three space walks. The STS-103 mission was accomplished in 120 Earth orbits, traveling 3.2 million miles in 191 hours and 11 minutes.

Mae Jemison!

Robert (Hoot) Gibson:

Selected by NASA in January 1978, Gibson became an astronaut in August 1979. Gibson flew five missions: STS-41-B in 1984, STS-61-C in 1986, STS-27 in 1988, STS-47 in 1992, and STS-71 in 1995. Gibson served as Chief of the Astronaut Office (December 1992 to September 1994) and as Deputy Director, Flight Crew Operations (March-November 1996).

On his first space flight Gibson was the pilot on the crew of STS 41-B which launched from the Kennedy Space Center, Florida, on February 3, 1984. The flight accomplished the proper Shuttle deployment of two Hughes 376 communications satellites which failed to reach desired geosynchronous orbits due to upper stage rocket failures. Rendezvous sensors and computer programs were flight tested for the first time. The STS 41-B mission marked the first checkout of the Manned Maneuvering Unit (MMU), and Manipulator Foot Restraint (MFR), with Bruce McCandless II and Bob Stewart performing two spectacular EVAs (space walks). The German Shuttle Pallet Satellite (SPAS), Remote Manipulator System (RMS), six "Getaway Specials," and materials processing experiments were included on the mission. The eight-day orbital flight of Challenger culminated in the first landing on the runway at the Kennedy Space Center on February 11, 1984, and Gibson logged 191 hours in space.

Gibson was the spacecraft commander of the STS-61-C mission. The seven-man crew on board the Orbiter Columbia launched from the Kennedy Space Center, Florida, on January 12, 1986. During the six-day flight the crew deployed the SATCOM KU satellite and conducted experiments in astrophysics and materials processing. The mission concluded with a successful night landing at Edwards Air Force Base, California, on January 18, 1986, and logged him an additional 146 hours in space.

Gibson subsequently participated in the investigation of the Space Shuttle Challenger accident, and also participated in the redesign and recertification of the solid rocket boosters.

As the spacecraft commander of STS-27, Gibson and his five-man crew launched from the Kennedy Space Center, Florida, on December 2, 1988, aboard the Orbiter Atlantis. The mission carried a Department of Defense payload, and a number of secondary payloads. After 68 orbits of the Earth the mission concluded with a dry lakebed landing on Runway 17 at Edwards Air Force Base, California, on December 6, 1988. Mission duration was 105 hours.

On Gibson's fourth space flight, the 50th Space Shuttle mission, he served as spacecraft commander of STS-47, Spacelab-J, which launched on September 12, 1992 aboard the Orbiter Endeavour. The mission was a cooperative venture between the United States and Japan, and included the first Japanese astronaut as a member of the seven-person crew. During the eight-day flight, the crew focused on life science and materials processing experiments in over forty investigations in the Spacelab laboratory, as well as scientific and engineering tests performed aboard the Orbiter Endeavour. The mission ended with a successful landing on the runway at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida after 126 orbits of the Earth on September 20, 1992.

On his last flight, (June 27 to July 7, 1995), Gibson commanded a crew of seven-members (up) and eight-members (down) on Space Shuttle mission STS-71. This was the first Space Shuttle mission to dock with the Russian Space Station Mir, and involved an exchange of crews. The Atlantis Space Shuttle was modified to carry a docking system compatible with the Russian Mir Space Station. It also carried a Spacelab module in the payload bay in which the crew performed various life sciences experiments and data collections. Mission duration was 235 hours, 23 minutes.

In five space flights, Gibson completed a total of 36.5 days in space.

Jerome Apt:

Jerome III "Jay" Apt, Ph.D. (born April 28, 1949 in Massachusetts) is an American astronaut. Before he became an astronaut, Apt was a physicist who worked on the Venus space probe project.

Apt graduated from Shady Side Academy and Harvard College. He earned a Ph.D. in Physics from MIT in 1976. He joined NASA in 1980 as a research scientist, and in 1986 became an astronaut. He has flown on four space missions and has logged over 847 hours in space.

In 1991, Apt flew aboard shuttle Atlantis where he made a spacewalk, where, along with Jerry Ross, he manually deployed the Gamma Ray Observatory's radio antenna when it failed to do so automatically. In 1992, he flew aboard shuttle Endeavour and performed life science experiments. In 1994, Apt was part of the first Space Radar Laboratory. This lab studied the Earth. In 1996, Apt flew aboard shuttle Atlantis and visited the Russian Mir space station.

Apt currently resides in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania and is the Executive Director of the Carnegie Mellon Electricity Industry Center.

And of course....

The Space Shuttle itself! Hello STS-47!

Spacelab-J -- a joint NASA and National Space Development Agency of Japan (NASDA) mission utilizing a manned Spacelab module -- conducted microgravity investigations in materials and life sciences. The international crew, consisting of the first Japanese astronaut to fly aboard the Shuttle, the first African-American woman to fly in space and the first married couple to fly on the same space mission, was divided into red and blue teams for around the clock operations. Spacelab-J included 24 materials science and 20 life sciences experiments, of which 35 were sponsored by NASDA, 7 by NASA and 2 collaborative efforts.

Materials science investigations covered such fields as biotechnology, electronic materials, fluid dynamics and transport phenomena, glasses and ceramics, metals and alloys, and acceleration measurements. Life sciences included experiments on human health, cell separation and biology, developmental biology, animal and human physiology and behavior, space radiation, and biological rhythms. Test subjects included the crew, Japanese koi fish (carp), cultured animal and plant cells, chicken embryos, fruit flies, fungi and plant seeds, and frogs and frog eggs.

Twelve Get Away Special (GAS) canisters (10 with experiments, 2 with ballast) were carried in the payload bay. Middeck experiments were: Israeli Space Agency Investigation About Hornets (ISAIAH), Solid Surface Combustion Experiment (SSCE), Shuttle Amateur Radio Experiment (SAREX II), Air Force Maui Optical Site (AMOS), and Ultraviolet Plume Imager (UVPI).
STS-47 Endeavour crewmembers and backup payload specialists, wearing clean suits, pose for a group portrait in the Spacelab Japan module. Kneeling, from left, are backup Payload Specialist Chiaki Naito-Mukai; Mission Specialist N. Jan Davis; and backup Payload Specialist Takao Doi. Standing, from the left, are Pilot Curtis L. Brown,Jr; MS and Payload Commander Mark C. Lee; MS Jerome Apt; Payload Specialist Mamoru Mohri; Commander Robert L. Gibson; MS Mae C. Jemison; and backup Payload Specialist Stanely L. Koszelak. Mohri, Mukai, and Doi represent the National Space Development Agency of Japan NASDA.

Amongst the GAS Cansisters was G-102 Sponsored by the Boy Scouts of America's Exploring Division in cooperation with the TRW Systems Integration Group, Fairfax, Va. The project was named Project POSTAR which was the first space experiment created entirely by members of the Boy Scouts of America.


Of note: First on-time Shuttle launch since November 1985. First Japanese astronaut. First African-American woman to fly in space. First married couple to fly on the same space mission Manned seven crew. Carried Spacelab-J with microgravity and biology experiments. Payloads: Spacelab-J, nine getaway special canister experiments, Israel Space Agency Investigation About Hornets (ISAIAH), Shuttle Amateur Radio Experiment (SAREX) II, Solid Surface Combus-tion Experiment (SSCE).