Science In My Life is maintained by John R. Hoffman, Professor of Biology and a scientist examining the recovery of the nervous system after injury.

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3/17 Irène Joliot-Curie, Doppler Effect, and Brain Awareness Week

Irène Joliot-Curie died (1956)
Irène Joliot-Curie (1897 – 1956) was a French chemist who shared the 1935 Nobel Prize in chemistry with her husband Frédéric Joliot.  They synthesized new radioactive isotopes by bombarding stable non-radioactive atoms with alpha-particles (Helium nuclei).  In their process they converted  boron into nitrogen and aluminum into phosphorus.  Irène was the daughter of Marie and Pierre Curie, who received the Nobel Prize in Physics in 1903 for their work characterizing radioactivity.  Her mother Marie also won the Nobel Prize in Chemistry in 1911 for the discovery and characterization of the elements radium and polonium. (Image of Irène Joliot-Curie from Wikimedia Commons)

Christian Andreas Doppler died (1853)
Christian Andreas Doppler (1803- 1853) was an Austrian physicist who first described the “Doppler effect” to describe the shift in frequency of electromagnetic radiation coming from stars in relation to their movement away from the earth.  While first applied to astronomical phenomena, the Doppler effect is present in several modern events.  The Doppler shift in frequency is what causes the sound of a siren to have a higher pitch (frequency) when it is moving toward you than when it is moving away.  The Doppler effect is also used in radar imaging of storm fronts to obtain information about the direction and magnitude of winds.

Celebrating Brain Awareness Week (March 14 – 20, 2011)

Science NetLinks provides a wealth of resources for K-12 science educators, Science NetLinks is your guide to meaningful standards-based Internet experiences for students.   Science NetLinks is part of Thinkfinity, a partnership between the Verizon Foundation and 11 premier educational organizations. The Thinkfinity partners include the AAAS, the National Endowment for the Humanities, the National Council on Economic Education, the National Geographic Society, the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics, the International Reading Association, the National Council of Teachers of English, the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, the Smithsonian National Museum of American History, and the Literacy Network.

Activities from Science NetLinks for Brain Awareness Week  include The Busy Brain (Grades 3 – 5) to help students understand how the brain receives and sends signals to the body;  Coping with Changes (Grades 6 – 8) to help students understand how the nervous system allows us to learn, remember, and cope with changes in the environment; Diagnostic Imaging and the Brain (Grades 9 – 12) to help students understand the advantages, disadvantages, and potential of diagnostic imaging technologies in brain research; The Laughing Brain 1: How We Laugh - (Grades 9 – 12)   to explore gelotology (the science of laughter) and its benefits to our social, mental, and physical well-being; and, The Laughing Brain 2: A Good Laugh - (Grades 9 – 12)  to explore various theories about laughter, laughter’s effects on our mental health, and the benefits of laughter to our immune system.

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