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The Arthur Ross Terrace will be closed this morning, Tuesday, October 21, for a private cultural observance. You many observe smoke and/or fire coming from the Terrace at that time. The FDNY has been notified in advance, and all safety precautions are in place. The Terrace will reopen at 1 pm.

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abby

Young Naturalist Award Winner Investigates How Dirty Dogs’ Mouths Really Are

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Thirteen-year-old Abby and her mother always disagreed on one point: should Abby let their dog lick her when she returned from school? “Abby! Don’t let the dog lick you,” her mother would scold. “Her tongue is full of bacteria!”

Determined to learn the truth about the level of bacteria in her dog’s mouth, Abby applied for a research grant at the State Hygienic Lab at the University of Iowa. When the lab accepted her proposal and paired her with researcher Gabriella Gerken, Abby began collecting dog and human saliva samples for her investigation. Her findings, detailed in the essay Are Dogs’ Tongues Really Cleaner Than Humans’?, received a 2011 Young Naturalist Award.

Tags: Young Naturalist Awards

Astronauts Share Details From Era-Ending Shuttle Mission with Museum Visitors

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Hundreds of visitors gathered in the Museum’s Dorothy and Lewis B. Cullman Hall of the Universe on Tuesday morning to meet the four astronauts from NASA’s final shuttle mission, Atlantis’s STS-135. Commander Chris Ferguson, Pilot Doug Hurley, and Mission Specialists Sandy Magnus and Rex Walheim made their first New York appearance at the Museum since their return from space on July 21.

Tags: Hayden Planetarium, NASA, Rose Center for Earth and Space

botfly

Curious Collections: A Borne Botfly

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As he hiked out of his field site in French Guiana in August 1999, Curator Rob Voss was heedlessly unaware of freeloaders hitched to his back. But soon after returning to New York, he felt pinpricks and noticed that two red spots were widening. He sought help.

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Podcast

Podcast: SciCafe: Hidden Reptiles of Madagascar

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After more than 200 years of exploration, scientists are still discovering new species of snakes, chameleons, geckos, and skinks in Madagascar, the fourth-largest island in the world.

In this podcast from this summer’s SciCafe, Christopher Raxworthy, associate curator in the Department of Herpetology, discusses the mix of modern technologies and “muddy boots” field biology that makes these discoveries possible.

Dr. Raxworthy’s talk was recorded at the Museum on June 11, 2011.

Podcast: Download | RSS | iTunes ( 1 hour, 4 mins, 77 MB)

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aidan

Linking Trees’ Fibonacci Sequence to Solar Power Wins Student A Young Naturalist Award

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When 13-year-old Aidan took a winter hike through the Catskill Mountains, he noticed something spectacular about the bare trees. “I thought trees were a mess of tangled branches,” he would later recall, “But [then] I saw a pattern in the way the tree branches grew.”

Armed with a protractor, Aidan measured the angles of the branches and discovered they grew in a Fibonacci sequence—a mathematical pattern that can be observed throughout nature, from the curve of nautilus shells to the spirals of galaxies. In this famous sequence, each number is the sum of the previous two: 0, 1, 1, 2, 3, 5, 8, continuing infinitely. Could this branch pattern help trees absorb more sunlight? Aidan’s pursuit of that question in his essay The Secret of the Fibonacci Sequence in Trees earned him a 2011 Young Naturalist Award.

Tags: Young Naturalist Awards

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