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.
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.
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.
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.