January 11th, 2016

Solar Physics

sun2 Join us on Tuesday, January 19 for this month’s NMTC Science Café on Solar Physics. Graduating Towson University Honor student, Kielan Wilcomb, who has served as an intern at the Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Laboratory for two years, will explain what it means.

Solar physics, a branch of astrophysics, is the study of our Sun. This is important because the Earth would not have a livable habitat if it weren’t for the Sun. The food we eat exists because of sunlight falling on green plants, and the fuel we burn comes either from such plants, or was accumulated by them. We enjoy the warmth of the Sun that reaches us within 8 minutes. There are direct health benefits of limited sun exposure such as Vitamin D production, helping your circadian rhythm, lowering blood pressure, and improving your mood.

The importance of predicting space weather, solar flares and other solar phenomena is critical. Our climate is directly affected by solar winds. Disturbances in the solar wind can shake the Earth’s magnetic field and pump energy into the radiation belts. Regions on the surface of the Sun often flare and give off ultraviolet light and x-rays that heat up the Earth’s upper atmosphere. Excess radiation can physically damage satellites and pose a threat to astronauts. Shaking the Earth’s magnetic field can also cause current surges in power lines that destroy equipment and knock out power over large areas.

Did you know that the Northern Lights are caused by great storms on the sun sending gusts of charged solar particles hurtling through space? If Earth is in the path of the particle stream, our planet’s magnetic field and atmosphere react. When the charged particles from the sun strike atoms and molecules in Earth’s atmosphere, they excite those atoms, causing them to light up.
Ms. Wilcomb, National Science Foundation S-STEM Scholar and Vice President of Towson’s Student Physics Society, will help us understand these phenomena. Please come and enjoy a relaxed evening of discussion with others interested in the physics of our Sun.

What questions do you have about the sun?


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August 24th, 2015

School Lunch Woes

I’m excited for my daughter to go back to school. I love shopping for school supplies and finding just the right backpack for storing those supplies. What I do not love, though, is filling her lunchbag. My daughter’s school only offers a meal one day out of the week—thank goodness for pizza Wednesdays—so I will have to come up with something to feed her on the other four days. It needs to be portable, ready-to-eat, and appealing. As I’m not a fan of her own preferred menu, which I’m pretty sure would involve an exclusive diet of potato chips and Rice Krispie treats, it also needs to be healthy. That’s a tall order! Fortunately, the library has some resources to help me not just with school lunch but also with those weeknight meals, which we need to squeeze in between school, homework, and sports.

cool-lunchesCool Lunches to Make and Take: Easy Recipes for Kids to Cook by Lisa Wagner

 

If you want to involve your child in making his or her lunch, this book is a great choice with some simple recipes that even the youngest kid can make-—with help from a parent.

 

 

vegan-lunchVegan Lunch Box: 150 Amazing Animal-Free Lunches Kids and Grown-Ups Will Love by Jennifer McCann

 

Organized so you can pick quick lunches when you are short on time or more involved lunches when you do, this book might be helpful for schools with dietary restrictions.

 

 

 

superheroThe Official DC Super Hero Cookbook by Matthew Mead

 

Inspired by kids’ favorite super heroes, this book has ideas that might motivate a picky eater to gobble down a meal. Parents and children can work together to make meals; this book has ideas for regular meals, lunchboxes, and even parties.

 

 

everything-kidsThe Everything Cooking for Kids Cookbook by Ronni Litz Julien

 

When this book says everything, it means everything! There are ideas for toddlers, hearty before-school breakfasts, lunches, after-school snacks, energy-supplying fuel for sports practices, and no-fuss dinners.

 

 

We don’t just have books that can help, though. Using Zinio, you can download digital magazines right from home on a variety of subjects, including cooking!

 

food-networkThis month’s issue of Food Network Magazine includes an article on “fun baking”. You could whip up a batch of lemon bars to go in a lunchbox, or as a fun after-school treat.

 

 

 

 

 

family-circleCheck out Family Circle’s brain-boosting snacks, which might give kids a boost before homework time. This issue also includes 108 dinner ideas, perfect for when you’re feeling uninspired.

 

 

 

 

 

 

good-housekeepingGood Housekeeping provides ideas for healthy and delicious dinners in 20 minutes or less, to give you a better chance of avoiding the drive-through on those busy nights.

 

 

 

 

 

 

rachael-rayDinner just got easy—Rachael Ray has veggie packed quick meals, slow-cooker slam dunks, and ideas to cook an entire dinner on a sheet pan.

 

 

 

 

 

What are you planning to cook this school year?


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