The above video of then 8th grader Michael Koehler from Pennsylvania explaining Bernoulli’s Principle was my first introduction to the Discovery Education 3M Young Scientist Challenge, the nation’s premier science competition for middle school students. At that time, in 2008, the students were asked to explain scientific principles and Michael was a finalist for his submission, moving on to the in person competition. I was charmed by his presentation and shared it originally on my first incarnation of Joanne Loves Science.
My son, Andy, is home from graduate school, where he is studying atmospheric sciences, specifically researching climate change issues. These are two of the books I see he brought to read (checked out from the library, no less): Broca’s Brain: Reflections on the Romance of Science by Carl Sagan, and one that has me intrigued– Nothing Feels Good: Punk Rock, Teenagers, and Emo. Over the years, he has played bass in several bands, including some that might be characterized as Emo, and others as some sort of “death metal”, so a book looking at the phenomenon in teens about those musical influences doesn’t surprise me.
He is a big Carl Sagan fan, and I suppose I am to blame/thank. One night when he was 19 years old, he came to my room and said his friends had suggested he read some books by Carl Sagan and then asked if I had any. All I had to do was to reach over to my night stand and hand him Demon-Haunted World: Science as a Candle in the Dark.
So inspired by that book was he that he recently acquired a tattoo with some very apt imagery:
It’s an impressive piece of art on his arm there, even though I’m not a tattoo wearer myself. I mean, if you have to have a tattoo that reflects who you are at your core, then I’m really pleased that this is who my son has become.