Q&A with Boaz Almog

February 21st, 2012 - Posted in 2012, Dimensions, Q&A by Emily Schuster

Interviewed by Joelle Seligson

This interview appeared in the March/April 2012 issue of Dimensions magazine.

Picture a steaming air hockey puck spinning in a circle while floating in midair. This strange vision resembles a phenomenon demonstrated by Tel Aviv University’s Superconductivity Group at the 2011 ASTC Annual Conference in Baltimore last October. The “floating puck” was in fact a crystal wafer coated with a thin layer of ceramic material and cooled to -301˚ F (-185˚ C). At that point it becomes a superconductor, conducting electricity without resistance or energy loss—unlike the copper wires often used in electrical devices, which inefficiently cast off some electricity as it flows through.

Although superconductivity was discovered a century ago by Dutch physicist Heike Kamerlingh Onnes, the researchers at Tel Aviv University were the first to create a thin superconductor using high-quality materials. They also discovered that the improved features of this new applied superconductor enabled it to levitate.

The result, called quantum levitation, looks like a scene in a futuristic film, perhaps explaining why a video of the demonstration went viral, earning 5 million views within a week. Tel Aviv University physicist Boaz Almog, who is heard explaining the phenomenon in the video, talked with Dimensions about superconductivity’s past, present, and future.

Read the full transcript, or listen to the podcast.

About the image: Members of Tel Aviv University’s Superconductivity Group (from left to right: Guy Deutscher, Barak Deutscher, Mishael Azoulay, and Boaz Almog) demonstrate quantum levitation. Photo courtesy Boaz Almog

Q&A with Clarence Sirisena

January 3rd, 2012 - Posted in 2012, Dimensions, Q&A by Emily Schuster

Interviewed by Joelle Seligson

This interview appeared in the January/February 2012 issue of Dimensions magazine.

From collaborations to chopped-up mannequins, Clarence Sirisena, assistant chief executive in projects and exhibitions at Science Centre Singapore (SCS), finds innovative approaches to traveling exhibitions. His research on this topic—and his efforts to share knowledge with other science centers—earned him ASTC’s 2011 Roy L. Shafer Leading Edge Award for Experienced Leadership in the Field. Between his work at SCS and with institutions worldwide, Sirisena found time to discuss his discoveries.

Read the full transcript, or listen to the podcast.

About the image: Clarence Sirisena (far right) with Lim Tit Meng (left), chief executive of Science Centre Singapore, and Christoph Rahofer, president and CEO of EMS Exhibits, at the opening of Dinosaurs—Live!, on display at SCS through February 26, 2012. Photo courtesy SCS

Q&A with Helen Augare

October 31st, 2011 - Posted in 2011, Dimensions, Q&A by Emily Schuster

Interviewed by Joelle Seligson

This interview appeared in the November/December 2011 issue of Dimensions magazine.

The director of the Blackfeet Native Science Field Center on traditional knowledge, Western science, and understanding our place in the world

In high school, she took an interest in science; at the University of Montana, she pursued business. Today, Helen Augare utilizes her modern studies while staying true to her roots. As director of the Blackfeet Native Science Field Center in Browning, Montana, she helps youth learn both Western science and traditional knowledge while connecting to the natural world. As a Native American, she emphasizes respecting the land and beings around us, recognizing that—even as we continue to pursue knowledge—humans can’t control everything.

Read the full transcript, or listen to the podcast.

Image courtesy the Blackfeet Native Science Field Center

Q&A with Ayman Elsayed

September 1st, 2011 - Posted in 2011, Dimensions, Q&A by Emily Schuster

Ayman Elsayed

Interviewed by Joelle Seligson

This interview appeared in the September/October 2011 issue of Dimensions magazine.

The deputy director of the Library of Alexandria’s Planetarium Science Center on global partners, local heroes, and surviving a revolution

Egypt’s cultural and educational institutions were not spared the chaos in the country early this year. Looters broke into Cairo’s Egyptian Museum and other sites during the revolution, stealing and smashing ancient treasures. Yet, thanks to an inspiring demonstration, the Planetarium Science Center (PSC) at the Library of Alexandria came out unharmed.

Ayman Elsayed, deputy director of the center and ASTC’s 2010 Lee Kimche McGrath Worldwide Fellow, will attend the 2011 ASTC Annual Conference in Baltimore, October 15–18. He tells his institution’s story, and discusses how working together benefits science centers worldwide.

Read the full transcript, or listen to the podcast.

Q&A with Michael Specter

June 20th, 2011 - Posted in 2011, Dimensions, Q&A by Emily Schuster

Michael SpecterInterviewed by Joelle Seligson

This interview appeared in the July/August 2011 issue of Dimensions magazine.

The science writer and ASTC 2011 speaker on denialism, vaccine phobia, and why organic food won’t save the world

In the face of today’s massive organic movement, Michael Specter lauds synthetic drugs and genetically modified foods. Specter, staff writer at the New Yorker and author of the 2009 book Denialism: How Irrational Thinking Hinders Scientific Progress, Harms the Planet, and Threatens Our Lives, does not factor political correctness into his crusade to conquer fear with facts.

Here’s a taste of what he’ll discuss as a featured speaker at the 2011 ASTC Annual Conference in Baltimore, hosted by the Maryland Science Center, October 15–18.

Read the full transcript, or listen to the podcast.

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