Year of Science

Year of Science Question of the Month: Can You Think of a New Year’s Resolution to Improve Both Your Health and the Environment?

For each month in 2009—the Year of Science — we pose a question related to science.

The theme for December is Celebrate Science and Health. Since science and health are at the core of pretty much everything EPA does, it’s a perfect theme to wrap up Year of Science activities!

Can you think of a New Year’s resolution you want to make that are good for both your health and the environment?

Editor's Note: The opinions expressed here are those of the author. They do not reflect EPA policy, endorsement, or action, and EPA does not verify the accuracy or science of the contents of the blog.

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Year of Science Question of the Month: What is Green Chemistry?

For each month in 2009, the Year of Science — we pose a question related to science. Please let us know your thoughts as comments, and feel free to respond to earlier comments, or post new ideas.

The Year of Science theme for November is Chemistry. Green chemistry—also known as sustainable chemistry—is the design of chemical products and processes that reduce or eliminate the use or generation of hazardous substances. It applies across the life cycle, including the design, manufacture, and use of a chemical product.

If you could be a green chemist, what would be the first product you would want to invent or develop?

Editor's Note: The opinions expressed here are those of the author. They do not reflect EPA policy, endorsement, or action, and EPA does not verify the accuracy or science of the contents of the blog.

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Year of Science Question of the Month: What Information Could You Use?

For each month in 2009, the Year of Science — we will pose a question related to science. Please let us know your thoughts as comments, and feel free to respond to earlier comments, or post new ideas.

The Year of Science theme for October is Geosciences and Planet Earth.

Geoscientists study the composition, structure, and other physical aspects of the Earth. An environmental atlas is a product of geosciences.

What would you like to see in an Environmental Atlas about a place that you are familiar with?

Editor's Note: The opinions expressed here are those of the author. They do not reflect EPA policy, endorsement, or action, and EPA does not verify the accuracy or science of the contents of the blog.

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Science Wednesday: Into the Future: Celebrating the Year of Science and Children’s Health Month

Each week we write about the science behind environmental protection. Previous Science Wednesdays.
I’ve never been much of a multitasker. Perhaps it stems from my preferred mode of transportation. As a bike commuter, texting on the way to work is really out of the question. So, I was really stressing when I realized today’s Science Wednesday blog post had to pull double-duty: follow the year-long pattern of aligning topics for the first post of the month with the 12 themes for Year of Science, and helping EPA celebrate October as Children’s Health month.

Then I checked out this month’s Year of Science theme: “GeoSciences and Planet Earth.” Piece of cake. What do EPA research efforts in geoscience and planet earth have to do with children’s health? A lot, actually. (Thanks for asking!)

To start, EPA is helping lead a national and international effort to build the Global Earth Observation System of Systems (GEOSS), a vast, coordinated network of earth observations, environmental monitoring technologies, datasets, and tools. GEOSS will bring together existing and new hardware and software, making it all compatible in order to supply data and information to environmental managers and health officials.

GEOSS promises to pay big dividends, including reducing disasters, helping people better manage the risk of Lyme disease, and improved water and air quality forecasting.

What makes these benefits particularly important for children’s health is that children, for a variety of reasons including their small size, behavior, and the fact that they are still growing, are often at greater risk to environmental threats than us big people.

Harnessing the collective power of a wealth of geoscience efforts is a great investment in the future of our children. But come to think of it, I’m not sure there are any EPA research efforts that don’t, at least in some way, benefit children. Keep an eye on Science Wednesday throughout the month to read about more examples, from EPA’s Children’s Environmental Health Centers, to a recent report highlighting a decade of children’s environmental health research from EPA’s Science to Achieve Results Program.

About the Author: Aaron Ferster is the chief science writer in EPA’s Office of Research and Development. He is the Science Wednesday editor, and a regular contributor.

Editor's Note: The opinions expressed here are those of the author. They do not reflect EPA policy, endorsement, or action, and EPA does not verify the accuracy or science of the contents of the blog.

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Year of Science Question of the Month: How Do You Think Biodiversity Affects You?

For each month in 2009, the Year of Science — we will pose a question related to science. Please let us know your thoughts as comments, and feel free to respond to earlier comments, or post new ideas.

The Year of Science theme for September is Biodiversity and Conservation. Biodiversity is a catch-all term that refers to the variety of life at all levels, from the range of genes within in a breeding population (more genetic diversity helps to prevent inbreeding problems), to how many different species there are, all the way to the variety of different ecosystems. EPA scientists are exploring how biodiversity is linked to human health and well being.

How do you think biodiversity affects you?

Editor's Note: The opinions expressed here are those of the author. They do not reflect EPA policy, endorsement, or action, and EPA does not verify the accuracy or science of the contents of the blog.

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Year of Science Question of the Month: How is climate change affecting the things you care about, and how do you think it will affect what you care about in the future?

For each month in 2009, the Year of Science—we will pose a question related to science. Please let us know your thoughts as comments, and feel free to respond to earlier comments, or post new ideas.

The Year of Science theme for August is Weather and Climate.

How is climate change affecting the things you care about, and how do you think it will affect what you care about in the future?

Editor's Note: The opinions expressed here are those of the author. They do not reflect EPA policy, endorsement, or action, and EPA does not verify the accuracy or science of the contents of the blog.

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Science Wednesday: Year of Science-Question of the Month

Each week we write about the science behind environmental protection. Previous Science Wednesdays.

For each month in 2009, the Year of Science—we will pose a question related to science. Please let us know your thoughts as comments, and feel free to respond to earlier comments, or post new ideas.

The Year of Science theme for July is “Celebrate Astronomy“.

Just over 40 years ago the image known as Earthrise was published. It was the first photograph taken of Earth from Deep Space.

How does seeing a photograph of Earth taken from Space change your thinking about the environment?

Editor's Note: The opinions expressed here are those of the author. They do not reflect EPA policy, endorsement, or action, and EPA does not verify the accuracy or science of the contents of the blog.

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Science Wednesday: Science is Cool

Each week we write about the science behind environmental protection. Previous Science Wednesdays.

Imagine powering your computer using an energy cell fueled by cow manure. Or using gold dust as the key ingredient in a glamorous yet inexpensive sunscreen?

These products aren’t so far away, and the minds behind these amazing ideas are students between 14-18 years old. Over 1,500 high school students met in Reno, NV last month to showcase their independent research at the world’s premiere pre-collegiate science competition – the Intel International Science and Engineering Fair.

Forget about the blue ribbon and $20 gift certificate for the homemade volcano. These kids were bringing some serious science: biochemistry, electrical and mechanical engineering, environmental management, nuclear and particle physics, cellular and molecular biology, and medicine and health sciences—just to name a few.

Because it looked like such an amazing opportunity for EPA’s Year of Science 2009, activities, I wrote a proposal that would include EPA in the 2009 ISEF as a Special Awards presenter. EPA’s award included an all-expense-paid trip to Washington, D.C. to attend the P3: People, Planet and Prosperity Student Design Competition for Sustainability and display their project on the national mall.

High school sophomore Ryan Alexander was the winner of EPA’s 2009 Sustainability Award with his outstanding project, Gone with the Windmills: An Analysis of the Effectiveness of an Oscillating Wind Energy Generator. Our judges were blown away with this guy (okay, pun intended). Not only was he brilliant (he is skipping the next 2 years of high school to attend college) but he was a poised, charismatic salesman. Ryan was pitching his project with the prowess of a seasoned CEO. We joked about buying stock in his future company.

The best part of my experience at the competition was interacting with the students. After all, they were just kids, but to hear their casual conversations was inspiring. They joked about algorithms and played anagram games. Here, the quintessential nerd did not exist. There were no classifications, just regular people who felt that science and knowledge was the status quo. It reminded me of something I felt at a much less prestigious science fair I participated in many years ago. You can’t let anyone tell you that science is just for people who wear dorky glasses and study quantum physics all the time. Science allows you to appreciate more about the world. By learning and studying it, you can understand anything from how to program a video game to how wormholes might connect possible alternate universes. It even energizes people about manure. How can you say that is not cool?!

About the author: Patrick Hurd  joined EPA in September, 2008 and is an intern in the S.T.E.P. program. He has a background in marine biology and is currently working with the Science Communications Staff in the Office of Research and Development.

Editor's Note: The opinions expressed here are those of the author. They do not reflect EPA policy, endorsement, or action, and EPA does not verify the accuracy or science of the contents of the blog.

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Science Wednesday: Year of Science-Question of the Month

Each week we write about the science behind environmental protection. Previous Science Wednesdays.

For each month in 2009, the Year of Science—we will pose a question related to science. Please let us know your thoughts as comments, and feel free to respond to earlier comments, or post new ideas.

The Year of Science theme for June is “Celebrate the Ocean and Water.”

Many EPA scientists celebrate the Ocean and Water by studying how to protect them and keep them clean for human and ecosystem health.

Now that summer is here, how do you plan to celebrate the ocean and water in the coming months?

Editor's Note: The opinions expressed here are those of the author. They do not reflect EPA policy, endorsement, or action, and EPA does not verify the accuracy or science of the contents of the blog.

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Students for Climate Action: Celebrate the Year of Science

Go to EPA's Science Month pageAbout the Author: Loreal Crumbley, a senior at George Mason University, is an intern with EPA’s Environmental Education Division through EPA’s Student Temporary Employment Program (STEP).

EPA works to increase public awareness on many issues. This year EPA is collaborating with a grassroots network called the Coalition on the Public Understanding of Science (COPUS) to initiate activism through science. The Year of Science 2009 is a year long nationwide initiative that encourages Americans to engage in activities that are related to science. For the past four months and the remainder of the year we will be celebrating the marvels of science as well as how we use science to protect ourselves and our environment.

Each month has a theme. EPA has a very informative site that highlights the theme for each month, and EPA environmental science events and activities. There are blog postings written by experts on the subject, along with podcasts, activities, and contests for people to join in and celebrate science.

These sites have helped me stay involved in celebrating this wonderful year of science!! May’s theme is Sustainability and the Environment. In order to celebrate sustainability we must celebrate the individuals and communities that have found ground-breaking ways to promote and live in balance with the environment. EPA’s website allows people from all over the country to post ideas on how to celebrate science.

You still have plenty of time left to get involved in the Year of Science. The remaining theme’s are:

  • June: Ocean and Water
  • July: Astronomy
  • August: Weather and Climate
  • September: Biodiversity and Conservation
  • October: Geosciences and Planet Earth
  • November: Chemistry
  • December: Science and Health

If you haven’t started celebrating The Year of Science 2009, don’t worry there are still seven more months left to become informed and involved!! Let us know how you celebrate science.

Editor's Note: The opinions expressed here are those of the author. They do not reflect EPA policy, endorsement, or action, and EPA does not verify the accuracy or science of the contents of the blog.

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