Tag Archives: University of Tulsa

Summer of Science

How about a summer of science for your high schooler (or 8th grader)?!?! OK Higher Ed is offering a fantastic opportunity for students who will be in 8th-12th grade next year. It’s called the Summer Academies.

A total of 26 academies will be held at 17 college campuses across the state throughout the summer.  Topics include biology, engineering, math, aeronautics, meteorology…you know, all the STEM stuff. Best of all, it’s FREE!!!

Check out these quotes from former academy attendees courtesy of OKMath.

“No field of study has started a fire within me like architecture and interior design has. Your enthusiasm for my ideas and designs was new and exciting for me.”

“This is the best thing I will ever do this whole entire summer.”

“College doesn’t seem as unimaginable as before. I will definitely be going to college.”

OKMath also reports, “a greater percentage of Summer Academies students go to college immediately after high school than compared to other students.” Also, “Summer Academies students earn degrees at a higher rate than other students.”

Click here to register and see a full list of academies being offered. You can also call 1-800-858-1840 for more information.

And remember, it’s FREE!!

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A Geologic Tour

Dr. Jim Derby is a geologist who has taught at the University of Tulsa and worked in the petroleum industry. He knows a thing or two about rocks.

He gave me a tour of the geology around his house. The cool thing is you can find similar features in the rocks at your home…fossils, traces of long dead organisms, maybe even some dino droppings.

Bedbugs, Bats, and Cavemen

News On 6 in Tulsa had an interesting story about research being done on the evolution of bedbugs. It says Dr. Warren Booth, a University of Tulsa biology professor, has evidence that bedbugs first evolved to feed off bats in caves. Eventually, early humans lived in the caves and some bedbugs branched off to feed on the humans. The story refers to the early humans as cavemen and says bedbug evolution took place about 250,000 years ago. That would mean the “cavemen” could be Homo erectus, Homo heidelbergensis, or even Neanderthals.

What I think is cool is how this story punctuates why it’s important to study evolution. Here’s a quote from the story, “We need to understand the evolutionary history of the organisms before we can bring it right down to what’s happening here,” said Booth. I’ve heard too many people question why we should study evolution. Dr. Booth says it right there, basically you have to know where you’ve been before you know where to go.

Thank you News On 6 for highlighting an Oklahoma scientist and the important research being done right here.

What Scientists Think About Science Education

So what do scientists think about science education in this country? I’ve talked with a number of Oklahoma scientists over the past several months and they all seem to say the same thing…not enough critical thinking and too much meddling by politicians. As one biology prof. told me, “If they stay out of it and let the teachers teach we’d be fine.”

This video has comments from four Oklahoma scientists. In order of appearance…

Dr. Richard Cifelli– Paleontologist, University of Oklahoma and Curator for the Sam Noble Oklahoma Museum of Natural History

Dr. Charles Brown– Biologist, University of Tulsa

Dr. Amanda Falk– Paleoornithologist- Southwestern Oklahoma State University

Dr. Richard Broughton– Assistant Professor at the Oklahoma Biological Survey and in the Department of Zoology at the University of Oklahoma

 

This Scientist is OK- Dr. Jim Derby

Dr. Jim Derby is a geologist. He’s worked in the petroleum industry and taught at the University of Tulsa. He’s very proud of the textbook he authored about the geology that makes up most of North America. I always enjoy getting the chance to speak with him. He’s definitely an OK scientist.

This Scientist Is OK- Dr. Charles Brown

Dr. Charles Brown is a professor at the University of Tulsa. He studies cliff swallows in the state of Nebraska. He’s the latest in my This Scientist is OK series.

Dr. Brown has had a front row seat to evolution for the past 30 years. He says natural selection has changed the body of the birds as they adjust to living among cars and trucks. At the 1:57 mark he talks about how climate change has impacted the birds. It’s forcing them to mate earlier in the season and it’s having an impact on their diet. He says, “I have been surprised at how easy it has been to document natural selection over relatively short time frames.” How about that?!?!

We also talk about the scientific method. He calls science a discovery process, “Science is about what you don’t know and it’s about the ability to ask questions based on what you do know.” What a great way to put it.

I really like hearing when the men and women of science figured out they wanted to be scientists. Dr. Brown says he was six years old when he knew he wanted to study birds. He’s definitely an OK scientist.