Wednesday, July 18, 2012

As a teacher, I am always looking for ways to incorporate real life science into my lessons.  The opportunity that I had last summer working in Dr. Shin's lab allowed me to discuss the science that I was actually doing.   The students were impressed by the poster that I had on the wall.  The students used it as a reference when they were looking at the shapes of molecules.  I used the experiment that we designed in the lab with my students.  They were able to look at the effects of intermolecular forces on viscosity.  The hardest part for the students was doing the calculations.  This made me realize that I need to make a more concerted effort to teach them to conversions throughout the school year.  Some of the worst mistakes can be made when scientists do not know how to do conversions.  However, doing this experiment gave them an opportunity to compare the viscosity measurement that I made in the lab during summer to their own experimental value.  I plan on doing this lab next year with a few modifications.  It was great experience to work in the lab and be able to bring something new back to my students.

Friday, July 6, 2012

Dear Teachers,
I am trying to upload my poster on the blog but I do not see a file attachment icon.  Let me know if you have any luck with that.
I went to a great presentation by Dr. Brent Stucker about the 7 methods of Additive manufacturing (building parts by 3D printing) being done here at Speed School.     Maybe if we can get machines to form all of the parts we won't have to outsource so many jobs.
Thanks for letting visit your labs and see the other research being done as well.  I became entrenched in my own little world for 4 weeks and really did not understand the other projects until I visited the lab.
I hope to be able to schedule the Louisville Area Science Alliances to either visit the University or maybe have the grad students give their presnetations to us. It would definitely help get our students interested and answer the life long question of "Why do we have to learn this?"

Tuesday, July 3, 2012


Wow! Such a simple word that doesn't even begin to describe my experience this summer at the University of Kentucky with Dr. Shin and Nolan. I have learned so much about lab technique, sterile technique, research based learning, research in general, functioning in a lab to get things done and working to accomplish a huge task on a short timeline. If you're reading this and are considering a Summer Fellowship with UK or UofL, sign up immediately! The knowledge you will gain far outweighs the time off that most teachers allegedly "have off" during the summer. I can't think of a better way to spend my time than with the wonderful folks that haved guided me and partnered with me to make things better for me and my kids!

Thursday, June 28, 2012

I am Jeff Wright and I teach physics at Louisville Male High School.   During this fellowship I have been working with Dr. McNamara and researching Knudsen pumps.  These pumps create a pressure difference across a membrane with nanopores in them.  These small pores do not allow molecules to collide as they pass through, so if a temperature gradient is created on either side of the membrane, gases will flow from the more dense cold side of the membrane to the less dense hot reservoir.  Alex, a Speed School student, is trying to develop a Knudsen pump which will administer medicine without electricity and just using body heat to create the temperature difference.  Fiaz, a doctoral student, is trying to use thermal electrics which get hot on one side and cold on the other, as the pump membrane.
I have constructed several Knudsen pumps using different materials for membranes.  Now that the poster has been constructed, this week I will be writing lesson plans which include a simulation in which the students walk near a door opening symbolizing hot and cold gas molecules and the door a nanopore in a membrane.  I also have a computer simulation from PhET which is a good model.  I now have to find inexpensive materials the students can use to build the Knudsen pumps.   This may include concrete and agar for membranes,  cola cans for heat sinking aluminum, light bulbs for heaters,  rubber cement or caulk for glue.   I am not sure what to use for tubing yet and it is $250 a roll.   Surprisingly the technology is not a problem because the Gas Pressure sensors from Vernier which connect to Lab Pro and Lab Quest seem to measure these small pressures well enough to see a pressure drop.  Some tubing taped to a ruler has been adequate enough to use as a flow rate monitor.  I just have to start testing all of these "home made" supplies one at a time to see if they will work in the classroom.

4th Annual Engineering Platforms EPSCoR Initiative Conference

The 4th Annual Engineering Platforms for Cellular and Molecular Signaling EPSCoR Conference will be held July 3rd.

Shumaker Research Building, rm 139

University of Louisville

Oral Presentations in morning
Yummy buffet lunch
Cleanroom tour
 Poster presentations over desserts
Please come join us.

Monday, June 25, 2012

New Experiences

Hello all,

My name is Chris Williamson and I'm from Western KY, Union County to be exact. I accepted this fellowship position with little to no background information about the field of nanotechnology or micro-sensors. When I received the description of my lab, I was even more clueless as to what I would be researching during my tenure. We are now into the 3rd week, and I believe I have it figured out; however, I have been seemingly unable to truly describe what I'm doing to anyone other than my supervisor, or the other students with whom I have collaborated. My hope is that will change by the end of this week, preparing me for our presentations next week.

Essentially my goal for this one month period is to test the durability and reliability of simple circuit structures on a silicon gel or PDMS substrate. The idea, as I found reading various articles pertaining to micro-sensors, is to ultimately create a patch that will allow doctors to check vitals, physical therapists to track the progression of a muscle, or you to just keep up with your heart rate while exercising, by simply attaching a patch, full of these micro circuits, and that this patch will send all this information to whomever requires it, over a wireless. It sounds like a great plan and would help to revolutionize being sick, or injured, or just curious. It would allow us to live our lives, and not be cooped up in a hospital attached to 10 different machines, and countless tubes.

This week, I really hope to actually transcend the design phase and enter the building and testing phase of some of these. My thoughts are that the more bends and turns in the circuit, the more durable and reliable it will be, simply because it will have just a little more "give" than something that is straight. Here goes nothing!

Hope everyone is working diligently and successfully towards their end goal.

-- Chris

Thursday, May 24, 2012

HSTFP Alumni - need your help

Hi Everyone,
I hope your school semesters are winding down and you are looking forward to the summer.

We are currently in our 3rd year of the HSTFP program and looking forward to a new group of teachers to interact with.

In the meantime we are putting together a report of our efforts and would like to learn from you how you have used your experience from the HSTFP program in your classroom. Please include how many students you have interacted with on this topic and any demographics you are willing to share.

We are looking forward to hearing from you and please keep us up to date on what you may need from us to help you in the classroom.

Andi Gobin