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brian fisher johnson

Benchmarks: June 30, 1972: Timekeepers add first "leap second" to clocks

On June 30, 1972, at exactly 11:59 p.m. and 60 seconds, timekeepers did something most people only dream about: They added more time to the day.
 
30 Jun 2010

Down to Earth With: Katerina Dontsova

Soil scientist Katerina Dontsova didn’t imagine she would be working at one of the nation’s most famous laboratories when she arrived at Purdue University in West Lafayette, Ind., from the Ukraine as an undergraduate exchange student in 1993. But after earning a doctorate in soil chemistry from Purdue and working as a contractor for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers in Mississippi, Dontsova did just that, landing a job at Biosphere 2, outside Tucson, Ariz., in 2008.

01 Jun 2010

Down to Earth With: Mike Gallagher

Mike Gallagher is not your typical science educator. After spending three years as a researcher and field geologist with the U.S. Geological Survey in Menlo Park, Calif., Gallagher decided to become a teacher after budget cuts at USGS in the late 1980s encouraged him to reconsider his career track. Gallagher went on to earn a Washington state teaching certificate (while renting a place in the belfry of a local church). As a teacher in Washington, Gallagher engaged his students with hands-on science research projects: By 1999, two of his students had even presented their research on the water quality of a local stream to then-Governor Gary Locke, who is now secretary of commerce. A windsurfer in his spare time, Gallagher now works for Michigan’s Oakland Intermediate School District, advising districts and teachers on how to improve their science education programs.

02 Feb 2010

Down to Earth With: Michael Novacek

When it comes to fossil hunting, Michael Novacek has just about seen it all. As a paleontologist, senior vice president and provost of science at the American Museum of Natural History in New York City, Novacek has braved everything from Andean snowstorms to Yemeni bandits in his quest for fossils. Somewhere, he found time to write two books about his expeditions: “Dinosaurs of the Flaming Cliffs” (1996) and “Time Traveler” (2002). Novacek recently chatted with EARTH reporter Brian Fisher Johnson about his experiences.

23 Apr 2009

Texas Board of Education votes to strike amendment questioning evolution

Blogging on EARTH

Evolution will still be taught in Texas. After months of proposed amendments, statements by special interest groups and lengthy debate, the Texas Board of Education voted 8-7 today to strike language from its curriculum that required students to “analyze and evaluate the sufficiency or insufficiency” of common ancestry, a major tenant of the theory of evolution.

27 Mar 2009

Down to Earth With: Maria Zuber

In 2011, a pair of orbiters will launch for the moon, making some of the most exact measurements yet of our satellite. Luckily for the orbiters, they’ll have Maria Zuber at the helm. A geophysicist at MIT, Zuber was recently named one of “America’s Best Leaders” last year by U.S. News & World Report for her role in establishing women in high-level science. The moon orbiters alone will make her one of the first women to lead a NASA robotic space mission. Recently, Zuber talked with EARTH reporter Brian Fisher Johnson about the mission, leadership and saving the economy.

23 Mar 2009

Down to Earth With: New congressional science fellows

Last month, a new Congress and president came to Washington, D.C. And with them came new staff, including five geoscience congressional science fellows. The fellows will take their scientific prowess to the Hill, and will use their training to work with senators, representatives and committees on policy issues. But the transition from field boot to suit jacket won’t be easy, they told EARTH reporter Brian Fisher Johnson.

23 Feb 2009

Down to Earth With: John Copeland

Movie effects have come a long way since the close-shot model explosions that made “Star Wars” a hit, and science documentaries are no exception, says John Copeland, a director and producer who has worked on such shows as “Babylon 5,” “Dinosaur Planet” and “When Dinosaurs Roamed America.” Copeland explains to EARTH reporter Brian Fisher Johnson how TV drama and computer effects have revolutionized the way documentarians portray science.

23 Jan 2009

Down to Earth With: Maurice J. 'Ric' Terman

A general wants to advance his army of tanks, but doesn’t know if the terrain he plans to cross will allow it. Tanks can’t go up steep slopes, for instance. And they can’t knock down large trees or traverse soft ground like peat bogs. That’s where military geologists come in — earth scientists who scope out the terrain to determine its suitability for different types of movement and construction.

23 Dec 2008

AGU: How scientists should talk climate change

Blogging on EARTH

SAN FRANCISCO — The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change's Fourth Assessment report last year showed a strong consensus among scientists that the climate is warming, thanks largely to anthropogenic greenhouse gases. So one has to wonder why scientists are still struggling to get that message through to both policymakers and stakeholders.

17 Dec 2008

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