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Tara Chklovski

Tara Chklovski

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The Beauty and Friendliness of Science

Posted: 02/ 1/11 10:39 AM ET

Difficulty with school math is often the first step of an invasive intellectual process that leads us all to define ourselves as bundles of aptitudes and ineptitudes, as being "mathematical" or "not mathematical", "artistic" or "not artistic", "musical" or "not musical", "profound" or "superficial", "intelligent" or "dumb". Thus deficiency becomes identity and learning is transformed from the early child's free exploration of the world to a chore beset by insecurities and self-imposed restrictions. - Seymour Papert in Mindstorms: Children, Computers, And Powerful Ideas.

We are a science-education nonprofit organization and our mission is to inspire children to be curious about the world and to experience the joys of finding things out.

We are exploring ways to change perceptions about science. One approach we have taken is to show that science is beautiful, friendly and accessible to all. We work with artists and scientists to develop beautiful images that tell a scientific story. We then design T-shirts with these images and nurture a culture of being curious and cool.

To begin, we chose three unusual topics that are not traditionally taught in K-12 science text books but are particularly effective at showing the beauty and friendliness of physics. The images and videos below show the design process the artist and scientists went through to identify and articulate their own perspectives on each topic.

Life in a Fluid

These images tell the story of Reynolds Number and how fluids such as air and water feel to creatures of different sizes.

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Physics behind MRIs

An MRI machine is a science and engineering marvel! Through these illustrations, we explain the process of creating an MRI.

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An electrical story

These images recount the exploits of a copper electron as it goes through different electricity generating machinery.

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How Things Work

Below is a mural of a fictional machine that illustrates the surprising engineering parallels between living and non-living things that move.

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Here are some pictures of our students sporting the different T-shirts and learning about the concepts through inquiry-based experiments.

The work above has been made possible by the generous support by the Office of Naval Research and the following engineers and scientists: Kevin Miklasz, Dr. John McArthur, Dr. Houchon Hu, Sinchai Tsao and Mike Simpson. The artwork has been designed by Ioana Urma.