2020-08-31 (Monday)

Today, I learned about:

There are so many interesting things happening outside our small Earth, in the vast space of the Cosmos. I recently took a course on the edX MOOC (massive open online course) from the mighty MIT, Massachusetts Institute of Technology. The course had the title “Introduction to Aerospace Engineering: Astronautics and Human Spaceflight.”

What made the course so exceptionally interesting was, besides the contents with plenty of video clips further to the traditional Power Point style lectures, that the teacher of the course was no one less than an ex-NASA astronaut, Jeffrey A. Hoffman. His first space flight was in the first servicing mission of the Hubble telescope in December, 1993, and after that he participated in four more missions to the international space station ISS. Only a live astronaut can make a course like this even more interesting by telling his personal experience of those missions. See also reference #1 below.

Astronauts Franklin Story Musgrave and Jeffrey Hoffman install corrective optics during the first service mission to the Hubble telescope in December 1993. Photo courtesy by NASA.

Another interesting fact about the big wide space was published in June, 2020, by Popular Mechanics. It is a story about how a pulsar prepared itself to eat up a nearby star and released an outburst of cosmic X-rays thousands of times brighter than the sun!

Astronomers captured the “power up” sequence of a pulsar right before it gobbled up gas and dust from a nearby star and shot a burst of X-rays into space. It is the first time they have captured this entire process before. The research, astronomers say, will help us understand how pulsar outbursts form. Photo courtesy by NASA.

That’s what I learned in school !

Ref.:

1: Hubble Space Telescope, Servicing Mission 1

*: What did you learn in school today ?

2018-07-10 (Tuesday)

Today, I learned that:

While I was attending the fantastic course about masterpieces of world literature at edX earlier today, you know the big and very elaborate e-learning site for millions of students, one of its videos showed how Alexander the Great spread Greek culture to the countries he had conquered, about 300 years BC. In this particular video, what most attracted my attention was when one of the lecturers, Martin Puchner, on site in Ephesus, on the current Turkey’s western coast, showed the large amphitheater with seating for 25 000 people that the conqueror had erected there. References 1, 2, and 3 give more details about the course, the video in question and also about Ephesus.

Coincidentally, I and my family visited Ephesus exactly 10 years ago today, on 2008-07-10. Besides the photo below of the amphitheater, there are some more pictures I took from this historical site. When we visited it, only 25 % had been excavated so far, hopefully it is more now, because it is really interesting stuff to see and hear about.

efesus1

This ancient amphitheater in Ephesus was erected by Alexander the Great, in his program to spread Greek culture to the world. It holds 25 000 spectators. Photo taken on 2008-07-10.

efesus2-5

Pictures from the ancient city of Ephesus. Besides the amphitheater, the glorious library in the lower right is well known. All photos taken on 2008-07-10.

Later today, our modern day version of popular theater, sports, will see billions of people attending the first of the two semifinals in FIFA World Cup 2018. After the tournament is over, in my next post I will give you my opinion about what needs to be done to improve football further, to make it even more dynamic and joyful.

That’s what I learned in school !

Refs.:

1: Masterpieces of World Literature

2: Alexander and the Dissemination of Greek Culture

3: Ephesus

*: What did you learn in school today ?

2016-02-01 (Monday)

Today, I learned that:

By entering the month of February, 2016, my blog is also entering its second calendar month. I wish to thank everyone for suggestions, compliments and even complaints, because that is the best way to progress. As you have seen from the posts from January, I like to vary the topics and hopefully there is a little something for everyone.

Although most people have not heard of it, there is a brand new material that is starting to gain space in our lives. The material, which is called graphene, is a two-dimensional atomic crystal made up of carbon atoms arranged in a hexagonal lattice. The first time that anyone was able to isolate graphene was in 2004, and already in 2010 the pioneers, Andre Geim and Kostya Novoselov, were awarded the Nobel Prize in Physics for their research. The following fantastic video, created by the Graphene Flagship Project is a perfect introduction, so I urge you to watch it:

The Graphene Flagship Project, launched in 2013, together with the Human Brain Project, are the first of the European Commission’s Future and Emerging Technology Flagships, whose mission is to address the big scientific and technological challenges of the age through long-term, multidisciplinary research and development efforts. The Graphene Flagship is coordinated by my alma mater Chalmers University of Technology, Gothenburg, Sweden.

The Graphene Flagship is tasked with bringing together academic and industrial researchers to take graphene from the realm of academic laboratories into European society in the space of 10 years, thus generating economic growth, new jobs and new opportunities. The core consortium consists of 142 academic and industrial research groups in 23 countries.

In 2015, I had the pleasure of participating in a MOOC ( Massive open online course ) offered by Chalmers within the EdX organization, one the most prestigious MOOC providers, founded by Harvard University and MIT in 2012. It was a tough course, but it gave me very interesting information about what graphene is, how we can produce it, and what we can use it for.

ChM001x, Introduction to Graphene Science and Technology - Certificate

The references below provide further information about graphene and its applications.

… That’s what I learned in school!

Refs.:

1: Graphene Flagship

2: Introducing Graphene

3: Introduction to Graphene Science and Technology

4: MOOC

5: The Age of Graphene and how it will transform our mobile experiences

+: What did you learn in school today ?