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 !


1: Hubble Space Telescope, Servicing Mission 1

*: What did you learn in school today ?

2016-09-15 (Jueves/Thursday)

Hoy en día, aprendí:

Hace 195 años, 1821-09-15, se crearon los Estados Unidos de América Central cuando la colonia española, sobre todo entre los actuales México y Panamá, se declararon independiente de España. Estos son los países de El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras y Nicaragua, así como Costa Rica. Aunque este último fue incluido en el proceso de independencia, el pueblo costariqueño lo supo al mes siguiente. En aquel tiempo no habia internet!

El artículo de referencia 1, en la continuación, escrito exactamente hace cinco años, explica todos los pasos antes, durante y después de esta declaración.


Y la foto principal es de Costa Rica. Este es el Volcán Arenal, que es actualmente inactivo después de un perîodo de 42 años de actividad, iniciado en 1968. Ver más información en la referencia 2 en la continuación.

¡Gracias, Carmen, por tu ayuda con el texto!

(The text above in Spanish talks about the 195 years of independence today of 5 Central American countries. The photo shows a volcano in Costa Rica. See also references #1 and 2 below, both in English.)

How about reading one of those very rare, fragile books from centuries ago? Many books have been scanned so far, so that a digital copy can easily be retrieved by anyone wanting to read it, but what if the book is so precious and fragile that the mere handling of the book would jeopardize its entire existence? MIT has the answer, to scan the book while still being closed. The secret lies in using terahertz radiation, see more in reference # 3 below.

… That’s what I learned in school !


1: Celebrate Independence Day in Central America – September 15th!

2: Volcán Arenal

3: MIT uses radiation to read closed books

+: What did you learn in school today ?

2016-07-04 (Monday)

Today, I learned that:

If you are in the US, then you can enjoy an extra day off work and celebrate the nation’s independence day, congratulations!

And thanks to the internet you can also listen to a Swedish radio programme, where Gloria Ray Karlmark counts her life story, including fighting for racial emancipation in Little Rock, Arkansas, and being the first coloured female student at MIT. But you need to know Swedish, and if you do, the link can be found in reference #1 below.

And when it is time for the fireworks tonight, think about what is happening at that very moment even further out in the sky, on a distance 48 light-minutes away. A Nasa probe named Juno penetrates the Jupiter atmosphere, searching for clues to the composition of this gigantic planet, the biggest one in our solar system. For more information, see reference #2 below.

But do you know why the probe is called Juno? It all started back in ancient Rome. Their god of gods was Jupiter, married to Juno. But Jupiter also had women on the side, the four most prominent being Io, Europa, Ganimedes and Calisto. In order to hide his extra-marital affairs from his wife, Jupiter surrounded himself by a cloud. But the jealous Juno had a sight which could penetrate that cloud. So now, Juno will once again penetrate the clouds of Jupiter and report her findings to Mother Earth.

In the meantime, I suggest you appreciate the following image. Further information can be found in reference #3 below.


An image showing what the Hubble telescope found when directing UV rays towards Jupiter. It shows a permanent aurora, a result of the combination of solar winds and charged particles from the planet’s biggest moon, Io. Image by NASA, ESA, and J. Nichols (University of Leicester)

… That’s what I learned in school !


1: Gloria Ray Karlmark

2: Juno by NASA

3: Hubble photographs Jupiter’s dramatic auroras

+: 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!


1: Graphene Flagship

2: Introducing Graphene

3: Introduction to Graphene Science and Technology


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

+: What did you learn in school today ?