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Science of Santa, Reindeer - and Shopping!

From: user 1.
Sent on: Monday, December 19, 2011 8:15 AM
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Dear Science Field Trips Meetup Member,  
Illinois Science Council brings you science for shopping, the science of Santa (in case there are any skeptics of his abilities in your household), facts on reindeer and an important save-the-date (2/4/12).  You can put your Money where Your Mind Is then put your Mind where Your Money Is by taking our science survey.
From all of us at ISC we wish you a safe, sassy and scientifically valid holiday season! 

Put Your Money Where Your Mind Is -Support a 5-year-old!

Dr. Honeydew & Beaker Experiment w/ Chocolate


Based on its "birth date" as a 501c3 nonprofit organization, Illinois Science Council is 5 years old.  As any newcomer, it started slow - first learning to crawl, then walk and talk. Now, like any 5-year-old, it has its own personality and is a lot of fun to be around.  But it still requires constant adult supervision.

ISC is crazy curious about all things science. 
In 2011, ISC:

  • Got a little ambitious learning about the cosmology of multiverses and quantum physics with science authors;
  • Was convinced it could handle adult things as it explored the chemistry of beer and whiskey; and,
  • Showed its playful fun side too - doing experiments with the chemistry of chocolate and honey.

To continue to grow and thrive in coming years, ISC needs you to put your money where your mind is.  Please make a tax-deductible donation to ISC today.    

Make a Donation 


Continuing the analogy, that could be $10 (for kindergarten supplies), $100 (toward its college fund) or any other denomination.  Any amount is greatly appreciated and we promise to use it wisely!  


In 2012 ISC expects to get into... brains, pi day, polar exploration and electric vehicle cars just for starters.  If you have other ideas - please send them along!  

Give us your thoughts!

ISC beaker/mug

We need your help shaping next year's events. So after you've made a donation (and even if you didn't), put your mind where your money is!  


Do you have ideas how to make Illinois Science Council better?  Programs you want to see?  We want to know!   Please take 5 minutes to answer a few questions.  This brief survey will help us learn what programs will be of most interest to you in the upcoming year.

  Short survey - click here


BONUS:  Answer the survey by December 22 and your name will be entered in a drawing to win one of 2 sets of ISC beaker/coffee mug/wine glass/candy holders!  Two winners will be announced via Facebook, so please

Like us on Facebook   

Science of Santa


On rare occasions people who do not understand the real meaning of science try to claim Santa is a myth becase he couldn't travel fast enough to reach all the good children in one night, his payload is too heavy, and foolish talk about there being no flying reindeer.


But even amateur biologists know that scientists have only identified 1.8 million species to date but there are an estimated 3-30 million species total on the planet. Clearly, scientists just haven't yet seen flying reindeer to document them and describe their unique abilities! 


ISC's holiday tradition celebrates the work of our physicist friends at Fermilab.   Arnold Pompos and Sharon Butler used basic math and scientific principles of light and relativity to explain how Santa does it.  Check out Santa at Nearly the Speed of Light   (with permission, FermiNews, December 11, 1998, Volume 21, Number 23.)


A sense of skepticism is healthy, but science and technology also give us a sense of awe and wonder about our world and what's possible.  The technology of NORAD (North American Aerospace Defense Command) has been tracking Santa for over 50 years.  Those folks know what they're doing.  Visit NORAD tracks Santa

How 'bout a little love for the non-flying reindeer?

Check out this fun blog piece, "
Non-Flying Reindeer Deserve a Science Article Too" which is full of interesting facts about the animals without PR agents who don't have a song or TV show.  Or visit the Itgel Foundation's Reindeer life project and their ongoing work with reindeer husbandry in Mongolia.   
For more on reindeer, visit the Reindeer Blog  (not all is in English) or the Institute of Arctic Biology at the University of Alaska, Fairbanks where scientists study the non-red-nosed ones.

Science of a Cocktail Party 2/4/12
Mark your calendars

ISC is planning a very special Science of a Cocktail Party
event for Saturday, Feb 4th, 2012Guaranteed to brighten up your winter so you won't want to miss it!

Science of gift-giving (or not)
Gift giving

If you haven't finished your holiday shopping, read these interesting studies into the psychology of gift giving and receiving.  If you have finished, wait and read them next year so you won't feel bad about your choices this season.

John Tierney explains why you don't need to be thoughtful in your gifting, or spend much money - if any! 
In Pursuit of the Perfect Gift? It's a Lot Closer Than You Think, New York Times, 12/12/11.

Science Daily explains why giving two gifts to someone can be worse - less appreciated - than giving just one. 
The Paradox of Gift Giving: More Not Better, Science Daily, 12/12/11.


Connect with ISC

Like us on Facebook    Follow us on Twitter    View our profile on LinkedIn

Or make a

Select Science Sayings

Science is a wonderful thing if one does not have to earn one's living at it..

- Albert Einstein



We haven't the money, so we've got to think.

- Ernest Rutherford



It's always wiser to side with an overwhelming expert consensus than with a celebrity endorsement..

- Science Creative Quarterly



There is science, logic, reason; there is thought verified by experience.
And then there is California.

- Edward Abbey



If you're not part of the solution, you're part of the precipitate.

- Henry J. Tillman



I believe that a scientist looking at nonscientific problems is just as dumb as the next guy.

-  Richard Feynman



Space isn't remote at all. It's only an hour's drive away if your car could go straight upwards.

- Fred Hoyle



If you want to make an apple pie from scratch, you must first create the universe.

- Carl Sagan



Cells let us walk, talk, think, make love, and realize the bath water is cold.

- Lorraine Lee Cudmore



Science is everywhere, even when you're not looking.

- Lurleen the Elder



Nothing in life is to be feared.  It is only to be understood.

-Marie Curie



The fewer the facts, the stronger the opinion.

- Arnold H. Glasow



Science is facts; just as houses are made of stone, so is science made of facts. But a pile of stones is not a house, and a collection of facts is not necessarily science.

- Jules Henri Poincaré



Science is the great antidote to the poison of enthusiasm and superstition.

- Adam Smith



Science can only ascertain what is, but not what should be, and outside of its domain value judgments of all kinds remain necessary.

- Albert Einstein.



I do not like it, and I am sorry I ever had anything to do with it.

- Erwin Schrödinger, speaking of quantum mechanics



If anybody says he can think about quantum problems without getting giddy, that only shows he has not understood the first thing about them.

- Niels Bohr



Innocence about Science is the worst crime today.

- Sir Charles Percy Snow 



Happy is he who gets to know the reasons for things.

- Virgil, Roman poet.


There ain't no rules around here! We're trying to accomplish something!

- Thomas Edison



The human brain is capable of only one strong emotion at a time, and if it be filled with curiosity or scientific enthusiasm, there is no room for fear.

- Arthur Conan Doyle, in "The Brown Hand"



 She blinded me with science...

 - Thomas Dolby

(This link is the somewhat disturbing William Shatner version.  Brace yourself!)  


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Illinois Science Council | 3503 N. Hoyne Ave. | Chicago | IL | 60618

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