I have been teaching Geology at the college level for 21 years. I am currently on the faculty at University of South Florida, teaching on-line to approximately 1000 students each semester. My role in the TXESS Revolution is to establish and maintain the online learning community so that teachers who come to Austin for the Academies can keep in touch.
We came to Austin on sabbatical in 2005, and liked it so much we stayed. I love all that Austin offers--great music, outdoor adventures, wonderful restaurants.
Sherre pointed out that I was not clear in answering the question about mass-loss in radioactive decay. Sorry about that! I don't recall the exact question and answer I gave, but someone asked, I think, if the rock lost mass due to radioactive decay.
So, there is a change of mass within the atom that is decaying. When alpha decay happens, the nucleus loses two protons and two neutrons, for a mass-loss of about 4, which is significant. But the alpha particle is heavy, and it doesn't leave the crystal, generally. It is ejected from the nucleus of the atom, but is trapped in the crystal structure. So the mineral, and the rock, do not lose mass, although the atom does. With beta decay, an electron is either ejected or captured. Electrons are small enough, and high enough energy, that they can exit the crystal, so there will be slight change in mass, but electrons weigh very very little, so it would not be easily measured.
This is goodbye for now. I have enjoyed working with you all for these last two years, and I hope to see you at some of our future workshops -- summer, or next year.
Tomorrow, as you finish up, I will be in Taylor training to judge Odyssey of the Mind competition, which is a competition in creative thinking for kids. Should be an interesting and fun day. But not as much fun as the cryosphere!
Working with geologic time today. Is the sea floor spreading? Yes it is!
Remember a couple of weeks ago when NASA smashed into the moon, and we all watched, and we saw a lot of nothing? Well, they saw something, water! and apparently a lot of it. Check it out.
Water on the Moon, NYTimes
welcome to the TXESS Revolution. What fun to have so many new faces. These three days will be great fun.
The Peeps (my son's OM team) made it to World Finals this year, at Iowa State University in Ames IA. We stayed in dorms, ate in dining halls, and mingled with creative kids from around the world. My kids came in 24th out of 47 in their division, and had a blast. We played with our polish buddy team, and traded pins, and partied. Much fun was had by all.
Yours truly entered the coaches competition, in which we had to design a costume that would transform, and we had to accomplish this transformation while walking. I want as: the American Political Landscape, 2008, or Arlen Spector. I started out with an elephant's head, but when you pulled on the inside of the trunk, and flipped it, it became a donkey's back-side, the trunk, flipping in on itself to become the tail, and the tusks, made of velcro, helping to attach it to my backside. Ask me to pull it out at the party!
I am teaching Geology on-line this spring as a dual enrollment class, which is fun and challenging. I have 42 high school students from S Texas enrolled. Dealing with the bureaucracy of it all is the most complex part!
I am also coaching my son's Odyssey of the Mind team again this year. They have created a wonderful play about the theft of the presidential wine collection. Competition is Saturday, so I will miss the final day with you all. Wish us luck!
Today the second group of revolutionaries is gathering in Austin. It is so much fun to meet new folks, and draw on their energy and excitement in this project. We are expecting a fast-paced, fun three days. Now if we can only finish before kick-off on Saturday......
By the way, you may recall that I am a professor at University of South Florida, which is in Tampa, not S. Florida. We were among the first folks to see the 'devil' rays play, and sat in a mostly empty ballpark many a summer afternoon. Go Rays!
As we start our second year of the TXESS Revolution, new things will be happening on our website, and in our workshops, and in my life. Here are some things to watch for:
We will have a second cohort starting in late Oct (tell your friends to apply!) so we are going to create a website in which you can all share access to the TXESSRev Activities, and the general information we post in the center, but you will need to log on to read your colleagues blogs, and gain group access, and share files. Not sure how that will look just yet, but we'll see.
We are delving into Google Earth--woo hoo. It is really fun.
I am appointed at UT to develop an on-line geology class, which I will teach in the spring--should be fun and challenging.
And for reasons I cannot explain, I find myself popcorn colonel (yes, the really call it that) for my son's cub scout pack. One of these days, I'll learn how to say NO!