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SKY Science Festival

A three-day festival kicking off Thursday in Bowling Green hopes to make science accessible to people of all ages and backgrounds. The Sky Science Festival will feature events ranging from a movie aimed at interesting young children in science, to a lecture related to the science of beer brewing and tasting.

Festival activities begin Thursday at WKU, where Colorado author and astrophysicist Jeffrey Bennett who will deliver a talk aimed at explaining how Einstein’s theory of relativity impacts our everyday lives.

“It’s his attempt to make the general theory of relativity palatable to the average layperson who maybe didn’t study astrophysics,” says WKU Planetarium Coordinator Ronn Kistler.

The festival ends Saturday with an expo at Circus Square Park in downtown Bowling Green, including hands-on demonstrations and activity booths where visitors can learn more about science.

You can find more information on the Sky Science Festival here.

"Did you know that every time musicians pick up their instruments, there are fireworks going off all over their brain?"

Don't wait to be invited or encouraged to make a career in science, engineering or technology, Frances Arnold advises the young women she teaches at the California Institute of Technology. If you're a scientist, she says, you should know how to solve a problem.

"Bemoaning your fate is not going to solve the problem," she says. "One has to move forward."

PBS

The man known as “The Science Guy” is coming to WKU Wednesday evening. Scientist, author, and former PBS show host Bill Nye will speak at E.A. Diddle Arena as part of the WKU Cultural Enhancement Series.

Nye is a passionate spokesman for science education in the U.S., and he often warns his audiences that the country faces the threat of losing its reputation as the leading global innovator unless it starts putting greater emphasis on teaching young people science and math.

In February, Nye made headlines when he came to northern Kentucky to debate Ken Ham, the president of the group “Answers in Genesis” that operates the Creation Museum in Petersburg.

See the entire debate between Bill Nye and Ken Ham here.

Ahead of his appearance in Bowling Green, Nye spoke to WKU Public Radio about science and religion, and what he thinks is the biggest long-term impact of the U.S. underperforming in science and math education.

WKU Public Radio: What do you think will happen to the U.S. if we don’t put greater emphasis on science education?

Nye: The U.S. economy will flag. It will fail. What keeps the United States in the game economically is not our manufacturing, as such—it’s our innovation. It’s our new ideas. This is the reason the U.S. is still doing very well economically around the world, even though all the stuff we wear is made somewhere else, and the cars we drive are largely made elsewhere.

Tom Hanks' love affair with typewriters began in the 1970s, with his first proper typewriter — a Hermes 2000. Typewriters are "beautiful works of art," he tells NPR's Audie Cornish. "And I've ended up collecting them from every ridiculous source possible."

Hanks admits he started his collection when he had a "little excess cash" but, he points out, it's "better to spend it on $50 typewriters than some of the other things you can blow show-business money on."

A Western Kentucky University researcher has been chosen as a co-winner in a "Science Idol" competition in Washington, D.C.

Jill Maples shared the award as a recent symposium on biomedical research excellence. Maples is an assistant professor in WKU's department of kinesiology, recreation and sport.

The symposium was sponsored by the National Institute of General Medical Sciences of the National Institutes of Health.

Abbey Oldham/WKU Public Radio

If you’re up late Friday night – or early Saturday morning, you could be in store for a dramatic light show in the sky.  Dr. Richard Gelderman, director of WKU’s Hardin Planetarium says we could see the best meteor shower of the year – possibly the decade.

“A comet has just passed near the sun and we are about to run into its trail,” said Gelderman.  “That’s going to probably be a whole lot of dust. It’s going to come when the moon is not going to be in the sky, so it will be nice and dark and it will come when our part of the earth is slamming right into the dust stream.”

Gelderman says the best time to view the comet will likely be between midnight and 2 a.m. central time Saturday morning, but he notes those time estimates aren’t always precise.

Abbey Oldham

A WKU professor who served on the panel behind the recently released national climate change report says Kentucky hasn’t been as impacted by climate change as several other states.

But Dr. Rezaul Mahmood says that could change in the coming years.

The WKU Geography and Geology Professor is one of about 60 members of the National Climate Assessment Development and Advisory Committee. The group’s 1,100 page report, released Tuesday, says the impacts of climate change are being seen across the country.

While Kentucky hasn’t seen the degree of temperature change that some western and east-coast states have experienced, the WKU Professor says policy makers and residents in the commonwealth shouldn’t be complacent.

“If changes in other regions happen, that will eventually impact Kentucky, Dr. Mahmood said. "For example, if watersheds in other states are getting lots of rain, or not enough rain, eventually our water supply is going to be affected."

Dr. Mahmood says one way Kentucky has been proactive about climate change has been the creation of a comprehensive drought plan that coordinates efforts at the state and local levels.

One of TV’s best known science educators, Bill Nye, wrapped up this week’s visit to Kentucky by debating the founder of the Creation Museum Tuesday evening.

Ken Ham, the founder and CEO of the museum in Northern Kentucky, challenged Nye to debate the topic, “Is Creationism a viable model of origins in today’s modern scientific era.”  

Ham believes science can be reconciled with a belief that the world was created in six days and is only six thousand years old, a view that comes from a literal interpretation of the Bible.

“I don’t know of any other religion that has a book that starts off by telling you there’s an infinite God and talks about the origin of the universe and the origin of matter and the origin of light and the origin of darkness and the origin of day and night," Ham said during the debate.

Ham invited Nye to debate following Nye’s 2012 YouTube video in which he stated that teaching divine creation was harmful to children and to American society.

Kentucky Creation Museum Debate Tickets Already Sold Out

Jan 7, 2014

Tickets to an evolution debate with science advocate Bill Nye at Kentucky's Creation Museum have sold out on the first day.

The Creation Museum said in a news release Monday that tickets for the debate in its 900-seat auditorium sold out just minutes after they were offered online in the morning. Nye, a former TV star known as "The Science Guy," has agreed to visit the museum and debate founder Ken Ham.

As a creationist, Ham is a critic of evolution and says the Bible's Old Testament provides the answers to the Earth's beginnings. Nye spoke out against teaching creationism to kids in a YouTube video that went viral last year.

The debate is set for 7 p.m. EST Feb. 4.

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