Archive for the ‘Science Communications’ Category

Why Do You Hate Math?

May 29, 2014

Prof. Edward Frenkel, University of California, Berkeley:

“Imagine that you had to take an art class in which you were taught only how to paint a fence or a wall but were never shown the paintings of the great masters. Would that make you an art lover? Years later you will talk to your friends and say ‘Oh my gosh! I hated art at school, I was so bad at it.’ What you would really be saying is ‘I was bad at painting the fence.’ And likewise with mathematics people often say ‘Oh, I was so bad at math, I hate math.’ but what they are really saying is ‘I was bad at painting the fence.’”

Picture math as an expression of beauty.

Tell your friends, your children, math is beautiful.

Then pause. Smile.

Let them take it from there.

Math is amazing.

Use it to paint the world.




Twitter: @schwartznow

Digital Hubs:  Here or Here



Earth’s Great Nor’easter

March 26, 2014

LIVE: Spring Blizzard Cuts Power to Thousands in New England

The Great Red Spot is signature Jupiter.

Jupiter’s giant storm could hold two to three earth-sized planets.

On earth?

We’ve got something, too:


Giant Nor’easter. Source: @jencarfagno, The Weather Channel

A giant Nor’easter.

Could be the largest storm on earth, as I type this.

Watch this amazing timelapse.

A closer look:

Nor'Easter March 2014

Intense wind field. Nor’easter. 26 March 2014

Blizzard conditions and power outages reported.

Waves exceeded 10 feet.

Wind gusted up to 80 miles an hour, too.

Further evidence of my musing, “Is spring broken?”

Storm had @JimCantore written all over it.

Even other meteorologists called his name:

Meteorologists warn @JimCantore. Source: @gdimeweather

Meteorologists warn @JimCantore. Source: @gdimeweather

Meteorologist Cantore answered the bell.

He’s in there, trust me. Scraping snow off the pole:

Nor'Easter Jim Cantore  Jeff Schwartz

Nor’easter engulfs @JimCantore. Source: The Weather Channel

Here’s his “live” encounter.

Can you imagine if this Nor’easter made landfall?

Its main “punch” remained out to sea.

So, unless George Clooney and the Andrea Gail make a comeback, this is not “The Perfect Storm.”

It’s vast, however.

Easily visible from space.

Probably from Jupiter, with binoculars or a small telescope.

Jupiter’s Great Red Spot is hundreds of years old.

Earth’s Nor’easter will likely “tire” in days.

The result: it’s news, but more weather and science news.

Some amazing science in-progress.

Impossible to pass up.

The visuals, alone.

One day, perhaps, an astronaut’s “live” coverage of The Great Red spot?

Until then, enjoying a great Nor’easter.

From the safety of satellite technology.


Twitter: @schwartznow

Digital Hubs:  Here or Here

Sunbaked Thanksgiving Comets

November 26, 2013

Comet ISON and Encke Movie

Three days of cometary cool.

One timelapse. Here.

Source: NASA

This is Comet ISON’s first solar visit.

In 2007, a coronal mass ejection, a CME, ripped Comet Encke’s tail off.

The two celestial bodies face an uncertain week.

A close encounter with the sun, after all.

Comet ISON (Source: NASA)

For now, they bake.

Quite the Thanksgiving cooking.

+NASA STEREO-A spacecraft via @spaceweather   

News "Flash"

June 24, 2013

A Lot of Electrons

Video linked above. Screen capture below:

Lighting bolt and a “dart leader”

What is lightning?

Does it strike down or up?

Understanding the science of nature … “sparks” great questions and opportunities for meaningful communications.

Spectacular viewing on a summer night is a side benefit, too.

Big, Red Sprites

June 5, 2013

Cooler Than Elon Musk?

Well, perhaps not:

Sprites, “squirting up.” See them?

Start of a night of wonder:

Click above – on word “cool” – for an extraordinary set of wonderful.

Mike Hollingshead

Noctilucent Cloud Outbreak

May 31, 2013

Luminous Electric-Blue “Night-Shining” Tendrils

Per SpaceWeather:

Noctilucent clouds form near the top of Earth’s polar atmosphere when water vapor from the planet below mixes with meteor debris from space. They appear during summer because that is when the mesosphere is coldest and most humid. This year, they appeared early, more than a full month before the solstice, setting the stage for an unusually good NLC-watching season.

High-latitude watchers should be alert for repeat shows.

Colorado, too.

Look west 30-to-60 minutes after sunset.

And if you see blue-white tendrils?

Weather-science cool.

The Venus Transit: Leadership Lessons

June 7, 2012
Venus Transit’s Insight into Engaging You

One of my passions is deciphering and communicating “tough” subjects…for you, your audiences and representatives.

Science, technology, engineering, investing. Bring on your jargon, equations, stock charts, business-speak. I’m game.

Remarkable events like the #Venus #Transit make such communications easy.

Here’s Venus transiting the wall inside my home.

Venus Transit Colorado

Venus transits inside my home: Spot in oval

Sunshine through binoculars created an oval of light. And then a single spot.

That spot, (oval lower right), is Venus.

My photo was totally unplanned.

I was watching the event on a Google + “hangout” with astronomers from around the globe when the sun made a sudden appearance.

Rushing to seize my moment, I grabbed binoculars and turned them backwards to the sunlight.

Immediately, I saw a bright oval…and, yes, an amazing…dot.

That dot is a planet. Venus. Inside my home. On my wall. In Colorado.

Admittedly, world-class telescopes and filters made for far more spectacular views from NASA’s “live” stream.

Venus Transit NASA TV

Screen Capture and courtesy: NASA TV

There’s something special seeing adults and children around the world use low-tech tactics, such as a pinhole in a piece of paper, to experience a once-in-a-lifetime moment.

The wonders of discovery delight. With some explanation and understanding, science brings people closer.

The transit of Venus brought the world closer. I observed it on social media tools all day.

The next, such event is set for 2117.

Until then, what are you doing to help connect “us” more deeply with your business, science, technology or explorations?

For now, I’ll avoid advanced theories and practices of applied science or business communications.

But if you’re in high-tech, a startup, R&D, academia, Wall Street, national defense or science, ask, “What could I learn?”

Venus – a planet – catalyzed widespread engagement and shared understanding.

And did so without employing communication tactics such as fear or corporate-speak.

Think about it: A single “dot” connected the world. Captivated a planet.

With the right expertise, so can you.

Be compelling.

Decem-brr: Weather means “business”

December 9, 2009

Talking cold, snow and rain? You’re talking Commerce, too

Colorado Snow It’s currently -16° F. First cold snap of Fall. The coldest weather in some time. Even worse for the Midwest and East Coast. And to think that Winter is still ahead. In the meantime, skiers and boarders are rocking the Rockies. Traditional travel, however, is challenging. Roads icy. Airports juggling schedules. Along the West Coast, flooding rains and wind paralyzed highways and stranded vehicles.

There is so much more to “our” weather and it’s worth talking about. It’s a story about global commerce. Moving goods and services. Negotiating the elements. By car, truck, van, rail, planes, pipeline, tankers, and cargo and passenger ships. Here’s one you may take for granted: space weather. It is critical to meteorology, national defense and communications, (like that cell phone you’re holding or cable channel you’re watching – all those satellites). Weather is that decision to make a trip to shop or see a movie…or not. About staffing hospitals, government agencies and stores – if the staff can make it in.

All this ahead of the Holiday season, which makes this cold outbreak all that more important. This is crunch time for retail and the U.S. economy. Consumer behavior is responsible for two-thirds of the nation’s commerce, it is estimated. So, the next time you’re watching or listening to a forecast, remember the weather means “business.” It’s one reason – as a trained National Weather Service spotter, former broadcast reporter and a spokesperson on global science and technology affairs – I followed it closely. Still do. So do energy and environment officials, transportation leaders, utilities, commodities traders, Wall Street, and cities and local governments.

My advice: your PR agency, investor and media relations, marketing and communications staff, and your leadership team should all not only follow the weather, but also plan for it. After all, weather is their “business,” too. Big business. And how your firm manages the impacts can help define your market reputation.

%d bloggers like this: