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Archive for Thursday, December 3, 2009

Sunflower students get insight into KU researcher’s work in Antarctica

Science club students at Sunflower Elementary on Wednesday got an opportunity to learn about glaciers through volunteers with KU Center for Remote Sensing of Ice Sheets.  During a slideshow presentation, Marci Leuschen points to a campsite area that her husband Carl is staying for the next two months in Antarctica.

Science club students at Sunflower Elementary on Wednesday got an opportunity to learn about glaciers through volunteers with KU Center for Remote Sensing of Ice Sheets. During a slideshow presentation, Marci Leuschen points to a campsite area that her husband Carl is staying for the next two months in Antarctica.

December 3, 2009

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Elementary students learn about polar research

Some Sunflower Elementary students got a first-hand look at cutting-edge research being done on the polar ice sheets. Enlarge video

Science club students at Sunflower School have an opportunity to learn about Antarctic research on Wednesday through volunteers with the Center for Remote Sensing of Ice Sheets at Kansas University. Outreach instructor Cheri Hamilton, center, explains the properties of a gooey substance that students used to understand glacier flow.

Science club students at Sunflower School have an opportunity to learn about Antarctic research on Wednesday through volunteers with the Center for Remote Sensing of Ice Sheets at Kansas University. Outreach instructor Cheri Hamilton, center, explains the properties of a gooey substance that students used to understand glacier flow.

Sunflower School’s science club got a glimpse into the life of a CReSIS researcher who lives in Antarctica and gathers data on the ice sheets in the southern hemisphere.

Carl Leuschen, assistant professor of electrical engineering at Kansas University, left Nov. 23 for a two-month stay in Antarctica. His wife, Marci, runs the science club at Sunflower, where their son Joe is a first-grader.

CReSIS — the Center for Remote Sensing of Ice Sheets — is examining how thick ice sheets are in Antarctica. Right now, Leuschen is based in McMurdo, a base for the United States that can house about 1,000 scientists.

“They’re trying to get a handle on how fast these things are melting so we can predict future sea levels,” said Marci, a former CReSIS member.

During a telephone conversation on Wednesday, the science club students got to ask Carl just about anything, from the temperature (32 degrees Fahrenheit at the time of the call) to how many snowball fights he’s been in (none).

Some kids think they’d be willing to bundle up and get some work done near the South Pole.

“I think it’s important to know what the glaciers do so then more people get interested in preventing global warming,” said Ingrid Bruss, a fifth-grader. “I just love cold weather and snowy weather.”

Others would rather stay inside.

“I don’t want to sleep in one of those igloo things,” fifth-grader Francisco Flores said.

Joe sent his dad down to Antarctica with an early Christmas present — a handheld Nintendo system.

“He can play it on the plane so he wouldn’t get tired of doing nothing,” Joe said.

The club — which focuses on getting kids interested in science, all while having fun — also did some icy experiments after their call from the tundra.

“That will hopefully spark their interest and get them interested in pursuing careers in science,” Marci said. “Maybe soon they’ll be the future scientists heading down to Antarctica and helping solve some of these problems that we’ve created.”

To find out more about CReSIS, log on to cresis.ku.edu.

Comments

Tony Kisner 5 years ago

the caption could say "in order to gain additional funding we photo shopped this picture to make it look like the ice was melting."

Bad science = additional funding and junkets to Ice Land.

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