TAEM Attends the Feb. meeting of NOVAC at GMU

Friday, March 29th, 2013

Andrea-Jones-and-our-Publisher TAEM- The Arts and Entertainment Magazine recently attended the Northern Virginia Astronomy Club February meeting that was held at George Mason University. The guest speaker for the evening was Andrea Jones from the NASA Goddard Space Flight Center.

The program centered upon the latest achievement of NASA involving its newest robotic rover sent to the planet MARS.  The mission was established to run a number of experiments for possible future manned landings on the red planet. There have been a number of robotic instruments sent before, but none large enough to conduct the list of experiments needed to expand our current knowledge of the planet. (more…)

TAEM Interview with Prof. David Britton of the University of Glasgow

Thursday, March 14th, 2013

Prof. David BrittonTAEM- The Arts and Entertainment Magazine is constantly gathering the greatest scientific minds from around the world to interview so that all our student readers can learn from them. We are very happy to present Professor David Britton from the University of Glasgow, Scotland to readership. In case that you weren’t aware of the fact, our publisher’s father, and eight generations before him, were born in that fair city.

David, we are very proud to have you interview with us. Please tell our readers about your early education and how it prepared you for your future.

DB-  My father was a physicist (PhD from Oxford and then worked with Marconi) who became a teacher after he was badly injured in a car crash and spent a long time rehabilitating. Neither of my siblings showed inclinations to follow in his footsteps but it must have been a good part of the reason why I took physics at university. During the last year of my undergrad degree, I was vaguely wondering what to do next when I saw a poster for the University of Victoria in British Columbia. It was a spectacular aerial view with the university in the foreground, surrounded by forest, and then the eye was led across the Strait of Juan de Fuca to the snowcapped Olympic Mountains in the background. On the spur-of-the-moment I applied and, to my astonishment, I was offered a funded place in graduate school there. I was hooked! At UVic I did an MSc in Nuclear Physics (a measurement of pionic atoms) and then a PhD in particle physics (looking at rare decays of the pion) at the TRIUMF facility located in Vancouver. However, there was one other key part of my early education that has had a big influence: I loved writing, though my spelling and handwriting were so awful that the teachers did not always reciprocate my enthusiasm! These days, I tell my students that their ideas are only as good as their ability to present them, and that writing and presentation skills are essential. I know it has been one of the things that has helped my career.   (more…)

TAEM interview with Klaus Steinberg of Germany’s DLR Space Administration

Wednesday, February 13th, 2013

Klaus-Steinberg_formal_kTAEM- As  the Science Section ofour publication, The Arts and Entertainment Magazine, leaps forward we have been contacting many scientists and space programs from around the world to give our student readers the best available information toward their education. Germany’s DLR Space Administration, a member of the European Space Agency, was high on our list. Our magazine received a supportive ‘Yes’ from Germany, and Klaus Steinberg quickly responded to our request.

Klaus, you are responsible for the German part in the General Support Technology Program (GSTP). Tell us about your role in that and what the program’s aims are.

KS- Thank you for the opportunity to tell your readers a little bit about my work. To start, I would like to shortly comment on how Space research is organized at DLR. In principle, the German Aerospace Center DLR is organized like other space agencies as NASA, but there is one specialty. There are about 7,300 people working for DLR, but only about 200 of them are part of the space Agency, formally known as Space Administration. (more…)

TAEM interview with Dr. Karen O’Neil of GBT

Wednesday, February 13th, 2013

oneil_telescope.jpsTAEM- The Arts and Entertainment Magazine is thrilled to interview Dr. Karen O’Neil of the Robert C. Byrd Green Bank Telescope (or GBT). Our publisher had visited the facilities several years ago, and he posted his visit in another segment of the Science section of TAEM. The observatory is a much recommended site for those interested in astronomy and radio astronomy. Dr. O’Neil is the site Director and we are very excited to be able to tell her story.

Dr. O’Neil, Please tell our readers about your educational background and your interest in astronomy.

KO- I have always been fascinated with the why and how of most everything.  I was initially drawn to working in physics and mathematics as these subjects are the primary foundation for all scientific phenomena.  Yet the more I studied these two fields the more I realized my fascination was not with the details of how things work as the broader question of why the Universe looks, and behaves, as it does.  Telescope images of the planets and other galaxies are both beautiful and fascinating to me, leading me to wonder why. Why do galaxies have swirls and bubbles in their gas and dust?  How doe stars go supernovae?  Why does the sun flare?  And the more I learned about galaxies and stars the more the field of astrophysics fascinated me, drawing me in until I finally moved all my studies and subsequent research into the field of astrophysics. (more…)

TAEM interview with NOVAC President Phil Wherry

Wednesday, February 13th, 2013

novacTAEM- The Arts and Entertainment Magazine recently expanded our coverage of subjects that would interest the many college students who read our publication. We have added a Science section for the interest of our readership and first embarked on this by posting exciting interviews with astronomers David Levy and David Brin. We then began posting interviews with distinguished professors from George Mason University in Virginia, and USC and UCLA universities in California. We plan many new and exciting science articles and interviews in the near future.

 We would now like to turn our attention to what has spiked such interest in science. In the past few years the study and findings in the realm of Astronomy began with the discovery of new worlds outside of our own solar system. These are referred to as Exoplanets. We also have discovered so many new findings in our own solar system that interest in this subject have far surpassed our quests for knowledge since man first landed on the surface of the moon.

 Many amateur and professional astronomers began to group together to share their knowledge and findings. There is no greater group than the Northern Virginia Astronomy Club (or NOVAC) for these gatherings. The club boasts of over 1,100 members, the largest club of it’s size in the world. A California based club comes in at a distant second place with just over 800 members. Leading NOVAC is the new club president Phil Wherry. Phil, how did the club begin ?

PW- The Northern Virginia Astronomy Club was organized in 1980, and it went through incorporation formalities in 1991. (more…)

TAEM Interviews Dr. Bob Weigel of George Mason University

Wednesday, February 13th, 2013

Dr. Robert WeigelTAEM- This past month our publisher, Joseph J. O’Donnell, has offered a challenge to science professionals and enthusiasts to offer advice and guidance to NASA. This came about when we discovered a statement in another media source that stated that the agency seemed to be ‘Lost in Space’. Apparently NASA stated that there were no set programs for future space exploration. George Mason University in Northern Virginia was the first college to rise to the occasion to offer those needed boosts to the space agency.

On the staff of the university we found Dr. Bob Weigel of the Department of Computational and Data Sciences. Dr. Weigel, please tell our readers about your educational training and how this led to the courses that you teach.

NB: I am with the School of Physics, Astronomy, and Computational Sciences (SPACS; []).  The Department of Computational and Data Sciences combined with the Department of Physics and Astronomy to form SPACS. (more…)

TAEM Interview with Prof. Steven Furlanetto of UCLA

Wednesday, February 13th, 2013

DSCN3380TAEM- The Arts and Entertainment Magazine has the pleasure of introducing Professor Steven Furlanetto of UCLA to all of our student readers. Since the beginning of adding the ‘Science section’ to our magazine, we have been able to tap into the minds of the best experts for those science students who use our publication as a learning tool for their careers.

Steven, you presently teach both astronomy and Physics at UCLA. Please tell our student readers about your formal education.

SF- I received my undergraduate degree from Carleton College, a small liberal arts school in Northfield, MN. I majored in physics there, though I took the opportunity to take a broad range of courses. After that, I won a Churchill Scholarship to study theoretical physics at the University of Cambridge for one year, where I studied the “Part III Tripos” in mathematics. Then I moved to Harvard, where I received my Ph.D. (more…)

TAEM Attends the Northern Virginia Astronomy Club Meeting at GMU in January!

Thursday, January 31st, 2013

NOVAC - Northern Virginia Astronomy ClubThe Arts and Entertainment Magazine attended the Northern Virginia Astronomy Club’s meet at George mason University for their January meeting. Many of the club’s members were there, along with its new president, Phil Wherry and Vice-President Alexander Rogee. Representing GMU was Dr. Harold Geller, the university’s liaison.

NOVAC’s guest speaker for the event was Professor Gideon Bass who lectured on the topic of ‘Kepler Studies of Low-Mass Eclipsing Binaries’. This was of interest to many of the professional and amateur astronomers who attended the conference. You can find our interview with Professor Bass, and details about the subject, in the Science section of this month’s issue. (more…)

TAEM interview with Professor Gideon Bass of GMU

Thursday, January 31st, 2013
Professor Gideon Bass

Professor Gideon Bass
Photo Credit: Larry Kravitz

     TAEM- This past month The Arts and Entertainment Magazine was fortunate to meet Professor Gideon Bass who was the guest speaker at the monthly meeting for the Northern Virginia Astronomy Club. The meeting was held at George Mason University in Fairfax, Virginia.

Professor, please tell our student readers about your educational background.

GB- Well, my undergraduate degree was in astronomy and computer science at Hampshire College, a small experimental liberal arts school in Western Massachusetts. After graduation, I went to San Diego State University where I got a Masters degree in astronomy. And now I am currently in my second year at George Mason University, getting a PhD in their physics program, with a concentration in astronomy.

TAEM- Please tell us about the courses that you teach at George Mason University and what made you interested in the subject of Astronomy.

GB- I actually teach at Northern Virginia Community College, at the Annandale Campus as an adjunct professor. I am teaching their entry level astronomy class, and to me teaching is one of the greatest parts of being an academic, you can make direct changes in other people’s lives. Teaching astronomy is a great opportunity to expose students to ideas about critical thinking, the scientific method, and introducing them to what we know about the nature of the universe itself. It’s great fun. (more…)

TAEM Interview with Dr. Kirk Borne of George Mason University

Monday, January 14th, 2013

TAEM- The Arts and Entertainment’ Magazine’s publisher, Joseph J. O’Donnell, issued a challenge in the December 15th issue of our publication to start a ‘grass roots movement’ to support NASA. This support is spreading over the academic world and its start has taken place in the George Mason University faculty and student body. The challenge has centered on not only on Support of NASA, but to give the agency ideas for space exploration for its future programs.

   Dr. Kirk Borne, of GMU, is a Data Scientist and Astrophysicist, and is one of the many professors from the school that has stepped forward to offer insights into what can be achieved. Professor Borne, please tell our readers about your educational training for your fields.

KB- My undergraduate B.S. degree was in Physics at Louisiana State University, with a lot of math and some astronomy.  My goal was to study astronomy in graduate school, so the math and physics coursework was essential.  I loved all of those topics, and astronomy gave me the opportunity to study them all. I went to graduate school at Caltech, receiving a PhD in astronomy in 1983. I studied under some of the great astronomers of that era. It was a fantastic experience. In the years since then, I worked on NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope project for 10 years and at NASA’s Astronomy Data Center within the Space Science Data Operations Office at the Goddard Space Flight Center for another 10 years, and I have now been at George Mason University since 2003.  All of my research and my work experiences at NASA always involved working with scientific data – this led me to the field of Data Science, which is the application of data methods and algorithms to the study of any discipline. (more…)

The Scientific Revolution- by author Joseph O’Donnell IV

Monday, January 14th, 2013
Joe O'Donnell, Jr.

Joe O’Donnell, Jr.

‘The Scientific Revolution’ was by no means a swift and radical change in thoughts pertaining to science. The name applies to a period lasting from the end of the Renaissance and continued through the 18th Century. The later period was referred to as ‘The Enlightenment’.

Although the exact dates are in dispute, there were many notable figures that contributed to it. Among these were Galen, Ptolemy, Socrates, Plato, and Aristotle. The work contributed to it was no single science, but science as a whole. It included mathematics, physics, astronomy, biology, medicine, and chemistry. From the theories expressed by those great men, mankind’s knowledge of science was born and the world was seen in a revolutionary new view. Religion, superstition, and fear were replaced by reason and knowledge. (more…)

TAEM News Flash- George Mason University Team Searching for Exoplanets!

Tuesday, January 1st, 2013

This past month we interviewed Dr. Michael Summers from George Mason University located on the campus in Fairfax, Virginia. Our publisher also offered a challenge to the academic world to help support NASA after another media outlet stated that they seemed to be ‘Lost In Space’. This came about after a report stated that NASA has no set goals for future space exploration. George Mason University is the first college to answer the call !

Dr. Summers has a team put together and they are searching for Exoplanets. An extrasolar planet, or exoplanet, is a planet outside the Solar System. A total of 853 such planets (in 672 planetary systems, including 126 multiple planetary systems) have been identified as of December 1, 2012, all of them within the Milky Way galaxy. It is expected that there are many billions of planets in the Milky Way galaxy, not only occurring around stars but also as free-floating planetary-mass bodies The nearest known exoplanet is Alpha Centauri Bb. (more…)

TAEM interview with Dr. Clifford V. Johnson of USC

Tuesday, January 1st, 2013


Dr. Clifford V. Johnson

Photo Credit: Dr. Clifford V. Johnson

TAEM- The Arts and Entertainment Magazine has recently expanded to include a ‘Science section’ in our publication for all the students who follow us. We recently began by introducing schools on the East Coast and would now like to travel across country to California.

We’d like to introduce Dr. Clifford V. Johnson to all our readers. Dr. Johnson is an English theoretical physicist and professor at the University of Southern California. Clifford, please tell us of your educational background and the schools in England that you attended.

CVJ- Hi! For my undergraduate degree (BSc) I went to Imperial College, part of London University, in Central London. I did my PhD at Southampton University, in the South of England. (more…)

TAEM Interview with Dr. Mark R. Morris of UCLA

Tuesday, January 1st, 2013
Prof. Mark Morris

Prof. Mark Morris

TAEM- The Arts and Entertainment Magazine had recently added a Science section to our publication to add to the subjects that interests many of the college students who follow our magazine. In addition to the articles produced from George Mason University, who became first to offer interviews and articles, we will present articles from USC and UCLA in this issue.

We are highly honored to present Dr. Mark R. Morris of UCLA to all our readers. Dr. Morris, please tell our readers about your educational background.

MRM- Hello, I’m happy to tell you and your readers about my work.  I was trained in physics through my PhD, first at the University of California at Riverside for my BA, and then at the University of Chicago.  Although I had a few courses in astrophysics, I learned most of what I know about astronomy “on the streets”, or simply by reading, or by being assigned to teach it.  (more…)

TAEM interview with Dr. Harold A. Geller of GMU

Saturday, December 15th, 2012

TAEM- We recently had the pleasure of a guided tour of the telescope observatory at George Mason University by Dr. Harold A. Geller, the observatory’s director. We decided to learn a little more about him and were astonished about what we uncovered. Harold, please shed some light on your educational background and its long standing connection with George Mason University.

HG- The academic path to my doctorate was anything but straight.  After obtaining a bachelor’s degree, I returned to academia as a graduate student at George Mason University (GMU).  At that time, GMU was a medium sized liberal arts commuter-type college.  Not having a graduate degree program in my discipline interest, I designed my own program through the university’s master’s program in interdisciplinary studies.  I completed my master’s degree in interdisciplinary studies in astronomy and informatics.  As I was working for a university consortium, I naturally maintained ties in higher education.  I applied for and received a Commonwealth Fellowship from the State Council of Higher Education for Virginia.  I initially sought to complete a PhD in Physical Sciences.  Ultimately, I switched to the doctoral program in education.  I also taught at the Northern Virginia Community College, Manassas Campus, for 4 years while I continued to work toward my doctorate in education.  Ultimately, I was offered a full time position at George Mason University, and chose to enter academia on a full-time basis.  I had been a part-time instructor in physics and astronomy for seven years prior to joining GMU as a full-time faculty member. (more…)

A new science challenge from our publisher, Joseph J. O’Donnell

Saturday, December 15th, 2012

Joseph O’Donnell

Recently I had seen a story in another media publication stating that NASA was ‘Lost in Space’. Their article said that NASA has no set objectives for further space exploration because they lack guidance from the government and the public. I thought the statement was absurd, but as our economy is going into a grey area, and politicians are behaving….well political, I can partially understand their statement. With impending budget cuts possibly cutting into programs it gives a little more solidity to the media article’s reasoning.

This past September I offered two challenges to the Scientific community (see the Sept.2012 Science section) and now I am about to offer a third challenge. I am asking the science community, university faculties and students, and the private sector to rise up in a ‘Grass Roots Movement’ to offer suggestions, and support, to NASA. I will also seek further support for Space Exploration from European and Asian Space Agencies as well. This must be a ‘team effort’ by scientists, academics, and enthusiasts from around the world. After all, this will be an adventure for all of mankind and will benefit the entire human race.



TAEM Visits NOVAC and George Mason University

Saturday, December 1st, 2012

This past month The Arts and Entertainment Magazine attended the Northern Virginia Astronomy Club (NOVAC) held at George Mason University, in Fairfax Virginia. The event displayed some of the many telescopes that club members own as well as ‘lender scopes’ that are available for use. In attendance were visitors from a nearby Northern Virginia Planetarium, and a Geophysics expert, Dr. Linda Schaffner, whom we’d like to introduce in future issues.

NOVAC–  Paul Derby is the president of the club and explained to us that membership tops 1,100 people, making it the largest club of its type in the world. The membership includes teachers, students, astronauts, and professional observers as well as armatures. The club also sets up at sites in Northern Virginia to view the night skies. These ‘star parties’ are very popular and many of the members are on hand to demonstrate the telescopes and explain the universe to the viewers that attend. (more…)

TAEM interview with Dr. Michael Summers of GMU

Saturday, December 1st, 2012

TAEM-  We recently toured George Mason University in Northern Virginia and was graciously guided by Harold Geller who is the Associate Dean and Director of the Telescope Observatory there. Dean Geller has introduced Professor Michael Summers to us to shed some light on the great work that the University does.

 Professor Summers is a planetary scientist who specializes in the study of structure and evolution of planetary atmospheres. Professor, please tell our readers about the subject of your work.

MS- My research concerns the chemistry and dynamics of planetary atmospheres.  I’m particularly interested in how planetary atmospheres develop, evolve over time, and in the case of the Earth how humans impact the atmosphere. I’ve had the good fortune to work with several robotic space missions in my career, including the Pluto New Horizons mission which is now on it’s way to a 2015 encounter with Pluto and its system of moons.  I’ve also worked on the possibly of using atmospheric trace gases as biomarkers of life. On Mars there is evidence of methane in the atmosphere, which could provide indirect evidence of life below its surface. That would be quite an astounding discovery. I’m also working with several of my students on the structure of atmospheres around a small group of recently discovered extra-solar planets. (more…)

TAEM interview with Astronomer David Levy

Thursday, November 1st, 2012

TAEM- The Arts and Entertainment Magazine and The Eerie Digest is truly honored to be able to present astronomer David Levy to all of our readers. We recently expanded our publication to include a ‘Science Section’ so that students in all the Colleges that we are seen in could gain further insight in the world around them. David, we understand that astronomy was not your major study in college, but rather English Literature. Tell us about your education on that subject.

DL- I became passionately interested in English Literature after learning from my Dad that when one opens a novel or a book of poems or a play, one is invited to enter the author’s living room.  “This is what my world was like,” I imagine myself hearing in such a situation.  In 1976, while watching a display of Lyrid meteors, I made the connection between literature and the night sky that has now carried me through two advanced degrees.

TAEM- You developed an interest in astronomy at a young age and as a young man you had a fascination with comets. Please tell us about this.

DL-  I began comet hunting on December 17, 1965.  It has been my primary observing interest ever since. (more…)

TAEM visits the Green Bank Radio Telescope Observatory!

Monday, October 1st, 2012

Green bank Entry Sign Green Bank Main Telescope

A few years ago I was given a birthday gift of a visit to the Green Bank Radio Telescope Observatory. I wanted to share this with our readers from around the world. For those students of science that follow our publication here is a site that you SHOULD visit.

   The site offers a guided bus tour, and a center where information from the directors of the center share information with all the visitors. Working displays, gift shop, and cafe is also available. Labs for science projects and the many arrays of telescopes are on site and used by scientists for the many projects that are undertaken by the Observatory. (more…)