What important invention happened on May 23, 1785 and by Whom?



The invention of the Bifocals was announced on May 23, 1785 by Benjamin Franklin!  


To learn more about Benjamin Franklin and his bifocals, check out this article!




RIP Stephen Hawking… You will be missed!



World renowned physicist Stephen Hawking has died at the age of 76.




Stephen Hawking was born 8 January 1942 in Oxford, England and at the age of 22 was diagnosed with motor neurone disease and given two years to live.

The disease left him to live in a wheelchair and only able to communicate through a voice synthesizer.

But, Stephen never gave up, and living with the disease for another 54 years is proof in his courage and will to live!

Yet he went on to Cambridge to become a brilliant researcher and Professorial Fellow at Gonville and Caius College.  Then Stephen went on to The University of Cambridge as a Professor of Mathematics and wrote a international best seller “A Brief History of Time”.

Professor Stephen Hawking has worked on the basic laws which govern the universe. With Roger Penrose he showed that Einstein’s general theory of relativity implied space and time would have a beginning in the Big Bang and an end in black holes. Another conjecture is that the universe has no edge or boundary in imaginary time. This would imply that the way the universe began was completely determined by the laws of science. Recently Stephen has been working with colleagues on a possible resolution to the black hole information paradox, where debate centres around the conservation of information.

Stephen Hawking has 13 honorary degrees, written many books, given many lectures, has been on several television shows, has had several movies made about him and his life and has had many documentaries shown on the Discovery Channel about him and his work.

“Intelligence is the ability to adapt to change.” Stephen Hawking

January 8, 1942-March 14, 2018

Daniel Shaw, Founder & CEO of High Touch High Tech had this to say:

“ Over the years our program development team has drawn so much inspiration from Stephen Hawking. It has been so exhilarating to take concepts that Hawking explained, and create hands on science programs such as Cosmic Capersand Staggering Through The Stars to students in classrooms everywhere. Personally, as a huge Neil deGrasse Tyson’s Cosmos show fan, I learned so much about Stephen Hawking’s incredible mind and accomplishments that all of humanity benefits from. RIP Stephen Hawking.”



Souce: Google.com

Black History Month


Black History Month is observed in February and the reason that we have Black History Month is so that we can remember the important contributions and achievements that African American’s have brought throughout this Nations history.

One person that thought should be honored this month is Mae Jemison. She was the first African American to be accepted into the astronaut program.  Then, She became the first African American woman to travel in space when she went into orbit aboard the Space Shuttle Endeavour on September 12, 1992.

She was interested in science from the time that she was a child. She had good grades in school, continued to learn and grown and was accepted into Stanford University on a National Achievement Scholarship. She received a Bachelor of Science degree in chemical engineering from the university in 1977. After graduation, she entered Cornell University Medical College and, during her years there, found time to expand her horizons by studying in Cuba and Kenya and working at a Cambodian refugee camp in Thailand. She received her Medical Degree in 1981 and years later she decided to fulfill a life long dream and apply to the astronaut program.

After spending 190 hours in space and conducting several experiments, Mae Jemison was noted saying…”That society should recognize how much both women and members of other minority groups can contribute if given the opportunity.”



Source: Pixabay
Sources: Google Pics

Giant Antarctica Iceberg Breaks Away

In a recent post by CNN, a massive iceberg weighing more than one trillion tons has broken away from western Antarctica on Wednesday, July 12 2017. The break happened on the Larsen C ice shelf. Experts confirmed via satellite that the shelf had broken away. 

Scientists believe the iceberg has a volume twice that of Lake Erie in the United States and is estimated to span 2,239 square miles (which is around the same size as the state of Delaware). 

For more information regarding the ice shelf click here: http://www.cnn.com/2017/07/12/world/larsen-c-antarctica/index.html

The Great American Eclipse is Coming!

On August 21, 2017, millions of of American’s will see one of nature’s most wondrous spectacles, a total eclipse of the Sun. A total solar eclipse is when the Moon completely blocks the Sun. During a solar eclipse the moon passes between the sun and Earth and blocks all or part of the sun. This can last for up to about three hours, from beginning to end. The Sun’s corona (appearing as a halo around the sun during a total solar eclipse) will shimmer in the darkened sky.  The last time the contiguous U.S. saw a total eclipse was in 1979.

On August 21st, those living and visiting western North Carolina will have the opportunity to witness the solar eclipse at 99% totality! The moon will begin its traverse across the sun at 1pm, covering 99% of the sun at 2:37pm. Be sure to pick up some solar eclipse glasses to protect your eyes! 

It’s important to wear the solar eclipse glasses when gazing up at the sun. Because Asheville does not fall on the path of totality, the sun will never be fully covered by the moon. We just want to ensure everyone will have the opportunity to view the eclipse safely!

By NASA [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons


What’s the Science Behind the Fidget Spinner?

Fidget Spinner – Image Source: Pixabay.com

You may remember your mom asking you to stop fidgeting when you were growing up. Perhaps, fidgeting is actually better for you then previously thought! Read below to find out why!

As of May 2017 there is a new toy on the market…known as the fidget spinner. This toy has become a craze in elementary and middle schools across the nation. So much so that they are now being banned in some school systems. So what exactly is a fidget spinner you ask? Check out this video below to learn more about what the fidget spinner is and to see what is inside the spinner! Continue reading to see what the science is behind this new toy craze!

As humans, we all fidget! Whether you fidget by biting your nails, bouncing your leg, touching your hair, or playing with your clothing, you probably fidget many, many times a day. Claims have been made that the fidget spinner has certain health benefits. These benefits include easing stress and anxiety, easing post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and also attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). But do these claims have any truth behind them?

Check out this video for details about how fidgeting can aid kids with ADHD and people with anxiety!

Does all this make the fidget spinner a good thing? We aren’t quite sure at this time. There aren’t any major scientific studies happening currently about fidgeting. But if these little spinning pieces of plastic are helping kids with ADHD and other stress related illnesses, then we say, “Keep on Spinning!”

New Technology Being Implemented by Delta Airlines

Image Source: Pixabay.com

Recently, news came out stating that Delta Airlines was investing in a facial-recognition system that could make checking your bag at the airport twice as fast. Testing of the software is going to begin this summer at the Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport.

So how will this new technology work? Passengers will need to have a passport in order to participate. The machine will scan their passport, and then facial recognition will scan their faces to verify their identity. They can then drop their bags and proceed to security.

Delta plans to spend $600,000 on four self-service bag drop machines at Minneapolis-St. Paul airport, however only one of the machines will be equipped with the facial recognition technology. Delta will collect feedback during the trial period before deciding whether or not to fully implement the new technology at all the self-service stations.

Delta claims that the system is not designed to store any information or facial images gathered by the machine.

Sp what do you think of this new technology that Delta Airlines is implementing in order to streamline their check in lines at the airport? Do you think it will make check in quicker or lines shorter?


Click here for more information: http://money.cnn.com/2017/05/15/technology/delta-facial-recognition-luggage/index.html

Cassini spacecraft is ready for its grand finale!!!

The Cassini Spacecraft is about to fly through the undiscovered space between Saturn’s rings and the planet. For the first time in history Cassini will be taking pictures and collecting data about Saturn’s interior, its mysterious storms, the age of its rings and the length of its day. Cassini launched into space on October 15th, 1997, entered Saturn’s orbit on July 1st, 2004, and has been orbiting the planet for last 13 years.

The Cassini’s grand finale started earlier this week when it flew past Saturn’s moon, Titan, for the very last time. The trajectory that the spacecraft is on will lead to it’s demise when it hits Saturn’s atmosphere.

Check out some of the images captured by Cassini during its orbit of Saturn here:


Check out NASA’s video to visualize Cassini in action!

April Showers Bring May Flowers!


You know how the saying goes, April showers bring….May flowers! But does rain in April really bring flowers to May? Well let’s find out! 

Perennials are a type of flower that die off in the fall but will bloom again each Spring. Some perennials, especially in warmer areas, might actually start blooming in March or April. When the average temperature in an area begins to approach spring-like weather, flowers will begin to bloom, regardless of exactly how much rain they received. Early warm spells can also trigger flowers to begin to bloom but can be detrimental if the warm spell is short-lived.  If the warm spell is followed by a hard frost, flowers flowering trees may die and not bloom again until the following year. 

Therefore, its less about the rainfall and more about the temperature of an area that brings those beautiful flowering perennials back to life! 

Perhaps the saying is just a way for people to focus on the warmer, sunnier summer months ahead to get them through the dreary, cold, rainy days. Rather than having anything actually to do with botany. 

Going Where No Woman Has Gone Before: Hidden Figures and Women in STEM

, via Wikimedia Commons”]You’ve probably heard of John Glenn, Alan Shepard, and Neil Armstrong, but have you heard of Katherine Johnson?  She was an African American mathematician known as “the human computer” who worked from NASA in 1953. She most notably known for verifying calculations done by new computing technology at the time of John Glenn’s first orbit around the Earth on NASA’s Friendship 7 flight. In fact, Glenn refused to do the mission unless Katherine did his calculations.

, via Wikimedia Commons”]There is a movie currently in theaters called “Hidden Figures” that reveals the hidden history of events we thought we knew so well.  The plot follows the story of Katherine Johnson and her fellow colleagues, Dorothy Vaughan and Mary Jackson. They were all African American women, who helped make the first missions into space a reality. Katherine, Dorothy and Mary all overcame a lack of educational resources, segregation, and gender bias in order to help launch the United States’ first man into Earth’s orbit.   

When Katherine was growing up there was no schooling for African American children past 8th grade.  Given her gifts and aptitude, her parents got her special schooling and she was able to graduate high school at 14. At age 18 she went to West Virginia State College – a historically African American College.  She graduated summa cum laude in 1937.  A couple years later in 1939 she attended West Virginia University not only as one of the first African American students but also the very first woman.  If not for a court ordering the university’s desegregation, she would not have had the opportunity to earn her graduate degree and history might look very different. 

Despite her credentials, her job opportunities were mostly limited to teaching.  She taught school until 1952 when, at a family gathering, a relative mentioned that the National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics (NACA) was hiring mathematicians.  In 1953, NACA offered Johnson a job in the Guidance and Navigation Department at the Langley Memorial Aeronautical Laboratory. She accepted and became part of the early NASA team. NACA would later become NASA in 1958. 

According to an oral history archived by the National Visionary Leadership Project:

“At first she [Johnson] worked in a pool of women performing math calculations. Katherine has referred to the women in the pool as virtual ‘computers who wore skirts.’ Their main job was to read the data from the black boxes of planes and carry out other precise mathematical tasks. Then one day, Katherine (and a colleague) were temporarily assigned to help the all-male flight research team. Katherine’s knowledge of analytic geometry helped make quick allies of male bosses and colleagues to the extent that, “they forgot to return me to the pool.” While the racial and gender barriers were always there, Katherine says she ignored them. Katherine was assertive, asking to be included in editorial meetings (where no women had gone before.) She simply told people she had done the work and that she belonged.”

From 1953 through 1958, Johnson worked analyzing topics such as gust alleviation for aircraft. In keeping with state racial segregation laws, and federal workplace segregation rules that were in place at the time, Johnson and the other African-American women in the computing pool were required to work, eat, and use restrooms that were completely separate from those of their white peers. Their office was labeled as “Colored Computers.” In 1958 NASA adopted digital computers and desegregated! 

Johnson worked as an aerospace technologist and even calculated the trajectory for the May 5, 1961 space flight of Alan Shepard. She also calculated the launch window for his 1961 Mercury mission. She plotted backup navigational charts for astronauts in case of electronic failures.

Johnson later worked directly with digital computers. Thanks to her ability and reputation for accuracy, she was able to establish confidence in the new technology. She calculated the trajectory for the 1969 Apollo 11 flight to the Moon. In 1970, Johnson worked on Apollo 13’s mission to the Moon. Once the mission was aborted, her work on backup procedures and charts helped safely return the crew to Earth. Later in her career, she worked on the Space Shuttle program. 

She’s long been recognized as a pioneer for African American women in STEM and in 2015, she was honored by President Obama with the Presidential Medal of Freedom. 

, via Wikimedia Commons. “]Katherine Johnson awarded with Presidential Medal of Freedom, on Tuesday, Nov. 24, 2015 by President  Barack ObamaThe month of February is Black History Month! So here at High Touch High Tech we’d like to highlight one of our awesome programs that credits some amazing African American scientists, including Katherine Johnson, called The Real McCoy! Book The Real McCoy at your elementary school and your students will get the chance to experiment with friction like the famous scientist, Elijah McCoy. Then they will get to learn about pollution, scientist Rufus Stokes’ and his appreciation for clean air and a healthy environment. Lastly, the students will get to make an astrolabe (an instrument used for measuring the position of the stars, moons, and planets) just like Katherine Johnson used!

Follow this link to make your reservation today: https://sciencemadefun.net/science-program-reservations.cfm