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February 16, 2009
Science Newsletter Logo

Muskingum College Home Page

Please direct questions and comments to:

In this issue:

  • Summer Job: Rangeland
    Research Technician
  • Polymer Science & Polymer Engineering Summer Internship Program
  • Strange Green Comet Passing by Earth Next Week

Science Humor

Two atoms were walking across a road when one of them said, "I think I lost an electron!" "Really!" the other replied, "Are you sure?" "Yes, I 'm absolutely positive."

The bad news is that the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Amoebas is shrinking. The good news is that none of the amoebas has lost any of their members.

Q: What did the Nuclear Physicist have for lunch?
A: Fission Chips.

Need help with your career plans? Sign up with MentorNet. It's free!

Chemistry Tutoring
CHEM 105, 111, 112, &115--Sundays & Tuesday, 7 - 9 p.m. in SC 338
CHEM 214--Sundays, 7 - 9 p.m. in SC 338

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Summer Job:
Rangeland Research Technician

RANGELAND RESEARCH TECHNICIAN: Three (3) temporary, full-time positions. Pay: $10/hour (housing included). Dates: Approximately late May - early August 2009.

Location: Central Grasslands Research Extension Center, Streeter, North Dakota.

Qualifications: Ability to pay close attention to detail; tolerance of repetitive work; mature, responsible, ability to work independently. Interest in identifying plant species using vegetative characteristics is essential. Applicants should have some knowledge of plant taxonomy and an interest in plant ecology and range research. Some college level course work in botany, range management or a related field is required.

Duties: The job will consist primarily of field work conducted on research trails at the Center. Assist plant scientist and other personnel in collecting data and repairing and maintaining facilities and equipment. Sample forage production and utilization. Identify plant species using vegetative characteristics. Monitor changes in frequency, density, and basal cover of each plant species. Sample soil water using neutron moisture meter.

Application: Send letter stating qualifications, resume, relevant course list, and 3 references with phone numbers.

Contact: Bob Patton, North Dakota State University, Central Grasslands Research Extension Center, 4824 48th Ave SE, Streeter, ND 58483. Ph: 701-424-3606, Fax: 701-424-3616, Email: Website:

Filing Date: April 1, 2009

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Polymer Science & Polymer Engineering
Summer Internship Program

If you are interested in a progressive, multidisciplinary research project that bridges the fields of biology, chemistry, engineering and/or physics, application instructions can be found at Send questions and/or applications to Ms. Marj Riccardi (330) 972-7539,

The University of Akron
Department of Polymer Science
Akron, OH 44325-3909
Attn.: Summer Internships

Please submit application materials by March 1, 2009. Awards will be announced beginning February 1, 2009 and will continue until all positions are filled.

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Stange Green Comet Passing by Earth Next Week


WASHINGTON  —  An odd, greenish backward-flying comet is zipping by Earth this month, as it takes its only trip toward the sun from the farthest edges of the solar system. The comet is called Lulin, and there's a chance it can be seen with the naked eye — far from city lights, astronomers say. But you'll most likely need a telescope, or at least binoculars, to spot it.

The best opportunity is just before dawn one-third of the way up the southern sky. It should be near Saturn and two bright stars, Spica and Regula. On Monday at 10:43 p.m. EST, it will be 38 million miles from Earth, the closest it will ever get, according to Donald Yeomans, manager of NASA's Near Earth Object program.

The story behind the comet is more intriguing than its appearance — the greenish tinge may be hard for many to discern. The color comes from a type of carbon and cyanogen, a poisonous gas. Lulin was discovered by a Chinese teenager two years ago. It still has many of its original gases — gases that are usually stripped away as comets near the sun. Unlike most comets viewable from Earth, this one hasn't been this close to the sun before, Yeomans said. While all the planets and most of the other objects in the solar system circle the sun counterclockwise, Lulin circles clockwise, said NASA astronomer Stephen Edberg.

Thanks to an optical illusion, from Earth it appears as if the comet's tail is in the front as the comet approaches Earth and the sun.

"It essentially is going backwards through the solar system," he said.

It came from the outskirts of the solar system, 18 trillion miles away. Once it's made the journey around the sun, Lulin will gain enough speed to escape the solar system, Edberg said.

"If you are interested in comets, make sure you see it," he said. "But it's not going to be a real great blast for the general public

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