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May 17, 2021
As ships explored the world from the Age of Sail through 20th century, mariners kept detailed navigation records using the Sun and stars. Scientists scoured these ship logs, many of which are preserved in European libraries, for clues about Earth’s magnetic field. The work, published in 2000, created the first-ever magnetic field map for the past 4 centuries.
December 2, 2019
Mineralogist Jeff Post has a one-of-a-kind job: he’s curator of the National Gem and Mineral Collection, a collection of over 375,000 rock and mineral specimens housed at the National Museum of Natural History (NMNH) in Washington, D.C. In this episode, Jeff describes his day-to-day work of maintaining and growing this invaluable collection, which includes being personally responsible for the Hope Diamond and countless other treasures.
August 19, 2019
In 1972, in the waning years of the Vietnam War, U.S. military pilots flying south of Haiphong harbor in North Vietnam saw something unexpected. Without explanation, and without warning, over two dozen sea mines suddenly exploded. While the phenomenon was never officially explained, it piqued the interest of space scientist Delores Knipp.
June 14, 2018
Check out this clip that didn’t make it into our recent episode, The Secret Lives of Tide Gauge Operators, with Stefan Talke about some correspondence he found on how operators treated their equipment. Transcript Shane Hanlon: Hey, Nanci. Nanci Bompey: Hi, Shane. Shane Hanlon: Alright, I wanted to ask you. What’s your fix-all material of choice? Like duct tape, but you have- Nanci Bompey: …
June 1, 2018
In the 1800s and early 1900s, dozens of men stationed at harbors around the United States would record water levels and send them to a central office in Washington, D.C. where they were used by engineers building the country’s infrastructure.