How-To: Stay Sharp During Lockdown
Warning: This article contains random space photos!
People in the science community understand how vast the body of human knowledge and ongoing research is. Most of us will barely skim the surface during our lives, and end up focusing on a certain subset of a field either by accident or preference. The additional time spent at home during the 2020 lockdown gives us an opportunity to peek over the fence, and study areas of science or human endeavors that we normally may not. To that end, here are three amazing resources to help you learn some new things, including some stuff for kids.
1. NASA at Home. NASA has compiled a free E-book collection, covering almost every topic available in Aerospace: Aircraft and Aeronautics, Astronomy and Planetary Exploration, Earth Science, Aerospace History and more. You can find it at https://www.nasa.gov/nasa-at-home-e-books.
2. The Planetary Society has compiled a set of resources as well, from interviews with Carl Sagan to free issues of it's magazine, the Planetary Report. Also included is the entire 24 hour Cosmo series from 1980, which still remains the most popular show ever broadcast on Public Television. They also include some stuff for the kids! https://www.planetary.org/blogs/in-space-together.html
Speaking of kids, this is a good time to share new and exciting scientific ideas or concepts with them! It may be a refreshing break from hastily put together online curriculum, and there is no better time than now to inspire the next generation of scientists. Maybe you could pretend you are living in a Mars habitat, and can only go outside with a "spacesuit?" Even kids on Mars have to do their homework!
3. Free educational materials (textbooks and online learning) from OpenStax. OpenStax is a great nonprofit from Rice University, which recieved it's initial funding from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. Textbooks include Physics, Math, Chemistry, Astronomy, and others. You can find their article about free resources during the pandemic here: https://openstax.org/blog/teaching-online-openstax-support-emerging-social-distancing-requirements.
Stay sharp everyone! You'll be back to long days at the office and too much coffee soon enough. Let's try to make the most of the current situation.