Give Back and Help the Scientists of Tomorrow #GivingTuesday

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At HMNS, our love of learning is evident in everything we do. We provide education programs for ALL age groups, from interactive labs for students to world-class exhibit halls to phenomenal films in our Burke Baker Planetarium and Wortham Giant Screen Theatre. Help us inspire philanthropy and encourage charitable giving during the holiday season by showing your support for HMNS. Your gift will play a pivotal role in introducing our 500,000 annual student visitors to the wonders of science and the awe of our natural world.

JOIN THE MOVEMENT

Help HMNS reach its  Giving Tuesday fundraising goal of $10,000!

You can be part of #GivingTuesday by showing your support of the Houston Museum of Natural Science! Make your gift of any size, then be sure to share your participation on Facebook and Twitter, using #GivingTuesday and #HMNS hashtags.

  1. Donate Today!
  2. Share #GivingTuesday and #HMNS on social media!
  3. Tell your network why you supported HMNS this Giving Tuesday! Download the #UNselfie form.

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FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS:

Q: How will the money be used?

A: Unless otherwise instructed by the donor, all Giving Tuesday donations will be directed to the Museum’s Annual Fund. The Annual Fund is the heart of the Museum’s fundraising efforts and provides for the basic needs of the institution.

Q: Are gifts tax-deductible?

A: The Houston Museum of Natural Science is a 501(c)3 organization. Your donation is tax deductible to the fullest extent allowed by law.

ADDITIONAL QUESTIONS?

If you have any additional questions about Giving Tuesday or giving in general, please contact us at 713.639.4629 or development@hmns.org.

Thank you so much for your participation in #GivingTuesday. Every dollar makes a difference!

Giving Tuesday is a global day of giving that harnesses the collective power of individuals, communities and organizations to encourage philanthropy and to celebrate generosity. Giving Tuesday uses the power of social media to inspire people give back in impactful ways to the charities and causes they support. #GivingTuesday!

Make the Holidays Merry and Bright With Your Very Own Jingle Tree!

_kjr3238The holiday season is a magical time – make it even more so at HMNS at Sugar Land with one of Fort Bend’s most anticipated holiday traditions! Jingle Tree features a showcase of beautifully decorated trees that are up for bid in a six-day long, online silent auction. Our special touch? The trees are sponsored and decorated by Fort Bend designers, museum supporters, local celebrities and artistic visionaries! 

Jingle Tree is a festive way to support HMNS at Sugar Land’s mission of science education while helping provide science enrichment to local underserved populations. We hope this annual event will continue to be an integral part of your holiday season! 

jt16_851x315Presented by Sterling McCall Acura.

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Bubbles, Bites and Belles – Holiday Coffee
Tuesday November 15 | 9:30–11:30 a.m.
Tickets $35

This fabulous private event will allow you to see the trees up close and perhaps even “pre-buy” the one you fall in love with! Indulge in bubbly mimosas and delicious bites, or add to the fun at Santa’s Little Helpers coffee bar, where you can purchase festive holiday drinks. Enjoy the museum and socialize with old friends or make new ones at our holiday coffee!

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Jingle, Jingle, Mix ‘n Mingle – Happy Hour & Auction Close
Thursday November 17 | 5:30–8:30 p.m.
Tickets $50

Bring your friends for an evening of tree viewing, on-line bidding, a fabulous live auction, unique raffle items and delectable food. Enjoy our complimentary signature cocktail, the Jingle Jangle, or visit the cash bar for your drink of choice. It’s your final chance to bring home your favorite tree! All bids close that evening at 8:15 pm, you won’t want to miss it!

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Jingle Tree is a festive way to support HMNS at Sugar Land’s mission of science education, while helping provide science enrichment to local underserved populations. Our local museum lets visitors see how intriguing and FUN science can be! We hope you’ll join our list of science education champions!

We are very grateful for our generous sponsors who made the Jingle Tree events possible. 

So many people have dedicated their time and effort to make Jingle Tree possible. We wholeheartedly thank these leaders.

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Wonder Women of STEM: Beatrice Alice Hicks, a woman ahead of her time

Editor’s Note: This post is the third in a series featuring influential women from STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) fields in the lead up to HMNS’ annual GEMS (Girls Exploring Math and Science) event, February 21, 2015. Click here to get involved! 

Born in 1919 in Orange, New Jersey, Beatrice Alice Hicks was a woman ahead of her time. In the course of her life, she earned multiple degrees, pioneered the woman’s role in the field of engineering, and co-founded a women’s engineering society.

As a child, she was inspired by the construction of the empire state building to pursue a career in engineering. She attained her first degree in chemical engineering from Newark College of Engineering. Shortly afterwards, she became the first woman engineer hired at Western Electric in 1942 where she designed telephone equipment that would later be used for the first long distance phone system. Upon leaving Western Electric, she continued her education at Stevens Institute of Technology and received her master’s degree in physics.

Hicks continued her innovative approach to engineering when she joined her late father’s company as chief engineer. In 1962, Hicks patented a density switch. It monitored the density of a sealed environment and signaled when the density changed. Her invention was integral in the Apollo space missions to the moon! It informed the astronauts if there was a leak in the ship. She created a number of other environmental sensors throughout the duration of her career that were used in additional space missions as well as aircraft development. 

All of Beatrice Hick’s personal accomplishments were extremely impressive, but she wanted to do more. At the time, the United States was in need of more engineers, and Hicks had the perfect solution – women engineers! She felt that women were not being encouraged to study engineering.

In 1951, she and a few female engineers co-founded the Society of Women Engineers (SWE). Their goal was “to inform the public of the availability of qualified women for engineering positions; to foster a favorable attitude in industry for women engineers; and to contribute to their professional advancement.” When SWE started, it had 65 members and it has grown to include over 16,000 women! 

Hicks was elected president of SWE in 1951 and she travelled the country giving speeches and interviews about the role of women in engineering. Encouraging women to pursue a higher education, and serving as a role model for young engineers for generations to come. We hope you will stop by the Society of Women Engineers (SWE) booth this year at GEMS and be inspired by these female engineers! Come see Beatrice Hicks’ legacy and get excited about engineering.

 

HMNS is highlighting females that made contributions to STEM fields leading up to our annual GEMS (Girls Exploring Math and Science) event, February 21, 2015!

Girls Exploring Math and Science (GEMS) is an event that showcases some of the great things girls do with science, technology, engineering and math! Students can present a project on a STEM related subject for the chance to earn prize money for their school.

Educator How-To: Crystals, Geometry and Chemistry

Math is beautiful and inescapable. Especially in nature, patterns and equations just keep showing up.  The path of an orbiting planet, the growth of a nautilus, arrangements of leaves on a stem, the efficient packing of a honeycomb; we can find rules and algorithms and make predictions from them.

Crystals, with their obediently repeating structure, are an elegant manifestation of the ‘rules.’  To be a crystal, your building blocks (atoms, molecules, or ions) must follow patterns over and over and over and over and over.  Atoms, being predictable, simply do what their chemical properties and the conditions (temperature, pressure, etc.) indicate.  So what exactly does it take to go from a mess of elements and compounds to this example from the Crystals of India exhibit at HMNS Sugar Land?

If you’ve ever tried making rock candy from sugar water or ornaments from borax solution, then you have some idea what it entails: something dissolved that is capable of making crystals has to slowly come out of solution – usually the longer you give it, the bigger it can grow and the slower it grows, the more perfect the crystals.

Freezing water into ice also gives you crystals; they just don’t stick around and let you handle them conveniently at room temperature. Water and solutions in water aren’t the only way to get crystals; molten rock cooling (slowly) can also give crystals, but that’s a little tricky for home experimentation.

So time is your friend for crystal growth, pressure is a factor, and it needs to be easier for atoms to attach to the forming crystal than to stay in solution.  Having a solution that is saturated or supersaturated so it can barely hold all of the dissolved material helps. It also helps to have places for the crystals to start forming; a tiny ‘seed’ crystal or sometimes even just a rough spot on a surface can provide the nucleation sites to kick off crystal growth. Are there other ways crystals and the things we consider ‘gems’ can form? Yes!

For those of us with shorter attention spans, a cool way so see the process is with crystallizing hand warmers – a pouch holds a saturated solution of sodium acetate. When you flex a metal disk inside the pouch, you kick off a chain of crystallization and end up with solid material (and released heat energy).  Because the process is so fast in the hand warmer, the individual crystals are very small and jumbled up (polycrystalline); oriented in all different directions, and as a mass they are opaque (light is refracting all over the place) and relatively dull rather than shiny and smooth as slower-forming large crystal faces can be.  The structure of most metals is also polycrystalline, and things like plastic and glass (even the kinds misleadingly labeled “crystal!”) are amorphous.

The external crystal shapes we see are related to the internal structure – there are a lot of different ways atoms can pack together.

Practically, there will always be some disruption in a crystal structure, no matter how perfect it may appear, which allows for some very cool effects – crystals “twinning,” impurities that alter the color; the reason ruby and sapphire (both corundum crystals) appear different.

Crystals aren’t always pretty! Sometimes we want to prevent crystallization to avoid things like kidney stones, but crystals are useful for all kinds of things; optical equipment and lasers, X-ray crystallography to figure out structures of proteins (and once upon a time, DNA), and silicon chips used in electronic devices. 

Whether you prefer your crystals practical or decorative, they are amazing!

Can’t get enough crystals? Check out the Crystals of India exhibit at HMNS Sugar Land (free for members!)