Dragons at Mt Molloy

Bearded Dragon  by Pepita
(Mount Molloy State School)

Its beard goes black when it’s angry.
It’s scaly and smells a bit tangy.
It runs really fast on its long hind legs
and waves its hand when it begs.

Australian Bearded Dragons can make themselves look scary by puffing out a flap of skin under their jaw. They can be seen communicating with each other from a distance, bobbing their heads and bodies up and down. And when they concede defeat, they give a little wave with their forearm!

Insect Poems

The Boxing Mantis by Nika
(Trinity Beach State School)

A praying mantis is green
so it blends-in to help it hide.
It has big, brave bulging eyes
that never ever blink.

They eat other insects
and juicy green leaves,
but luckily for us
they don’t eat people.

They have four long swaying legs
and two strong punching legs
that bend-up by their chin
so they look like they’re going to
PUNCH YOU!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Insect Limerick  by Pamela Koltunicki

There once was a bug named Tattoo
who loved rolling big balls of poo.
One day, pushing faeces,
he saw the same species,
and yelled, “you’re a dung beetle too!”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Scavenging Achievers  by Sukarma Rani Theraja

I was asleep
when a copper-coloured beetle touched my feet.

Strongest insect that fondly eats
our planet’s daily waste.
Rolling, digging and tunnelling dung,
it sings songs of life with balls of dung.
Forwards and backwards into balls,

Rolling, rolling spheres of manure,
picking-up seeds at every turn.
Moving, dispersing and fertilizing
seeds on-the-move by rolled dung balls.

Digging, digging to bury those balls.
A store of moisture, a harvest of food.
A safe abode and nursery,
brooding babies, all-in-a-ball.

Tunnelling, tunnelling, spreading that dung,
repeatedly changing the texture of soil.
Porosity, quality, germination
all get better where dung beetles dwell.

Egyptians and Adivasi knew
the values of these scarab saviours.
So keep these achievers in the loop,
revere those scavenging beetle troops,
cleaning up our planet’s poops.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Picture-Book Poetry Party 2018

Sunday 21st October 2-3pm at Holiday Inn Cairns Harbourside, 209 Esplanade, Cairns.

This year, local author Deanna Henderson will be reading her picture-book There’s a Zoo in my backyard, and sharing some of her fascinating stories from Minibeast Wildlife, where she works with insects (such as the praying mantis), spiders and other fascinating invertebrates.

Students from Whitfield State School will be reciting poems created for this year’s National Science Week, themed Game Changers & Change Makers, and students from Trinity Beach State School are sharing poems about INSECTS!

This is a FREE EVENT, aimed to delight pre-school & primary-school aged children and their parents.  Bring along a favourite Picture-Book to receive a raffle ticket in the draw for a book voucher from Collins Booksellers Smithfield or a gift from Minibeast Wildlife.

This is the fifth POETRY PARTY hosted by Celia Berrell & Science Rhymes.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sponsored by: Holiday Inn Cairns Harbourside & Collins Booksellers Smithfield

Book Launch 10th August

How exciting – to be granted a 2.30pm LAUNCH at this year’s Cairns Tropical Writers Festival for The Science Rhymes Book – Second Edition!
It is going to be a really enjoyable event.


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I have invited Dr Clifford Jackson from James Cook University to say a few words. Cliff spent over a year analysing the poems in this book to check that the science concepts portrayed were sound. And this is what makes “The Science Rhymes Book” rather special. It isn’t simply a fun book of verse, it’s also a carefully crafted science resource book!

After sharing some highlights about this book’s journey – from concept, self-publishing and then partnership publishing with Jabiru Publishing – we will showcase a selection of the poems. I say “we”, because most of the poems will be delivered by students from Whitfield State School who have been attending this year’s lunchtime Poetry Club.

Here’s a plan of The Science Rhymes Book LAUNCH Programme:


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I hope to see you IN THE BALLROOM if you have time to attend.

 

A Science Hall of Fame

This collection of poems is shared by their creators to celebrate National Science Week 2018 (11-19 August), its theme of GAME CHANGERS AND CHANGE MAKERS, with aspects of science that have inspired and fascinated.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

(Click on the blue “Game Changers” writing below to find out more about the scientists in this poster)

Game Changers

Dr Sukarma Thareja from India began, by reminding us that famous figures, such as Thomas Edison, didn’t necessarily shine when they were at school! Haywood Ho Hei tells us how one of science’s the most impressive theories, Quantum Mechanics, was almost abandoned by its originator (Max Planck), until it was taken on by those around him. Science and discovery can take incredible diligence, focus and hard work, while at other times, it just happens accidentally. And talking of accidents, not all scientific endeavours have been for the greater good. Introducing the South American Cane Toad to Queensland Australia was simply a catastrophe!

An Ode to Stephen Hawking  by Rowen
(Woodville High School)

Stephen Hawking, a brilliant mind!
Very clever, successful and kind.
One of our best scientific pioneers
with one of the most glittering careers.

Incredibly gifted throughout his time,
a theoretical physicist in his prime,
he became a role model to many young people,
but sadly one day he was rendered near-feeble.

Diagnosed with motor neurone disease
his health declined in small degrees.
But he didn’t give up, no, he pushed ahead,
although his peers thought he’d soon be dead.

He kept living on, yes, he cheated death
until March 14th when he took his last breath.
His students, and theirs, talk of him in a way,
that connects with us all, every hour, every day.

They say this great man was one-of-a-kind.
Stephen Hawking enshrined that brilliant mind.

 

Calculators  by Georgia
(Whitfield State School)

Those magical math-multiplying machines:
what would we do without them?

We’d sit in a maths test, yawning, so boring
all the way to tomorrow morning!

If doing sums you ever fear,
don’t worry, calculators are here.

But what is inside; what are they really?
A special machine that tells answers clearly.

Now that we’ve got them, what to we do?
Trust them completely – their answers are true.

 

Lucky Galileo  by Imogen
(Whitfield State School)

Renaissance astronomer Galilei
showed that the Earth revolved round the Sun.
Defying the views of the holiest place,
some Catholics wanted him burned at stake.

Instead, he’s imprisoned in home-arrest
where Bubonic Plague wasn’t a pest.
This “Black Death” caused headache, fever and chills
then lymph glands, like boils, began to swell.

Safe from disease, his life was enhanced.
Protected from getting boils in his pants!

 

Clever Ada  by Coby
(Whitfield State School)

Ada Lovelace liked music.
And she was also good at maths.
She wrote a guide, “Flyology”.
She’s a dreamer from the past.

At a ball, she met Charles Babbage
whose incredible machine
was called “The Difference Engine”
and only ran on steam.

This was the first computer that
the world had ever seen
and Ada wrote its programs.  She’s
the world’s first Coding Queen!

 

 

Meeting E.T. At Cairns Aquarium  by Kaya
(Whitfield State School)

This porcupine fish can change personality.
From small, shy and cute, to puffed-up all-angrily.
Oh, E.T. you have such big eyes,
they make it so hard to say goodbye.
I wonder, have you met E.T?
If not, I think you’d better see me!

This porcupine fish melts hearts every day.
A Diodon Globefish and species of ray.
Oh, E.T. you have so much love to share,
In Cairns Aquarium, we can’t help but stare.
If all you go, please say hello.
Oh, E.T. I love you so.

 

Aqua  by Jade
(Whitfield State School)

Aqua is the colour of waves on the ocean
when blue skies and sunshine are passing by.
Aqua is the sound of water crashing.
Its power and strength we can’t deny.

Aqua is the smell of the salty ocean
where sodium chloride will spray and spin.
Aqua is the taste of the briny sea
touching and tingling against my skin.

 

Superior Saturn  by Charlie
(Whitfield State School)

Saturn’s the sixth planet from the Sun
and my favourite in our galaxy.
With its nine astonishing icy rings
that orbit and hang due to gravity.

Titan is Saturn’s largest moon,
found by a Dutch Astronomer
which later led Christiaan Hugens
to become really popular.

According to to Doctor Kevin Baines,
Saturn rains tons of diamonds each year.
It would be fantastic to take some home …
as a special prize souvenir!

Saturn’s name came from Roman mythology;
Titan was named from the Greek.
Those wandering stars we now know as planets
like gods, never lose their mystique.

 

Beautiful Moon  by Moco
(Whitfield State School)

I am the beautiful moon.
Silent, silver, cold.
I’ll stop my orbiting soon
because I’m growing old.
My temperature in Celsius
is minus one-seventy-three.
For humans, that’s the deadliest.
Too hard to live on me!

 

Cane Toads  by Ruby
(Whitfield State School)

I came here in 1935
filled with excitement about my new life.
Dropped off in Gordonvale’s sugar-cane fields
to end all your cane beetle strife.

My tough warty skin oozes poison.
My webbed feet are quite unusual.
But at least being poisonous stops me
from being anyone’s juicy meal!

I quickly adapt to your weather.
Your cyclones don’t really bother me.
Instead I just find a new shelter
and relentlessly grow my family.

In numbers, we grew and we grew and grew.
Reaching the Northern Territory.
And before many scientists really knew,
we’re in W.A. – and not sorry!

All because of a silly mistake
which scientists wish they could reverse.
Let’s hope no one brings in a Mexican snake.
That could make things a whole lot worse!

 

Max Planck Quantum Mechanics  by Haywood Ho Hei
(Victoria Shanghai Academy, Hong Kong)

Thou, in the world of unseen men,
at a time of sunshine and feathered pen.
You, a bright lad, thought beyond what we saw,
for what didn’t exist – would leave all in awe.

When a miniscule item, thought to be at the limit,
there’s still something smaller, leaving no answer.
Days of researching: past all that inhibits
with possible leads to a cure for cancer.

From the width of a one-dimensional string
to the hottest possible Farenheit,
Max Plank discovered what no Earthling could see
and what was there to show the light.

He once thought that all this would be disapproved.
It was only a theory after all.
From what he thought lost, wrong as he’d been,
when about to drop it, others took up the ball.

 

Haywood has been fascinated by physics since he was very young and loves to dig deeper and deeper into the tiny quantum world, especially about how we can use these discoveries well.

 

Young Thomas Edison  by Sukarma Rani Thareja & Celia Berrell

Childhood illness and ear infections
left young Thomas hard of hearing.
His teacher thought he couldn’t learn
and three months later, sent him home!

Fidgety Thomas was prone to distractions
which didn’t help his early learning.
But once his mother had taught him to read,
Tom devoured books at greatest speed.

Did deafness assist his concentrations?
Did curiosity banish his fearing?
His science experiment on a train
started a fire – Tom’s in trouble again!

An entrepreneur of many inventions
the name of Edison kept appearing.
Batteries, cables, and household light
were just some of Edison’s dreams-come-right.

 

Saving the System

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Saving the System
by Reinhold Mangundu

The system is life; this system provides.
Such system collapse is people’s demise.
So what are we doing with unthinking minds?
Can you feel, hear or see Earth’s desperate signs?

Bleached coral reefs; no fishing, no work.
Unemployed poverty mustn’t be shirked.
Less copper, less diamonds: they’re closing the mines.
Can you feel, hear or see Earth’s depleted signs?

Our Earth’s system needs us to save, not plunder
her life-giving riches in all their wonder.
So let’s save the system. Let’s roar out her worth!
And join in becoming Guardians of Earth.

Reinhold Mangundu is an environmental activist in Namibia and youth advocate.

International Women’s Day

In twenty-first century civilisation, most women quest for equal standing with men. On International Women’s Day, we take stock of our journey so far, thinking of and thanking the women and men who have helped along the way – be they prominent figures, family or friends – before pressing on.

In 2017, Danish Physiotherapist Dr Hanne Albert was invited to Frankfurt to give a lecture on the use of antibiotics as a treatment for Modic Back Pain. Five days before the conference, Hanne received a telephone call, advising her that she was being awarded The German Pain Prize – the highest award given for pain research. She had 5 days to prepare an honorary lecture to summarise the last ten years of her research to an audience of over 1000 conference participants.

“The Chairman of the Pain Society said that I had brought a brand new and ground-breaking treatment concept into the treatment of patient’s back pain; that I fought against all odds and resistance and continued to give lectures so that my research is now being used in clinical practice to change the life of patients. I got the longest applause lasting for several minutes and by so many people. It was completely overwhelming and a huge day in my life.”

Marie Curie was the first female scientist to be awarded prestigious prizes for her work – a Nobel Prize for physics in 1903, then a Nobel Prize for chemistry in 1911.

Marie The First  by Celia Berrell & Sukarma Rani Thareja

Madame Curie
first Polish then French.
A physicist-chemist
with questions to quench.

“The Courage of Knowledge”
a film that attests
her radioactivity
research was best.

At first, PhD, then
female professor.
Achieved when men saw
the fair-sex as lesser.

Then love-team in physics
Pierre and Marie
wed Nobel acclaim
with the name of Curie.

But tragedy struck.
Marie stood alone.
Despite Pierre’s death
her research went on.

With funding so scarce
for a woman in science
her hardships were fierce.
Down to much self-reliance.

Marie persevered
and awards ensued,
including her Nobel
prize number two!

For women in science
the first we elect
is Madame Curie
for equal respect.

 

A Message from Associate Professor Sukarma Rani Thareja

May each girl-child have creative potential
and scientific aptitude in her own right.
Alas, this may still be wishful thinking!
But may this hopeful message continue to ring
through our halls of science
for hardworking women
like Madame Curie.

Sukarma Rani Thareja,
Alumnus-IIT-Kanpur (1986),
Associate Professor of Chemistry-Retired,
CSJM Kanpur University, UP, India.

Recommended reading: “A Lab of One’s Ownby Patricia Fara

National Science Day

The 28th February is a day for scientific celebration. Since 1987, National Science Day has honoured Nobel Prize-winner Sir Chandrasekhara Venkarta Raman and all things scientific in India. Discovering the “Raman Effect” (named in his honour) in 1928 has provided fantastical new ways of “seeing” with certain light-waves.

The Raman Effect  by Celia Berrell
(Sir Chandrasekhara Venkarta Raman 1928)

Chandrasekhara
Raman’s a knight
and Nobel prize winner
for physics in light.
A new radiation
he came to detect.
A scatter of rays
called the “Raman Effect”.

This change in light’s wavelength
when passing-on through
a gas or some substance
in spectroscope view
reveals the ID of
its chemistry zoo.
A tool to make
scientist’s dreams come true!

Doing no damage
discerning gem quality;
checking a pill
for content and purity.
Uses: amazingly
varied and rife.
Such as scanning remotely
for Mars signs of life.

Stories of Discovery

DISCOVERY is the process of finding some – THING for the first time. Discoveries can be exciting, scary and even hazardous. Some scientific discoveries are all three. And, like letting a genie out of its bottle, it’s nigh-on impossible to put them back!

Origins of the Future by Sharon Davson

Mother of Invention
by Celia Berrell

Neotenic humankind
is ceaseless of inquiring mind.
With science and technology
the stopper’s out, dynamically!

From fire to furnaced energy;
from steam to electricity.
We modify genetically
and glean the stars effectively.

We can’t slow down this gain in pace.
The fascination’s well in place.
Much to learn – with good intention
drives this mother of invention.

 

Humans have made life-changing and world-altering discoveries throughout history. Which of the following three discoveries do you think is worthy of being in a SCIENCE HALL OF FAME?

First is a young cave-man. Let’s call him Ugg. Ugg accidentally discovered how to start a fire with sparks from two stones. Do you think his parents praised him for giving them a reliable way to keep warm, protect them from predators and cook up a meaty meal? Or was he punished for accidentally setting fire to the forest and scorching his sister’s hair? Starting a fire is exciting but not without its dangers!

How we use and view scientific discoveries can depend on capability, culture and comprehension. Something once thought harmful can later be seen as helpful – as in this 16thC Astronomer’s story.

Galileo Galilei made the best telescopes of his time and gathered evidence for a heliocentric Solar System. Although it looks as though the heavens spin round the Earth, Galileo showed that the planets go round the Sun. When he published his findings, he was imprisoned for contradicting words in the Bible. Changing our understanding of how nature works can be scary. The Pope didn’t cope and sent him to jail!

What was first believed to be helpful turned out to be harmful in this French scientist’s story, where a “cure-all” turned out to be a “death-knell” for many.

Marie Curie won her first Nobel Prize in 1903. She discovered and named radioactivity and isolated the radioactive elements Polonium and Radium. At first, these glowing elements were thought to have health benefits. But then people began dying from exposure to their harmful radiation (including Marie). Science discoveries can be hazardous – especially if we don’t understand their implications.

Game Changers & Change Makers is this year’s National Science Week theme (which runs from 11-19 August). FIRE, a HELIOCENTRIC Solar System and RADIOACTIVITY are all Game Changers.

Whether we see these discoveries as helpful or harmful can depend on how they’re used.

Ugg, Galileo and Madame Curie were all Change Makers. They show how science is a journey of both successes and failures. We build and adjust our scientific thinking and understanding as new discoveries come to light. Our search for the truth about nature and the cosmos (including the effects of human actions) will continue. Our aim is to collectively understand enough to ensure these discoveries are used in a helpful rather than harmful manner.

So which of the three Discovery Stories did you choose for a SCIENCE HALL OF FAME? And who else would you include?

We can’t wait to discover your suggestions – especially if you can put yours in a Science Rhyme (and send to feedback@sciencerhymes.com.au)!

Christmas Chemistry

Just in time for Christmas …
Merrissa Sorrentino shares her latest poem:

Twas The Night Before Christmas
(Chemistry Edition)
by Merrissa Sorrentino

Twas the night before Christmas, when all through the lab
not a beaker was burning, nor lid left uncapped.
Our goggles were hung in the cupboard with care
in the hopes that St Mendeleev soon would be there.

The chemists were nestled, all snug in their coats
going over molecular formula notes.
The Professor in glasses reciting compounds
had just finished jotting the last of them down

when outside the door there arose such a clatter.
I sprang from my desk to see – what was the matter?
We raced down the hallway in a quantum-like flash
dodging the test tubes and measuring flasks.

The light of the fluorescent tubes up above
gave a lustre as bright as my chemical gloves
when what, to my wandering eyes, should appear
but a Chemist with Eight Elemental Reindeer!

Faster than light, these elements came.
He whistled and shouted and called them by name:

“Now Bismuth! Now Carbon! Now Krypton and Bromine!
On Copper! On Cobalt! On Xenon and Fluorine!
From out of the hallway and into the class
they formed an unusual luminous gas.

Like heat that emerges within a reaction
their atoms were striving for more interaction.
So off with their lids, the elements flew
with a gift for the lab, and St Mendeleev too.

And then in a startle, I heard from the hall
the clinking of pipettes and glass-mixing rods.
As I drew in my head and was turning to look
St Dmitri appeared with his chemistry book.

He was dressed all in white, from his head to his foot
but his coat was all tarnished with ashes and soot.
With a bundle of research files flung on his back
he looked like a student who’s ready for class.

His eyes – how they peered – as he looked all around.
His cheeks – were as pink as a Lithium compound.
Through the beard on his chin, in Titanium white
the smirk on his face conveyed utter delight.

The stub of his pencil, he held in his hand
as a sign of a very intelligent man.
And with it, he granted us wisdom and knowledge
which quickly began to envelop the college.

He spoke of a dream where elements took structure
like a symphony of atoms, and he, the conductor.
When arranged on the table in front of us all
he gave us a wink, then was gone from the hall.

He went in a flash as he called for his Elements.
Away they all flew in a cloud of intelligence.
But I heard him yell out – before fading away …

“HAPPY RESEARCH and to all, a good day!”

Celia Berrell
PO Box 220
Fortitude Valley QLD 4006

Email:
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