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July 2016 - Fighting Climate Change: The Responsibilities of a Climatologist

Fighting Climate Change: The Responsibilities of a Climatologist

​Dr. Ilissa Ocko

​Climate Scientist, Climate Voices Science Speakers Network 

Sun, Jul 31, 2016 - 2:30 p.m - 3:30 p.m

​Location: Old Bridge Public Library

For our fourth event, climate scientist Dr. Ilissa Ocko delivered an engrossing presentation about climate science. In a very presentable and neat PowerPoint, Dr. Ocko explained her job as a climate scientist to the audience. She started off by giving a timeline of the history of climatology and then showing how she herself got interested in the field. Dr. Ocko also provided a lot of background on the Environmental Defense Fund, which she works for, highlighting the importance of climate scientists to work in conjunction with lawyers, policymakers, and economists in order to ensure that effective action is taken. After talking about her own fascinating research with black carbon and methane, two pollutants which temporarily trap energy in the atmosphere and can significantly reduce global warming if their levels are cut, Dr. Ocko then transitioned to an interactive Climate Wedges activity. This thought-provoking activity, created by scientists at Princeton University, allowed the audience to evaluate 15 identified strategies that can cut down carbon levels in different ways such as energy efficiency, renewable energy, and carbon capture and storage. After evaluating the pros and cons of each option, the group came together to choose 8 strategies that would help reduce the upwards wedge of carbon emissions to constant levels by 2060. The audience loved the opportunity to discuss ways to solve climate change themselves and learned so much about the importance of climate science in all aspects of social, political, and economic life. Thank you, Dr. Ocko, for your engaging talk! 

Click below to watch the video of the interview with climate scientist, Dr. Ocko by InQuire Science Series founder, Anuva Goel

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Jul 2017 - Coral Reef CSI

Coral Reef CSI

Amy Durkin

Educator, Center for Aquatic Sciences at Adventure Aquarium

Sun, Jul 23, 2017 - 2:30 p.m - 3:30 p.m

​Location: Old Bridge Public Library

            Today, Ms. Amy Durkin of the Center for Aquatic Sciences at Adventure Aquarium returned to InQuire Science Series to explore and investigate the coral reefs ecosystem with the audience. She began by explaining what corals really are, clarifying that corals are animals, not plants. She pointed out that a coral is comprised of thousands of tiny polyps with tentacles that attach to rocks or previous generations of polyps. The diversity of corals came alive through the many images that Ms. Durkin showed of soft fan coral to harder brain coral. The vibrancy and uniqueness of life in the coral reef ecosystem was also showcased through images of animals that share symbiotic relationships with the coral. Photosynthetic algae, known as zooxanthellae, give coral reefs their beautiful colors. Clownfish eat the waste of the polyps, while eels can get their teeth cleaned by coral. However, Ms. Durkin emphasized that coral reefs are facing a wide range of threats, and 75% of the coral in the Great Barrier Reef has already died. Global warming and climate change are causing sea temperatures to rise overall by 1 degree resulting in coral bleaching, sedimentary and fertilizer runoff cause stress affecting coral growth and reproduction, and invasive species such as the lionfish change the dynamic of the fragile coral ecosystem. Ms. Durkin mentioned how using renewable energy sources is one of the key ways to save the oceans and coral reefs. She also highlighted some creative methods, such as depositing old NYC subway trains or artistic concrete sculptures into the ocean, that are helping form the base for new coral systems to attach and thrive on. The event had a surprise ending: everyone got a chance to hold two creatures that live in the coral reefs – a sea urchin and a sea star!

Click below to watch the video of the interview with educator, Amy Durkin by InQuire Science Series founder, Anuva Goel

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Past Events

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December 2016 - The Peregrine Falcon - The Fastest Animal on Earth

The Peregrine Falcon - The Fastest Animal on Earth

​Emily Hofmann

Ecologist, Conserve Wildlife Foundation of New Jersey

Sun, Dec 11, 2016 - 2:30 p.m - 3:15 p.m

​Location: Old Bridge Public Library

Today, Emily Hofmann of Conserve Wildlife Foundation of NJ came and shared a wonderful presentation about the peregrine falcon. She brought along Petie, a juvenile peregrine falcon who has been taxidermically stuffed, and showed the anatomy of a peregrine falcon, including the various striations, through his model. Furthermore, through a skull of a peregrine falcon, she explained how the eye sockets of peregrine falcons take up the majority of their skull, and she used a measuring tape to emphasize a peregrine falcon’s 3.5 ft wingspan. Ms. Hofmann also shared a video of a peregrine falcon’s flight as it swoops a mile down to catch prey, and another video of the growth of a peregrine falcon from a chick hatching from an egg to an adult ready to leave its parents. Ms. Hofmann stressed the importance of increasing the numbers of these endangered species, explaining in a timeline how DDT really brought down the falcon numbers in the early 1970s. She explained how through banding and tracking peregrine falcons, and incubating their eggs to prevent any damage through DDT, conservationists have determined that now there are at least 30 pairs of peregrine falcons in New Jersey.

Click below to watch the video of the interview with ecologist, Emily Hofmann by InQuire Science Series founder, Anuva Goel

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Jul 2018 - Thrill Ride!

Thrill Ride!


Da Vinci Science Center

Sun, Jul 22, 2018 - 2:30 p.m - 3:30 p.m

​Location: Old Bridge Public Library

            The “Thrill Ride!” event provided a thrilling experience for all the kids. Peter, from the DaVinci Science Center, opened up the room to free play in the first ten minutes, pulling out clamps, pipe-tubing, marbles, and glasses. Marbles were rolling across the room, and kids were excitedly trying to get their marble “carts” to roll down the tubing “track” from the top of the clamp “tower” into the cup “station”. After getting a hang for the tools, the kids all shared different tricks they tried, including introducing bumps, loops, twists, and turns. Peter then discussed the types of energy and forces that work to propel roller coasters into action, explaining how a pen that has the potential to fall has potential energy until it is dropped, during which it has kinetic energy, the energy of motion. It falls due to the force of gravity. This is why roller coasters function from top to bottom. He also discussed momentum, and the importance for the marble to garner enough speed in the beginning to go through all the tricks on the coaster, as well as the need to consider resourcefulness in building. With this, Peter sent the teams off on a challenge – to build a coaster that contained at least one upside-down portion and used only the amount of tape he provided to construct a free-standing functional coaster. All the teams were successful – coming up with so many cool tricks, including double-loops, vertical 180 falls, and tunnel portions. Then, everyone measured the length of their coaster, and timed five trials, using their newly collected data to calculate the speed at which their carts travelled. The fastest team travelled at over 2 miles per hour! The kids all enjoyed their day at the amusement park, with Peter!

August 2016 - Critter Craze: The Diversity of Bugs

Critter Craze: The Diversity of Bugs

​Mario Cunha

Entomologist, Insectropolis Museum

Sun, Aug 21, 2016 - 2:30 p.m - 3:15 p.m

​Location: Old Bridge Public Library

Today, Superworm Mario from the Insectropolis Museum fascinated young kids with his immense display of bugs. First, he refreshed kids on the parts of bugs – the head, thorax, and abdomen – and then taught them about their hard nail-like exoskeleton. He then brought out the first arthropod, the hissing cockroach, which uses a loud hissing sound to protect itself. Next, he brought out a display of centipedes and millipedes to show how millipedes are rounder than centipedes, which have flat bodies and legs sticking out. After having kids stroke the scales of a West African millipede, Mario surprised the kids by turning the lights off, flashing a black light, and revealing the bright neon blue of a scorpion. Then, Mario did a mythbusters True or False to discredit the movie impressions we have of dangerous tarantulas and to recognize how gentle these arachnids are, before allowing the kids to stroke the tarantula’s legs. He even showcased the many molten skins of tarantulas, which museum staff collected. Lastly, Mario explained the diversity of bugs, by showing the jewel beetles which range in colors across the spectrum, and told kids to appreciate and care for bugs after showing how the beautiful butterflies in his collection are actually getting endangered when milkweed plants, which they rely on for diet, are rapidly disappearing. Mario took away all the fears of critters away from the kids and everyone left ready to explore the woods and the bugs that live there. 

Click below to watch the video of the interview with entomologist, Mario Cunha by InQuire Science Series founder, Anuva Goel

​​​​April 2016 - The Mystery Substance: Forensic Drug Analysis

The Mystery Substance: Forensic Drug Analysis

​Antoinette Thwaites

​Forensic Scientist, Association of Women in Forensic Science

​Sat, April 16, 2016 - 2:30 p.m - 4:00 p.m

​Location: Old Bridge Public Library

Our first meeting kicked off with a great start with fifteen students attending the event! Ms. Thwaites delivered a presentation to students in which she described the roles of the different fields within forensics and the many drugs that forensic drug analysts have to identify. After the background information, students conducted their own drug analysis of the mystery substance. Ms. Thwaites led a full simulation of a drug analysis in a forensics lab, first letting all the members wear lab safety attire. Then, the students carried out the entire scientific method, by first understanding their purpose to identify whether the mystery substance matched sample 1A or sample 1C. Next, students collected their materials and carried out the procedure, observing as each substance reacted with acetic acid and with water. Intently recording their observations of the chemical reactions, they came to a conclusion of which sample the mystery substance matched. Since drug analysts have to go to court to testify, each student came to the front to say what they concluded. At the end, Ms. Thwaites revealed the answer: that it matched neither of the reactions. Overall, everyone enjoyed the first meeting and were truly able to live one day in the life of a forensic scientist.

Click below to watch the video of the interview with forensic scientist, Ms. Thwaites by InQuire Science Series founder, Anuva Goel

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Jun 2018 - Reptile and Amphibian Extravaganza

Reptile and Amphibian Extravaganza

"Silly" Billy

The Lizard Guys

Sun, Jun 24, 2018 - 2:30 p.m - 3:30 p.m

​Location: Old Bridge Public Library

            Silly Billy of The Lizard Guys entertained a full audience of kids with an animal-studded show. The first highlight was an African bullfrog. Here, Billy explained how the bullfrog is an amphibian – meaning it can live on both water and land. The African bullfrog has a bumpy texture to help camouflage with its environment. Billy even took a vote, and the majority were correct that female bullfrogs are larger than males. Everyone was amazed when they saw what Billy brought next – a rat snake. Students were able to touch the snake, as they learned about how it feeds on animals by constricting them and preventing them from breathing. Billy also pointed out how snakes have internal ears unlike humans. Next up, Billy showed a bearded dragon, who, unlike the portrayals of colorful lizards, was distinctly pale. Billy mentioned how these lizards often love to bask in the hot sun outside, and thus, they have a thick layer of skin which protects them from too much heat. The kids also got to see a Komodo dragon. Billy explained how the Komodo dragons are carnivores, which means they eat meat, starting off with bugs and then growing to eat mice and rats. Although Billy hinted he would take out a turtle next, no one could have suspected the massive tortoise weighing more than 50 pounds which emerged from the box. Billy explained how there are three types of turtles – turtles, tortoises, and terrapins – and how tortoises prefer land. An interesting fact he mentioned is how male turtles often fight by flipping one another over, and since the tortoises are so heavy, their weight, along with the heat absorbed, collapses their lungs, and they are unable to recover. After the tortoise mingled around on the floor, the last reptile – a long boa constrictor – was revealed. As everyone leaned in to stroke it, they noticed how it had cloudy blue eyes, a sign which Billy mentioned is indicative of soon-to-come shedding of the skin. A phenomenal live animal presentation by Silly Billy left all the kids in awe and excitement by the end of the program!

Aug 2018 - Earthworks!


Ozone Alex

Mad Science

Sun, Aug 19, 2018 - 2:30 p.m - 3:30 p.m

​Location: Old Bridge Public Library

            Ozone Alex from MadScience held an interactive, experiment-filled lesson for students in the program! As the “rocks” section began, volunteers excitedly raised their hands to demonstrate the earth’s different layers – from the hard crust to the flowing mantle to the hot core in the center. Then, after going over the process of rock formation, the kids each got magnifying glasses and three pieces of rock. Using their newly learned geologist skills, they identified the rocks as igneous, sedimentary, or metamorphic based on porous and layered textures. There was a fluorescent conclusion to the section, as all the kids came up to the front to see rocks shine beautiful colors under UV light. After that, the students learned about tectonic plates, using a map to see how the plates underlay the different continents. Using layered pieces of foam, the students demonstrated the many up and down fold motions of the plates. But, Ozone Alex stressed that plates are forces of power as well – causing earthquakes and volcanic eruptions. The students then put on engineering hats, experimenting with trial and error as they worked to create building designs that could sustain earthquakes using Jenga blocks. With marbles representing the plates, Alex shook the tray, and the kids were eagerly watching to see how much of their building remained after the quake. To conclude, each table poured in the ingredients into a flask and watched their own volcanoes erupt right in front of them. Everyone left with an experiment to try out at home and with a stone that changes color with light to use as a keychain!

Jun 2017 - A New Spin on Energy

A New Spin on Energy

Carolyn Cannon

Senior Customer Relations Coordinator, New Jersey Natural Gas

Sun, Jun 11, 2017 - 2:30 p.m - 3:30 p.m

​Location: Old Bridge Public Library

Today, the InQuire Science Series welcomed Ms. Carolyn Cannon of New Jersey Natural Gas. The highlight of the event was a spinwheel activity. Audience members could spin the wheel, and depending on which sector the wheel stopped on, Ms. Cannon would explain that particular tip and the student could pick a prize. Prizes included energy-efficient flashlights, power outlet insulators, New Jersey Natural Gas sticky notes and pouches, and many more knickknacks. Through the spinwheel presentation, Ms. Cannon covered many ways to maintain energy-efficiency in the home and also shared some suggestions to cut down on the energy bills. She explained the importance of setting thermostats to lower temperatures in the winter (~68°) to avoid using unnecessary energy to constantly heat the home and to set the thermostat to around 65° when you are stepping outside, as there is no need for the home to be heated when no one is present. Another important point that Ms. Cannon covered was regularly checking the efficiency of water heaters, insulating windows to prevent cold drafts from coming in, closing off rooms that are not being used so that energy is not used to maintain temperature in those rooms, and pulling down shades in the summer while keeping them open in the winter to make optimal use of the sun’s heat.

Click below to watch the video of the interview with Carolyn Cannon by InQuire Science Series founder, Anuva Goel

Mar 2019 - Circuit Kits and Squishy Circuits

Circuit Kits and Squishy Circuits

Carol Luthar

Da Vinci Science Center

Sat, Mar 23, 2019 - 2:30 p.m - 3:30 p.m

​Location: Old Bridge Public Library

            Today, as part of the NJ Makers Day celebration, students experimented with electricity. Carol, from DaVinci Science Center, first introduced the concept of electricity through the help of two volunteers. Together, they examined a mystery ball to understand its components and discovered that by creating a circle by holding hands, they could cause the ball to glow! With an understanding of circuits, the students worked together in small groups to tackle challenges. Equipped with a battery and two wires, they tried to get light bulbs turned on, buzzers beeping, and motors running. After working through the challenges, the kids learned about conductors. They were surprised to realize that Play-Doh could be an excellent conductor of electricity, due to it containing salt and water. Now the student became really creative, using cookie cutters to shape their Play-Doh, and watching their LED lights attached to the Play-Doh turn on when they placed the wires in the Play-Doh. Some groups tried adding several LED lights to their circuit, and they continued turning on. All the students got to take home their own circuit kits to try out after the session!

February 2017 - Thomas Edison and his Brilliant Phonograph

Thomas Edison and his Brilliant Phonograph

​Kathleen Carlucci

Director, Thomas Edison Center at Menlo Park

Sun, Feb 12, 2017 - 2:30 p.m - 3:30 p.m

​Location: Old Bridge Public Library

Today, we had Ms. Kathleen Carlucci, Director of the Thomas Edison Center at Menlo Park, present about Thomas Edison and his many inventions, in particular, the phonograph. Ms. Carlucci began by presenting about Edison’s early life, and how his observant and curious nature set him on a path of experimentation and invention that included trying out chemistry experiments on a train and inventing a vote recorder. Through his failures, Edison realized the importance of making practical inventions, and developed his Invention Lab at Menlo Park in Edison, NJ. Ms. Carlucci highlighted the many staff members of different specialties whom he had at the world’s first research laboratory, and how, here, Edison invented and patented more than 1,000 different inventions, including the telegraph and perfected incandescent lightbulb – inventions which made him the Wizard of Menlo Park. Then, the audience was invited to come to the front, where they saw the mechanics of a more-than-a-century-old original Edison phonograph, and heard it play out song lyrics. Mr. Russell Gramer, accompanying Ms. Carlucci, also helped to explain the batteries and circuitry that were central to the success of these inventions, allowing audience members to place their warm hands on two different metals to create electricity. Audience members could also explore a telegraph, as well as models of Edison’s other inventions including a dictograph and an incandescent light bulb. Lastly, they were able to join the invention lab themselves. Ms. Carlucci helped everyone make their own phonographs, using cardboard and dowels. Everyone’s jaws dropped in pleasant surprise when they heard songs on records being played clearly on their own hand-made phonographs – souvenirs of a lifetime!

Click below to watch the video of the interview with museum director, Kathleen Carlucci

by InQuire Science Series founder, Anuva Goel

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November 2016 - White Sharks are GREAT!

White Sharks are GREAT!

​Dean W. Fessler, Jr.

Education Director, Shark Research Institute

Sun, Nov 13, 2016 - 2:30 p.m - 3:15 p.m

​Location: Old Bridge Public Library

Today, Dean W. Fessler, Jr., wiped away the crowd’s fear of sharks with a captivating, passionate presentation about his experience with the “Great White” shark. Dean narrated his story working with sharks and shared facts about the shark’s behavior through a series of breathtaking, stunning photos. Dean began with a quote from Peter Benchley, the author of the renowned horror classic, Jaws, and strove to show how the depiction of the “mythic monster” is not actually true. Through his images, from his research off the coast of South Africa, Dean showed how sharks can indicate whether they are in feeding mode, depending on if their muscle is covering their teeth and whether their fins are drooping down. He described how the scientists film the sharks to study their behavior, attracting them to the boats with a bait, and having the divers watch them, through underwater cages, as they approach. Dean brought along some shark research equipment as well, including the tools to tag the sharks, the buoyancy-control devices, and the mesh gloves they wear to interact with the sharks. He emphasized the importance of the white sharks in the ecosystem and the food chain, and the problems that the indiscriminate fishing industry is causing. Furthermore, Dean showed the evolution and power of the shark’s tooth, by using one to rip a piece of paper in less than a second. Dean ended with an acronym he has developed, “Just A White Shark (JAWS)” to show that the “Great White Shark” is the only white shark species, and it is nowhere close to being a man-eating monster. 

Click below to watch the video of the interview with education director, Dean W. Fessler, Jr. by InQuire Science Series founder, Anuva Goel

September 2016 - Rainforest Revelations: Exploring the Habitat

Rainforest Revelations: Exploring the Habitat

​Carol McCallum

Ecologist, Jenkinson's Aquarium

Sat, Sep 17, 2016 - 2:30 p.m - 3:15 p.m

​Location: Old Bridge Public Library

Today, kids enjoyed an informative and engaging talk by Carol McCallum, a passionate ecologist. First, Carol focused on differentiating the temperate and tropical rainforests, through their climate, biodiversity, and location. She even came to an important point about how tropical rainforests, because their soil is less fertile, recover slower than temperate rainforests after deforestation. Carol emphasized how rainforest deforestation is a big problem, with the startling fact that an area of trees the size of a football field is cut down every minute in the rainforest. She noted how, since more than 50% of the world’s animals live in rainforests, it is important that we conserve them. Through photos of orangutans, harpy eagles, corpse flowers, and many more, Carol provided a glimpse at the diversity of life at each of the rainforest’s four layers, and even brought out a hissing cockroach to show how bugs dominate the understory. In an interesting activity stimulating the sense, kids were able to sense the smells of the rainforest and link them to different jungle products, such as coffee, chocolate, cinnamon, and lemon. Finally, as a surprise, Carol took out Houdini, a bull python, and all the kids were excited to hold it! 

Click below to watch the video of the interview with ecologist, Carol McCallum by InQuire Science Series founder, Anuva Goel

June 2016 - Keys to Geology: Paleontologists and Fossils

Keys to Geology: Paleontologists and Fossils

​Lenora Miller

​Fossil Educationist, Monmouth Museum

Bill Shankle

Amateur Paleontologist, Delaware Valley Paleontological Society

​Sun, Jun 26, 2016 - 2:30 p.m - 3:30 p.m

​Location: Old Bridge Public Library

Our third event was like a mini museum exhibit in itself. Ms. Miller described just how old fossils are in comparison to kids today, going on to explain how fossils are formed, and how paleontologists uncover fossils. She even gave an overview of how geological timelines are used to learn more about fossils and different species of plants and animals. After the presentation, everyone went to the back of the room to see the extensive display of fossil specimens, molds, casts, and models, including a special section highlighting the geological diversity of New Jersey. They were very fortunate to get the expertise of paleontologist Bill Shankle, who was answering all the questions of the inquisitive visitors. Mr. Shankle and Ms. Miller explained the various fossil displays of marine animals, evolution of horses, Ice Age mammals, ferns, and many others. The best part of the event was the fossil collection boxes, where attendees could scavenge through and select a few fossils to take home with them. Many enjoyed consulting with Mr. Shankle to identify what they had found, which included stingray teeth and barbs, shark teeth, shells, and dinosaur bones from millions and billions of years ago. Understanding the history of the Earth and its many periods by viewing a large collection of fossils left many kids wanting to take up amateur paleontology by the end of the program!

Click below to watch the video of the interview with fossil educationist, Ms. Miller, and amateur paleontologist, Mr. Shankle by InQuire Science Series founder, Anuva Goel

October 2016 - Saving Lives: The Importance of the Heart

Saving Lives: The Importance of the Heart

​Michelle Golba-Norek, RN

Community Health Education Coordinator, Raritan Bay Medical Center

Sun, Oct 23, 2016 - 2:30 p.m - 3:15 p.m

​Location: Old Bridge Public Library

Today, we were excited to have Michelle Golba-Norek, a nurse from the Raritan Bay Medical Center, join us at InQuire Science Series. She gave a very engaging and informative  presentation about the heart, heart diseases, and solutions to heart problems. First, using a heart model, Michelle talked about the heart and its many parts, including the function of the valves in maintaining a normal heart beat, and the circulatory system as a whole, indicating the many places where pulse can be felt, including the carotid pulse on the neck. She also discussed how electrocardiograms are used to ensure that the electric activity associated with the beat of the heart is accurate. Michelle went on to discuss the many ways to maintain a healthy heart, through behaviors that can be modified such as smoking, and association with second and third hand smoke, as well as a healthy diet and simple exercise. She then discussed the symptoms of heart attacks and stroke, as well as surgical treatments for other types of heart disorders. In addition to explaining angioplasty and bypass surgery, Michelle shared a less-known example of aortic aneurism, a condition in which the aorta is weak and more prone to rupture, and which is treated by either wrapping the aorta in a sturdy wire or putting a stent through. Lastly, all the students, the elderly and the children, learned how to perform CPR, as Michelle demonstrated on the big mannequin with the defibrillator, and the audience practiced on their mini hearts. All the audience members walked out with greater awareness of the heart’s importance and emergencies and as more informed citizens, who can help save others’ lives! 

Click below to watch the video of the interview with nurse, Michelle Golba-Norek by InQuire Science Series founder, Anuva Goel

Click on the thumbnails to view the pictures.

Aug 2017 - Understanding Hurricanes

Understanding Hurricanes

Kieran Bhatia, PhD

Postdoctoral Researcher, Princeton University

Sun, Aug 13, 2017 - 2:30 p.m - 3:30 p.m

​Location: Old Bridge Public Library

            Today, in the final InQuire Science Series talk, the audience became more meteorologically-savvy and appreciative citizens, through Dr. Kieran Bhatia’s engaging and interactive presentation on hurricanes. First, everyone played the Name Game, learning about the many aspects in which hurricanes are characterized, including geographically (typhoons, cyclones, hurricanes), by category depending on wind speed (Tropical Depression, Tropical Storm, Categories 1-5), and by common names (ex. Ana, John, Rachel). In looking out for hurricanes, Dr. Bhatia challenged the misconception that the damage that a hurricane causes does not necessarily correlate with a hurricane’s characterization. He then went on to show satellite images of hurricanes, and together, everyone analyzed the hurricane’s anatomy. The audience learned about the formation and features of a hurricane, such as the evaporation of warm seawater that gives rise to the hot air and low pressure system of the hurricane, resulting in the calm eye, as well as the destructive winds that accompany the cloud wall surrounding the eye, and the uneven rainbands throughout the counterclockwise swirl of the hurricane. Dr. Bhatia then went on to explain the complex process of forecasting hurricanes, as well as the error associated with it due to differences in observation around the world, slight error in mathematical equations and models, and selection in picking the most likely scenario based on models. Everyone was then able to become meteorologists, collectively designing a hurricane’s cone of uncertainty to predict the track path of the storm’s center, and interpreting a forecast to see how much threat a hurricane posed. Then, Dr. Bhatia focused on hurricane season and hurricane preparedness for locals, right here in New Jersey. He mentioned how meteorological records show that on average, tropical cyclones have hit Old Bridge once every five years, with September being the peak month of hurricane season. Although wind, rain, and waves pose a threat, little known yet potent dangers of hurricanes include storm surges and tornadoes. To demonstrate how storm surges are caused by the high-speed winds acting on the ocean water, Dr. Bhatia had volunteers blow forcefully with straws into a baking pan filled with water, to see the surge send water splattering everywhere! In an interesting Q & A session, a discussion ensued about how climate change may increase the severity of hurricanes and storm surges, as well as potential methods of manipulating or diverting hurricanes. Dr. Bhatia certainly taught the audience much about the behind the scenes of meteorology, and everyone left as citizens ready to make informed decisions on forecasts during hurricane season.

Click below to watch the video of the interview with meteorologist, Kieran Bhatia by InQuire Science Series founder, Anuva Goel

March 2017 - An Astronomy Adventure

An Astronomy Adventure

​Paul Cirillo

Sun, Mar 12, 2017 - 2:30 p.m - 4:00 p.m

​Location: Old Bridge Public Library

Today, Mr. C led students through a breathtaking tour of our solar system and universe. Beginning with the star around which the planets in our solar system revolve – the Sun, Mr. C traveled out to the four terrestrial planets, and then the four gas giants. Mr. C discussed how the solar system formed from spiraling dust and gases, which gravity eventually forced into the center to form a ball of hydrogen known as the Sun. The other dust particles and rocks formed the eight planets, as well as the asteroids, comets, and meteors. Along the way, Mr. C shared photos of the planets, comparing their sizes with the earth’s, and sharing interesting fun facts. Venus, although nearly the same size as Earth, is hardly a sister planet as its atmosphere traps gases inside and results in extremely hot temperatures, while Mars, further away from the sun, is much cooler, placing the Earth in a happy Goldilocks position. Mr. C discussed current research being done on Mars regarding the existence of life, showing images of its desert geography. He then described the gas giants, showing beautiful images of their rings. Satellites have captured photos of geysers on several of these planets, and Mr. C explained how these indicate that there are oceans beneath the cold layers of ice, and what these oceans are made of is still being studied. Mr. C also discussed the moons of the planets, demonstrating how the Earth’s gravity fixes its moon in tidal locking so only one face is seen, and showing how Jupiter and Saturn have 60+ varied and large moons, such as Europa and Io. He then explained why Pluto has been downgraded to a dwarf planet, due to the existence of many similar objects in a field known as Kuiper Belt. Then, after completing the adventure, Mr. C guided students through several websites and apps to help them track satellites, stars, and planets in the Night Sky. Everyone was marking the days they can spot the International Space Station, using information from and were waving their iPads and iPhones in the air after downloading the SkyView app, ready to conquer the night skies tonight!

Click below to watch the video of the interview with Paul Cirillo, from AstronomyNJ, 

by InQuire Science Series founder, Anuva Goel

May 2018 - Fantastic Fossils

Fantastic Fossils

Mario Cunha

Educator, Insectropolis Museum

Sat, May 19, 2018 - 2:30 p.m - 3:30 p.m

​Location: Old Bridge Public Library

            Fossils were the highlight of the “Fantastic Fossils” event, as kids travelled through millions of years of life on Earth through the diverse fossil display. First kids learned about many different methods of fossilization – carbonization, permineralization, mold, cast, trace fossils, getting to see examples of each type of fossilization. Then, after learning how earth is 4.5 billion years old, the kids walked through a small portion of that timeline. Kids got to see fossils of the early trilobites and examine the eye lenses of the first animals with sight. Soon, it was time for the period of dinosaurs, and the kids got to see a piece of fossilized dino waste, a clue to the foods that specific dinosaurs ate. Kids also saw fossils of scorpion-like aquatic animals that lived in the period of the dinosaurs – known as mosasaurs. Then, they got an impressive size comparison of a great white shark versus the extinct megalodon, which would have taken up the entire length of the library! The size comparison even persisted when inspecting individual teeth of each type of shark. Upon entering the Ice Age, kids got to see an impressive chunk of woolly mammoth tooth. Mario explained how, when the woolly mammoths died, they would fall through the ice to the bottom of the ocean, and thus, in certain areas of Norway, fishermen have found these fossils through a method called bottom trawling. Mario even highlighted the cultural implications of fossils, which have been used in mythology as well as in jewelry, showing a piece of ammonite fossil that now resembled fool’s gold. Finally, Mario closed by demonstrating the equipment kids need to bring along to scavenge for fossils – all they need is water-proof boots, two screens or a filter, a shovel, and a stool. All the kids left with a shark tooth fossil of their own!​​

Click on the thumbnails to view the pictures.

Click on the thumbnails to view the pictures.

April 2017 - "Pointless" Pollution

"Pointless" Pollution

​Amanda Wheeler

Educator, Clean Ocean Action

Sun, Apr 9, 2017 - 2:30 p.m - 3:30 p.m

​Location: Old Bridge Public Library

Today, we had an interactive presentation on ocean conservation by Ms. Amanda Wheeler of Clean Ocean Action. She first described the 170 miles of coastline, known as a bight region, that stretches from Cape May to Montauk Point on Long Island and is home to numerous diverse species of marine animals, many of which are endangered. She explained the history of the ocean conservation effort, sparked by the outrage following medical waste pileups on the Jersey Shore in the 1980s. Over the years, eight different ocean dump companies have closed and awareness has risen, yet Beach Sweeps sponsored by COA continue to pick up hundreds of pollutants and contaminants washed up by the tide on a daily basis. Ms. Wheeler brought out a board, called the Dirty Dozen, which compiled data from all the 2015 Beach Sweeps, that showed how plastic pieces, Styrofoam, and straws made the top 5. She urged the young and the old to not litter, to refuse single-use plastics, to always recycle, to garden more to allow for water to soak through, and to dispose of pet waste appropriately. After the presentation, everyone excitedly headed outside to understand watershed pollution through the unique Enviroscape model. In the landscape consisting of factories, construction sites, roads, and farms, everyone scattered food items to represent various forms of waste - oatmeal for paper waste, soy sauce for oil and grease, chocolate sprinkles for manure, etc. Then, water was sprayed to symbolize a light rain, and Ms. Wheeler poured water to represent a heavy storm. As the water carried some of the contaminants into tributaries and into the bay, the stopper was removed and the water collected in a container below. Examination of the “watershed” water showed evidence of tinted color and numerous pollutants contaminating the water quality for marine life. Following this interactive demonstration of watershed pollution, everyone left, ready to make their mark to protect the environment and oceans!

Click below to watch the video of the interview with educator, Amanda Wheeler by InQuire Science Series founder, Anuva Goel

May 2017 - SOMEBODY! How It Works

SOMEBODY! How It Works

Kadie Winckelmann, MPH

Health Educator, Monmouth Museum

Sun, May 7, 2017 - 2:30 p.m - 3:30 p.m

​Location: Old Bridge Public Library

Today, kids enjoyed a wonderful presentation and exhibition on the human body by Kadie Winckelmann of Monmouth Museum. Kadie taught the students about four of the body’s most important systems: the circulatory system, the digestive system, the musculoskeletal system, and the nervous system. She explained to students the different valves in the heart, and how inconsistencies or problems in heartbeat pulse can be detected through electrocardiograms. Ms. Winckelmann pointed out how the respiratory system is intertwined with the circulatory system because blood from the heart is pumped through the aorta to the lungs, so that the alveoli in the lungs can help take out the carbon dioxide molecules and infuse oxygen molecules into the blood. When talking about the musculoskeletal system, Kadie emphasized how bones fuse over time, and thus, infants have many more bones than the normal adult. Also, she demonstrated how muscles work in pairs by contracting and extending the biceps and triceps of her arm. Lastly, she talked about how the nervous system encompasses not only the brain and spinal cord of the central nervous system but also the nerves of the peripheral nervous system which enables communication of thoughts and actions to the limbs of the body. After the presentation, everyone enjoyed exploring the exhibit, piecing together the organs of the human body, examining how various joints move, and reading more about the red and white blood cells and platelets. They also enjoyed learning how to take their pulse and check their blood pressure rate using the stethoscope and other measurement tools. Kids loved culminating the experience through playing human body games and creating their own Brain Hats!

Click below to watch the video of the interview with health educator, Kadie Winckelmann by InQuire Science Series founder, Anuva Goel

​​​​​May 2016 - Oceans of Opportunity: Careers in Marine Science

Oceans of Opportunity: Careers in Marine Science

​Amy Penney

​Marine Biologist, Center for Aquatic Sciences at the Adventure Aquarium

​Sat, May 21, 2016 - 2:30 p.m - 3:30 p.m

​Location: Old Bridge Public Library

Our second event attracted a large crowd, excited to learn about careers in marine biology. Ms. Penney first presented a slideshow that explained the duties of the various employee types who are key to the success of an aquarium. She described the fun, interactive, and often unpredictable responsibilities of water analysts, cleaners, veterinarians, husbandry, and feeders. After her presentation on careers, Ms. Penney brought out the live animals – the most anticipated part of the event. Beginning with the sea star, she explained to students its anatomy as well as its unusual feeding process, and then allowed the audience to feel its rough skin. Then, Ms. Penney showcased the horseshoe crab, mentioning how its copper-based blue blood has made it a common experimentation animal for pharmaceutical companies testing liquid vaccines. Attendees enjoyed having the horseshoe crab’s legs crawl on their palms. Lastly, there was a double surprise when Ms. Penney surprised the students by opening up the tank with the chain catshark and when she noticed that there were two egg sacs since the shark had laid eggs on the drive to the library! Getting to touch the sea animals after hearing about the opportunities in an aquarium left all the attendees with many vivid memories and a fondness towards marine biology.

Click below to watch the video of the interview with marine biologist, Ms. Penney by InQuire Science Series founder, Anuva Goel

Click on the thumbnails to view the pictures.

January 2017 - The Science Behind Printmaking

The Science Behind Printmaking

​Greta Anderson

Printmaker, Printmaking Center of New Jersey

Sun, Jan 15, 2017 - 2:30 p.m - 3:30 p.m

​Location: Old Bridge Public Library

This month, kids and adults joined us to have a lesson in printmaking. Greta Anderson combined science and art, beginning by explaining students about the history and purpose of printmaking. She explained that in the ancient times, scribes had to handwrite each word of a book to make another copy, but with printmaking and the invention of the printing press, they could accurately reproduce each work. She described various methods of printmaking such as screen printing, which involves scraping paint off a screen and using stencils, stone lithography, which uses the principle of oil and water repelling each other to create prints off limestone, and offset lithography, which includes the commercial printing involved with the production of newspapers. Then, Ms. Anderson helped each student create their own monoprint. Equipped with palettes containing squirts of block printing ink, and aluminum covered cardboard as their plates, students used their brayers (rollers) to create a background. Then they used leaves, mesh, and stencils to add texture and other colors. They also used brushes to add more paint and elements, and Qtips to remove paint and create designs. Finally, each young artist got to do the especially important job of using the printing press tool, which revolutionized the field of printing, to transfer their artwork to paper. Browse the photos to see a sampling of the artwork in progress! 

Click below to watch the video of the interview with printmaker, Greta Anderson by InQuire Science Series founder, Anuva Goel