After School Science Hour
After School Science Hour connects young students with the diversity of STEM subjects and the people who study them
Each of these virtual sessions includes a short lesson on a scientific subject, a conversation with experts who study it, and a fun hands-on project to follow along at home.
This program is geared for an elementary school audience (Live Science offers more in-depth explorations for middle and high school students), but are open to all and recorded for later viewing.
June 15 at 3pm: Making a Concrete Diaper
Concrete is the most important and pervasive building material in the world, but it suffers from certain weaknesses that can cause expensive damage or catastrophic collapse. Learn how lab scientists are making the concrete of the future by building in super-absorbent polymers just like those found in diapers!
Optional: you can order your own sample of Sodium Polyacrylate (a non-toxic super-absorbent polymer) if you want to follow along with our on-screen demo at home! You can also sometimes find it marketed as "Instant Snow" in hobby, art, and toy stores.
Click any title to view the recorded event
Hydrogen has an important role to play in the future of clean energy, both as a fuel and as a way to efficiently store and transport energy from localized renewable sources like solar and wind. In this Month's After School Science Hour, we'll talk to scientist Julie Fornaciari who is trying to generate hydrogen using sunlight to create a carbon-neutral fuel, and see first-hand demonstrations of how hydrogen is made from water.
With so many parts of our life relying on the internet, it's more important than ever to understand how it works and how to keep it working smoothly. Scientists like Dr. Bashir Mohammed are researching how to prevent "internet traffic jams," and ensure that the networks that carry scientific data run smoothly, especially in critical moments like delivering news of an oncoming earthquake!
How is it that some kinds of light can pass through things without stopping? And how can scientists use this ability to see inside things like rocks, soils, and man-made materials at a microscopic level and understand their inner workings? We're joined by Dr. Mayank Sabharwal to talk about the fascinating power of x-rays and some of the ways that scientists use this super-powered light to do much more than look at broken bones.
In this month's After School Science Hour we'll be diving into the science of polymers and learning about how plastics work on a molecular level. We'll also learn how the chemistry of polymers plays a role in recycling, and how Berkeley Lab scientists created an infinitely recyclable plastic.
What does it take to engineer a magnet smaller than any other? Berkeley Lab scientist Jie Yao will talk to us about his team's recent creation of the first-ever 2D magnet: a material that is magnetic at only one atom thick! We'll discuss what went into this remarkable achievement, hear what fields and industries it will affect, and see some magnetism demos in action.
From holiday string lights to the bright sun in the sky, light is everywhere around us - but what really is light? Get all your questions about light answered by Berkeley Lab scientists Baishakhi Bose, Mayank Sabharwal, and Yu Gao during December's After School Science Hour about the inner life of light. You'll also get to make your own sky simulator and learn the reasons behind the sky's changing colors.
How do scientists stay safe when they work with poisonous fumes and powerful acids? For November's After School Science Hour, Karla Arredondo and Ladan Khandel from Berkeley Lab's Environmental, Health, and Safety (EHS) Division will share how they help scientists carry out their research safely. Get a behind the scenes look into a lab's safety equipment from fume hoods to hazmat suits. Afterwards learn how to create a pollution catcher to test air quality.
It's almost Halloween and the zombies can't wait to get out of their tombs! Berkeley Lab scientist Dr. Nobumichi Tamura will share his research on a 2050-year-old Roman tomb, and how the crystalline structure within the tomb's concrete made it so strong that it's still standing today. Attendees will learn how to create their own 3D crystal models to design and build their own tombs. Will your tomb be strong enough to prevent a zombie apocalypse?