African-American scientists and mathematicians have made tremendous contributions in their fields of study, but you may not be familiar with their names and stories. For example, did you know that Daniel Hale Williams (1856–1931) was the first doctor to perform open-heart surgery in the United States? And that Garrett Augustus Morgan (1877–1963) invented both the gas mask and the traffic signal?

Just last month, Katherine Johnson (born 1918) received a Science Lifetime Achievement Award for her work with NASA, where — as a former Virginia schoolteacher who became a Langley Research Center mathematician — she worked on the teams that calculated flight paths for John Glenn’s mission in 1962 and Neil Armstrong’s moonwalk in 1969.

And Robert Satcher (born 1965), who earned his doctorate in chemical engineering, is an astronaut for NASA today. He has been assigned as a mission specialist for STS-129, which is scheduled for launch in October of this year. Dr. Satcher is featured in Morehead’s “Destination: Space” planetarium show — come see him on the Star Theater dome!

Karen Kornegay is Morehead's marketing manager.

Morehead members are going to be sooooooooo happy this month. We’ve just added an online system to join and to renew existing memberships. You can find the link to it on our membership page.

This used to be available as part of our camp registration system, but when we changed systems a few years ago, we lost the capability. Members have missed it, and so have we! It’s wonderful to be able to offer this to you again.

Karen Kornegay is Morehead's marketing manager.

I’ll admit it. I haven’t been very good about posting recently. In July, my duties were expanded to cover all external relations including development. That means I’ve spent a lot of time drinking from the fire hose in the past several months.

One of the biggest projects for the external relations team during that span has been Jupiter Ball, Morehead’s annual black-tie fundraiser. After months of planning, JB finally happened Friday night. I can’t take all — or even most — of the credit for the ball and its success. Terry Gunnels does tremendous work pulling it all together as does the Jupiter Committee. This year, Laura Ellgen chaired that committee.

The ball is really good for three things:

1) Fundraising. As a result of this year’s ball, we are able to fund fellowships for three student employees to develop special projects for the organization. The remaining funds will go towards the building’s renovation and expansion fund.

2) Developing relationships with our supporters. I like to say that it’s a great opportunity to get together with 300 of our closest friends and share our successes with them. I’m looking forward to following up with many of them in the coming couple of months. The interest in Morehead and its upcoming renovation and expansion project is very strong. I think that reflects the important role Morehead has played in the lives of so many people during its 60-year history.

3) Wringing the last bit of sanity out of our external relations team. If you’ve ever organized a party for 30 people, you know how quickly a simple event seems to turn into the Olympic opening ceremonies. Now, multiply that by 10! The devil is in the details. And trust me on this, when paper says it’s for laser printers, use it with an ink-jet printer at your own peril.

Happily, the 2008 ball is now in the books, and I can breathe again. Oh, I was never worried about the ball coming together. Let’s just say that I’ve gained a pound or two since I bought my tux, and breathing wasn’t much of an option Friday night for me. That reminds me. I need to hit the gym. Only 363 days until I need to fit in that darn thing again.


Jeff Hill is Morehead's director of external relations

More than 12,000 people will come to Morehead Planetarium and Science Center for One-Stop Voting this month. What we’d REALLY like is for all of those people to bring their family and friends and come back to see a planetarium show!

So … from now until Nov. 9, 2008, if you wear your “I voted!” sticker into the Morehead gift shop, you’ll receive a 2-for-1 discount if you purchase planetarium show tickets for regularly-scheduled public shows. It’s even valid for the special “Scare-o-lina Skies” shows around Halloween.

And while you’re here to vote (via the west entrance), be sure to check out the “Zoom In” and “Ancient Carolinians” exhibits, which will be open whenever possible during “voting hours.” The exhibits are ALWAYS open during public hours on weekends. So is the gift shop. Check ‘em out!

Karen Kornegay is Morehead's marketing manager.

Are you rabidly loyal to your political party? Do you wear the buttons, post the signs, make the phone calls?

Guess what? The folks who AREN’T like that are the ones who determine elections.

Surprised? Me, too. But that’s the reason political scientists haven’t yet developed a foolproof method of predicting election outcomes.

Dr. George Rabinowitz is going to share behind-the-scenes secrets about election science and voting behavior during Morehead’s Current Science Forum on Oct. 2 at 7 p.m. It’s free — be there and bring a friend. This is fascinating stuff! (And think how much more fun it’ll be to watch the debates with your newfound knowledge).

Karen Kornegay is Morehead's marketing manager.

28 Aug 2008

Our longtime educator and friend, Jesse Richuso, is leaving us for colder pastures. He’s heading to the University of Wisconson at Madison for a new job as a Physics Outreach Manager. The best part about it is that he will be driving a van around to local schools doing physics demos for the kids. Of course we assume that he will be living in the van…down by the river. Here’s a pic of us when we found out he was going somewhere that has snow.

And here’s Jesse trying to look all Emo for his last Rock Band session in the NDT.

Good luck, Jesse! We’ll miss ya!

Jay Heinz is Morehead's Digital Production Manager.

We spent Thursday on a trip out to the Haw River, west of Chapel Hill. We were able to do a macroinvertebrate study just below a dam to investigate what was living in the river, and what we could learn about stream health.

In the afternoon we canoed out onto the lake just above the dam, observing human impact on river banks, accumulation of trash and just enjoying the beauty of the river!

Enjoy these shots of our young scientists checking out the river’s biodiversity!


Carly Apple is Morehead's afterschool coordinator.

Here are some great shot of our camp scientists in action! Building cardboard boats (they’d better float), and filtering some VERY gross water! Do we have any future OWASA chemists in our midst?


Carly Apple is Morehead's afterschool coordinator.


Carly Apple is Morehead's afterschool coordinator.

Here’s the pictures of our stream survey morning! Our biological survey team (with some help from the chemical survey team) found an amazing number of crayfish (more than 5!)

Michelle and Chase amazed us with their novel way of grabbing stream invertebrates, and the physical survey group did a great job of checking the width and depth of the stream to compare to tomorrow.

I can’t wait for our trip to OWASA this afternoon. More pictures are definitely on the way!


Carly Apple is Morehead's afterschool coordinator.