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New horizons: Research, outreach expands world view

Science Olympiad scheduled Feb. 22 for middle school, high school students
Thursday, February 13, 2014

Looking into the sky, you can appreciate a particularly starry night or a full moon (a full moon is scheduled for Feb. 14) while understanding very little about this natural phenomenon. Missouri State is working to expand understanding of natural phenomenon through research and outreach.

Expanding our view of the world

For the past year, Dr. Mike Reed, professor of astronomy at Missouri State University, has been studying extrasolar planets at the Baker Observatory, and recently saw an exoplanet transit – a Jupiter-like planet passing in front of its star – from the observatory’s 16-inch telescope.

This is the first transit that’s been observed from Baker Observatory.

“When the planet passes in front of its star, it dims just a little bit, and we can measure that,” said Reed. “That’s how most planets have been detected around other stars.”

Through NASA’s funding of the Missouri Space Grant Consortium, Reed is able to incorporate student researchers into the process of collecting data.

Fueling a passion for science

Sparking student interest in the sciences begins early, and getting hands-on experience is key to understanding many scientific principles. This is one reason the College of Natural and Applied Sciences at Missouri State hosts and plans the Region 7 Science Olympiad. The annual science competition, which will be held on campus Feb. 22, engages middle school and high school students in many experiments in the fields of biology, chemistry, earth science, engineering and physics.

For more information on the Science Olympiad, contact Wendy Evans, (417) 836-3185.

“Hot Topic – Expert Source” releases are a tool the office of university communications provides to assist media in locating a university source to comment on a particular subject or issue. The opinions expressed by the expert are those of a specific individual and are not necessarily representative of the views of the university.

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College of Natural and Applied Sciences
The College of Natural and Applied Sciences incorporates more than 20 undergraduate and 13 graduate programs along with one cooperative program offered through a partnership with Missouri S&T. The academic departments that make up the college include: biology; chemistry; computer science; engineering; geography, geology and planning; hospitality and restaurant administration; mathematics; and physics, astronomy and materials science. Students have the opportunity for intense hands-on research and internships through a number of outreach and research centers and work alongside faculty who are producing cutting-edge research in their fields.

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