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Smithsonian website puts a human face on science

“Scientists @ the Smithsonian” introduces students to 20 real researchers from the Smithsonian Institution in an attempt to shatter the common stereotype of scientists as nerds in lab coats … and to make science come alive for students. Each profile contains a description of the scientist¹s area of study, a video interview with the scientist, clips showing the subject at work in the lab or in the field, and links to additional resources. Liz Cottrell, for example, is director of the Smithsonian’s Global Volcanism Program, which studies the world’s active volcanoes and reports on their eruptions. Her research is helping us to understand how the interior of our planet has evolved. Volcanoes, she says, “are windows to the interior.” The minerals in eruptions “contain coded messages, much like a message in a bottle. In cracking that code, I’ve been able to improve our understanding of how the plate-tectonic cycle, or continental drift, is oxidizing and hydrating the deep Earth, where the ocean floor is being dragged down into the Earth.”

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