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Antoinette Carvajal

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Can a Childrens Book be written to explain String/M Theories, that is friendly and relatable?

Awe inspiring and thought provoking for children. My hope is build curiosity and beauty. Perhaps developing characters being Protons, neutrons, electrons, quarks, bosons, fermions. Any ideas on a story line to introduce youngsters to this theory?

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    Sep 7 2012: I would totally watch/read a super-hero comic/story or anime that tries to teach you physics in an under-handed way. Then they would use really cheesy internet memes or catchphrases. It'll be like Dragonball Z with the purpose of entertainment but the hidden purpose of science. And it'll have references to stuff like Bill Nye and the Magic School Bus.

    Not sure if it's gonna be a "children's" story though, but it would be the coolest physics lessons ever lol
    • Sep 7 2012: Thats creative , entertaining and educational (in an under-handed way). I probably won't be able to get that out of my head now for a while. Good visual.
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        Sep 7 2012: " I probably won't be able to get that out of my head now for a while."

        Good >:)
  • Sep 9 2012: Thank You Budimir Zdravkovic for your insight. I can envision the illustrations in my mind, but to transfer that vision into a book into a readers mind is challenging yet fun. I considered creating a picture board to give me more direction. i find this project so interesting ecspecially with TED community members input.
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    Sep 8 2012: You are talking about highly abstract and mathematical entities. Relating them to common experience may reduce the conceptual validity of the book.
    • Sep 8 2012: I have alot of homework to do but in that aspect of relating abstract and mathematical entities, math would be the key using a character to express an idea of an mathematical equation and making a relatabe fit. The concept of the theory would be validated by the theory itself in using these entities. I will do more research by other authors on how to introduce these, authors such as Steven Hawkins books for kids and kid friendly introductions from either Lawrence Hall of Science or Lawrence Berkeley Lab as suggested by Fritzie Reisner. What are your thoughts or suggestions on this?
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        Sep 8 2012: I think it could work, if you do a lot of research and brainstormed the ideas, if you review the concepts several times and you do careful editing. Also consulting with people who work in the field could also be useful.

        If you manage to pull it off it would be a good idea. For instance I'm glad that I first got introduced into quantum mechanics through organic chemistry, it gave me a conceptual insight into the subject which I would've otherwise struggled with, if I were directly introduced to the math. Organic chemistry has a very neat way to illustrate the delocalization of electrons through illustrated molecular structures we call resonance structures. Here I learned that an electron is not 100% localized in space, instead you can have a fraction of a localized electron or a fraction of localized "chemical bond energy" in a given unit of space. Then when I got introduced to the math it was so much easier to understand what was going on.

        So from my experience, illustrations help a lot.
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    Sep 7 2012: For samples of similar projects, I would look at the two Stephen Hawkings books for kids and the kid-friendly introduction to particle physics from either Lawrence Hall of Science or Lawrence Berkeley Lab.

    There are lots of online videos also, like a recent one from NASA, I think, about the Higgs boson.My son enjoyed these when he was younger.

    Here is a start: http://particleadventure.org/ and http://mashable.com/2012/07/03/higgs-boson-cartoon/ and http://www.quarked.org/
    • Sep 7 2012: This is a huge task indeed and I thank you for the direction. Most interesting joiurney to go on but one I believe will be fun. Visualizing the Theory and introducing particles to children. You say your son enjoyed the books, How does he see the world today and has the aid of these books helped his understanding of partlcle physics? Was there something in particular that caught his attention the most?
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        Sep 7 2012: Children are interested in what things are made of and where things come from. When I was growing up, we understood elements with their protons, neutrons, and electrons as the fundamental building blocks of "things.". Today's children know there are up and down quarks, charm quarks, fermions and bosons, neutrinos.....They know better how much there is beyond what they see with their eyes. (lots!)

        He and his friends lamented the delay when the misalignment of the particle path closed the LHC down for almost a year. They waited eagerly for the announcement of a possible Higgs boson and understand that it is part of the explanation for why particles have mass. He knows its an attempt to fit the last piece into the standard model but that the frontier of science in that field reaches beyond the standard model. He knows big sister will be part of trying to push at that frontier.
        • Sep 7 2012: Maybe you should be writing a book. Great experiences. Very interesting and exciting, it makes me want to know more and thats exactly how I would like to make a reader feel. Thank you Fritzie Reisner.
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    • Sep 7 2012: My hope is to inspire the reader and visualize, what can't be seen but has endless possibilities . Sort of a journey of the mind and the ending just barely in your grasp. Bibliothek....that title still rings in my ears. Yes, will have to simpify the quarky fermi bosoms etc. It's an exciting journey doing just that.
  • Sep 26 2012: http://stemtosteam.org/ Encouraging integration of Art and Design in K-20 Education. Championed by Rhode Island School of Design (RISD) Bring forth the Right Brain Innovation. I think I was on the right track suggesting analyzing the brain of youngsters so they may absorb the idea more effectively. Right brain innovation is the answer.
  • Sep 13 2012: http://www.education.virginia.gov/STEM-H-TRACT-2012.pdf This just out a few days ago. Interesting read, couldn't locate Theoretical Science in the list of fields. STEM is up and coming in Virginia. This is a draft beginning with a signed letter by Virginias' Governor.
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    Sep 11 2012: I hope so. I would like to read it.
  • Sep 11 2012: You are a very intelligent and informative person. Sorry I didn't respond sooner. Battling an illness. I would like to put something out for younger children 6th grade and younger. Children really can things up early.

    Much thanks to you Bob
  • Sep 10 2012: Thats beautiful Bob. Yes I was thinking about introductory approaches because of the complexity. AFter looking at loads of text, conversations, etc. I am looking to also preparing the readers brain. What a task this is shaping up to be. The journey is awesome and your suggestions are great. in this process it is opening up so much information, different points of views, perspectives and knowledge. So I am researching the human brain, just a bit. I think it's also important to be responsible . I can just imagine a reader going to hear all these things in their future and debates, wouild like to leave them with one common thread, Would like to open their eyes to the possibility to see new things through New eyes. Hope that doesn't sound weird. But when I'm done , It will make sense. Thank You very much for your thoughts Bob. Greatly appreciated.
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      Sep 10 2012: Because the massive push in education right now is STEM your timing is great. I would suggest that you investigate the current natural science approach being employed by the educational text book writers. If youb align your series with their approach your biggest customer could be the school systems buying at least one set per library and perhaps as a classroom text. There are plenty of resources at the Junior High and High school levels. Where we fall behind is the preparation for science at the third grade through the sixth grades. Do your own research and find the target population. I think this is critical.

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    Sep 10 2012: Antoinette, Your idea is like coming into the movie just as they kiss. I missed all the good and bad things that got them to the kiss.

    You went right to the latest development in a long journey of physics. How about if you consider a series of books so that there is a backgound and a introduction to a science. To talk about CERN to someone who does not even know what a microscope is seems like a rush into things.

    Book one: what is this thing called physics ..... Book 2: The energy story ... Book 3; Fun with force.

    Get the idea. A building block approach to physics.

    It woud probally be a great idea to start with natural sciences and progress to physics. The people who buy these book or would support your approach are G'ma and G'pa who had trouble with biology and never got to physics because it was for the top 10% in school. So that is your target population .... the buyer.

    Call your series Natural Science the beauty of the universe. Physics sounds stuffy.

    Just some thoughts.

    All the best. Bob.
  • Sep 7 2012: Good question. I considered the endless questions that children ask ,the "Whys?" "Howcome?" "Whats that?" and the "What ifs?" Decided to go with the What if question. Offering a childlike grasp on the story, through the eyes of a child. Thank you Ken Brown for your question.
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    Sep 7 2012: How do you explain to a child that it is only a theory?
  • Sep 7 2012: Sure, until

    -until the child asks :
    Where did this something come from? Nothing? or was it really "just always here?"

    If the string theory is taught as possibly developed and created from the Giver of MUSIC, musing=thinking, by thought(s) of a Designer, it is easy to follow ancient scientifically proven harmonies of all fo material existance to the harmony of the radio-frequency and sounds of the universe and light itself, by the Giver , the Light , the Love and Truth - a personal Creator.

    Share amusement parks get us to playfully not think, as to Music and thoughtful harmonies are creatively thought in thinking.
    • Sep 7 2012: Children ask many many questions, for example the endless "Whys." and "How comes." I thought a proper introduction to particules and The String/M Theory would be exciting. To take them on a journey of knowledge and possibilities. Let them make their own discoveries through a loving tale and come away feeling entertained. There is a saying "Music say what our words cannot" JP Piert, thank you for your insight
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    Sep 7 2012: Yes, I think it can be done. It would just need to be really abstract and use a lot of analogies rather than using actual terms/definitions like quarks and electrons and bosons, perhaps.
    • Sep 7 2012: Hi James, Do you have any analogies in mind?
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        Sep 7 2012: Stuff like one of those "An electron walked into a bar..." jokes

        A girl and boy : positive and negative

        black hole : vacuum cleaner (well not quite)

        fusion : two atoms smashing with each other : two kids running at each other as fast as they can and then become one being, I dunno lol

        Ok, these analogies aren't that great, but I'm sure there are better analogies that can spark good ideas
        • Sep 7 2012: Yours sparks the imagination and had me laughing. Thank you James Zhang