Monday, October 26, 2009

Readers contact the Blogsite and ask about Botany...

Thank you for your input, readers.

Recent questions I have received from readers include:

What are careers in botany?
A good link for the answer to this is the Botanical Society of America. There are other sites as well. If you know one, please add it to the comments. I encourage people interested in botany careers to contact me directly. Careers in Botany- Links set

Do botanists need to know physics?
My answer to this is, "Yes," but, I think every one needs to know some physics. My own research uses physics to study movement of ions across plant cell membranes. But, even riding a bicycle, or, lifting a box, requires physics knowledge. So, I ask, what is the reason for the question? Is the asker afraid of physics, or the math needed? Does the asker like both plants and physics and wants to combine them? I am curious now.

What should I get [for] children interested in botany?

Ah! Wonderful! People who are interested in science as children often go on in science or engineering , or, at least have a major appreciation for science if they go on in other fields. I like this question.

What to get depends on the interest, age and ability of the child(ren). Non-toxic plants, garden seeds and tools, or flower pots, a hand lens, a book (I'll come back and edit the post after scanning for some books for different age groups), a trip to visit a botanic garden, an hour on Plants Cafe every week (with you: See top left hand column of this blog), a trip to a green house, a visit to a botanist, agricultural engineer, herbalist, forester (USDA), mycologist, algologist, and/or lichenologist, among others, a plant press, a visit to a college botany lab. If desired, call me (link below for calls from the USA) and I will try to customize the answer (as long as I don't get swamped---If I get swamped, I'll put together some kits and make them available.)

Some thins are available at home already...for example, if a child is interested in plant pigments, you could use coffee filters and water soluble markers and do a chromatography study. Then, show how to do the same with plant pigments. Then, review the history of chromatography which started with a botanist. Then... show how other fields use the tool developed by a botanist. I may have to post on this later as I am just giving an overview here.

Brownian motion is another discovery by a botanist. Some of Einstein's work is based on that botany research.

All readers are welcome to add ideas in the comment section or e-mail me a post to put up.

Dr. J

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