Tuesday March 6, 2001
13:00 Eastern


Chuck Olbert, Chris Clearfield, Nik Williams

Teacher: Jonathan Keohane

We’ve met some of the accomplished CHANDRA researchers and marveled at the results they’ve obtained. But, amazingly, one of last year’s most exciting discoveries was made by a team of high school seniors, mentored by a dedicated physics teacher, who happened to have worked at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center where he applied for--and was lucky enough to have obtained--precious observing time during CHANDRA’s first year of operation.

The 3 seniors, from the free, public, residential North Carolina School of Science and Mathematics in Durham, used CHANDRA data and sophisticated image processing software to study a supernova remnant: hidden deep inside, they found what they think is the tell-tale signature of a pulsar, a rapidly spinning neutron star.

In this section, viewers will hear the students' stories, find out more about the life cycle of the stars, and hear how in addition to having their paper published in a professional journal, the students ended up winning the $100,000 team prize of the year 2000 Siemens Westinghouse Science and Technology Competition.

Enthusiastic about music and drama and politics and puzzles and video games as well as astronomy and computers, the students are an engaging case study in how exciting and rewarding actually doing science can be rather than just reading about other people’s discoveries in a book.

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