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New Zealand Science Teacher

Science Curriculum/Scientific Literacy

Skateboards, eggs and drunken moose help explain famous theories at Space Place

An interesting event in Wellington last week aimed to explain famous scientific theories to grown-ups.

famous theoriesLeft: Kent Hogan, explaining Kepler’s Law of Planetary Motion. Credit: Jim Baltaxe.

Their days are spent teaching teens, but two Onslow College science teachers came to Space Place to demonstrate the notion of motion to adults in ‘A Beginners Guide to Famous Theories’ on 19 August.

Inspired by the concept that there are ten famous theories everyone should have some knowledge of, Space Place is bringing scientific theories to Wellington in a fun and accessible manner. August’s talk focused on Newton’s Laws of Motion and Kepler’s Laws of Planetary Motion.

“Most people may be able to quote one or two of Newton’s Laws, although there is some misunderstanding out there. It could have become quite messy, because I planned some demonstrations involving eggs and skateboards to help illustrate their meaning” says David Anastasi.

 It’s not all about the science either, says Kent Hogan.

“The history preceding Kepler’s Laws and the personalities involved in their development is fascinating - there are Bond villains, witch trials and drunken moose involved”.

A Beginner’s Guide to Famous Theories is a new series of talks for adults who would like to learn or refresh knowledge about the famous theories that form our understanding of the world. Newton’s Laws of Motion was presented by David Anastasi, while Kent Hogan talked about Kepler’s Laws of Planetary Motion.

 The event took place at the Carter Observatory, Wellington.

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