DO the math, DON'T overpay. We make high quality, low-cost math resources a reality.

Thursday, June 18, 2015

Throwback Fact: Sally Ride in Space

Sally Ride in space.
On this day in 1983, Sally Ride became the first American woman in space (Valentina Terishkova was the first woman in space, as part of the Soviet program in 1963). In her biography on NASA's site, Dr. Ride's listed experience includes earning a Physics Ph.D. from Stanford University, developing the space shuttle's Canadarm arm, two space missions, and serving on the committee investigating the Challenger disaster.

Ride was not a mathematician, but an astrophysicist. However, I'd like to take the time to chat briefly about mathematics as it relates to space.

More than 2,000 years ago, the Ancient Sumerians began to study the stars. As time passed and technology expanded, the Parallax Principle and trigonometry were employed to measure the distances to other worlds.
A visual representation of Minkowski Space
Then, physics became more advanced, along with our understanding of Earth. Astronomers and astrophysicists use applied mathematics to discover more about the universe. How fast is the Earth is moving at any given time, how hot the sun's core burns, an how away from Earth the black hole at the center of the Milky Way lies are just a few basic examples of the questions  answered with the help of applied mathematics.

NASA's website has many interesting resources for anyone who wants to learn about space. This page is perhaps my favorite that I've found so far- it's a collection of real life math problems. Maybe we'll borrow one for the Problem of the Week sometime!

No comments:

Post a Comment