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Video GamerScience and Math in Everyday Life

A basic knowledge of science can help us understand many of the things that we use or that affect us in our daily lives: the weather and our environment, technology (computers, iPods, cell phones), medicine (X-rays, ultrasound, MRI scanners), transportation (airplanes, hybrid vehicles, bullet trains), and our food and water quality. For example, pole vaulters and drummers aren't research physicists, but they make use of physical concepts such as elasticity, momentum, conservation of energy, vibration, reverberation, and reflection to hone their skills. A basic knowledge of math can help us do many things that are important in our daily lives, such as budgeting, shopping, and keeping track of sports scores, and advanced math skills can help us manage our finances (exponential growth, compound interest). These intriguing websites provide more information on all of these topics and more:

Exploratorium: This is a great site from The Museum of Science, Art and Human Perception in San Francisco, with a diverse collection of articles, videos and interactive demonstrations on topics such as climate change, the human mind, the science of cooking, evolution, polar science, and many more.  Very engaging!

SmithsonianEncyclopedia Smithsonian: Science and Technology: This is a wonderful site from the Smithsonian Institute that pulls together a number of interesting articles and demonstrations on topics such as: invasive insect species, the Apollo 11 moon-walking mission, a Bird of the Month feature, galactic navigation, expeditions to the Galapagos, the quartz watch, changing climate in the Artic, and many more, all with beautiful photographs.

What's That Stuff?:  Ever wondered about what's really in instant coffee, Silly Putty, lava lamps, rain coats, chewing gum, or that new car smell? This website from Chemical & Engineering News presents a collection of fascinating articles that gives you a look at the chemistry behind a wide variety of everyday products.

ShakashiriScience is Fun: The master of chemical demonstrations, University of Wisconsin-Madison Chemistry Professor Bassam Z. Shakhashiri, shares the fun of science through home science activities (for example, “Exploring acids and bases with red cabbage,” “Dancing raisins,” Rubber bands and heat,” and “Bending water”) and through interesting presentations on the chemical of the week (for example, liquid crystals, chemistry of autumn colors, polymers, and colors of gemstones).

Photo: Chemistry professor Bassam Shakhashiri explains why condensed water vapor is produced and liquids change color when dry ice is dropped into cylinders during his "Once Upon a Christmas Cheery in the Lab of Shakhashiri" program.

BicyclistChemistry is bicycle helmets, medical supplies, fire extinguishers and clean water. We make the products that help keep you safe and healthy and create a brighter future for you and your family. We are nearly one million men and women dedicated to making sure you have what you need for today and tomorrow. Find out more about how chemistry is helping you live longer and get more out of life in this website from the American Chemistry Council.

Physics is for you: Students not interested in pursuing a science career can still benefit from courses in physics. The study of physics helps you acquire very special problem-solving skills and teaches you to better observe and understand the world. This website from the American Institute of Physics presents many examples of physics in everyday life.

Physics Central: The American Physical Society represents some 45,000 physicists, and most of their work centers on scientific meetings and publications-the primary ways that physicists communicate with each other. With PhysicsCentral, they communicate the excitement and importance of physics to everyone, with podcasts, new stories, and demonstrations.

Home RepairMath in Daily Life: When you buy a car, follow a recipe, or decorate your home, you're using math principles. This engaging site provides concrete examples of how math principles are used in home decorating (geometry), savings and credit (compounding interest), casinos (probability theory), cooking (ratios), understanding population growth (exponential growth), and more.

Absurd Math Interactive: Use your math skills to navigate through this bizarre world, dodging the thought police as you try to unravel the secrets of problem solving. A pop-up "mathulator" (calculator) helps you move from level to level.

The Mathematical Art of M.C. Escher: Explore the art of M.C. Escher, who used math ideas to create beautiful—and seemingly impossible—images.

The Math Forum: A large searchable collection of excellent math resources, from math news to teaching resources. The Math Forum is the home of Ask Dr. Math, an online math question-and-answer service for students.

Some photos by UW-Madison University Communications.