Hi, you're listening to Cultivate
Curiosity, a.
Podcast that inspires the next generation
to stay curious.
Cultivate Curiosity is brought to you by
the Emerald Coast Science Center, a
nonprofit.
Interactive science museum and steam
educational facility in Fort Walton Beach,
Florida.
This podcast is perfect for anyone curious
about the world we live in because.
You never know what we'll talk about
next. Hi, I'm Diane and I'm the
director at the Emerald Coast Science
Center.
And hi, I'm Jacie. And I'm the social
media coordinator at the Science center.
And on today's episode of Cultivate
Curiosity, we're celebrating two STEAM
holidays Fibonacci Day and Black Hole
Friday. Fibonacci Day celebrates one of
the most important mathematicians of the
Middle Ages, Leonardo Bonacci, later known
as Fibonacci. The son of Bonacci, he
invented a sequence of numbers that shows
up constantly in nature physics and
design. Black Hole Friday is celebrated on
Black Friday when most people spend the
day perusing shops and online stores
trying to find the best deals. But
it also is a perfect time to
ponder a mystery of more galactic
proportions.
Black Holes so, Fibonacci Day is November
23, so let's talk about Fibonacci and
his mathematical discovery. Born to an
Italian merchant, the young Leonardo
traveled to North Africa with his father,
where he was exposed to the Hindu
Arabic numeral system. The system, which
includes zero and limits itself to ten
symbols, is a much more agile and
flexible compared to the unwieldy Roman
numeral system. In twelve two, Fibonacci
published Lieber Abachi introducing Europe
to the Hindu Arabic system and his
now famous sequence.
Starting with 1123 and five, the Fibonacci
Sequence is created by adding up the
two previous numbers to get the next
one. Fibonacci's original example for a
sequence pondered the population growth of
rabbits. If starting with one pair and
each month that pair bears a new
pair, the number of rabbits will grow
at a rate consistent with his pattern
of numbers. The Golden Ratio, a proportion
associated with the Fibonacci Sequence and
also frequently found in nature, is
roughly one to one six. This ratio
shows up in the branching pattern of
trees, the distribution of seeds and
berries, the spiral arms of galaxies and
many more natural and human engineered
things. The logarithmic spiral formed by
the Golden Rectangle shows dramatically in
the infinite spirals of seashells.
Fibonacci Day celebrates this important
mathematician and gives us an opportunity
to marvel at the way math pervades
everything around us. The Fibonacci
Sequence can be used to calculate the
proportions of countless things on Earth
and beyond, such as animals, plants,
weather patterns and even galaxies.
You can celebrate Fibonacci Day in a
few ways. First, learning the sequence.
How far in the sequence can you
remember? Each number is the sum of
the two numbers before it. Try reciting
the sequence and see how far you
can get. Look for the Golden Ratio
in nature or household items. The Golden
Ratio shows up in nature architecture and
design. Find some examples around your
house or neighborhood. And lastly, make
your own fibonacci spiral. Try your own
hand at drawing sculpting or baking the
fibonacci spiral into a design of your
own.
And here's a poem of Fibonacci by
Brian Bilston titled Word Crunching. I
wrote a poem on a page, but
then each line grew by the word
sum of the previous two until I
started to worry at all these words
coming with such frequency because, as you
can see, it can be easy to
run out of space when a poem
gets all fibonacci sequencey.
Okay, so we're going to flip around
and now talk about black holes in
honor of Black Hole Friday. A black
hole is an astronomical object with a
gravitational pull so strong that nothing,
not even light, can escape it. A
black hole's surface, called its event
horizon, defines the boundary where the
velocity needed to escape exceeds the
speed of light, which is the speed
limit of the cosmos. Matter and radiation
fall in, but they can't get out.
There are two main classes of black
holes that have been extensively observed.
Stellar mass. Black holes with three, two,
dozens of times the Sun's mass are
spread throughout the Milky Way galaxy,
while supermassive monsters weighing
100,000 to billions of solar masses are
found in the centers of most big
galaxies, ours included. Astronomers had
long suspected an inbetween class called
intermediate black holes weighing 100 to
more than 10,000 solar masses. While a
handful of candidates have been identified
with indirect evidence, the most
convincing example to date came on May
21, 2019, when the National Science
Foundation's Laser Interferometer
Gravitational Wave Observatory LIGO,
located in Livingston, Louisiana, and
Hanford, Washington, detected
gravitational waves from a merger of two
stellar mass black holes. The event
resulted in a black hole weighing 142
suns.
A stellar mass black hole forms when
a star with more than 20 solar
masses exhausts the nuclear fuel in its
core and collapses under its own weight.
The collapse triggers a supernova
explosion that blows off the star's outer
layers. But if the crushed core contains
more than about three times the Sun's
mass, no known force can stop its
collapse into a black hole. The origin
of supermassive black holes is poorly
understood, but we know they exist from
the very earliest days of a galaxy's
lifetime. Once born, black holes can grow
by accumulating matter that falls into
them, including gas stripped from
neighboring stars and even other black
holes.
In 2019, astronomers using the Event
Horizon Telescope, an international
collaboration that networked eight ground
based radio telescopes into a single Earth
sized dish, captured an image of a
black hole for the first time. It
appears that a dark circle silhouetted by
an orbiting disk of hot glowing matter.
The supermassive black hole is located at
the heart of a galaxy called M
87, located about 55 million light years
away and weighs more than 6 billion
solar masses. Its event horizon expands so
far, it would encompass much of our
solar system out to well beyond the
planets. Katie Bowman, who we named one
of our female crested geckos after, was
a member of the Event Horizon Telescope
team that captured the first image of
a black hole. She's an American computer
scientist working in the field of imaging,
and her focus of research is on
using emerging computational methods to
push the boundaries of interdisciplinary
imaging. And I just saw this picture
of her. I think it's the same
picture that we have on Katie and
Catherine's habitat, and that picture of
her looking at the computer screen with
a black hole on it, that just
to me is the epitome of absolute
joy and wonder in a person's face.
And if you haven't seen that picture,
I highly recommend looking it up because
it is just everything that I think
that eureka moment in a science discovery
should look like.
Another important discovery related to
black holes came in 2015, when scientists
first detected gravitational waves ripples
in the fabric of spacetime predicted a
century earlier by Albert Einstein's
general theory of relativity. LIGO
detected the waves from an event called
GW 15 one four, where two orbiting
black holes spiraled into each other and
merged 1.3 billion years ago. Since then,
LIGO and other facilities have observed
numerous black hole mergers via the
gravitational waves they produce. These
are exciting new methods, but astronomers
have been studying black holes through the
various forms of light they emit for
decades. Although light can't escape a
black hole's event horizon, the enormous
tidal forces in its vicinity cause nearby
matter to heat up to millions of
degrees and emit radio waves and xrays.
Some of the material orbiting even closer
to the event horizon may be hurled
out, forming jets of particles moving near
the speed of light that emit radio
x rays and gamma rays. Jets from
supermassive black holes can extend
hundreds of thousands of light years into
space.
NASA's Hubble, Chandra Swift, new star and
nicer space telescopes, as well as other
missions, continue to take the measure of
black holes and their environment so we
can learn more about these enigmatic
objects and their role in the evolution
of galaxies and the universe at large.
You can celebrate Black Hole Friday by
learning more about black holes, viewing
photos from NASA of black holes, and
even playing games related to black holes.
We'll have photo galleries and a black
hole game linked in our description of
the podcast. So thank you for listening
to this week's episode of cultimate
Curiosity. We'll be back into two weeks
with a new episode.
Bye bye.
Thanks for listening to this week's
episode of Cultivate Curiosity.
If you have any questions, feel free
to email us at socialmedia@ecscience.org.
Tune in for our next episode in
two weeks.