Volume One, Issue Three: Fall 2018

Latest and Greatest

Watch our Inspiration Video and see how inspiration can launch dreams, careers, and heroes like Senator John Glenn.

Catalyst: Celebrating Inspiration and John Glenn’s Legacy

In September, COSI hosted its annual Catalyst luncheon, featuring hands-on science for all attendees, a live science stage show, and a COSI Conversation with former Congressman Pat Tiberi, who now serves as the new President and CEO of the Ohio Business Roundtable. An advocate for improving Ohio’s business climate, Mr. Tiberi joined Dr. Bertley for a discussion on the importance of STEM jobs and how innovation is driving job creation.

But what made this year’s Catalyst especially powerful was a very special announcement made by Mr. Jack Kessler and Dr. Bertley: the creation of the John Glenn Inspiration Award. This prestigious award will recognize individuals who have inspired others in powerful ways and for the good of humankind. The first recipient of the award will be honored at next year’s Catalyst event.

As the trustee of science for our region, COSI is enormously proud to honor Senator Glenn in this way. After all, COSI and John Glenn had a rich history from the start. In 1965, he accepted a COSI membership directly from the hand of former COSI Executive Director Sandy Hallock, and he later selected COSI as one of the few locales on Earth to receive air-to-ground communication during his second flight in space.

During one visit to COSI, Senator Glenn commented that “everyone should be a member of this wonderful place! This is an education in science that is available in few cities in this country.” Because Senator Glenn had a genuine appreciation of COSI’s legacy of education and inspiration, it is fitting that COSI— with our commitment to engaging, inspiring, and transforming lives— lead the charge in creating this Inspiration Award in his honor. Each year moving forward, we will proudly present the John Glenn Inspiration Award Winner at Catalyst.

As Dr. Bertley told this year’s Catalyst audience: “Today, we launch this award because we value inspiration. We admire inspiration. But most importantly, because we need it.”

(Top Left: Jack and Charlotte Kessler; guests enjoying a live science show; COSI Community Board members Carrie Boyd and Darla King, and COSI Board member Michelle Adams; COSI Board Chair-Elect Tom E. Dailey during a table top science activity; guests from The John Glenn School of Public Affairs.)
Mission moment

"Mr. COSI" Inspires Generations

Let’s take a moment to revisit 1980: Mount St. Helens was exploding, the Rubik’s Cube was debuting in toy stores, and a young science enthusiast named Leonard Sparks was beginning a job as an educator at COSI. Leonard took to his role like a fish to water, diving in to inspire interest in science and even launching COSI On Wheels, our hallmark outreach experience that travels around Ohio and nearby states, within his first two years.

Thirty-eight years later, COSI On Wheels has engaged 9,124,915 participants, and Leonard is still a vibrant Master Educator at COSI who is vital to transforming lives. Across the years, he often finds former “COSI kids” reaching out to him to express their thanks for his opening their eyes to thrills of science. Here’s one such expression from a man who now works a researcher at Oak Ridge National Lab:

"You may not remember me, but I was a COSI volunteer during my high school years (2000-4). COSI was some of my first steps toward a scientific career... With that pride, I have a sense of gratitude for mentors that invested in my life. I remember working through some problem with you about a fly and a bicycle, but mostly I remember your enthusiasm. In so far as I am able to remind myself of how amazing the world is and how much fun it is to learn and teach, it has served me well. Thank you for being an example early on... I wanted you to know that your actions and enthusiasm go past whatever walls house them."

Want another feel-good moment? Check out the brief video below for another touching expression of thanks from a long ago COSI On Wheels participant who is now a STEM professional:

Meet the talented team

Meet Paul Sutter: COSI's Chief Scientist

Bad puns, corny jokes, and now and then a possible affront to English grammar— not exactly what you’d expect from the first published book of an astrophysicist, but that’s what COSI’s Chief Scientist, Dr. Paul Sutter, has proudly folded into his. Your Place in the Universe: Understanding our Big, Messy Existence makes its debut on November 20th. Its 288 pages tell the bittersweet story of how the universe is gigantic and complex and yet, ultimately, still intimate and connected to us.

The book’s message is pretty much this: “You’re not special.” And though Paul (like any of us) may not be “special” in the light of our massive universe, he is quite special among us residents of Central Ohio.

After all, in addition to his role at COSI, Paul is many things: a Cosmological Researcher and Community Outreach Coordinator at The Ohio State University, writer, speaker, producer, and pod-cast and TV program host. Paul views the integration of all these roles under the “Let’s talk about science” umbrella. He writes on science as he speaks on it: informally and accessibly, with a dash of humor and a pinch of sarcasm. He refers to himself as “kind of like a smart Uncle Paul at your Thanksgiving dinner table.”

Paul joined COSI almost three years ago. Among other activities, he hosts Deep Space Q&A in our Planetarium at all COSI After Darks, noting how much he enjoys joking around and nerding out with people of his own age. His “Science Now” episodes are filmed in COSI’s Tech Studio and are viewed on PBS member stations across the nation. A kind of celebrity scientist, Paul shares, “It’s still beyond weird to be noticed in public!”

Paul particularly enjoys serving as an ambassador of space. He views the topic of space as a kind of “gateway drug” to interest in other science topics and to science in general. As he says, “A cool space fact can be a great way to teach the scientific method and science as a mindset.”

“The many facets of my career reflect an overall philosophy – it’s all just part of being a scientist: always experiment, try new things, test yourself and your ideas. Always update.” - Paul Sutter

Because he believes it’s important to remove barriers between scientists and non-scientists, Paul passionately promotes the importance of science communication. While his “Ask a Spaceman!” project remains the cornerstone of his efforts, his work with COSI further engages audiences that are often turned off by science, inspires others to share in the joy of the scientific enterprise, and transforms our sense of how a scientist speaks and shares scientific knowledge. Paul believes that COSI plays an imperative role in our community, and we are thrilled to have him on our team.

Want to meet Paul in person? Join COSI and The Ohio State University at his book launch party at Strongwater bar on November 20th for a Q&A, book signing, and— yes— all around general merriment!

science is for everyone!

Out of the Cubicle and into the Science Center!

L Brands Associates Join a New Science Competition

For two weeks this past summer, COSI piloted an exciting new program with the help of L Brands, the first company to try its hand at being crowned “the smartest company in the Columbus region.”

The new COSI Corporate Partnership Program gives local corporate employees (and their family members) the special opportunity to visit COSI during designated, company-sponsored days. During their visit, guests are encouraged to participate in a team scavenger hunt across our building using a special feature on our COSI App. The App provides a series of multiple choice questions around science (e.g. “How tall was the Velociraptor?”) that can be answered through visits to various COSI permanent and traveling exhibits.

The idea is that the L Brands total tally of correct answers will serve as the baseline against which future Corporate Challenge participants will compete. And while the program challenges a company’s associates to engage with science and technology, it also provides them a chance to have fun and enjoying team-building with each other and with their families.

The new initiative supports COSI’s efforts to build our relationship with local corporations, but more importantly it invites and welcomes people who might not otherwise be engaged with COSI. After all, COSI— like science— is for everyone: accountants, marketers, human resources representatives, etc. Even corporate America has its lifelong science learners, waiting for the chance to become students of science!

During the two-week “L Brands COSI Take Over,” 5,100 associates and their family members visited COSI. They made themselves into 214 competitive teams and took over 1,000 photos utilizing the App. (See the mosaic photo below that captures the collective fun!) All in all, the challenge gave busy adults opportunities for informal learning, along with the chance to engage with their fellow employees and feel like a kid again at COSI.

With over 1,000 images collected over the course of the Scavenger Hunt, we made this mosaic to capture some of the fun.

Think your company’s employees would be up for the challenge? We invite other companies to join the fun! Contact Stephen White at swhite@cosi.org to learn more.

upcoming events & must- see's

Did You Know?...

COSI is the seminal place for important conversations around all things cool, scientific, and technological. Which of the following recently visited COSI as part of these smart conversations?:

a) Paul Dabbar, the U.S. Department of Energy Under Secretary for Science.

b) Jim Hackett, President of Ford Motor Company, and Governor John Kasick, attending the Midwestern Governors Association "America's Smartland" Conference on workforce development.

c) Senator Rob Portman, as part of the Future of Workforce event with representatives from Amazon, the Columbus Partnership, and Columbus State Community College.

d) NASA Administrator, Jim Bridenstine, discussing the future of the aerospace and aviation industries in Ohio.

The answer is: ALL OF THE ABOVE!

(Left: Janet L. Kavandi, Director of the NASA Glenn Research Center; NASA Administrator Jim Bridentstine; and COSI's Stephen M. White with students in the COSI Planetarium.)

The COSI Team thanks all those who joined us for Catalyst and all those who continue to support our efforts to engage, inspire, and transform!

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