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Women in Science Conference 2019

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Women in Science 2019

Thank you for joining us at the 2019 Women in Science Conference! We are so glad you stopped by.

This year we all formed a bond around one theme: Temperature. We looked at it from several angles:

See it (measure it)
Feel it (real life difference in temperature)
Interpret it (impacts on urban and rural areas)
Change it (Broader impacts of temperature change)

Below we've got some resources where you can create your own thermometer, study radiation and land surface variances, study urban heat maps, and more! Thanks again for stopping by and enjoy the science!

See it!

water bottle, alcohol, mixing bucket, food coloring, putty, and a straw.
Materials needed:
  1. Clear plastic bottle
  2. Clear plastic straw
  3. Red food coloring
  4. Rubbing alcohol
  5. Modeling clay
  6. Measuring cup
  7. Funnel
  8. 2 large containers for test water
  9. A kettle or pot/stove to warm water
  10. Ice to cool water

Step 1:
Using the measuring cup and funnel, pour rubbing alcohol into the water bottle until it is about 1/4 of the way full. For an 11-oz. bottle this is about 1/3 cup.

Step 2:
Add a few drops of red food coloring and gently shake the bottle until the color is mixed evenly.

Step 3:
Insert the straw into the water bottle, but keep it from resting against the bottom of the bottle.

Step 4:
Use the molding clay around the straw to close the top of the bottle and hold the straw in place (not touching the bottom of the bottle). Be sure to make
the clay seal tightly around the straw and completely seal the bottle mouth. The top part of the straw will extend out above the clay. Do not seal the straw itself. Now you have a thermometer!

How does it work?
When warm, fluid will expand – or take up more space. Since your bottle is sealed except for the straw, the only place for the expanded fluid to go is up the straw. When the temperature increases, you can expect to see the red fluid go up the straw.

Add warm water from the kettle or pot/stove to 1 of the large containers. Add water and ice to the other large container. Place your homemade thermometer into the hot water. What happens?
Now, place your thermometer into the ice water. What happens?
How is this similar or different to the way various other thermometers might work?
At home:
You can build your own homemade thermometer at home and recreate our experiment. There are also more things you can try.
Add a scale: Alcohol expands by equal amounts for each degree gained in temperature. If you have a store bought thermometer (liquid-in-glass) you can put both thermometers in the same liquid at the same time and draw lines on your bottle for different temperatures. This is called calibration. Sunlight and temperature: Using your homemade thermometer, you can test how different amounts of sunlight in different locations can affect temperature. Place your thermometer in the following locations for 1 hour each and record the temperature or height of the liquid in the straw for comparison.
1. Under a shady tree.
2. On a dark surface (like a dark towel or shirt) in the sunlight.
3. On grass in the sunlight.
What did you find? Are some places warmer than others? Some of the sun’s energy that reaches Earth is transformed from light to heat. Different surfaces can absorb or more reflect different amounts of this energy.

Feel it!

Check out this DIY radiation and land surface experiment! You can learn how physical characteristics of the Earth's surface affect the way that surfaces adsorb heat from the sun.

Interpret it

Get to know us!

OU School of Meteorology

OU Department of Gergraphy and Environmental Sustainability  

South Central Climate Adaptation Science Center

Cooperative Institute for Mesoscale Meteorological Studies

OU Center for Autonomous Sensing and Sampling