PUMAS (poo' • mas) -- is a collection of brief examples showing how math and science topics taught in K-12 classes can be used in interesting settings, including every day life.
The examples are written primarily by scientists, engineers, and other content experts having practical experience with the material. They are aimed mainly at classroom teachers, and are available to all interested parties via the PUMAS web site.
Our goal is to capture, for the benefit of pre-college education, the flavor of the vast experience that working scientists have with interesting and practical uses of math and science.
- Ralph Kahn
Pumas Editor and Founder
Seeing Interference Fringes with a Telescope by Stephen J. Edberg
Astronomers build larger telescopes not only to collect more energy but also to resolve finer detail in the objects to be studied. While groundbased optical telescopes with “filled” apertures of up to 10 m have been built, and 30 m and larger-aperture designs are being studied, another method of observations permits equivalent apertures spanning tens to hundreds of meters to be used. Radio astronomers have used these instruments, called interferometers, for decades, with equivalent apertures spanning thousands of kilometers. Optical astronomers have now designed interferometer systems that rely on two (or more) widely-separated telescopes to collect light, and combine the energy to resolve detail that is equivalent to a filled aperture with diameter equal to the separation of the telescopes.
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We are always looking for neat examples of Practical Uses of Math And Science.