Math

Q&A PART I: ALEXEY GOLDIN TALKS TABBY’S STAR

 The following is a Q&A with Teza employee, Alexey Goldin. Alexey’s work on Tabby’s Star has been creating some impressive buzz, so we asked him to discuss his research and how he got interested in the subject. Make sure to check back in for the second installment! 

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What is Tabby’s Star?

Tabby’s Star was accidentally detected by an exoplanet-seeking satellite. The star changes brightness a lot (at times dimming by much as 20 percent). There is no known physical explanation for why this star, which is so similar to our Sun, can change its brightness so drastically. The standard hypothesis is that something is occluding its light. The subject became popular when someone hypothesized that super-powerful aliens were building structures to collect star energy (similar to an unfinished Dyson sphere)!

I looked at the data carefully alongside Valeri Makarov of the U.S. Naval Observatory in Washington, D.C., and we came to the conclusion that there is another weak, but probably unrelated, object close to this star’s line of sight. It is just accidentally there. We believe there is a lot of space junk (e.g., comets, some protoplanetary material) associated with that other, weak and almost invisible object that is occluding Tabby’s Star. It’s not as fun as aliens, but it is more likely.

Can you tell us about how you conducted the research?\

Valeri is my former colleague. We worked together on SIM mission. Before that I did not have experience with astrometry and optical astronomy –this was entirely new field for me. As a result, Valeri and I worked closely together — he did most of the astronomy work while I focused on data analysis — to produce a series of articles beginning around 2007.

Why are you interested in Tabby’s Star?

This kind of work is interesting and exciting to me generally, even when we work with less famous objects. But I also find that this type of work is more pertinent to my role at Teza than you may think. To find a relevant trading signal we have to go through a large amount of data to find a weak signal. Astronomers (especially ones looking for exoplanets) often have to do the same.

HOW CAN WE SPOTLIGHT WOMEN IN STEM?

A woman attends a buildOn Adult Literacy class in Nepal

The gender gap in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) starts young – a recent survey found that young girls become interested in STEM subjects around the age of 11, but quickly lose interest by age 15. By the time young women reach college, only 6.7 percent graduate with STEM degrees, compared to 17 percent of men. While there are undoubtedly many factors influencing young girls’ decision to shy away from STEM, lack of female role models has been cited as a key issue.

That’s what makes several recent projects focused on spotlighting the important contributions of women in STEM so exciting. New magazines showcasing female scientists,  Google phone cases  honoring the American space program’s leading women, and LEGO’s women of NASA set all underscore the important role women have played throughout STEM history.  These and other initiatives highlighting STEM’s female superstars will continue to play an important role when it comes to inspiring women and girls of all ages to pursue careers in these fields.

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Through the support of organizations like After-School All-Stars, Misha Malyshev and the Teza Technologies team are working to inspire tomorrow’s STEM stars.

COULD ROBOTS HELP INSPIRE YOUNG GIRLS TO PURSUE CAREERS IN STEM?

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Research shows that by the first grade, young students seem to be embracing the stereotype that girls are not as good at robotics and programming as boys. Other recent reports have pointed to confidence as a major issue when it comes to female students and STEM – a study published in Frontiers in Psychology found that boys rated their abilities in math and science 27 percent higher than their female peers. That lack of confidence in girls seems likely to be a contributing factor towards decreased STEM opportunities for women. For example, the National Center for Women and Information Technology reports that women hold only 25 percent of computing related occupations.

While girls start internalizing the idea they aren’t as good at math and science at a young age, a recent report from the University of Washington provides a great approach for parents looking to combat STEM gender stereotypes. When 6-year-old girls participated in a computer programming activity involving robots, they showed more positive attitudes about their own STEM abilities. This study serves to underscore a point we’ve discussed before – when it comes to STEM education, getting an early start is key.

At Teza Technologies Misha Malyshev and team have been working closely with organizations to encourage children to develop an interest in STEM from an early age. Through the support of organizations such as Adler Planetarium and After-School All-Stars, we hope to inspire the next generation of scientists and coders.

TWO EASY WAYS TO BUILD STEM EDUCATION OUTSIDE OF THE CLASSROOM

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Science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) jobs are growing at 1.7 times the rate of non-STEM jobs, but only 16 percent of high school seniors are interested in pursuing careers in these fields. While there has been a lot of conversation surrounding the role of the education system, engagement in STEM outside of school can be just as important when it comes to sparking youth interest in STEM.

It Starts at Home

Research shows that parents who talk to their high school students about the relevance of math and science can help to increase both competency and career interest in these fields. Alongside ongoing conversations about the importance of STEM, thinking of fun and interesting ways to incorporate STEM activities into children’s lives after school can also help inspire students.

  • Practical experiments: Instead of leaving STEM education to the books, try building a sand volcano or creating a roller coaster out of straw.
  • Mentorships: When it comes to high school-aged students, consider working on STEM literacy skills as a family or setting them up with a STEM mentor. Giving students an extra push outside of school is the key when it comes to fostering an interest in STEM careers.

Misha Malyshev and the rest of the Teza Technologies team are committed to inspiring the next generation of STEM stars through the support of organizations like After-School All-Stars and the Adler Planetarium.

INTRODUCING AFTER-SCHOOL ALL-STARS & TEZA TECHNOLOGIES’ STEM RESOURCE GUIDE

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Science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) skills are in high demand. STEM jobs are growing at 1.7 times the rate of non-STEM jobs, but only 16 percent of high school seniors reported interest in pursuing STEM careers. What’s more, there are serious racial and gender gaps when it comes to STEM education (a recent report from Google and Gallup found that black students are less likely to have access to computer science in the classroom).

That’s why we’re proud to present our new STEM resource guide. Developed in partnership with After-School All-Stars (ASAS), this guide provides information about the state of STEM education, ideas for ways to engage students in STEM activities at home, and information about the work we’re doing in partnership with ASAS to inspire the next generation of STEM superstars. Through this resource guide and other initiatives, the entire team at Teza Technologies is committed to highlighting the importance of STEM education.

WHAT IF WE TREATED FEMALE SCIENTISTS LIKE CELEBRITIES?

From buzz surrounding the new film about NASA’s female mathematicians Hidden Figures to discussions about the opportunities for women in data science, there has been a lot of great news about women in STEM lately. One of the most exciting pieces of news is General Electric’s new campaign focused on closing the gender gap. GE has promised to place 20,000 women in technical roles by the year 2020, and is working towards equal gender representation in all of their entry-level technical roles. But our favorite part of this campaign is this inspiring commercial focused on female scientists – “What If Scientists Were Celebrities?

Misha Malyshev

When it comes to inspiring young girls and women to pursue careers in STEM, representation in films, television and other forms of popular media is essential. We applaud GE’s campaign to highlight the (often untold) stories of women in STEM. At Teza Technologies, Misha Malyshev and the rest of our team are working to inspire young children to pursue careers in STEM by supporting incredible organizations like After-School All-Stars and the Adler Planetarium.

ASAS STEM CAMPUS EVENT LETS OUR EMPLOYEES GIVE BACK

This is a guest post by two Teza employees, Kelly and Lou, about their recent volunteer experience at After-School All-Stars STEM CampUs event, sponsored by Teza Technologies. STEM CampUs is a five-day immersion program that prepares at-risk eight graders for high school and encourages them to explore careers in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM). Teza Technologies and Misha Malyshev are proud to support events like STEM CampUs that provide educational opportunities for students.

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Lou: Focused on encouraging STEM pursuits

As a father of two children, it was great to be able to volunteer with a program focused on encouraging students to pursue an education and career in STEM. Both professionally and personally, this is a passion of mine. For example, my 11-year-old son is especially interested in video games, so I’ve been working to translate his love of video games into a broader understanding of STEM.

At STEM CampUs I had the opportunity to judge the STEM app competition. I was impressed by how much thought the students had put into their presentations. When we asked them questions it was clear they’d considered the different kinds of feedback they might receive from the judges and the audience. The thoroughness of their presentations and their overall preparedness was truly remarkable!

After the competition, Kelly and I were able to sit down with some of the students for dinner and one-on-one conversations. I was happy to answer their questions about pursuing a career in STEM and to share my experience majoring in computer science and how I came to work at Teza.

Overall I had a great time getting to know the students and learning more about their individual interests and goals. I’m looking forward to participating in more events like this in the future!

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Kelly: Learning about students’ passion for STEM

While Lou was judging the STEM app competition, I enjoyed viewing the presentations as a member of the audience. Like Lou, I was very impressed with how much work the students had put into their creations!

For me, the best part of the event was talking with the kids during dinner. For example, I had a great conversation with a young girl who was hoping to attend Temple University in the future. She told me about how much she loves Philadelphia, her family and siblings, and how much she had enjoyed her time at STEM CampUs. I was blown away by her maturity – she was extremely goal-oriented and it was great to hear about her plans for the future and how ASAS was helping her along her path.

Overall, I was highly impressed with the event, and I’m looking forward to more ways that we can support ASAS in the future, including through ASAS’s Climb 4 Kids event in October!

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After-school all-stars chicago and teza technologies

Teza Technologies Volunteers with Students from After-School All-Stars for Pi Day

ASASIn honor of Pi Day, Teza Technologies employees in the Chicago office teamed up with students from After-School All-Stars for fun activities. They spent the afternoon in small groups working on math exercises, measuring the value of Pi and discussing careers in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM). 

Pi Day is celebrated around the world each year on March 14. Pi is the Greek letter “π” and is a mathematical constant used to represent the ratio of the circumference of a circle to its diameter. It was first ASAS 2introduced in 1706 by William Jones and later adopted in 1737 by Leonhard Euler, a Swiss mathematician.

Pi consists of more than one trillion digits and continues infinitely, however, only 39 digits past the decimal are needed to accurately calculate the spherical volume of our universe. Its abbreviated version is commonly known as 3.14159.

 

What Exactly is Girls Do Hack?

Promotional videos have been posted, and GDH recaps have been posted in the past. Here’s some information from the Adler Planetarium on the 2015 installment of Girls Do Hack.

Who: 80 young women, in grades 9-11, from across the city of Chicago

What: The young women will have the opportunity to engage in activities that emphasize skills needed to pursue careers in a variety of STEM (Science, Technology Engineering, Math) fields through hands-on, minds-on experiences and workshops.

How: GDH is created by a team of Adler’s scientists, educators and program specialists, matching girls with actual female STEM professionals that act as mentors.

Why: Women currently make up less than 1/4 of the workforce in STEM fields.

The event is sponsored by Teza Technologies and Misha Malyshev.

More information.