Some days I spend staring at a computer screen and some I spend putting out (figurative) fires, but on the best days I get to go out and see some very cool stuff. Today I spent the morning at one of the coolest places the Navy has to offer - the Naval Research Laboratory.
See that? (I lifted it from the website, but there's permission to use it as long as I tell you it's from there. Which I just did.) The call it "The Birdbath" these days, but in the 50's they used it to bounce radar signals off the moon. It was a short step from there to bouncing communications signals off the moon...the first satellite communications well before the advent of the space age.
The person I was escorting got very excited about an electron microscope, but to be honest, I thought the coolest thing was that right next to the fancy-pants microscope sat a $20 Radio Shack Thermometer. Happily, the Public Affairs person (also unable to comprehend the discussion around us) agreed with me. I really, really enjoyed the Nanoscience Institute though, again, I had no idea what I was hearing. In the end, the stuff just looked very cool. (You should follow that link, then mouse over the "Sponsors", "Tech Transfer", and "Publications" links. Don't click unless you actually want to read the stuff, but the pictures, especially the "Sponsors" one are amazing. That one I would frame and put on my wall.
If you're really interested in science, you should check out the interactive timeline. Actually, you should check it out anyway, because it's interesting. And you'll learn something, which is always a good thing. For example, if you've flow on a jet plane (synthetic lubricants,) if your car has a GPS, or you've had laser eye surgery (eximer laser,) you've benefited from NRL's research. I feel like my brain grew three sizes today...
P.S. Any science teachers (or anyone else really) who might be interested - I got a very cool poster from the Nanoscience people. I'd be happy to send it to a good home where it might encourage kids brighter than me to study science.