Vacations often have an unstated theme – the beach retreat, the mountain adventure, the historic battlefields tour and so on. But here’s one theme you may never have countenanced: the science vacation.
The Washington Post sent writers and photographers to a dozen places across the country, each with a fascinating scientific connection. We’re tempting you with some fun facts about their stops.
Fly Geyser is encircled by travertine terraces and dozens of clear, shallow pools, all created by its constant spray. Those pools run both hot and cold, part of a huge natural reservoir that supports vast biodiversity.
In the heart of Boston, more than 8,000 surgeries took place in Massachusetts General Hospital’s Ether Dome between 1821 and 1868. The red velvet chair in which early patients sat was intentional — red to hide the blood, velvet an ironic gesture to comfort.
Anyone who’s a fan of crawfish étouffée should be a fan of the Atchafalaya Basin. Commercial harvests in this ecological treasure are estimated to yield almost 22 million pounds of crawfish annually on average.
In 1961, Green Bank radio astronomer Frank Drake developed an equation for the number of communicative civilizations in the Milky Way — extraterrestrial life we might detect. His calculation: 10,000.
At least 3,000 people died during the 1906 earthquake that rocked San Francisco, and more than half the population was left homeless. On the Earthquake Trail, such force is still visible in fencing and other structures that were wrenched apart.
A small patch of old growth — forest that has never been cut down — endures just south of Pine Creek Gorge in this Grand Canyon. The white pines there predate the American Revolution; the hemlocks are 500 years old.
The small town of Dayton, Tenn., was initially apprehensive about calling attention to the Scopes chapter of its past. But it has done a 180. Just blocks from the courthouse where evolution was once put on trial — drama now reenacted every summer — a brewery named Monkey Town is open for business.
Astrogeologist Eugene “Gene” Shoemaker was a key force in Cinder Lake’s training program for the first moon landing. Two years after his death, astronauts placed some of his ashes on the lunar surface, making him the only person laid to rest on another planetary body.
Combine all the gold smashed over 19 years as Brookhaven National Lab’s particle collider expanded the boundaries of physics, and you’ll still have barely enough metal for a wedding band.
More than 14 million baskets of soil and clay, all transported by human hand, went into building Monk’s Mound in the ancient city of Cahokia. Yet researchers believe construction took only 20 years.
Want to share details about the snow geese, swans and other migrating birds you spot on the Delmarva Peninsula? Report your sightings at the wildlife refuges’ visitor centers or use the eBird app to become part of a global database.
Researchers believe the humongous fungus scientifically known as Armillaria ostoyae can remain dormant in a root system for 50 years, awaiting growth to infect.
To enjoy all the stories, sights and sounds, tap here. Help us add to our Science Trip list. Tap here.