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Vol. LX, No. 10
May 16, 2008
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Earth Day Hitches Ride
Record Crowd Accompanies NIH’ers to Work

On the front page...

If it seemed like the campus was teeming with youth and curiosity on Apr. 24, that’s because more children than ever registered for this year’s Take Your Child to Work Day, hosted by the NIH Office of Equal Opportunity and Diversity Management.

Some 1,877 children signed up for the event, which featured a range of educational and enjoyable activities planned by the institutes and centers and OEODM, including the NIH Earth Day Celebration. This year, every IC participated in the event with activities, giveaways or both. There were 64 unique activities and six open events that did not require preregistration. NIH’ers could register kids for up to three activities to attend throughout the day. OEODM, along with institute volunteers, prepared more than 2,500 information bags for the children with materials donated from the ICs as mementos of the day’s events.

Continued...


The activities covered a broad range of science and administrative work being performed at NIH. Some of the most popular ones provided hands-on demonstrations and interactive participation by the children, including such long-standing events as “Fantastic Voyage Through the Department of Laboratory Medicine” sponsored by the Clinical Center; “3-D Facial Images” sponsored by the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research; “Fun with DNA” sponsored by the National Human Genome Research Institute; “Your Amazing Brain” sponsored by the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke; and “What’s Inside Your PC?,” “Creating a Website” and “Computer & Telephone Systems,” all sponsored by the Center for Information Technology. Record Crowd Accompanies NIH’ers to Work
Renee Granrud (l), who works in respiratory therapy and the CC critical care medicine department, demonstrates how to measure air supply. Her team helps people breathe deeply after surgery and prevent pneumonia.
Bria Jones and Drew Lewis, relatives of Yasmin Coates (c) of the CC Office of Organizational Development, show ID badges they made before they came to NIH.
Dual smiles show Take Your Child to Work Day is fun as well as educational.

Top, l:
Renee Granrud (l), who works in respiratory therapy and the CC critical care medicine department, demonstrates how to measure air supply. Her team helps people breathe deeply after surgery and prevent pneumonia.

Top, r:
Bria Jones and Drew Lewis, relatives of Yasmin Coates (c) of the CC Office of Organizational Development, show ID badges they made before they came to NIH.

Above:
Dual smiles show Take Your Child to Work Day is fun as well as educational.

Right:
Youngsters take part in maze navigating and face painting.

Rebecca Boden, daughter of Dr. Rachel Gafni of NIDCR, finds loads to do at NIH’s combo Take Your Child to Work/Earth Day.
Rebecca Boden, daughter of Dr. Rachel Gafni of NIDCR, finds loads to do at NIH’s combo Take Your Child to Work/Earth Day.

New activities for 2008 included a visit from Dr. Edward E. Stonestreet, who conducted an interactive demonstration titled “A 50-Year Medical Practice in the 1800s” on how physicians made their own medicine before there were pharmacies, sponsored by the NIH Federal Credit Union. Another noteworthy visitor was Terence Boylan, the NIH Rocket Boy, who shared his amazing story (see sidebar). The National Library of Medicine’s Diversity Council sponsored “Healthy Lifestyles for You and Your Family Expo,” which included several activities such as “Live on Lister Hill Stage: Fun with FOODPLAY,” “Yoga for All Ages” and “Exercise is for Every Body.”

“My favorite [activity] was FOODPLAY because they were acting out plays which I like and it was funny,” said Shannon Blessing, 8, a third grader at Kensington Parkwood Elementary School whose mother, Patricia, is communication director at NIDCD. “I learned how to read a nutrition label and what you should eat.”

Youngsters take part in maze navigating and face painting. Youngsters take part in maze navigating and face painting.

This year, OEODM collaborated with members of the NIH Environmental Management System on a series of NIH Earth Day 2008 activities (see sidebar below). NIH’ers and the kids they brought along were able to learn about NIH efforts to promote Earth Day as well as what the adults do at work each day. It didn’t hurt that Earth obliged by providing perfect weather for the occasion.NIHRecord Icon

From Mischief to Method
‘Rocket Boy’ Boylan’s Talk a Blast

Terence Boylan
When his father died, Terence established the Boylan Foundation for International Medical Research, a non-profit organization that raises funds to support biomedical research and scientist exchange fellowships. To date, over 1,200 medical students and postdoctoral fellows have participated in the International Bio-Medical Exchange Program, which his father co-founded in 1979, and which Boylan now helps support. One of the foundation’s other beneficiaries is the Mount Desert Island Biological Laboratory, where Boylan was recently named chairman of its board of trustees.

Though 51 years have passed since his brief handwritten plea for funding won a $10 grant from NIH, Terence Boylan brought all of the excitement of being a rambunctious, free-spirited kid to his hour-long presentation in Masur Auditorium as part of Take Your Child to Work Day.

Like many youngsters who grew up in the 1950’s, Boylan enjoyed playing with fireworks and was delighted to find that a chemistry set that his parents had bought for him when he was 8 included ingredients that, when mixed, could make fuel for bottle rockets.

“My friend Bruce and I liked to take fireworks apart to see how they worked. We’d slit them open, empty out a pile of powder, then light it,” he recounted. Before long, they were packing their own fireworks using chemicals scrounged from their fathers’ laboratories, since both of their dads were physicians. Bruce’s interest in astronomy prompted the boys to consider using those chemicals for rocket propulsion to “explore outer space.”

Boylan’s father was an NIH grantee, and when young Terence and his friend needed more money to fund their burgeoning rocket-building enterprise, Terence innocently applied to NIH, expecting no response.

“I mailed the letter and forgot about it. Two or three weeks later, reporters from the Buffalo Evening News and Courier-Express called, asking about the NIH grant,” Boylan recalled. “My dad had no idea that I had written to NIH. But I could tell he was pleased about it.”

Up to this point, the boys had been honing what had started out as mischief into scientific method. Because of the newspaper article, “all the kids at school knew we were building a rocketship,” Boylan said, so there was peer pressure to succeed. Like alchemists, they transmuted the brief thrill of explosions into a series of some 40-50 trials that resulted in a spectacular launch.

“On the day we launched the big rocket, at first we were afraid it would just fizzle on the launch platform,” Boylan said. “Then, suddenly, it whooshed out of sight. We were flabbergasted. We waited around for it to land for about 20 minutes, but it never came back. Two hours later, we got a phone call. Someone had found our rocket miles away, out toward the town of Clarence.”

The payload had included a mouse, who survived the journey thanks to a parachute rig in the nose cone (“He was fine—he seemed quite happy, in fact.”). The boys had also included their address and phone number along with the mouse.

Boylan and his friend discovered that shipping tubes made of compressed paper made strong, lightweight rocket bodies.
Boylan and his friend discovered that shipping tubes made of compressed paper made strong, lightweight rocket bodies.

Though Boylan later went on to a career as a musician—he recorded several albums, including one with the founders of Steely Dan, and a few with the Eagles and Linda Ronstadt singing back-up—his talk to the NIH youngsters vividly illustrated the scientific approach of hypothesis, trial and error. He and Bruce learned, over the course of two summers, how to cobble rockets together using tubes of compressed paper (lightweight and strong, the tubes had been used to ship delicate glassware to Boylan’s father’s laboratory). They used whatever they could find—Erector set nuts and bolts, hardware store plumbing parts and dry clay for nozzles, stove-vent metal sheathing to line the tubes, plastic funnel nose cones and balsawood fins.

The launch pad consisted of a metal jack stand found in the garage, and a guidance system fashioned from pea shooters mounted on the rocket’s skin, then threaded over a tall curtain rod. When Boylan’s parents forbade the use of matches as the rockets got bigger, the boys used an electric train set’s transformer to ignite, remotely, a magnesium- wire fuse.

Perhaps inadvertently, Boylan’s message was that science is a blast and that attitude leads to altitude—the boys’ inventiveness was equal to each obstacle they encountered.

“I’ll always remember those long summer days with my friend Bruce, when it seemed like we had nothing to do but build rockets to the moon,” Boylan concluded. For a more detailed account of his rocket-building exploits, read “Shining Lady in the Sky” at www.csr.nih.gov/history, or see Boylan’s Apr. 24 talk in the archive at http://videocast. nih.gov.—

Take Your Child to Earth Day

Who can resist a warm spring day—especially when it’s cool being green? Thanks to an OEODM/NEMS collaboration on Take Your Child to Work Day, NIH Earth Day was tailor-made for employees to bring the kids.

There were Frisbees and face-painting on the Bldg. 1 lawn; forest and stream walks plus displays of indigenous critters; a “Solar Oven Pizza Box” contest; native wildflower planting; green roof demos; giveaways of seedlings, plant seeds and mercury-free thermometers; and recycling collections for bikes, eyeglasses and cell phones.

You could slow-ride your vehicle (or accompany your parental unit) through the Bldg. 1 driveway to have your tires checked and their pressure adjusted. The lesson for kids—and grown-ups too—is that under-inflated tires reduce your miles per gallon. Then you could rub shoulders with the Mad Hatter, NIH’s own anti-mercury crusader, as well as Ben Franklin, whose energy-smart inventions are still in use.
Lynn Mueller (r), chief of NIH grounds maintenance and landscaping, gets help planting flowers from a couple of youngsters, including Donya Young (c), grandson of ORF’s Valerie Nottingham. The plants—several varieties of native wild flowers along the edge of the creek off Wilson Drive—were donated by ORF’s Division of Environmental Protection.
Mohamed Kamara (r), laboratory technician in the Clinical Center’s department of laboratory medicine, and a youthful crew perform procedures on a simulated limb.
Jane Spencer of NIH’s Office of Human Resources gets a world geography/map-drawing lesson from Paris Brady, son of Dr. Tom Brady of NIDA.

Perhaps the day’s brightest star was Moringa oleifera (also known as the horseradish tree or drumstick tree), the third annual “IT,” with 300 known medicinal uses. Two of the contest entrants who correctly identified “IT” were local high school students. It’s so cool being green.

To join the NIH Greenserve, visit https://list.nih.gov/archives/greenserve-l.html.

Ellen Condon of NIMH and the NIH Bicycle Commuter Club gives a ride in a Bakfiet—a Dutch cargo bike—to Christina Hernandez, daughter of Carolyn Harrison, NINDS program specialist at NIH’s MRI Research Facility.

Top, l: Lynn Mueller (r), chief of NIH grounds maintenance and landscaping, gets help planting flowers from a couple of youngsters, including Donya Young (c), grandson of ORF’s Valerie Nottingham. The plants—several varieties of native wild flowers along the edge of the creek off Wilson Drive—were donated by ORF’s Division of Environmental Protection.

Top, r: Mohamed Kamara (r), laboratory technician in the Clinical Center’s department of laboratory medicine, and a youthful crew perform procedures on a simulated limb.

Above: Jane Spencer of NIH’s Office of Human Resources gets a world geography/map-drawing lesson from Paris Brady, son of Dr. Tom Brady of NIDA.

Right: Ellen Condon of NIMH and the NIH Bicycle Commuter Club gives a ride in a Bakfiet—a Dutch cargo bike—to Christina Hernandez, daughter of Carolyn Harrison, NINDS program specialist at NIH’s MRI Research Facility.

On hand for “IT” awards were (from l) Division of Environmental Protection Director Kenny Floyd; Capt. Ed Rau; cowinner Dr. Lakshminarayan Iyer, NLM; NIH Deputy Director for Management Colleen Barros; cowinner Dr. Vivek Anantharaman, NLM; R&W President Randy Schools; cowinner Kim Westervelt, OD Office of Human Resources. NIGMS gave students the opportunity to “research” Drosophila mutants.
On hand for “IT” awards were (from l) Division of Environmental Protection Director Kenny Floyd; Capt. Ed Rau; cowinner Dr. Lakshminarayan Iyer, NLM; NIH Deputy Director for Management Colleen Barros; cowinner Dr. Vivek Anantharaman, NLM; R&W President Randy Schools; cowinner Kim Westervelt, OD Office of Human Resources. At right, NIGMS gave students the opportunity to “research” Drosophila mutants.

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