On Thursday, Jan. 21, science students at LaPorte High School and Kesling Middle School (LaPorte) will communicate live via internet with Purdue University North Central biology professor Richard Hengst, who is on a scientific expedition to a dinosaur site in southwest China. The students will have an opportunity to ask questions as well as learn about new discoveries at the Chinese excavation site.
Dr. Hengst, who left for the month-long expedition in late December, is an authority on dinosaur respiration and has presented research findings at national and international conferences.
The all-day event will involve LaPorte students in their science classes, Hengst in China, and Dr. Brenda Buck at the University of Nevada-Las Vegas. She is an expert on the geology of southwest China.
Prior to the expedition, Hengst and Buck came to LaPorte to meet with the students in their classrooms, and they will return for a follow-up after the expedition.
This not the first time Hengst has partnered with the LaPorte School Corp. in his research expeditions. In 1996, he communicated with students from a dinosaur dig in Argentina.
"One of the really neat things we have seen is that students can offer suggestions to field problems," Hengst said. "In the field, we often have unexpected results and have to be flexible in what can be done, and this generates a flurry of ideas across the Internet. During the Argentina expedition, they just about wore us out with the furious rate they were typing to us."