Helium Inquiry…Inflate with Comments Please!

deflated balloons

1.         Every year on my birthday as a child, my parents bought balloons as celebration décor as I’m sure many parents do for their children. These bouncy pieces of plastic are filled with an element that allows them to defy gravity in a sense. This element is called helium. I was fascinated by it’s properties and how it was able to float so easily. As I looked into acquiring more knowledge, I came across something that saddened and quite frankly scared me a bit. The Earth’s helium is depleting at rapid levels. We are losing helium so steadily that in a few years the element will be extinct in our world. The intolerable aspect of this epidemic is how carelessly humans are still using helium. I want to find a way to bring awareness to the dilemma at hand and I believe the first step is to target those engaged in the digital age. After all, helium is a part of the Earth’s composition for a reason, and I fear that if we exhaust it’s entire existence then we will disrupt the world’s balance which could result in some phenomenon we are not yet aware of nor predicting since this subject is so overlooked.


2.         I plan to further investigate the issue of helium depletion through the vector of scientific research in order to target the social media dwellers with facts, statistics, and solutions. My sub-topics relating to this will be causes and solutions on how to sustain helium by limiting the nonsensical uses we abuse in society today.


3.         I believe that if the public is informed through social media vectors then they will begin to grow concern and spread the word. Once the awareness of helium loss is ignited, I have no doubt it will spread like wildfire throughout the web.  I want to create a video that engages the reader of my inquiry through multimedia that predicts a world without helium in order to truly evoke the sense of urgency at hand if we want to continue living in a world where helium exists.

What do you guys think? Please leave your comments, advice, critique, and concerns!

5 thoughts on “Helium Inquiry…Inflate with Comments Please!”

  1. Interesting! I was unaware of such a disappearance, but recognize how rare it is to find in nature do to its inert properties. I like that you chose social media outlets as a way of spreading this information, as it is seemingly a core concept in this class – connecting to the audience where they exist (in the internet zone http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-b5aW08ivHU)

  2. Your idea sounds very interesting and you should run with it!! It’s great that you chose a subject that can make the world a better place to live. Your inquiry seems very put together and sound, unlike mine, which is still in the works. Lol

  3. You might search for the August 2000 issue of Wired magazine. It has several articles, including project new super-blimps as industrial lifters, and discusses the shortage and exhaustion of helium. Consider that nuclear fusion energy relies on helium, some industrial welding process do too, and the trivial uses you mention. The future is likely to be mining helium on the moon (robotic?).

    Good luck with your research, hope it leads to change. Your competition in the social media realm might be other environmental issues, like climate change.

  4. Like Asa, I had no idea this was happening. I turned to Google immediately (of course) and found this fascinating and alarming article: http://www.independent.co.uk/news/science/why-the-world-is-running-out-of-helium-2059357.html. I’m interested to know why I’ve not heard about such an obviously serious problem until now. Perhaps I’ve simply not been paying attention. At any rate, your inquiry project seems to have several possible dimensions. Simply reporting on the problem would be something like an encyclopedia article or a literature review. It might be more interesting to make an argument about why the knowledge isn’t more widespread, or why the problem has not gotten the kind of coverage it should for so serious a threat. Or you could make an argument for why certain kinds of social media might actually get the message across and galvanize some action. There are several web sites devoted to mobilizing action via online petitions–and of course a dynamite website with lots of information and a call to action might also be an interesting direction for your project.

    I recommend getting in touch with Jenny (Jenny Stout, our course librarian) to get some help with resources. As always, I’m happy to help as well. I’m looking forward to seeing where you’ll take this project.

  5. I love the idea of spreading knowledge and maybe trying to discover other ways to spread knowledge more effectively.

    For instance your research could include studies about ideas that have been spread effectively through the media and how that happened and then how other great ideas have been stopped in their tracks due to bad publicity.

    Maybe you could do a cool experiment at the end where you take what you’ve found to be the most effective ways to advertise ideas and do that with your helium problem!

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