We need everyone’s help to get the word out about the USA Science and Engineering Festival and we appreciate all the blogs and posts that happen out there. We cannot get the word out without the help of everyone out there! Here eGFI, one of our partner organizations, is getting the word out about the Festival. Thanks!!
Kicking off with a songfest and building up to a huge expo on the National Mall, a two-week series of events in October will answer the question “How do you make science and engineering fun?” — in hundreds of ways.
All activities at the first USA Science and Engineering Festival share one overarching goal: to engage young people. The expo’s organizer, Larry Bock, says science and engineering are seldom celebrated in the United States. “Consequently, the number of Americans going into these fields has dropped dramatically.” Time is running out, he adds. “If we do not turn this around, in one generation, we will have outsourced innovation, and then the game will be over.”
Events begin October 10 at the University of Maryland, College Park, where more than 200 students will lift their voices in praise of the multiple manifestations of the Powers of Ten. They will sing about string theory, fingers, fleas, amoebae, bacteria, viruses, atoms, and quarks – then work up to tectonic plates; Earth, the Moon, our Sun, and the Solar System; black holes; and galaxies.
The activities that follow across the country culminate Oct. 23-24 on the Mall in Washington, D.C., where more than 400 groups are sponsoring presentations, information, contests, give-aways, and games.
Here’s a look at the expo offerings. Teachers may want to start planning their field trips now:
Several schools have signed up to demonstrate fun engineering activities. E. L. Haynes Public Charter School in D.C. will cook hotdogs with solar ovens, while New Jersey’s Watchung Hills Regional High School has hands-on explorations in lightning and robots. TransTech Academy of D.C.’s Cardozo Senior High School plans to demonstrate electric vehicles as a clean alternative to gasoline power.
Schools all over the Washington, DC area will also offer informal brown bag lunches with sixteen Nobel Laureates.
Two major sponsors, the National Science Foundation and Lockheed Martin, will offer several activities and demos. The NSF, in collaboration with other organizations, is offering participants hands-on involvement with the design and racing of solar-powered model cars, a tornado and storm-chaser simulation, earthquake-proof building construction, robotic fish, and more. Lockheed Martin has roughly a dozen engineering-themed booths planned, such as a simulated robotics competition, wind energy station, and virtual reality exercises.
Robots are all the rage among presenters, with opportunities to use and interact with them available throughout the Expo. The Office of Naval Research offers a chance to control a ‘bot with a wave of their AcceleGlove, which uses accelerometer sensors to move the machines, communicate via sign language, and play video games. Soccer-playing ‘bots score goals at the Bowdoin College booth, while others get downsized by the Harvard University Microrobotics Lab to tiny creations inspired by real animals and insects.
Looking to find engineering scholarships, fellowships, and internships? Check out the National Action Council for Minorities in Engineering, the NanoBusiness Alliance, and the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers – USA. Visitors can also stop by booths sponsored by the National Girls Collaborative Project, the American Association of University Women, and Girls Inc. for interactive fun designed with young women in mind.
For a more mobile approach, labs on wheels will roll up to the Mall loaded with cool scientific gadgetry. Howard University’s NanoExpress is a “mobile science theme park” featuring cutting-edge technology, while Cisco’s Network on Wheels van offers hands-on activities and demonstrations about key IT subjects like video phones and wireless networks. Participants can also learn about eco-friendly living through Dartmouth College’s Big Green Bus, which runs on vegetable oil and student hard work.
The Expo, along with other events, contests, and classrooms visits associated with the Festival, is designed to change the downward trend in science and engineering career interest. With the dedicated Larry Bock and some 400 organizations, universities, educational groups, and companies joining in this high-profile event, Americans of all ages may soon be embracing the wonders of science and engineering.