USA Science and Engineering Festival: The Blog

Visit the National Science Foundation and Friends Pavilion at the Expo!

nsfThe National Science Foundation returns to sponsor the USA Science & Engineering Festival and will showcase an incredible group of exhibits at the NSF and Friends Pavilion! Visit the National Science Foundation’s exhibit area to explore tsunami waves, mind control, robots, spiders, cranberry acids, crazy physics experiments and more! Stage performances, a wearable tech fashion show and interactive activities will entertain and engage visitors of all ages.

Listed below is a sampling of the fun and excitement you can expect at the NSF & Friends Pavilion:    

Wild Lives in Your Own Back Yard
You don’t have to go to faraway rainforests or coral reefs to find an abundant variety of wild life. With your help, we’re exploring the extraordinary life in ordinary, everyday places. Meet and greet some of these common creatures from mammals to insects, and learn how you (and your classroom) can help make important and real scientific discoveries in your back yard.

Materials: The Essential Building Blocks of Everything
When designing materials, sometimes it’s best to start at the end. We use agricultural leftovers, like coconut husks, to make Earth-friendly materials that can be used in cars and other products. Put on your safety glasses and lab coats, so we can study the fundamental properties of materials and choose the best material for the job. Learn to “think in systems” to develop materials that make products more cost-effective and environmentally responsible.  

Powering Today and Tomorrow
The sun delivers 20,000 times more energy to the earth each year than we consume. Unfortunately, we are only harvesting a small fraction of that energy potential. Come explore solar panels – an important technology to collect, store and use the sun’s energy for our electricity needs. Design your own energy circuits and race solar-powered cars using different types of solar panels.

Music is the Sound of Physics
The ancient wind instrument, the pan flute shows how physics and math underlie nearly all of music making. Come design and create your own pan flute using scientific principles and measurements. Explore sounds using tubes of various lengths and see how design affects the sound-wave frequency and air vibration. You and your team can arrange a collection of different-length tubes into a giant xylophone and make beautiful music together!

Creepy Crawly: Spend a Day in a Spider’s (Many) Shoes
Whether you love ‘em or hate ‘em, spiders are everywhere. In fact, spiders are one of the most diverse groups of organisms in the world. We showcase the diverse behavior, ecology and sensory systems of these ubiquitous animals. Observe their spectacular diversity, participate in a spidery quiz show, test spider aggressiveness and try your hand at life in a web.

Snakebots to the Rescue!
We seek inspiration from biology-snakes, elephant trunks, and insect swarms-to develop robots that boldly go where no one has gone before. See snakebots move in all sorts of ways and learn about their roles in search and rescue, surgery, and industrial inspection. You might even get to take one of these mesmerizing machines for a spin- not to worry, they don’t bite!

Fashioning the Future
We design garments and accessories not just for looks but for important functions — like protecting firefighters and helping patients recover from injury! Our “fashion runway” might be a burning building or a hospital wing. Come see how e-textiles are sewn, learn how science and engineering principles are used to create winter clothing and how the geometry of 2D pieces of fabric become 3D garments. Discover how scientists are creating wearable gadgets that not only look good – but may help keep you safe too!

Linguistics: The Science of Language
Talk and tap your finger to learn which half of your brain manages language. Make a spectrogram of your name to discover how linguists study sounds in Earth’s 7,000 languages. Some results even inform crime solving and medicine! Come explore this distinctly human skill in your skull.

Read about all of the exciting exhibits taking place at the NSF and Friends Pavilion here.