Edwin L. Aguirre
UMass Lowell will join more than 800 leading science organizations and institutions across the country in the largest celebration of science and engineering in America: the USA Science & Engineering Festival, which will be held April 28 and 29 at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center in Washington D.C.
The biennial event, which is free and open to the public, is jam-packed with more than 3,000 hands-on, interactive exhibits, more than 100 stage shows and 33 author presentations. Science celebrities who are expected to perform include Bill Nye the Science Guy and Mayim Bialik from the TV show “The Big Bang Theory,” as well as Adam Savage and Jamie Hyneman from the hit TV series “MythBusters.”
A new feature this year is a book fair and a career pavilion for high-school students that includes a college fair, a job fair and a meet-the-scientist/engineer networking area.
During the inaugural Science & Engineering Festival
in the fall of 2010, about half a million people of all ages attended the expo on the National Mall, with an additional 250,000 participating in 82 satellite events in 27 states across the nation.
UMass Lowell will set up a total of eight booths at the convention center, to be manned by faculty and staff members, students and friends. The exhibits will include the following:
Sharing and Visualizing Data with iSENSE
Computer Science Department
Learn how to use the PINPoint data gatherer and phone apps to collect environmental data and upload it to a public website. From there, users will be able to create, document and share scientific visualizations that merge their data with those contributed by other users around the world.
Spineless Wonders and Silk Spinners: Presenting Invertebrates on Parade
Biological Sciences Department
Meet faculty and students with expertise in invertebrates (animals without backbones). Presentations will demonstrate the immense diversity of invertebrates and highlight their distinctive functional adaptations using live animals and other displays. The team will also discuss ongoing research on the biodiversity of Caribbean invertebrates and the molecular biology of spider silk and venom.
Physics: Where Nature and Technology Coalesce
Physics and Applied Physics Department
The exhibit will showcase the faculty’s pioneering, externally funded research in nuclear physics, radiation science, terahertz technologies, advanced materials, photonics device fabrication techniques and biomedical photonics applications.
Engineering in Baseball
UMass Lowell Baseball Research Center
Explore the engineering and science behind baseball and meet the center’s researchers who study the equipment used in “America’s favorite pastime.” See how they apply pneumatic cannon and high-speed video technology to test baseballs and bats used by youth and professional players.
Service Through Engineering
Service-Learning Program, Francis College of Engineering
Did you know engineering is a “helping” profession? Come and play with cool devices that engineering students designed and invented in the lab to make lives better for real people. For example, you can program a voice-command box in any language to turn electrical devices on and off. You can also talk to the students themselves and join them in creating a better world for everyone.
I Have Just One Word for You . . . Plastics
Plastics Engineering Department
Almost all of the products we use in our daily lives contain plastics — from cars, consumer electronics and medical devices to food packaging and other industrial applications. Yet there are few academic institutions that specialize in this growing materials field. Come and find out why the University is recognized as a global leader in plastics engineering education.
It’s a Nano World
NSF Center for High-Rate Nanomanufacturing (CHN) at UMass Lowell
What do you do with things that are too small to see? Learn how faculty and student researchers are making and using things that measure in billionths of a meter to improve medicine, energy and materials. See how the team is able to write the initials CHN in polymers and try out some new nano devices.
Zoom In on Life in the Sea
UMass School of Marine Sciences
Take a tour of the science of life in the ocean. Use a dissecting microscope to study the structure of animals, plants and rocks collected from the open ocean and estuaries. Do you want to know how ocean acidification affects marine life? Compare the impacts yourself and learn what you can do to help keep our oceans teeming with a great diversity of life.
The USA Science & Engineering Festival is sponsored by aerospace giant Lockheed-Martin Corp., along with more than two dozen companies, foundations and organizations. For more information about the event, go to www.usasciencefestival.org