The Future of Science is Bright: USA Science and Engineering Festival

Halls D & E Containing EPA, NASA & Lockheed Martin

Halls D & E Containing EPA, NASA & Chevron

The 3rd biannual USA Science and Engineering Festival was held last week and was expected to bring in over 300,000 people with 3000 activities, 750 vendors to include 50 colleges and universities. Their mission is to re-invigorate the interest of our nation’s youth in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) by producing and presenting the most compelling, exciting, educational and entertaining science festival in the United States. Mission accomplished! The event follows a year of school programs such as the Extreme STEM (X-STEM) symposium and the EPA’s P3 (People, Prosperity and the Planet) awards presented to college students with the brightest ideas for protecting human health and the environment. I’m not sure who had more fun at this festival, me or my kids. There were top scientists eager to show off the latest technology which ranged from 3D printing, Mars missions, fighter jet simulators, and finding new planets hundreds of light years away to organic solar cells. We spent about 30 minutes speaking with Alvin Drew & John Grunsfeld, two astronauts who have logged many trips to space over the years. Vanderbilt’s students under the direction of Kane Jennings were able to demonstrate improved performance of bio-solar cells made with spinach utilizing the photosystem 1 (PS1) protein to energize electrons. We were overwhelmed with activities and never had a chance to try out half a dozen flight simulators that Lockheed Martin had in their 100 foot square booth. We will see you there in two years (kids or no kids).

3D Printing a Plastic Chain at the MakerBot Booth

3D Printing a Plastic Chain at the MakerBot Booth

Lab Experiment put together by PSU's Michael Zeman, Director of Science Camps.

Lab Experiment put together by PSU’s Michael Zeman, Director of Science Camps.

 

PS1 converts sunlight into electrical energy with nearly 100 percent efficiency.

PS1 converts sunlight into electrical energy with nearly 100 percent efficiency.

 

One Response to “The Future of Science is Bright: USA Science and Engineering Festival”

  1. Jack Cochran says:

    Fantastic post, Chris! Great to know that younger people are still interested in science. Perhaps there’s a future chromatographer in there somewhere…

    JC

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