Science and Engineering Day Buzzes with Excitement
Mar 13, 2023 —
More than 1,500 parents and children across the Atlanta metropolitan area attended a jam-packed second annual Georgia Tech Science and Engineering Day held on Saturday, March 11 in conjunction with the tenth annual 2023 Atlanta Science Festival. Located across five campus buildings, more than 40 demonstrations, hands-on STEAM activities, tours, and learning opportunities designed to engage and educate participants were offered by students, staff, and faculty volunteers.
Some of this year’s demonstration topics included battery fuel cells, nanotechnology, DNA, immunoengineering, chemistry, engineering, superconductivity levitation, wastewater treatment, aerospace, space outreach, virtual reality, biology, robotics, computing, 3D printing, paper making, and much more.
A parent attending from Peachtree City said, “we’ve discovered our son has an affinity for math and science. He’s handling tenth grade science level coursework, yet he’s only in the seventh grade and can understand math formulas ahead of his age group. We brought him here to expose him to a variety of technologies and advanced equipment that he won’t see or be exposed to in his middle school. The staff and professors here have been very kind to show him how to use some of the equipment we’ve seen. And his eyes have gotten bigger all day because of these interactions.”
Virginia Howell, director of the Roberts C. Williams Museum of Paper Making in the Renewable Bioproducts Institute at Georgia Tech said, “the paper museum is delighted to be part of the Georgia Tech Science and Engineering Day. It's a great opportunity for people to learn more about the paper museum and get hands-on experience in making a sheet of paper to take home. We offer workshops, classes, and tours to students across the state of Georgia. Kids have been lined up all day to participate at our tables today.”
Demonstrations included how to extract DNA, seeing LIDAR in action, experiencing heat sensing sensors, how x-rays are used, viewing scanning electron microscopes, playing a virtual reality game, experiencing chemical reactions, watching 3D printing, making slime, showing atom-level nano materials in synthesized materials, neuroscience demos, liquid nitrogen experiments, and many more.
Presentation areas were hosted by the Institute for Electronics and Nanotechnology, the Institute for Robotics and Intelligent Machines, and the Institute for Bioengineering and Biosciences who provided valuable space in their buildings to house demonstrations. The Ford Environmental Science & Technology Building and Molecular Science & Engineering Building also donated space for demonstrations.
Another tour offering during Science and Engineering Day was the Flowers Invention Studio at Georgia Tech which offers more than 5,000 square feet of industrial makerspace equipment.
“We are the largest student-run maker space in the nation,” said Lillian Tso, president of the Invention Studio and a fourth-year mechanical engineering student. “We house industrial grade equipment for prototyping and manufacturing—we support anything that students want to build. We're open for all students of all majors of all years. They can use our equipment for free which includes CNC machines, more than 50 3D printers, waterjets, laser cutters, and many other professional-level tools. This is our first year participating in the Georgia Tech Science and Engineering Day. We wanted to do a lot more outreach to the Georgia Tech campus and the greater Atlanta community."
Lucas Garza, president-elect of the Invention Studio, added, “we’ve had a busy day offering tours of our studio throughout the festival.”
Located in the mezzanine of the Marcus Nanotechnology Building, Ethan Sirak, a fourth-year aerospace student with the Georgia Space Grant Consortium, was providing kids with exposure to space facts and allowing them to perform crafts related to planets and space. The consortium is an organization under NASA which aims to promote STEM exposure to kids of all ages. He also assists with the Aerospace Engineering Outreach Program. He was partnered at his hands-on learning table with Bill McNutt Jr., a senior aerospace engineering student.
A young participant from Suwanee, Georgia, said, “I want to go to school at Georgia Tech because of aerospace engineering. I want to go on good adventures in future space flight and design things.”
His mom, a sixth-grade science teacher added, “I love coming to science fairs to get new ideas for my students and I love to bring my family because we just have a great time. This is our very first science fair here at Georgia Tech. We've been to ones in north Georgia because that's pretty close to where we live. But when we saw this was available, we're like, yeah, we're coming down to Tech for this today—and having a great time.”
While attendees were able to get a peek into one of the nation’s most research-intensive universities, the event also allowed the many researchers and students participating the opportunity to share their science and engineering work with the public.
One of the more unique tables was manned by Alison Reynolds, an instruction archivist with research services in the Georgia Tech library. She was displaying a selection of unique items from Georgia Tech’s science fiction archives and special collections. She said, “we’ve been teaching with science fiction since 1971 and our collection is now one of the largest science fiction collections in the United States. We wanted to display part of our special collection.”
“I had several Georgia school systems reach out to me that were interested in attending this event,“ said Leslie O 'Neill, education outreach manager with the Southeastern Nanotechnology Infrastructure Corridor (SENIC) at Georgia Tech. “Georgia Tech plays a vital part in its community. We wanted to showcase the campus; the student, faculty and staff research; and the amazing science and engineering being done. We’ve had a fantastic turnout this year for this event.”