Friday, October 22, 2010

An Exciting Week for Young Scientists

President Obama announces he will appear on Mythbusters on Dec. 8. Top young scientists attend a science fair at the White House. And this weekend, hundreds of thousands of people are expected to descend upon the National Mall in the name of science. What's going on in Washington D.C. this week?



October 10th marked the start of the inaugural USA Science and Engineering Festival hosted by Lockheed Martin. The free event is aimed at kindling young Americans' interest in science, technology, engineering and math. For the last two weeks, the festival has warmed up for the grand finale expo with events held in and around the Washington D.C. area.

This weekend, the finale event will take place on the National Mall. Hundreds of exhibits will offer visitors the opportunity to fly a helicopter simulator, see how magnets help high-speed trains operate, learn how physics and engineering keep race car drivers safe during crashes and even meet astronauts and Nobel Laureats. The American Physical Society will also be there as part of the laser extravaganza at the LaserFest: Excite Your Imagination booth. Additionally, actors, scientists, musicians and comedians will perform and give talks on topics ranging from "Hip Hop, Video Games and Math" to "The Physics of Superheroes" to "X-ray Vision - Revealing Ancient Secrets With New Technology."

On Saturday night, the telescope-manufacturing company Celestron, The Astronomy Outreach Foundation and Hofstra University are hosting a star gazing party where aspiring astronomers can spy on Jupiter and four of its moons and take a closer look our own moon. Caroline Moore, a 17-year-old astronomer who discovered a rare supernova at age 14, will also give a talk.

Though the bulk of the activities take place in the nation's capitol, other satellite events are happening around the U.S. this weekend. The festival hopes to encourage interest in science by offering entertaining programs filled with scientific information that will appeal to a broad audience from the old to the young and the amateur to the expert.

On Monday, President Obama hosted young scientists from across the U.S. at The White House Science Fair as part of the week dedicated to science. Mikayla Nelson, a freshman from Central Catholic High School in Billings, Mont., showed off a model-sized solar-powered car to the President. Nelson worked on a team to develop the car that won a first-place design award at the Department of Energy's Junior Solar Sprint. She built the body of the vehicle from scratch using lightweight carbon-fiber.

Winners of the 2010 FIRST (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology) Robotics Championship also showed off their robot, "Miss Daisy," to the President. The team of high-school students had six weeks to build a robot from a kit of 100 parts before competing against 340 other teams in a soccer game-like challenge.

To see highlights from The White House Science Fair, click on the video below. (If you watch closely, you'll spot Bill Nye the Science Guy sitting next to Adam Savage and Jamie Hyneman from Mythbusters).


To watch President Obama's full speech at the White House Science Fair, click here:

2 comments:

  1. I wish these events were better promoted. We just don't hear about them in time to attend. Science Fair is so exciting and such a tremendously rewarding experience for the participants and the observers. Thank you for this report. Nicely presented, too.

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  2. Great story. Another great invention story that received the attention of president Obama, is that of 16-year-old Amy Chyao, who was a junior at a Richardson Texas high school and came up with an invention help to cure cancer.

    you can read her story, her mention in Obama's speech and other kids inventions stories on this website: http://www.inventions-handbook.com/kids-inventions.html.

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