October 29, 2010

CWRU Students Explode onto the National Mall

Case Western Reserve made its presence known in Washington.

Thirty students from Case Western Reserve University and eight Design Lab Early College High School students participated in the inaugural USA Science & Engineering Festival Oct. 23-24.

More than 1,500 exhibitors and 500,000 visitors were part of the celebration on the National Mall in Washington, D.C., which featured hands-on science, technology displays, live presentations and performances by the likes of Bill Nye The Science Guy.

Case Western Reserve University co-sponsored the event with major industry partners such as Lockheed Martin, Intel, Google, Microsoft and Wolfram Research, as well as Scientific American, MIT and Rochester Institute of Technology.

The Case School of Engineering and the College of Arts and Sciences organized four booths at the festival. Their projects attracted more than 5,000 visitors, making for an exhausting but fun weekend of doing science.

Student members of Alpha Chi Sigma, a professional chemistry fraternity, and students from the campus group Education Theater helped visitors make rockets using recycled film canisters, vinegar and baking soda. The project earned compliments from parents as well as teachers, who wanted to know how they could do the same thing in their classrooms.

At another booth, the Institute for the Science of Origins presented “In the Beginnings: Evolution from the Big Bang to You.” 

This project was a collaboration between student members of the Evolution Club, physics faculty and graduate students from the Center for Education and Research in Cosmology and Astrophysics (CERCA) and faculty from the Center for Human Origins. Visitors excavated casts of the bones of Lucy (Australopithecus Afarensis), our ancestor from 3.2 million years ago.  After identifying the bones, they could choose a fossil to take home with them.  

Silver Case Western Reserve balloons covered in tiny galaxies were seen all over the mall, the souvenirs of a lesson in the expansion of the universe.  And hundreds of people took a self-guided walk down the mall and back, simulating either a journey through human evolutionary time or a voyage across the visible universe.

The university’s participation in the festival was made possible by the generous financial support of the provost, the deans of the School of Engineering and the College of Arts and Sciences, and Case Western Reserve University’s Undergraduate Student Government. The students who took part are already planning their activities for next year.

Posted by: David Wilson, October 29, 2010 09:34 AM | News Topics:

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