You probably already heard about the big science and engineering event planned later this year in Washington, D.C. It’s billed as the first national science festival with hundreds of big-name exhibitors and is expected to draw as many as a million participants from students of all ages, to professionals in industry and academia, to practitioners and hobbyists interested in anything technical, and to people who just like to see and touch really cool things.
In case you missed the news, the inaugural USA Science & Engineering Festival will be held Oct. 10-24, culminating in a grand exposition on the National Mall on Oct. 23-24. As stated on the festival website, www.usasciencefestival.org, the event “promises to be the ultimate multi-cultural, multi-generational and multi-disciplinary celebration of science in the United States.” It is anticipated that more than 500 U.S. organizations will take part in the exhibition showcasing a plethora of products, gadgets, interactive displays, demonstrations, and engaging activities designed to stimulate and excite the minds and eyes of the attendees.
According to a recent press release, the main theme of the festival is to inspire the next generation of scientists and engineers. In the two weeks prior to the exposition, several activities are planned around the D.C. area including workshops, panel discussions, displays, and open houses. Scientists and engineers are scheduled to visit local area schools during this time to inform and excite students to learn about and hopefully pursue scientific careers.
As stated on the website, Lockheed Martin, a lead sponsor, put forth the “one word [that] turns science fiction into science fact, turns ideas into achievements, and turns dreams into discoveries.” That one word is how. As explained by the company, “Engineers use science and math to solve tough problems, like How to explore the moon, How to conserve energy, and How to protect people from harm.” At the expo, the company will showcase its virtual reality environment where participants can experience the thrills of flying a jet fighter and controlling a robot.
Some of the things you and your kids will see at the expo include a traveling exhibition from the American Museum of Natural History that explains the evolution and subsequent extinction of the giant dinosaurs, a look at how to use a Geiger counter to check for the presence of radioactive materials at the American Nuclear Society exhibit, a discussion of living cells—what they are and how they work—at the American Society for Cell Biology display, a visit to the Ames Laboratory exhibit to see how scientists are extracting oil from algae, an interactive experience with robots playing soccer at the Bowdoin College arena, and many more.
The weather usually is pretty mild with lots of sunshine near the end of October in Washington, D.C. so the event should be well attended with lots of local folks plus thousands of others from all parts of the country. As organized, there is something to entertain and, most likely, amaze everyone in your family. So if you’re looking for a place to vacation in the fall, you may want to check out this festival. It could be very exciting and just plain fun for everyone.