Volume 43 | Number 1 | Fall 2012

ISU Photographic Services/Susan Duncan

Hey Kid, Wanna Be a Scientist?

Fall 2012 Issue | By Andrew Taylor

Come tweak a model airplane wing, fire a rocket or watch the "Gunfight at the Microbe Corral."

Or would you rather build your own catapult, watch electrons surfing on a microwave, or shoot a steel-ball accelerator that mimics the mechanics of nuclear accelerators? Come tickle a rubber boa or feed a cricket to a salamander.

For the past two years Idaho State University has hosted and participated in the Idaho Science and Engineering Festival, and participated in the national USA Science and Engineering Festival in Washington, D.C.

The 2012 Idaho Science and Engineering Festival, the only one held in Idaho, was held at ISU in April and featured more than 22 hands-on learning booths presented by ISU faculty, staff and students in the Pond Student Union Ballroom. Contestants were also out on the Hutchinson Quadrangle participating in an egg toss contest and a catapult building contest. The event was capped off by ISU Physics Professor Steve Shropshire's "Wonders of Physics" show in the ISU Physical Science Building, which drew a large audience.

Jean Pfau, associate professor of biological sciences, Caryn Evila, associate professor of chemistry and biological sciences and Linda DeVeaux, former ISU associate professor of biological sciences were the event's organizers.

Locally, hundreds of children and their parents attended this year's festival.

"We're trying to stimulate interest in and appreciation for science and hopefully attract some of the participants to consider the sciences as a possible career," Pfau said. "I've had a lot of positive responses from the people attending."

Nationally, the festival reached more than half a million people and featured 3,000 exhibits at the two-day expo in the Walter E. Washington Convention Center in Washington, D.C.

DeVeaux, Pfau and Evilia organized the local festival. Several other volunteers, represented Idaho State University at the national festival with an exhibit demonstrating accelerator science.

Concurrent satellite science/engineering festivals took place throughout the United States, but ISU's festival was the only one scheduled in the Intermountain West.

ISU satellite festival sponsors included Idaho State University, Micron Foundation, ON Semiconductor, Idaho National Laboratory, Simplot, Wells Fargo and ISU Molecular Research Core Facility.

For more information on the ISU Science and Engineering Festival, visit www.isu.edu/isef. For more information on the national festival visit www.usasciencefestival.org.