Busy Daze – Sunday

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The USA Science & Engineering Festival was held over the weekend and we went down to check it out on Sunday (actually the manservant was giving a public talk in his guise as an astro-dweeb in an afternoon session, so we went in the morning to give us time to see some of the exhibits and other things happening).

The event advertised itself as inspiring the next generation of scientists and engineers;  to “re-invigorate the interest of our nation’s youth in science, technology, engineering and math by producing and presenting the most compelling, exciting, educational and entertaining science gatherings in the United States”.

There was a huge crowd and judging by expressions I would say that it was more than just the youth who were interested and entertained.  There were more than 1,500 interactive exhibits and 75 stage shows with science stars, comedians, magicians, musicians and Erno Rubik!

We saw robots talk, swim underwater and perform surgery.  We saw solar powered cars that can only be driven by midgets (120lb maximum) 

and giant solar powered spiders (I loved this guy’s mustache – it had a bit of the evil scientist look to it!)

We saw people walking on water and old iced water melting:

We saw Bill Nye the Science Guy.

We learnt the physics behind comic book heroes and the science of climate change and weather forecasting.    I looked through this telescope at sun spots on the sun (obviously) ….  this little girl was in front of me in the queue and when it was her turn she stepped forward and pulled the telescope down!  The man was very nice as he told her that she was not allowed to touch anything and that now he was going to have to line it all up again.  His assistant was not so nice though as she rushed forward and grabbed the girl by the shoulders and shook her while almost shouting:  “do NOT touch things!”     It took him a while to get things re-focused but it was worth waiting for:  

One of the most popular exhibits –  a virtual ride inside the human lung  – the line was an hour long!   We didn’t wait even though this was one thing I really wanted to do.

We watched moon vehicles walk over people – mostly children – these were sisters and the little one looked really worried as the vehicle came towards them:

We saw people dressed in funny costumes: 

And children doing what they do best – making noise:  

Then the manservant gave his little talk on Astronomy in a gorgeous auditorium:

And then it was time to go home!  It was a huge event and I think you probably needed the two days to see everything that was on offer.    I’m looking forward to going back next year!

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26 responses

  1. Thanks for sharing, Emjay. That looks absolutely fantastic. I wonder how many young people were encouraged to become astronomers as a result of the manservant’s talk.

    • He loves talking to kids as he has a real passion for Astronomy and education. On Tuesday he went to talk to 5th Graders (10 & 11 years old) and he took his female PhD student with him – apparently she was mobbed and the teacher was really pleased to see the interest the little girls showed. He also has an invitation to a high school coming up. I think he is quite motivational – it always surprises me a little bit.

  2. Spider driver. Reminds me of that Wild Wild West movie. LOL

    Sounds like a most interesting afternoon. I would have loved to have been there. I’m a bit of a techno-nerd myself.

    • This was the inaugural festival and I think they hope to encourage cities across the nation to start similar events. It was really nice watching kids having so much fun with science – and it helped to have lovely weather over the weekend!

  3. The assistant was lucky that the little girl’s mom wasn’t there to break her arm for grabbing and shaking her child. However frustrating it was for the adults there was no call to be abusive to the child.

    The guy standing behind the little girls (probably making the spider go) looks like he’s totally tied up in wire.

    The auditorium building does look gorgeous.

    • The Andrew W. Mellon auditorium was built between 1932 and 1934 – it has quite an interesting history – the North Atlantic Treaty was signed here in 1949 with President Truman and 11 other nations. It was originally occupied by the Labor Department on the west and the Commerce Commission on the east. It really is a beautiful building.

      The strange thing about the young girl was that she was with her father who didn’t say or do anything to either the girl or the assistant. I thought that was a little weird. I can understand how the girl might think it was ok to touch as most of the exhibits were “hands on”…..

      • I totally agree. It was very, very strange for the father not to do or say anything. If someone grabbed and shook my child like that in front of me I’m sure I would would physically explode all over him or her. No doubt about it. I’m not a big person but I’d move so quickly and so all over that person they would never see it coming. No one would get away with grabbing and shaking my child like that.

        Also, I totally agree how the child wouldn’t know any better, both because many of the exhibits were hands on and because she likely wouldn’t have known how precisely the telescope had to be focused and positioned. An adult could have done the same thing, but seriously, would they have treated an adult that way? The poor little girl was probably mortified.

    • It really was a great event – well put together and really well attended – it makes such a difference when so many things are interactive. Bill Nye was very good and involved a lot of kids in the presentation we saw. I tend to forget how inspiring the manservant can be until I see him talking to kids.

  4. Very cool! I noticed that little girl looking a little –less than happy–with that thing rolling over her! haha! That’s really great your hubby enjoys talking to school kids and that they respond so well to him & the student.

    • It was a great event – I think you really needed the two days to see everything though. The older sister was giggling but the little one needed quite a bit of encouragement from mum to stay down there.

  5. What a fantastic day out…..I too would love to try out that human lung virtual machine…..what a pity I don’t have events like this in my part of the world.

  6. That looks like a wonderful event, with so many different things to see and experience. The telescope looks fantastic. You took wonderful pictures that give a feel for all of the neat things that they had available. This would be a fun event for a whole family to attend. I love the little girls face, when the space car is about to roll over her 😀

    • I loved the fact that it really could be a family outing – there was something for everyone and so many of the exhibits were hands on. I came home with quite a bag of (give-away) goodies too – I’ll be giving them to the manservant’s nephews this w/end. The little girl was so cute but she really was very worried – her older sister was giggling. Big sisters can be mean like that LOL 🙂

  7. Wow, what a busy day, indeed! LOL at the Cat in the Hat! I would have a hard time looking away from the ceiling of the auditorium in which your husband spoke. Was that in one of the museums on the Mall?

  8. That looks fun! I love the robot vehicles driving over people. I wish I could go to a robot conference. How funny about the telescope – expensive equipment and children do not really mix.

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