Arizona SciTech Blog
This blog is courtesy of the Arizona Scitech Festival.
When we think about the future, we most often imagine catastrophe. Governments crumble. Our environment collapses. Pandemics emerge and spread across the globe. When we tell stories about the future, we focus on preparing for the worst, instead of imagining futures we want to build together and actually live in. Arizona State University’s Center for Science and the Imagination (CSI) has teamed up with Neal Stephenson and other top science fiction authors to dig us out of our dystopian rut and create bold, thoughtfully optimistic visions for our future. Project Hieroglyph brings together writers, scientists, engineers, artists and others from all over the world to collaborate, be creative and get Big Stuff done, as Stephenson puts it. The Hieroglyph website is a digital community and launch pad for collaboration between interdisciplinary groups that enables quick, easy conversation, team building and resource sharing. The growing archive of stories, research and media generated by our community will also serve as the foundation for an anthology of fiction and non-fiction under contract with HarperCollins. We are particularly excited about Neal Stephenson’s collaboration with ASU structural engineering professor Keith Hjelmstad, which started with the question “what is the tallest thing we can build?” and has grown into a 15-20km Tall Tower built from high-grade steel. You might be asking: just how tall is that? Check out the video below to find out: Learn more about the Tall Tower and other Hieroglyph projects, including sending 3D printers to the moon, traversing the globe in mighty airships and building flying potato farms, at hieroglyph.asu.edu. Guest Author: Lauren Elyse PedersenContact me at: email@example.comFollow me at: Contemplative Cacti
The future of auto trends is quickly becoming the present. This is apparent whether you’re in the market for a new car or your favorite Chevy dealership, or the chop shop down the street. “Green” has been a key selling feature for some time, for example, and that trend will only intensify. For example, EPA-certified SmartWay vehicles are available when you buy used cars at DriveTime.com as well as the various "green" dealerships. Change is not only happening under the hood but in the cabin as well. Cars are increasingly merging with the Internet, and soon they may be able to drive us autonomously. Alternative Fuels As major sources of greenhouse gases, vehicles powered by fossil fuels contribute heavily to global warming, while spewing all sorts of toxins into the air. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency reports that mobile sources, mainly cars, produce more than half of the country’s air pollution, National Geographic notes. One solution is alternative fuels, which generate zero or far less greenhouse gas. The following alternative fuel cars are already in mass market production: Hybrid vehicles that pair a conventional gasoline engine with an electric motor, backed up by a battery that recharges during braking and coasting Gas-electric hybrids that run much longer (and faster) on exclusively electric power, thanks to a large battery that recharges when plugged into a standard electrical outlet Flex-fuel vehicles that can handle a high percentage of corn-based ethanol, mixed with gasoline Biodiesel vehicles, typically utilizing recycled vegetable oil Automakers will continue to produce more of these alternative-fuel cars. JD Power Consultancy predicts that electric vehicles alone will account for 14 percent of emission cuts by 2020, GlobalChange.com reported. Hydrogen-fueled cars may also still play a role in the future of the automotive industry. In fact, Hyundai delivered its first ix35 Fuel Cell vehicles produced on an assembly line in Copenhagen, Automotive World reported. The first hydrogen refueling station was also introduced. The only “emission” from burning hydrogen is water vapor. In the current prototypes, the hydrogen cells, via a chemical reaction, generate electric power to run the car. Mass application, however, would presuppose a network of hydrogen refueling stations. Connected Cars The car of the future will not only be plugged into an electrical socket but also plugged into the Internet. Many cars already have media management systems, affording access to the Internet and interfacing with a smart phone. They often employ a touch screen on the dash, as well as voice-recognition technology that allows hands-free calling. Many of the existing systems also feed information about the car’s performance. Richard Robinson, iSuppli telematics analyst, predicts nearly 25 percent of all cars will be connected to the Internet in five years, according to Car and Driver. Drivers will routinely check their email while on the road, research the best gas prices in their driving zone or get advance warning about traffic snarls. Connected cars may even communicate with one another to prevent accidents. All that connectivity raises questions about the casual leakage of a driver’s personal information and schedule. Safety experts also worry that the connected driver will be insufficiently focused on the road—even if voice recognition allows drivers to keep their hands on the wheel. Pike Research, a consultancy focused on clean technology, reports that investments in electric vehicles equipped with vehicle-to-building (VTB) technology will total $279 million from 2012 to 2020, according to Business Wire. A New Kind of Sex Appeal Car ads have long broadcast a sexual message: “You’re more likely to attract a mate if you drive a fast car, a muscle car or an expensively appointed car.” As cars become greener—and often smaller, lighter and with less speed—the sexual subtext needs to change. Auto designers are up to the challenge. One growing design trend is to create a more macho image for smaller cars, NBC News notes. This typically involves bold headlights, taillights and front grilles. See-through sexiness may be another trend, with bubbles enclosing the passenger cabin and translucent hoods providing a view of the engine. Guest Author: Darius Smith - Darius considers himself the ultimate source for automotive news. He has an English degree from Colorado State University, which comes in handy when he blogs about the latest car he is restoring.
Monkey image: Lesula monkey (Cercopithecus lomamiensis). Photo by Maurice Emetshu. Guest Author: Sandy Leander An amazing glow-in-the-dark cockroach, a harp-shaped carnivorous sponge and the smallest vertebrate on Earth are just three of the newly discovered top 10 species selected by the International Institute for Species Exploration at Arizona State University. A global committee of taxonomists – scientists responsible for species exploration and classification – announced its list of top 10 species from 2012 on May 23. The announcement coincides with the anniversary of the birth of Carolus Linnaeus – the 18th-century Swedish botanist responsible for the modern system of scientific names and classifications. Also slithering its way into this year’s top 10 is a snail-eating false coral snake, flowering bushes from a disappearing forest in Madagascar, a green lacewing that was discovered through social media and hanging flies that perfectly mimicked ginkgo tree leaves 165 million years ago. Rounding out the list is a new monkey with a blue-colored behind and human-like eyes, a tiny violet and a black staining fungus that threatens rare Paleolithic cave paintings in France. Every year, people discover about 18,000 previously unknown species. Even so, we’ve only identified about two million out of an estimated 10 to 12 million living species—not even counting microbes. Quentin Wheeler, founding director of the International Institute for Species Exploration at ASU, is calling for a NASA-like mission to discover 10 million species in the next 50 years. “Knowing that millions of species may not survive the 21st century, it is time to pick up the pace,” states Wheeler, who recently authored a book on the subject called, “What on Earth? 100 of our Planet’s Most Amazing New Species” (NY, Plume, 2013). See the complete top 10 list and learn more about species exploration at http://species.asu.edu Cockroach image: Lightning roach (Lucihormetica luckae). Photo by Peter Vrsansky.
The Arizona SciTech Festival will make its brand known in Italy and Austria as AzSciTech Fest volunteer Kathleen Szczepaniak leads a group of Student Ambassadors with the People to People Student Ambassador Program, to Europe for 21 days. All of the students are also volunteers with AzSciTech Fest and will don the Festival’s famous award-winning Gecko tee-shirt as part of their working attire. As they head to Italy, they will embark on learning the science and technology involved in a working community farm. The students will be working on the farm learning first-hand how STEM relates to farm work and how farms relate to their daily lives. When the students arrive in Friesach, Austria, they will be working alongside the Austrians to complete the “Castle Project.” This is a 30-year project to build a medieval castle using only the resources and technology that existed in the 1200s. According to a Science Daily, http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/07/120703120533.htm), July 3, 2012, article, “The project adheres to strict specifications. Upon passing through the gateway, one enters an authentic medieval construction site. Using only the strength of humans and animals, trees have been felled and the necessary infrastructure for the construction of the castle has been established. Looking ahead, 4,000 tons of stone need to be shifted. A number of site huts have already been completed." The article outlines, additionally, “In a first step, the castle keep will be built. Then, a curtain wall, living quarters, a chapel and a variety of outbuildings will follow. As was the case during the Middle Ages, the pace of progress will depend upon the weather, among other factors.” The project is based on a unique cooperation combining sustainable tourism and science. A number of research streams are closely linked to the castle construction project. Our Arizona Student Ambassadors will be reporting back regularly on their European experiences in STEM. Submitted by: Kathleen Szczepaniak, Arizona’s People to People Ambassador Program and Arizona SciTech Festival Volunteer
I have been asked to share how science and technology has been my life and how it relates to Arizona and its people. But first I need to introduce myself. I was born prior to WWII in a small farm town south of Cleveland into an extended family. My mother was the county librarian with a degree in Library Science, father a mechanic-businessman, grandmother farmer-school teacher and grandfather master plumber and machinist. Sister Judy took degrees in Chemistry, Astronomy and Mathematics though legally blind. Brother Harold stayed with Math and Computer Science. Growing up I was obsessed with designing, building and flying model airplanes. My Sea Scout Master, an Aluminum Metallurgist, facilitated my entry in the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) to become an Aeronautical Engineer. The Russians sent up Sputnik, the first artificial satellite, and my department changed its name to Aeronautical and Astronautical Engineering. I graduated within the honors program with SB and SM degrees in four and a half years. One of Arizona’s largest aviation companies, Garrett AiResearch, gave me a job offer to develop new products. In the spring of 1961, I experienced the wonder of Arizona for the first time as I gingerly drove my Renault 4CV (smaller than a Volkswagen) down the Salt River Canyon and out onto the Arizona desert and saw my first cactus. My first job was to help build and operate the San Tan Mountain Cryogenic Test Facility and operate a wind tunnel to research supersonic hydrogen ram jet combustors for engines. I did component testing on the Saturn 5 moon rocket which allowed one of my classmates to be the second person to walk on the moon. Fifty+ years later Garrett-AiResearch is now Honeywell Aerospace. I have an MBA from UCLA and a Doctorate in Mechanical and Aeronautical Engineering from ASU. My science and technology bent has taken me into many Arizona industries from start-ups to large corporations and from private to public sectors. I have had fun contributing to the disciplines of cryogenics, aircraft prolusions, decision support, automotive transmissions, biological wound dressings, telecommunications and learning technologies. And to think, that in 8th grade my career was to be an artist. Over the next year I will be exploring the history and conjecturing the future within the context of our statewide science and technology infrastructure and people. Enjoy the ride. Cheers! Ted Guest Author: Theodore C. Kraver Ph.D.firstname.lastname@example.org 602-944-8557 (direct)
In 2012, I met Cindy Ornstein, director of the Mesa Arts Center at an inaugural Arizona SciTech Festival event. Later that year we discussed a collaborative relation of art and STEM, STEAM power! When Cindy saw my “CORE” art works (the cardboard tubes at the center of a roll of tissue or paper towels a CORE) she envisioned a potential event at the MAC Creativity Festival in 2013. Between summer of 2012, and spring of 2013, Imagination to the CORE evolved into a new way to create STEAM. With the success we had at SPARK! Mesa’s Festival of Creativity, I’ve partnered with additional schools to spread Imagination to the CORE. In my introduction, I describe my work as former Disney Imagineer, then segue into my conception of Oasis A•Z, a green theme park for Phoenix. The presentation centers around Oasis and its sustainable oriented rides and attractions that will create energy, either while they operate or will utilize clean-tech power. I explain to these groups of kids that they are like little R & D units. We want them to design fun ideas depicting clean-tech power generating rides and attractions, both big and small. The children will draw their concepts first on paper and then develop them further on roll core cardboard. The individual works will be refined and mounted on a circular platform and will be part of a miniature “Carousel of Concepts“ showcase. The outcome is an opportunity to turn this STEAM program presentation into a marketing method for Ideality & Oasis, while developing one of the educational models that will be integral to the actual Oasis resort community. A digital model of the whole development would be a powerful opportunity to engage and educate kids, but also market the project for its next generation of Ideality to Reality. For additional CORE info check out this link: http://entertainmentdesigner.com/featured/from-epcot-to-ascot/ Guest Author: John Drury, president & Creative Director Ideality, Incorporatedwww.drurydesignarts.com/ email@example.com
The National Space Society (NSS) is an independent, educational, grassroots, non-profit (501c3) organization dedicated to the creation of a spacefaring civilization. The NSS hosts an annual convention, the International Space Development Conference (ISDC), that will be held over this Memorial Day weekend (May 23-27, 2013) in San Diego, CA. This event is the foremost space conference that brings together all subsets of the space community: the traditional and commercial aerospace industries, NASA and space activists from around the world. The theme of this year's conference, Global Collaboration in 21st Century Space, relates directly to the NSS vision of globally bringing together "people living and working in thriving communities beyond the Earth, and the use of the vast resources of space for the dramatic betterment of humanity." Global Collaboration in 21st Century Space reflects our need to strive for renewed emphasis on collaborative efforts that engage global space exploration and development in the post-Shuttle era and help leverage NASA's efforts due to current budgetary challenges. Programming includes sessions and tracks on everything from current Administration initiatives and outlook on the U.S. space program after the shuttle, to the exciting developments coming from commercial aerospace companies aimed at closing the current manned spaceflight gap; from Mars, Moon, asteroid and exoplanet exploration and development to the latest technological advances that will enable a longer-term and, eventually, permanent human presence in space. NSS has over 50 chapters in the United States and around the world, including one in Phoenix. The society also publishes Ad Astra magazine, an award-winning periodical chronicling the most important developments in space. For more information, check these websites: http://www.nss.org/ http://isdc.nss.org/2013/ http://nssphoenix.wordpress.com/ *Submitted by: Michael Mackowski, President, Phoenix Chapter of the National Space Society, firstname.lastname@example.org
As a leading employer of scientists and engineers worldwide, Honeywell works with schools and nonprofit organizations in several ways to promote math and science education programs. One of the most important ways that Honeywell engages with students and teachers is by having employees volunteer their time to serve as mentors and judges for science fairs, clubs and competitions. As more engineers near retirement and fewer graduates are available to fill the gaps in the science and engineering fields, Honeywell leaders are often asked to speak about engineering careers and workforce development. In early May Honeywell leaders had the opportunity to participate in two education events in the Phoenix area where Honeywell has 10,000 employees, including 3,000 in science and engineering roles. On May 2, Honeywell participated the first ever Career Day at Chase Field sponsored by the Arizona Diamondbacks. More than 800 high school students from across Arizona were in attendance to get career advice from a variety of professionals including Derrick Hall, President of the Arizona Diamondbacks, representatives from Chase Bank, the Tempe Fire Department, the US Air Force, and Honeywell Aerospace VP of Advanced Technology Bob Witwer. From the professionals representing different industries, the message to the students was the same—to follow their dreams and have passion about what they do. Whether they choose to go into engineering or another field, Witwer advised the students to learn business, marketing and economics in addition to their field of interest so they would be a well-rounded asset to any company they joined. He also encouraged the students to make a commitment to lifetime learning. In early May NBC’s Education Nation was in Phoenix for a series of events to discuss key issues with teachers, students and community leaders. Honeywell Defense and Space President Mike Madsen participated in a panel with former Intel CEO Craig Barrett and Freeport McMoran Americas President Red Conger to discuss the role that corporations play in education. Madsen stressed that “human capital” was a critical asset that corporations could provide to schools by offering mentorship and expertise. Madsen and the other corporate leaders on the panel echoed some of the same advice that was given at Career Day at Chase Field, that students should be well rounded in their studies and keep learning to keep pace with today’s ever-changing technology and business environment. Photo caption: Honeywell Aerospace VP of Advanced Technology Bob Witwer addressed more than 800 high school students at Career Day at Chase Field in Phoenix.
"I don't want to go! I don't want this to end!" wailed our seven-year-old son. We had just stepped outside of Jobing.com Arena after experiencing the Science of Hockey event, part of the 2013 Arizona SciTech Festival. My son Nicholas is autistic, and sometimes it can be difficult for him to cope with public events. Not so this time. The Science of Hockey combined his favorite things: hockey, mathematics, science, in the setting of Jobing.com Arena. The event did an excellent job of showing how the sport relies on physics, biology, and new advances in technology. Stations hosted by DeVry and Midwestern University allowed kids to engage in hands-on activities. As an adult, I appreciated that the science aspects were handled in a way that worked for younger children and adults. I particularly enjoyed the video hosted by NBC correspondent Lester Holt that played throughout the arena. Nicholas's favorites, though, involved opportunities to go where he normally can't go. He danced as he waited for his chance to go onto the ice with his dad so that they could shoot pucks together, like his favorite player, Coyotes Captain Shane Doan. After that, we entered the underbelly of Jobing.com Arena so Nicholas could sit on a Zamboni. For him, though, that wasn't the highlight--it was being beneath the arena itself. During an average Coyotes game, he's content to walk the arena's corridors, and with his photographic memory for maps, he can recall each of the gates, doors, and exits. The Science of Hockey granted him access to new cartographic wonders to file away in his brain. Therefore, it was no surprise that he was nearly in tears as we stepped outside. "Nicholas, don't be too upset." My husband pointed ahead, where more Science of Hockey stations awaited us. "Wow!" said Nicholas, as he bounced in joy. We've worked for years to help Nicholas communicate in sentences, but sometimes, "Wow," really says it all. We're very grateful to the Arizona SciTech Festival for granting us such an opportunity! - Guest Author: Beth Cato, http://www.bethcato.com
The world’s largest international science competition for high school students happened the week of (May 12-17) at the Phoenix Convention Center. Approximately 1,500 students from 70 countries, regions and territories solved problems through independent research for the Intel International Science and Engineering Fair (ISEF). Twenty high school students from Arizona exhibited and competed for scholarships this year. Intel offers monetary awards to researchers with the most compelling studies, with a grand prize of $75,000 for the top project. In addition, 60 other companies and organizations, including Arizona State University, are offering special awards to outstanding students. ASU’s Office of Knowledge Enterprise Development partnered with the Provost’s Office to offer Provost Scholarships as well as research stipends for stop students at the competition. Other groups, including the Walton Sustainability Solutions Initiative and Center for Science and the Imagination, also sponsored special awards. ASU also provided volunteers as well as judges to select students for ISEF Grant Awards in 17 different science and engineering categories. In addition to hosting expo booths and symposiums, ASU held a 30-minute discussion of its new research platform, Quanta. Launching in the fall of 2013, Quanta will engage high school students in research and create an online social community that encourages passion in various research fields. Quanta encourages high school students, college students and research professionals alike to participate in the program to collaborate with and mentor one another in programs focused on fostering sustained involvement in research. The science fair runs from May 12 – May 17. On Thursday, May 16, a Student Award Ceremony will be held to announce the award recipients. Learn more, at: http://www.societyforscience.org/intelisef2013