Arizona SciTech Blog
This blog is courtesy of the Arizona Scitech Festival.
Guest Author: Debbie Gubernick, writer, AZ SciTech Festival Looking at a Tucson events calendar, you can see the almost frenetic pace of events that have to happen before our summer heat sets in. And STEM events are no exception. March roared into action with Maketopolis and the first-ever Made in Arizona: Tucson Manufacturing Block Party. Next week brings SARSEF, the Southern Arizona Regional Science and Engineering Fair, to the Tucson Convention Center. More than 1,500 projects will be exhibited this year, representing the work of students throughout Southern Arizona. Last year, six high school SARSEF entries were selected to compete at ISEF, the International Science and Engineering Fair. While SARSEF runs from March 10 to March 14, the best day to visit is Wednesday, March 12 when Cox Communication and SARSEF host Future Innovators Night from 5:30 to 8:00 p.m. Future Innovators Night features over forty interactive science demonstrations, plus a visit by Tucson Mayor Jonathan Rothschild. Not to mention Imperial Stormtroopers. This flurry of March events culminates with the premier science event in Southern Arizona, Science City at the Tucson Festival of Books on March 15-16. This amazing conglomeration of exhibits from colleges, organizations, and even an artist or two, is attended by well over 100,000 children and adults every year. Setting up residence on the UA Mall east of Cherry Avenue, Science City—a partnership between the University of Arizona College of Science, the Bio5 Institute, and the Arizona SciTech Festival—brings science alive by igniting your senses with sights, tastes, smells, and sounds. The Tucson Festival of Books is the fifth largest book festival worldwide, and it is the only one that has made science an integral part of the event—one more reason to love living in Tucson!
Guest Author: Ted Kraver In 1956 I found myself on a train from Akron to Boston to attend MIT. My metallurgist Sea Scout master had mentored me onto a pathway to become an engineer. Though the era was pre-STEM I had taken the four math courses in high school that stopped short of calculus. I also took art, chemistry and physics. Having built a custom roadster, designed, built, and flown model airplanes and was pressed into child labor within farming and shop trades, I was well prepared for the long hours of sedentary 8work. What I was unprepared for was the catered food in the dorm cafeteria and 20 pounds I picked up as a freshman. My engineer to entrepreneurial pathway continued in Arizona was paved with a mix of street smart businessmen (one a Camden, New Jersey night club operator) and MIT mentors and partners. My second biotech enterprise in the 1970s was succeeding in spite of a series of novice management blunders. I decided to take a weekend workshop in Pasadena from an MIT professor Edward Roberts of what has become the Sloan School of Management. Ed had been a pioneer in systems dynamics studies and then led a series of groups that focused on the success factors of technological innovation, entrepreneurship and strategic management. His research focused on hundreds of tech enterprises in Cambridge with most in Kendall Square, Route 128 around Boston, and Silicon Valley in California. He had also been engaged in founding, directing and investing in a number of high tech enterprises ranging from biomedical to supercomputing. From the original workshop, reading his papers and an occasional phone chat I not only found ways to correct blunders at Burn Treatment Skin Bank, but to design and manage emerging growth businesses based on sound research. There is no way to summarize Professor Robert’s body of research into this short column. What comes to mind is that design of the team (from 6 to 8 people) must include the entrepreneur, the scientific genius, an equal number of marketing/sales type for each engineer/technician and (my addition) an artist. Select a product or service that has a right sized potential market, somewhere in the $100 million (plus or minus a “0”) range. The board of directors is made up of outside people who could find funds and handle community, government and strategic issues. The management must engage the best entrepreneurial specialty lawyer in town, and take his advice on selecting an accountant. Keep the garage concept by making it a cheap cramped crummy office space in the center of your task team’s home locations. Drop all outside activities for the first few years. The entrepreneur is both the keeper of the dream and a wizard at directing a cohesive team on what to achieve that day. At the Friday meeting all hands discuss current activities and critical issues and plans for the following week. Once a year the entire company spends a day or two off site to refresh or develop a new strategic plan using a highly participative process. A primary company rule is family first company second (event if a top new customer arrives the day your sales manager has scheduled his cat for cancer treatment at UofA). Everyone in the company from CEO to secretary has a piece of the action with stock participation and cleanup chores. The primary task of your marketing/sales is to find out the critical needs of your potential customers and the one customer who has solved the problem. Then build your company around that solution. The primary task of your scientific genius is to be the gatekeeper to breakthrough STEM research by academia or institute and contacts at conferences. Your engineer/technologist then uses this knowledge to enhance your commercial product or service. Your artist is startup’s ace in the hole. This commercial expert produces graphic renderings and marketing materials that make your dinky startup look as solid as Boeing and as innovative as Apple using convention booth, web site, advertising and handouts. Whatever role you play, don’t’ forget your continuous informal education, starting with the works of Professor Ed Roberts and his series of groups. Ref http://mitsloan.mit.edu/faculty/detail.php?in_spseqno=19553
Car crashes are the No. 1 cause of death among adolescents so learning how to be safe on the road is of utter importance. That’s why State Farm’s Celebrate My Drive campaign aims to teach teens that risky driving behaviors can have deadly consequences. For those of you with new or soon-to-be young drivers, you’ll want to attend the Celebrate My Drive event at Gateway Community College on March 26th. Through a generous grant from State Farm, the AZ SciTech Festival has put together hands-on activities that will show teens distracted driving is a poor choice. The event will expose teens to what it feels like to drive impaired and how multi-tasking while driving safely does not mix. Teens and families alike will learn the science behind impaired driving as they walk through a challenging obstacle course wearing special simulated goggles or how visual-spatial skills and driving go hand-in-hand. Does your teen think texting and driving is no big deal? Then have them test their abilities through a computer simulation. Don’t miss this special event to help keep the roads safe for everyone. More information on the Celebrate My Drive event, be sure to check the AZ SciTech Festival calendar at http://azscitechfest.asu.edu/events/celebrate-my-drive
Keeping your teens safe on the road is on every parent’s mind. Driving impaired, texting and even chatting with multiple passengers can translate into disaster for the inexperienced driver. That’s why through a generous grant from State Farm, the AZ SciTech Festival aims to bring awareness to teens around the perils of distracted driving. Through the Celebrate My Drive campaign, the SciTech Festival is hosting a hands-on event at Gateway Community College on March 26, 2014 around the science of driving. Participants will get a first hand glimpse into common driving distractions such as what it may feel like to drive under the influence of drugs, alcohol and extreme fatigue. Other activities include spatial distance awareness and multi-task driving simulations. The AZ SciTech Festival is also be sponsoring a PSA video contest open to high school students. Some $4,000 in scholarships will be awarded to students whose videos show the greatest impact to keeping youth safe behind the wheel. For more information about the PSA contest, visit http://www.azscitechfest.org/celebratemydrive.
Magical things happen when you bring hundreds of 7th and 8th grade Sahuarita students students together to learn about mining, insects, layers in a strand of hair and hybrid car engines among many other things at the first ever SciTech Festival held on January 24, 2014. Twenty local companies and groups such as Rosemont Copper, Freeport-McMoRan Copper and Gold, the Pima County Technical District and the University of Arizona, Santa Rita Experimental Range and others set up displays at Sahuarita Middle School. The science theme continued throughout the weekend with the Green Valley Sahuarita Business EXPO and Taste of the Valley event.
The hits just kept on coming as attendees enjoyed family time together at the Spring Training Festival in Scottsdale on Saturday February 22nd. The AZ SciTech exhibit booth was busy throughout the day and science and smiles were plentiful as demonstrated here. From left, five year-old Milo Brines, kindergarten student, Adam's Elementary, 17 year-old Jossephene Flores sophomore, Westwood High School, and seven year-old Stivi Brines first grade, at Adam's Elementary stop to learn more about science activities from Charlotte Hodel, assistant director, AZ SciTech Festival.
On March 7, 2014 from 6:00-11:00pm, Arizona State University’s Emerge presents a Carnival of the Future – a radically creative, playful and challenging approach to the future world we actually want to make. It will feature massively public, evening-long adventures under a big tent in the heart of the Downtown Phoenix arts district, showcasing cutting-edge performance and swarming, flying technology along with incisive visions of the future that obliterate the traditional boundaries between engineering, arts, sciences and humanities. The theme for Emerge 2014 is “The Future of Me,” for we find ourselves at a challenging intersection: Individuals have never had so much power – from Edward Snowden challenging nation-states, to Bill Gates personally deciding to eradicate polio. Medicine is personalized and entrepreneurs run global businesses out of their smartphones. At the same time, individuals have become nothing more than tiny motes in networked systems that are so complex as to be beyond understanding, much less control. The idea of individual human agency seems fanciful in a world of Big Data and ubiquitous surveillance. Emerge 2014 challenges engineers, artists, scientists, designers, storytellers, humanists, and futurists to explore questions of individuality, autonomy and freedom, as well as control, automation and facelessness. Emerge: The Carnival of the Future is a FREE event, and is part of Artlink’s First Friday, the nation’s largest self-guided art walk! Location: The corner of 3rd Street and Garfield, just south of Roosevelt Street. Learn more at http://emerge.asu.edu.
Guest Author: Uly Siregar (Ester Skiera) A quiet night in open air would be perfect if filled with stars. Gazing at the stars that decorate the dark skies is something a lot of people love to do. But how many of us really know about the name of the stars, and what makes up the constellations? If you’re one of those people who enjoy stargazing, here is a special opportunity to learn even more. There’s a Signature Event, “Star Party” featured during the Arizona SciTech Festival that will allow you to identify stars you see in the dark skies. “Once the sun sets, the Phoenix Astronomical Society will be out to view the stars. The dark skies of Cave Creek are the perfect setting for stargazing. Kids and adults are welcome to view Jupiter, Orion Nebula, and even Saturn,” says Loretta Mondragon, site coordinator – PVCC at Black Mountain. If you love the night sky and things that come with it, this is the event for you. You can view the moon, planets, star clusters, nebula, galaxies and more through the telescope provided by the organizer. The event Stargazing Party is an extended event of the STEAMtastic Expo. The Expo runs from 4pm to 7pm, and the Star Party from 7pm to 10pm. At the Expo, there will be activities for children and adults. It’s a showcase of scientific demos and hands on experiments that people of all ages can enjoy. The event will have a glow in the dark room, 21 years and older room, sun viewing and stargazing. Activities include building a motor, learning about molecular gastronomy, making your own glow in the dark goop, and many more. In addition to the younger ages those over 21, can enjoy the 21+ Room where you can learn about wine and brewing your own beer. Visitors can also interact with local businesses, such as the YMCA, an engineering firm, a wine shop, and the large vet clinic, to see how businesses in our community use science every day. The event is one of the largest in the far north valley. Partnering with so many organizations in the community will provide a large number and variety of activities. Some of the partners include Paradise Valley Community College at Black Mountain, Foothills Community Foundation, the YMCA, Cave Creek Unified School District, and Phoenix Astronomical Society. So, come to the event to gaze at the stars. Talk to people who share similar interests, ask the experts the burning questions that have been on your mind. And, last but not least, put on some warm clothes, clear your mind, and enjoy the beauty of dark skies. Star Party will be taking place on March 20, 2014, from 7pm to 10pm, after STEAMtastic from 4pm to 7pm. Free event, open to the public. For more information, go to: http://blackmountaincampus.com/Events.html
Guest Author: Pel Abbott, vp, Sun Valley Solar Solutions If so, make it FUN. Challenge them to figure out how much electricity their room uses! And how much that usage costs the family daily. Multiply by 365 and figure out the cost per year. Heck, you can even offer to give them more allowance in exchange for turning lights off, by figuring out how much money they’ve saved on the family electric bill. All the instructions about how to convert the wattage ratings into kilowatt hours can be downloaded right here, on the entry form. So why do you need to know how to convert watts to kilowatt hours? Because utility companies charge consumers for every kilowatt hour of electricity they use, and often they charge more during certain hours of the day. Here’s a handy chart outlining the watts ratings for typical devices you might find in a bedroom: Basically you take the wattage rating and divide by 1000 to find out how many kilowatts per hour a given device uses in an hour. For instance, a 100 watt light bulb uses .1 kilowatt hours per hour. So help your kids have some fun with practical math by taking Sun Valley Solar Solutions’ RESEARCH IT Challenge. We use STEM every single day as we deploy solar throughout Arizona. That’s why we are a proud gold sponsor of the Arizona Science & Technology Festival, and we have created these Challenges for families and Arizonans from 3 to 103. (If you are tired of your electric bills and concerned about the long-term environmental consequences of coal, natural gas and nuclear, consider solar power for your home or business.) Challenge entries are due by March 31, 2014. Visit www.sunvalleysolarsolutions.com/challenge for more information about all of the 2014 challenges.
Guest Author: Uly Siregar (Ester Skiera) The Aviation Industry has always been attractive to those pondering careers. However, as appealing as it is, not as many as one would think pursue careers in the industry or have an extensive understanding of the inner-workings of the industry. It may be that some see careers in the Aviation Industry being limited to pilots or flight attendants, and the glamorous lifestyles that comes with these careers. But of course, the Industry is much larger than those two professions. To share the bigger picture, there are Aerospace, Aviation and Defense companies with service providers and manufacturers. For people in the industry, connecting with other companies is very important. The event, Third Annual Aerospace, Aviation, Defense and Manufacturing Requirements Day, which took place on March 6, was all about connecting them. “There are three aspects of the event that were featured, service providers and manufactures presenting about who they are, what they do and what they can provide to the Aerospace, Aviation and Defense community. Then the “prime” Aerospace, Aviation and Defense companies presented on what they are currently doing and how the service providers and manufactures can become suppliers to their companies,” says Leigh Matthew Goldstein, Arizona Technology Council’s Vice President, Operations and Events. There was a featured exhibition showcasing 30 exhibitors made of presenters from the Aerospace, Aviation, Defense Service Providers and Manufacturers’. “The event is the company presentations. It is great to see what technology all the companies are producing and producing here in Arizona,” says Goldstein. The companies are Arizona Tooling & Machining Association (ATMA, Society of Manufacturing Engineers (SME), Georgia Tech Research Institute, Inovar, Inc., Sustaining Edge Solutions, Inc., KPMG Corporate Finance LLC, DEKRA Certification, Ascendum Solutions LLC, MJS Designs, Paragon Space Development Corporation, Pacific Scientific Energetic Materials Company, Northrop Grumman, B/E Aerospace , Securaplane Technologies Inc. ,Honeywell Aerospace, The Boeing Company, and Tucson Embedded Systems, Inc. (TES). The event is organized to address and to attract the Aerospace, Aviation and Defense community and is a high level event. Annually, this event attracts over 250 people and there is a cost to attend. “Visitors who are interested in the Aerospace, Aviation and Defense industry cluster find this event informational and educational. For service providers and manufactures it gives them an opportunity to find out how to become a provider to the Aerospace, Aviation and Defense companies,” Goldstein explains. The great roster of companies such as Airtronics, Arizona Commerce Authority (ACA), Arizona Technology Council, DataSoft Corp. and many others both featured speakers and exhibits. The third Annual Aerospace, Aviation, Defense and Manufacturing Requirements Day took place on March 6, 2014, from 12.30pm to 6.30pm.