ND Energy Surges Science Alive! 2016


ND Energy, once again, occupied a third floor presentation room with “everything energy” during the annual Science Alive! event on Saturday, February 6th, in the St. Joseph County Public Library in downtown South Bend. Celebrating 24 years, this event has focused on providing hands-on science to create an exciting learning environment for school-age children and their families. This year, participants drove robots, smashed flowers, made electricity, fed chickens, and for those who visited the ND Energy room, experienced hands-on activities and demonstrations provided by Notre Dame faculty and their research groups!

ND Energy has been a partner in this community-wide, annual event for the past four years and is excited to continue the tradition of helping to educate younger students and foster their enthusiasm about energy. This year alone, ND Energy welcomed over 600 students and their families to the energy room, many of them commenting on how interesting energy really is, especially when it’s presented at a level that is easy to understand. We are grateful for our partnership with AEP and the use of the Energy Bike to demonstrate the amount of energy needed to power light bulbs. We are especially thankful for the demonstrations provided by our faculty and their research teams. Because of their willingness to teach younger students what they already have become passionate about, participants were able to:  

  • View alpha tracks coming off of small radioactive rocks and learn about Geiger counters (provided by Dr. Peter Burns and Dr. Amy Hixon and their research groups).
  • See how chemical reactions can be used to make electricity that runs lights and motors (provided by Dr. William Schneider and Dr. Jason Hicks and their research groups).
  • Learn about the importance of chemical separations to the production of fresh water and the generation of fuels (provided by Dr. William Phillip and his research group).
  • Experience colloidal physics through hands-on demonstrations with everyday items (provided by Dr. Jonathan Whitmer).
  • Observe high thermal conductivity polymeric materials to improve heat transfer efficiency and reduce loss in important energy devices such as heat exchangers (provided by Dr. Tengfei Luo and his research group).
  • Play with a plasma globe and see and feel the electric current, strong enough to power a light bulb (provided by Dr. David Go and his research group).


Look for us next year on Saturday, February 4, 2017!

View the Science Alive 2016 photo album for more fun photos.