Sponsored by the St. Joseph County Public Library and held in its downtown branch, this annual winter event gives Notre Dame researchers and students the opportunity to share their knowledge of energy with the local community. ND Energy labs from across campus prepare enough hands-on activities and demonstrations to fill a room. This annual event provides ND Energy the opportunity to teach children and their parents about energy-related issues and topics.
Fifty faculty, staff, graduate and undergraduate students from ND Energy’s affiliated research labs provided eight hands-on exhibits at the 27th annual Science Alive at the St. Joseph County Public Library in downtown South Bend. Well over one-thousand members of the community moved through the third floor energy area to learn the basics about research being done at Notre Dame.
Science Alive serves many purposes, such as bringing the community together and creating enthusiasm for science and engineering. It is a unique opportunity for people of all ages to interact with high-level researchers and learn about innovative projects taking place in the South Bend area. The presenters benefit from the opportunity to practice the “soft skill” of distilling their knowledge into everyday language and concepts.
Slinkies, slime, Sudoku puzzles, Legos, Alka Seltzer, balloons, and a plasma globe were some of the items used to demonstrate the basics of research involving nanoparticles, catalysis, polymers, and plasma. Each group had a poster to connect the hands-on activity to the work in the lab. During the six-hour event, questions of all kinds came from four year olds to retired professionals.
Research groups represented in this year’s Science Alive included those of David Go, Kyle Doudrick, Jennifer Schaefer, Jonathan Whitmer, Marc Muller, Alex Dowling, William Schneider, Jason Hicks, Emily Tsui, and Sangpil Yoon. The Student Energy Board also showed up in force to provide support.