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University takes part in national ‘Making Stuff’ project
January 25, 2011Tweet
Binghamton University is taking part in a national outreach program designed to educate the public about the importance of materials science.
WGBH, a Boston public television station and producer of NOVA and the Materials Research Society (MRS) have teamed on a four-part “Making Stuff” series that began Jan. 19 and airs at 9 p.m. each Wednesday through Feb. 9 on PBS. The episodes, which feature technology writer David Pogue, will focus weekly on one theme of “Making Stuff,” such as stronger, smaller, cleaner and smarter.
Binghamton University and Broome Community College collaborated on a proposal after WGBH and MRS decided to offer grants to communities to help with the educational outreach.
“They wanted to give people the opportunity to do hands-on (work) and to learn in a less formal setting,” said Alexsa Silva, director of instructional labs in the Chemistry Department and one of the project coordinators.
Local “Making Stuff” events will highlight the work of the Chemistry Department and Materials Science and Engineering Program. The first outreach event took place Jan. 22 and provided 27 teachers with tips on how to promote materials science in the classroom. On Jan. 25, M. Stanley Whittingham, professor of chemistry and materials science and engineering, discussed energy and energy storage at the Lost Dog Café in Binghamton.
Upcoming events will emphasize the work of students in the Undergraduate Chemical Society and the University’s MRS Student Chapter. Activity and demonstration tables will be set up at the Oakdale Mall from 1-5 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 29, and from noon-5 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 5, at the Roberson Museum and Science Center. The students will lead participants through activities based on the “Making Stuff” themes, while also promoting the NOVA episodes. “Making Stuff” also will be showcased at the Feb. 12 Science Olympiad Regionals that are hosted by the University.
“They are really excited about this,” Silva said of the students. “They’ve said, ‘This will be awesome because we can actually show people what we do.’ … They are the ones who will be doing the demonstrations. No professors – just them.”
The opportunity to take part in a national showcase is vital for not only the University, but the Chemistry Department and Materials Science and Engineering Program, as well, Silva said.
“This shows the public that we are not apart from their lives,” she said. “Sometimes people have the impression that what we do has no relevance to their daily lives. That’s not true. It’s a great opportunity to show what we do and the importance of Binghamton University in the bigger picture.
“For the Chemistry Department and Materials Science Program, this shows that we are very active in research and we are fulfilling our call not only for scholar service, but community service, too.”
For more information on the “Making Stuff” project, go to http://www2.binghamton.edu/chemistry/news/making-stuff.html.