BUFFALO, N.Y. – Paranormal mysteries, crime scene
investigations and dissected human organs are just some of the
peculiar and gory presentations that the University at Buffalo will
host during the annual Science Exploration Day to be held from 9:15
a.m. to 1:05 p.m. on Wednesday, March 13.
In its 27th year, Science Exploration Day is a one-day science
extravaganza combining unusual experiments and laboratory tours,
accompanied by thought-provoking lectures. It gives high school
students a chance to hear prominent scientists, engineers and
health care professionals speak about their respective fields.
Event organizers expect to bring 700 students from 25
participating public and private high schools throughout the
Western New York to UB’s North Campus. The events will take
place in Talbert, Norton and Capen halls.
“Our expectation is that the day will inform and enthuse
the students about science and technology, so much so that they
keep enrolling in science and math courses at the high school level
and consider pursuing careers in these fields, as well as
medicine,” says Rodney Doran, professor emeritus of science
education at UB.
Doran has been on the organizing committee of Science
Exploration Day since its inception. Besides getting students
interested in science, technology and medicine, Doran hopes the
event will give the students a lasting impression of UB. “We
hope the faculty and facilities of UB will prompt them to put us on
their list of prospective colleges,” Doran says.
This year’s keynote presentation will feature Bill Owens,
senior engineering consultant for Praxair Inc., a manufacturer
of industrial, process and specialty gases. Owens’
presentation, “The Cold, Cold World of Cryogenics,”
will be a lecture and demonstration on cryogenics, which studies
the effects extremely cold temperatures have on materials. One of
his many experiments uses nitrogen and oxygen cryogenic liquids to
freeze a banana, converting it into a functioning hammer.
Also in the lineup of presenters this year is paranormal
investigator Joe Nickell of the Skeptical Inquirer magazine.
Nickell has been profiled in The New Yorker and has appeared on the
Discovery Channel, BBC and “The Oprah Winfrey Show.”
His presentation will feature cases he worked on, including alleged
incidents of spontaneous human combustion and the haunted Mackenzie
House mystery in Toronto, all of which he successfully debunked and
Returning favorites from previous years include “Really
Gross Anatomy and Physiology” by Don Gill Jr., biology
instructor at Erie Community College, and “The Real Science
behind CSI” by Ted Yeshion, associate professor of forensic
science at Edinboro University. Gill will use preserved, dissected
organs to discern the similarities and differences between animal
and human anatomies, while Yeshion will speak about a chemical
called luminol, which forensic scientists commonly use to
reconstruct crime scenes.
The event is jointly sponsored and organized by the Niagara
Frontier Science Supervisor, the New York Sea Grant, the Western
Section of the Science Teachers Association of New York State, as
well as the Great Lakes Program and Graduate School of Education at
Each student will attend the keynote speaker’s session and
one of several large group sessions. Students will also have the
opportunity to attend two additional sessions of their choice from
a list of small group presentations and research laboratories tours
in the science and engineering departments.
The event is open to all senior high school students. There is a
$30 school registration fee, plus a fee of $5 per student. Complete
program and registration information can be found on http://www.scienceexplorationday.com.