Published March 13, 2014
Science Exploration Day, UB’s annual kid-friendly, offbeat, science-education bash designed to catch the eyes and imaginations of the most promising high school science minds in the area, returns to the North Campus on March 19.
Once again, for the 28th time, students will travel as far as two hours each way for an up-close-and-personal experience with weird science research, including frozen bananas and roses, exotic bugs, visits to the UB Earthquake Simulation Laboratory, a driving simulator and the opportunity to crawl inside a portable STAR LAB planetarium.
“It is exciting to see how much cutting-edge science is going on in many locations around Western New York,” says Rodney Doran, professor emeritus in the Department of Learning and Instruction, Graduate School of Education, who has been on the organizing committee since the event began in the mid-1980s.
“Science Exploration Day is a great showcase for all of this and especially the faculty, programs and departments here at UB.”
This year’s offbeat science presentations also include the science behind testing drinking water; visits to electrical engineering, biology, chemistry, geology and physics laboratories; a presentation on sexually transmitted diseases called “The Gift That Keeps Giving”; and small group presentations, including “What Will Be Our Next Big Advance in Cancer Treatment,” “Colorful Coral Reefs,” “Luminol: Shedding Light on Crime” and “Investigating ‘Paranormal’ Mysteries.
“Science Exploration Day consists of a keynote speaker, tours of research labs in the science and engineering departments, as well as small and large sessions, presented by scientists and engineers from local colleges, industries and government agencies,” says Doran.
“They get to see, hear and feel science from local practicing professionals in the always-critical STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) field.”
This year’s keynote speaker is Bill Owens, engineer for PRAXAIR Inc., who reprises his popular demonstration “The Cold, Cold World of Cryogenics.” Owen’s presentation dramatically shows students how temperatures change the properties and behaviors of common items, like roses and bananas.
Science Exploration Day is organized by a group of a dozen science teachers, professors and administrators from local schools and colleges. This year, the event honors Wayne Gall with the 2014 Science Exploration Day Distinguished Service Award. Gall is known as one of the most dedicated presenters, always willing to organize another show for the students related to his field of entomology, or what he calls “critters,” such as ticks, mosquitos and bed bugs.
Support for Science Exploration Day comes from the Niagara Frontier Science Supervisors Association, the New York Sea Grant, Western Section of the Science Teachers Association of New York State, the UB Great Lakes Program and the UB Graduate School of Education.