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College of Science and Engineering at the State Fair

By Dorothy Cheng

The Minnesota State Fair is my favorite time of year. I usually spend at least a full day walking through all the buildings and barns....and eating, of course. My must-have state fair foods include cheese curds, pronto pups, cookies, and all-you-can-drink milk.

This year the College of Science and Engineering (CSE) has some really neat exhibits planned.  Below are just a sampling of cool features from the schedule of events. (I will definitely be attending the Physics Force exhibit on September 4!)

STEM Day at the Fair

Experience science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) in a fun and interactive environment. 

Innovative Engineers Student Group

Come and see how Innovative Engineers is extending the reach of renewable energy to the developing world. The exhibit will include an interactive display which invites spectators to spin a 1kW wind turbine and generate electricity. The exhibit will also include informational displays and handouts of the work that the Innovative Engineers student group is currently doing. 

Engineers Without Borders

In this interactive presentation, students from the University's Engineers Without Borders student chapter will talk about their project in rural Guatemala. The group is partnering with the community of Simajuleu to provide a clean, dependable source of water to the village. Students from this group will show slides of their most recent trip, be interviewed on stage, and will answer questions from the audience. 

Center for Distributed Robotics

This entertaining demonstration features a variety of robots developed in the University of Minnesota's Center for Distributed Robotics, including a robot that is currently being used by law enforcement and the military in search and rescue missions and reconnaissance deployments. The robot, called Scout, is only about the size of a soda can, but is durable enough to break through a glass window and land safely and ready to begin its mission. The robot also has impressive technology such as sensors and cameras to help save lives in dangerous situations. 

Department of Chemistry/Alpha Chi Sigma

Chemistry is all around us. Come join the University of Minnesota Chemistry Outreach Program as we explore the everyday chemistry of your home. This exhibit features hands-on experiments to see how chemists have helped shape our lives. With us, you can explore basic polymers, acids/bases, and the chemistry behind some of the foods we eat. 

Physics Force

This group of wild and crazy physicists use highly visual and entertaining demonstrations to teach elements of physics. The Physics Force goes above and beyond (literally) to educate and entertain. Their blend of slapstick, prop comedy, and science is education for audiences of all ages. 

Solar Vehicle Project

A car that can travel on power from the sun may sound like science fiction, but it is a reality at the University of Minnesota. Come see the latest solar car built by U of M undergraduate students, which just recently won the 2009 Formula Sun Grand Prix, a closed-track race at MotorSport Ranch in Cresson, Texas. See the inner workings of the car and talk to members of the solar car team.

For details on these events and more, check out the schedule of events.

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