Top 7 Things We Want to See at the USA Science and Engineering Festival
Meghan Brown posted on April 04, 2016 |
With two weeks left until the festival, here are some of the highlights!

Some people start the month of April and think, “Spring.”

We think, “Science!”

The USA Science and Engineering Festival, to be exact.

This year’s festival is on April 16 – 17th, 2016.  A few of us from ENGINEERING.com will be attending the Festival and to get ready, we’ve come up with seven of the speakers and exhibitors we are most excited to see this year.

Here are some of our favorites, in no particular order:


Wil Wheaton (Actor)

Wil is a well-known geek-culture icon, thanks to his roles as Wesley Crusher in Star Trek: The Next Generation and as the evil version of himself in The Big Bang Theory

Wheaton will be at the festival serving as a role model for geeks and science lovers with his message, “Science is cool!”

 

NASA: Pioneering Space and the Journey to Mars

NASA has several exciting events happening throughout the festival. First off is a stage presentation about technology and innovation leading to new flight and system capabilities for human space exploration.

The presenter will be Jason Crusan, who leads exploration systems across all NASA centers, developing and maintaining critical human spaceflight capabilities and delivering critical multi-million-dollar flight hardware.

If you’re particularly interested in NASA’s mission to Mars, the festival has you covered. The “Mars or Bust” presentation will offer a talk by NASA chief scientist Ellen Stofan about plans for the future manned exploration of Mars. 

Lastly, at the X-STEM event on Thursday, April 14th, inquiring minds will have the opportunity to meet Jessica Meir, one of NASA’s latest class of astronauts who may one day be part of the inaugural manned mission to Mars.

 

Greg Gage and Backyard Brains

Gage became an instant audience favorite when he hacked the neural system of a cockroach and guided it with a cellphone app. His company, Backyard Brains, is an education service that provides students with cool neuroscience kits to help them understand the electrophysiological workings of the brain and nervous system. 

The team from ENGINEERING.com was lucky enough to interview Gage at the last festival about his remote-controlled cockroaches. We can’t wait to see what he has to show us this year!

 

Bionic Expert Andrea Ziomek and FESTO Corporation

(Image courtesy of FESTO Corporation.)

(Image courtesy of FESTO Corporation.)

Biomimicry is the idea that using nature for inspiration can help improve manmade technological innovations.  

Join Festo’s bionic expert Andrea Ziomek as she demonstrates bionic flying robots inspired by nature, including jellyfish, penguins and butterflies. Check out the stage show and Festo’s exhibitor booth to see the robots in action.


CyPhy Works and Helen Grenier

Helen Grenier is a science whiz who developed a fascination with science fiction and robotics at a young age. She developed these interests into the mobile robot company iRobot and, most recently, the start-up CyPhy Works. CyPhy Works is devoted to developing futuristic flying robots (known as drones or unmanned aerial vehicles) for applications ranging from commercial and civil uses to military defense.

 

Lockheed Martin

The founding and host sponsor of the festival, Lockheed Martin will have a variety of interactive, high-tech exhibits to engage and entertain festival attendees. 

Its creative engineers and scientists will demonstrate the many ways that science and technology make a difference in the world, especially in fields such as space exploration and security and defense.

 

They Might Be Giants

A crowd favorite at last year’s Festival, the tech-inspired musical group They Might Be Giants returns for 2016. Widely known for its theme songs for TV’s The Daily Show and Malcolm in the Middle, TMBG treats its audience to energetic pop music and a penchant for science-themed lyrics.

TMBG has found particular success with its educational songs, including songs such as “Science is Real,” “Meet the Elements,” “I Am a Paleontologist” and “Speed and Velocity.”

  

More Science Than You Know What to Do With

Of course, these events are only a tiny fraction, the iceberg’s tip, of all the innovative, creative and just plain awesome science there is to see and do at the USA Science and Engineering Festival. 

You can also see performances by STEM advocates such as the Science Cheerleaders, SICK Science with Steve Spangler (of YouTube fame), a hilarious blend of theater and science experiments with Doktor Kaboom, or the Science Showdown where two sci-athletes battle for science supremacy, plus more than 3,000 other exhibitors and hands-on science and engineering activities.

So come out and join all the other STEM fans at the festival! You won’t be disappointed.

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