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Engineering Expo 2009 to bring hundreds of students to KU

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

The Expo beacon atop Eaton Hall draws visitors from far and wide. Retired Microsoft developers Richard and Karen Hargrove will deliver the keynote speech at the University of Kansas’ annual Engineering Expo.

Engineering Expo 2009 is a two-day open house coordinated by KU Engineering Student Council that attracts hundreds of elementary, middle school and high school students to campus. The event, on Feb. 20 and 21, is free and open to the public.

An expo visitor has fun with chemically produced "touchable bubbles." Mr. and Mrs. Hargrove graduated from KU in 1980 and 1983, respectively. Richard Hargrove worked at a software developer for the company, and Karen Hargrove was general manager for the Digital Office Systems division. They will open Engineering Expo with a speech at 9:30 a.m., Friday, Feb. 20, at the Lied Center of Kansas.  After the presentation, activities move to the School of Engineering complex in Eaton and Learned Halls.  Expo’s Friday activities wind down by 3 p.m.

The goal of Expo is to give the public a hands-on introduction to the impact and fun of engineering.

“Expo is an engineering event that allows elementary age children through college students to interface constructively with exciting competitions and eye-popping demos,” said Tyler Busch, one of Expo’s co-chairmen. “We encourage everybody to come out to KU and engage in the intriguing worlds of science and engineering.”

Engineering Expo’s 2009 theme, “Engineering Generations: Past, Present, Future,” provides inspiration for participants in a number of design contests — from egg drops and derby cars to sailboats and volcanoes — as well as dozens of interactive displays created by KU engineering and computer science students. Schools and students who wish to take part in any of the contests may register online at http://www.kuesc.engr.ku.edu/formA.shtml through Friday, Feb. 13.

New this year is a Rube Goldberg contest for teams of college students on Saturday, Feb. 21.  A Rube Goldberg machine is a complex device that performs a seemingly simple task.  In this competition, teams must change an incandescent light bulb and replace it with a more energy efficient bulb.  The winning team will be eligible to participate in the national Rube Goldberg contest in West Lafayette, Ind.  The public is welcome to watch the bulb-changing battle.  Saturday Expo activities, including interactive displays, begin at 9 a.m. and run until noon in Eaton and Learned Halls. 

“Engineering Expo is a chance for our students to show the next generation what they can do as engineers and computer scientists,” said Associate Professor of Mechanical Engineering Robert Sorem, who also serves as the school’s associate dean for undergraduate studies.  “Our graduates do amazing things for society.  They develop new electronic gadgets. They design all kinds of structures.  They create life-saving medicines and materials. Engineers are responsible for all kinds of transportation vehicles and new fuels.  Engineers also give us the fun things in life – video games, sports equipment, cell phones, TVs, music players and more.”

KU students involved Expo often found their calling by attending the event as junior high and high school students.

“I never really understood what engineering was until I saw it in action. Expo helped me to see what all I could do as a career,” said KU student Colin Davidson, another of this year’s co-chairs.

For more information about Expo, including a complete schedule and contest information, visit http://www.kuesc.engr.ku.edu/Expo.shtml or contact the Expo co-chairs at kuExpo2009@gmail.com.



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