STEMCats will offer:

  • Several interactive “fun science” activities conducted by faculty in the Fall.
  • Organized study groups

Fun-Science Activities for Fall 2016

Fun-Science Activities are an opportunity to experience science in action, and learn some concepts in a more relaxed setting. All activities will be offered on 09/26, 10/17, and 11/07 between 5 and 6 PM. All activities will take place simultaneously but at different locations (location stated under the description or each activity). Over the course of the semester, every students has to complete any three activities of their choosing. Note that each activity has an enrollment limit, so availability is first come first serve.
1) Polyhedra in Science and Math by Dr. Carl Lee; maximum capacity = 30 students
Location: Whitehall Classroom Building, CB 316
Polyhedra (such as cubes, pyramids, and icosahedra) arise naturally in mineralogy, biology, chemistry, art, and math.  In this session you will have the opportunity to physically construct examples of interesting polyhedra, explore some of their properties, and solve some problems.
2) Energy and Caffeine: What’s the rush? by Dr. Hollie Swanson; maximum capacity = 40 
Location: Biology building CP 222
We will be exploring the effects of caffeine on our bodies.  We will drink caffeinated beverages and measure the effect of these beverages on our heart rates.  Will everyone’s heart rate change?  Let’s find out.
3) Reproductive Strategies and Fitness by Dr. Madhu Srinivasan; maximum capacity = 25
Location: in case of good weather, students will meet at the main entrance of the WT Young Library. In case adverse weather conditions are predicted, students will students will be notified via Canvas which location to meet at the morning of the activity.
This is a fun outdoor game that helps us understand how various life history (sexual) strategies—asexual, monogamous and promiscuous—can affect biological fitness in the context of predator-prey interactions. The game simulates a predator-prey system in which the "prey" people alter their reproductive strategies in the each round of the game as they are trying to forage, mate and trying to make babies, all while trying not to get eaten by the "predator" people. There is going to be a lot of chasing, courting, stalking, and pouncing, so please dress appropriately, and be prepared for a lot of fun and frolic!
4) Molecular Gastronomy by Dr. Susan Odum; maximum capacity = 40
Location: NURS 511
This activity involves the creation of edible polymers containing fruit juices inside of capsules.  The reaction is an exchange of sodium ions for calcium ions in the polymer alginic acid, which is extracted from the cell walls of plants such as sea weeds.  The water soluble sodium salt becomes a gelatinous material when a solution in water is poured into calcium chloride.
5) Sleep, meditation, and performance by Dr. Bruce O’Hara; maximum capacity = 50 
Location: Sep.26th- ASB 221 and  Oct 17 and Nov 7- Nursing Building NURS 625 
As you probably know from personal experience, sleep quality affects your cognitive functions, mood, eating choices, and many physiological parameters.  We can even measure this with a simple reaction time test, called a PVT (Psychomotor Vigilance Task).  Our lab has shown that meditation can alter PVT performance as well.  We will ask you to monitor your sleep for three nights prior to our meeting, and then perform a PVT before and after a bout of meditation, with the goal of determining how sleep and meditation may both affect your performance.
6) Volcano! by Mr. Peter Idstein; maximum capacity = 30
Location: Sidewalk alongside Scovell Hall

In case severe weather conditions are predicted, students enrolled in this activity will meet for an alternate activity. Students will be notified via Canvas which activity and the location to meet at the morning of the activity.

We will examine the important sources of energy that drive explosive volcanic eruptions.  Discuss how compositional variations of magma control the style of eruptions.  Using non-lethal material (rubber ducks), we will simulate explosive eruptions and then map the distribution of the volcanic ejecta.  There is no indoor venue large enough that will accommodate the wet conditions of this activity so we will not have an adverse weather venue.  This is a lot of fun so it will be conducted even in the rain the only weather that will cancel activities will be severe weather (thunder and lightning) or temperatures significantly below freezing.

7) Fuel-ed video game by Dr. Eduardo Santillan-Jimenez; maximum capacity = 30

Location: WTY B-35 Students will play a video game that will help them understand the different types of fuels, particularly biofuels. Through playing a fun and engaging video game, students will learn about the benefits of biofuels, how they are made, and the feasibility of their use.

8) ) Being a community doctor by Dr. Kevin Pearce; Dr. Wade Rankin, and Dr. Kelly Evans-Rankin;maximum capacity = 20  
Dates: Sept 26th and Oct 17th only
Location: ASB 103
On Sept 26th, Dr. Kevin Pearce will lead a discussion based session on what a Family and Community Medicine Physician does on a day-to-day basis. The session will involve gaining experience with some basic techniques such as using a stethoscope, measuring blood pressure, and so forth.

On Oct. 17th. Drs. Wade Rankin and Kelly Evans-Rankin will lead students on a tour of UK’s athletic facilities and physicians examination room to give students a feel for what a Sports Medicine physicians job involves, and an interactive discussion on musculoskeletal medicine.

 9) What is Artificial Intelligence? by Dr. Judy Goldsmith; maximum capacity = 20
Date: Nov 7th only 
Location: ASB 103 An interactive session on what constitutes artificial intelligence and computational models of preferences. Students will discuss modelling and reasoning about preferences and how this is incorporated into artificial intelligence.
10)  Mini-workshop on Entrepreneurial Thinking by Mr. Randall Stevens; maximum capacity =30

Location: THM/BS 108 Entrepreneurs are problem solvers. In this session you'll learn about the latest in entrepreneurial thinking and process and frameworks for building companies. We'll also explore the coolest startups where biology meets high tech


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