Second edition of the French-American Science Festival in Chicago
On Monday, October 29 and Tuesday, October 30, the Office for Science and Technology (Chicago section), in partnership with the Rick Morimoto Laboratory hosted the 2nd Annual French-American Science Festival in the Lurie Atrium of Northwestern University’s Downtown Campus. The festival was co-organized with the Delegation des Alliances françaises and also supported by the Institut Francais and the French Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
This unique event had the participation of over 40 renowned French and American institutions such as the Ecole Normale Superieure de Paris, College de France, Université de Lyon, Institute Polytechnique de Paris, the CERN, Northwestern University, the University of Chicago, the Field Museum, the Museum of Science and Industry and Argonne National Laboratory among others.
Over 450 students from schools across the Chicago area and the Midwest attended to observe “hand-on” booths on a wide variety of subjects such as chemistry, nuclear energy, water and waste management, sustainable energy, biology, nanotechnology, symbiosis, tactical illusion, digital fabrication, particle physics and imagery.
The festival also included a scientific conference with Prof. Paul Colonna from Collège de France and INRA on sustainable bio-energies in developed countries and a round table discussion on the economic challenges of renewable energy with keynote speaker Prof. Sophie Meritet of the Centre Geopolitique de l’Energie et des Matieres Premieres, hosted at the Alliance Francaise de Chicago. There was also two scientific shows presented by the famous French scientific journalist, Jamy Gourmaud.
This was followed by the showing of an international film project on water management from students in France, the US and India. The film expanded the discussion of the workshop on scientific mediation and outreach programs, where panelists included a representative of the National Science Foundation. The objective was to search for joint innovative international projects that can expand science education to youth around the world.
Hands-on booths - 13 booths were managed by over 30 hands-on presenters:
Biology : Sue Fox and Laetitia Chauve, from Northwestern University, worked with students to visualize DNA and the tiny world of cells;
Imaging : Thomas Meehan of the Chicago Zoological Society and Jean-Manuel Nothias of Vizua 3D showed students various examples of veterinary cases and gave them the opportunity to interact with 3D renderings to better understand the anatomy and medical approach to these cases;
Particle physics : Christophe Royon, Fabrice Couderc, and Alexandre Faure, from CEA, presented on alternative energy sources and global warming, as well as the potential discovery of the Higgs boson;
Math games : Frédéric Mahieu, Editor in chief of Mathématiquement Vôtre and math teacher at the Lycée Français de Chicago presented on the real nature of mathematics and offered students KenKens, tangrams, enigmas, and other math-related games to play;
- Symbiosis : Jean-Michel Ané, Pierre-Marc Delaux and Natacha Kremer of the University of Wisconsin - Madison presented on symbiotic relationships using microscopes;
Nanotechnologies : Carrie Kouadio and Joseph Muskin of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign used a photoactive polymer, to “print” 3-D plastic objects using a technique developed to create nanosized structures called microstereo lithography;
Digital Fabrication : Dan Meyer and Matt Chalker of the Museum of Science and Industry in Chicago offered students the chance to work with a vinyl cutter and 3D printers.
Tactile Perception: Michael Wiertlewski of Northwestern University gave a hands-on demonstration of tactile illusions. Visitors experienced having two noses, touching objects that aren’t there and feeling a piece of glass dynamically changing its texture;
Energy and Sustainability : Sunanda Prabhu-Gaunkar of Northwestern University present on the tools, the structures, the measurements and the materials employed in nanotechnology that contributes to sustainable innovation;
Chemistry/Environment : Jean-François Gaillard of Northwestern University gave students the chance to conduct three short experiments that demonstrate some of the chemical properties of CO2 in relation to its involvement in the global biogeochemical cycle of carbon;
Meteorites : Nicolas Dauphas of the University of Chicago and Philipp R. Heck of the Field Museum in Chicago presented on meteorites and terrestrial rocks and explained how the planet was made;
Nuclear Energy : Abel Marin-Lafleche of the Argonne National Laboratory & CEA showed partipants how to calculate estimate personal annual radiation dose;
STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Math) : Maggie Waldron of Northwestern University presented on after-school science programs.
Les Petits Débrouillards : Sandrine Dovin, Stéphane Bourles, Afaf Seddiki, and Lara Luthien from Les Petits Débrouillards Association presented on water sustainability and conducted fun experiments designed to show how to minimize the impact of construction.