The first USA Science & Engineering Festival kicks off this weekend in Washington DC. Running for two weeks, the festival wraps up with a two-day expo on 23-24 October, with 1,500 booths planned in the downtown area, numerous local festival events, as well as satellite events across the country. From Hawaii to New York, scientists plan to visit local schools, hold special events, and open their doors to the general public.
As part of expo, AMS will take part in the massive event on the National Mall, helping out with a double booth space run by the DC Weather Coalition, an educational partnership of government, scientific societies, enterprise, and institutions. The booth features an exhibit called “Become an Amateur Weather Forecaster,” in which visitors can experience firsthand what it takes to be a weather forecaster (Booth Numbers 1010, 1012, Section MA-C). “Using this approach to examine the wonders and mystery of weather, water, and climate certainly adds intrigue and excitement to the many hands-on exhibits sponsored by DC WeatherFest Coalition partners,” comments Elizabeth Mills, a Coalition representative and associate director of the AMS Education Program.
A WeatherBug weather station is planned to demonstrate the numerous ways to access the daily weather. Meteorologists from local television stations WJLA and TBD, including Joe Witte, and members of the AMS Education Department will be available for questions and to assist with the WeatherBug display and twice-daily Weather Jeopardy games at the booths.
Mills notes that this variety allows visitors to experience related topics from different perspectives. “Visitors in one area of our exhibits can be interviewed on camera, in another explore a weather station, and in others learn about the latest in weather research,” and in other exhibits, “they can see, first-hand, the instrumentation used in the ocean and understand the way climate is changing, or watch their kids being entertained by the WeatherBug mascot.”
To find exhibits that meet specific interests, the festival site is organized by age range, subject area, keyword, or organization name. A tracking system for various age groups also makes it easy to find events with a common theme. The exhibits will be open from 10:00 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. on the weekend of the festival.