NEES-led research projects to be featured at NSF's USA Science Engineering Festival

 


WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. - Two interactive exhibits highlighting research activities through the Purdue University-led George E. Brown, Jr. Network for Earthquake Engineering Simulation (NEES) will be featured this weekend at the USA Science Engineering Festival in Washington, D.C.

The April 26 and 27 festival, organized by the National Science Foundation at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center, is designed to advance education efforts in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) fields and inspire young scientists and engineers.

The NSF showcases funded projects that reflect the diverse research the federal agency supports across all fields of science and engineering. More than 3,000 hands-on activities and over 150 stage shows will be featured at this year's event, which is free and open to all ages.

"NEES' presence at this important event as the largest single award funded through the NSF Engineering Directorate provides the general public with a unique opportunity to be a part of the NEES community to make their communities safer against earthquakes and tsunamis," said Julio Ramirez, chief officer for NEES and a civil engineering professor at Purdue. "We also can elicit interest and excite the younger generations about joining in this effort."

NEES, based at Purdue's Discovery Park, focuses on education, outreach and training and uses demonstrations to raise public awareness about earthquake engineering. The two NEES exhibits will allow festival participants to test their engineering skills through these interactive activities:

* Survive the Wave: Use engineering skills to design and build a structure to withstand a tsunami in a 16-foot wave tank. The 2004 tsunami in the Indian Ocean was one for the record books, but the most destructive tsunamis have occurred along the coasts of California, Oregon, Washington, Alaska and Hawaii. Earthquakes at the ocean floor most often generate tsunamis, and the first wave can reach the beach in just a few minutes. Purdue, Howard and Bowie State universities lead this NEES-funded research project.

* Build it Better: Using everyday household items, build a structure that can withstand an earthquake generated by a shake table. The August 2011 earthquake that was felt in Virginia and surrounding states is proof that California is not the only U.S. state prone to earthquakes. Participating in collaboration with Purdue's Engineering Projects in Community Service (EPICS) program are the Universities of California, Berkley, San Diego, Santa Barbara and UCLA; Nevada Reno; San Jose State; Texas-El Paso, Morgan State, Howard, Minnesota and Oregon State.

"The USA Science and Engineering Festival provides a fun and engaging opportunity for NEES to reach out to the community to inform them of the risks to the built environment and the research that is occurring to mitigate those risks," said Barbara Fossum, deputy center director for NEEScomm. "The children have a chance to learn something about the risks caused by earthquakes and tsunamis and have fun doing it." 

Throughout the weekend, the NSF will be active on Twitter, @NSF, tweeting stories and photographs in real time of children and adults interacting and learning. For more up-to-the-minute information, follow the official event hashtag, #scifest. For more information about the festival, go to http://www.usasciencefestival.org.

About NEES

Since Oct. 1, 2009, the NEES headquarters for operations and cyberinfrastructure have been at Purdue's Discovery Park, the result of an NSF cooperative agreement. NEEScomm is the operations unit at Purdue. Researchers anywhere in the world can use the network, view real-time experiments and even run interactive simulations. The 14 sites are at major research universities and the network is managed at Purdue, which provides the IT research and cybernetwork, powered by HUBzero software developed at Purdue. 

 The 14 participating universities hosting NEES laboratories include Cornell; Lehigh; Oregon State; Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute; Buffalo, SUNY; University of California, Berkeley; University of California, Davis; University of California, Los Angeles; University of California, San Diego; University of California, Santa Barbara; University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign; Minnesota; Nevada, Reno; and University of Texas, Austin. In addition, five institutions involved as administrative partners include San Jose State University; the universities of Washington, Kansas and South Carolina; and the Fermi National Laboratory.

About NSF

The National Science Foundation is an independent federal agency that supports fundamental research and education across all fields of science and engineering. In fiscal year 2014, its budget is $7.2 billion. NSF funds reach all 50 states through grants to nearly 2,000 colleges, universities and other institutions. Each year the NSF receives about 50,000 competitive requests for funding and makes about 11,500 new funding awards. The NSF also awards about $593 million in professional and service contracts yearly.

Writers: Phillip Fiorini, 765-496-3133, pfiorini@purdue.edu

Brooke Fruits, 260-927-4371, bfruits@purdue.edu

Sources: Julio Ramirez, 765-494-4130, ramirez@purdue.edu

Barb Fossum, 765-494-6408, bfossum@purdue.edu

Related NSF News Release: http://www.nsf.gov/news/news_summ.jsp?cntn_id=131181&org=NSF&from=news

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