Museum of Nature & Science's 'Tech Fest' Geared Up to Dazzle and Inspire

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Hands-On Experiences to Put Visitors in Touch with Technology Driving Everyday Life

From sports cars to underwater robots and catapults to radio-controlled helicopters, Tech Fest at the Museum of Nature & Science on Feb. 23 and 24 will dazzle kids and grownups with an eye-popping look at everyday technology that is anything but mundane.

Through hands-on activities, demonstrations and shows, visitors can explore the engineering behind a suspension bridge, the green design for zero-energy homes and the latest technology in automobiles and motorcycles.

Science buffs can see the amazing IMAX® films "Aliens of the Deep" and "Super Speedway," and get jolted out of their seats at the "Electric Theater" show. Tech Fest caps off National Engineers Week with a celebration that hopes to inspire the next generation of science leaders.

"Engaging children at an early age to take an interest in science and math is critical to our economic future and is a central mission of this museum," said Steve Hinkley, director of education at MNS.

"Texas is the leading exporting state in America and most of the products we export fall into the high-technology category. We must produce more students with science and engineering degrees to fill the high-paying jobs that our export-oriented economy requires."

To help encourage kids and their families to consider engineering and other technical careers, the Museum of Nature & Science has lined up a fun-filled weekend of experiences during Tech Fest. With presenting sponsor ExxonMobil and supporting sponsor LOPEZGARCIA GROUP, Tech Fest will feature these and other slices of our technology-driven lives:

  • Spend a moment with a Lamborghini or Volkswagen expert to find out how cars are engineered to go fast, zip around curves, stop on a dime, and protect us when we use more gas than good sense!
  • Learn engineering, the medieval way! Catapults are fascinating machines, capable of throwing massive objects much farther than simple human power ever could. Explore the world of catapult technology with engineers from the LOPEZGARCIA GROUP's champion catapult team and learn about mechanical advantage!
  • Experience two generations of motorcycle technology and see how motorcycles have advanced over 30 years. BMW enthusiasts will be on hand to discuss the engineering behind boxer engine construction (and why they call it that), brake systems, helmets, suspension and drive shafts. Visitors can sit on a bike and see what it's like, and even get their photo taken perched on the machine! Files will be captured digitally and sent to you at no cost, so hop on and go for a virtual ride.
  • Independence Energy Homes produces buildings that make as much (or more) energy than they use. Representatives will show families, through a hands-on approach, how making certain choices have an impact on the energy performance of the home.
  • See the greenest gadgets on the planet. Dallas retailer Current Energy will display new inventions that help make our world a more functional, cleaner planet.
  • MOCAP is a technique of digitally recording movements for entertainment, sports and medical applications. Students from UTD's Institute for Interactive Arts and Engineering will demonstrate how filmmakers record the actions of humans to animate digital 3D characters.
  • IBM experts will show us the technology and engineering behind the latest generation of ecologically-minded automobiles. Whether you come to just look at the engine, how the car works, or to take a quick ride, you'll be amazed at the peace and quiet of this amazing machine!
  • SMU students will proudly show off their "little robot that could" -- an Autonomous Underwater Vehicle (a.k.a. robotic submarine). Robotics Club members will tell the story of how the 'bot came to be, how it did in a national competition and its brush with fame along the way!
  • Fly Summit trains helicopter pilots at Addison Airport will use radio-controlled helicopters to show the mechanics and engineering behind vertical flight and just why it is we need to duck when getting out of one of these things!
  • If your kids have ever wanted to learn about structural engineering and what it takes to construct a building that stands up to the test of time, this is their chance! Lockheed Martin engineers will lead a contest using the museum's vast array of Lego pieces and see who can build the tallest building! Or, if firing rockets is what you prefer, these rocket scientists will work with kids using a paper rocket launcher to build a spacecraft and launch it straight to the moon - or as high as possible!
  • Families will have an opportunity to take a real Segway for a spin! The Segway, introduced by noted inventor Dean Kamen, has transformed the way we view personal transportation. Incredible in its complex design yet ease of use, the Segway truly is a revolution in motion.
  • Ever wonder how suspension bridges stay up or why the lights all come on at the flick of a switch? The Dallas Society of Women Engineers will conduct a hands-on session that gets kids into the action of building and seeing just what an engineer really does!
  • Electric Theater, the ultimate in engaging education, details the origins of electricity and magnetism while tracing the greatest technological innovations made possible through the discovery of electricity's different properties.
  • Emile Chin Dickey is an expert in zero-energy home design at Independence Energy Homes in Massachusetts. One of a tiny handful of designers and energy consultants in this field, IEH is paving the way for truly green engineering taken to an extreme level! In his 30-minute talk, Emile will walk you through the process of green home design and how making small choices now can have a large impact on the energy performance of homes well into the future.
  • Academy Award® winning director, deep-ocean adventurer, and space-exploration visionary James Cameron combines his filmmaking talents with his personal passions on a journey to some of the Earth's deepest, most extreme and unknown environments in search of the strange and alien creatures that live there. "Aliens of the Deep," shown in our stunning IMAX Theater, is the result of dramatic and visually stunning expeditions to several hydrothermal vent sites in the Atlantic and the Pacific oceans. Six-foot tall worms with blood-red plumes and no stomach, blind white crabs, and an inconceivable biomass of shrimp capable of "seeing" heat, all compete to find just the right location in the flow of the super-heated, life-giving water or to fry trying.
  • Buckle up. Another IMAX spectacular, "Super Speedway," delves into the death-defying drama of Indy car racing and weaves together the stories of some of the masters of the high-speed track. "Super Speedway" puts audiences in the cockpit of an Indy car and catapults them into world championship auto racing action at mind-bending speeds in excess of 230 miles per hour.

For MNS members only:

  • Try out our brand-new Lego Mindstorms Robotics Kits as they construct and automated racer and send it down the track! Prizes to the kids who try.
  • Test your flying skills with one of the newest members of the MNS InsectBot family, and try to carefully guide a remote-controlled dragonfly. Prizes for picking up the much-needed dragonfly "food".

Tech Fest will be at MNS in the Science Building, 1318 S. 2nd Ave. and the Nature Building , 3535 Grand Ave. (in Fair Park between gates 5 and 6) from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Feb. 23 and from noon to 5 p.m. on Feb. 24. Admission for MNS members is free; adults $8.75, children 3 to 11 $5.50, youth 12 to 18, seniors 62 and over, and students 18 and over with an ID $7.75. IMAX tickets are additional. For information call 214-428-5555 or visit http://www.natureandscience.org. Media will find pictures at: https://promotesuccesspr.sharedwork.com/sr/0TPBdWYmhFRFpnc2x2dkdzZoR1UtFzMY1Dcmg2YlRXP1ZCNxUzMx0Ta

Contact:    
Craig McDaniel, 214-296-0984, ext. 785

About the Museum of Nature & Science
The Museum of Nature & Science, formerly the Dallas Museum of Natural History, The Science Place and the Dallas Children's Museum, is a non-profit educational organization located in Dallas' Fair Park. In support of its mission to inspire minds through nature and science, MNS delivers exciting, engaging and innovative visitor experiences through its education, exhibition and research and collections programming for students, teachers, families and life-long learners. The facility also includes the TI Founders IMAX Theater and a cutting-edge digital planetarium. The museum is supported in part by funds from the City of Dallas Office of Cultural Affairs and the Texas Commission on the Arts. To learn more about the museum, please visit http://www.natureandscience.org.

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