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Science Day at the U

What: Utah and Idaho high school students attend science workshops and get academic advice about college at the University of Utah

Date: Saturday, Nov. 7, 2009

Time: 8:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.

Place: Olpin Union Building and various classrooms on the University of Utah campus


Hundreds of Utah and Idaho high school students will get an introduction to education and research opportunities at the University of Utah during the 21st annual Science Day at the U on Saturday, Nov. 7.

The event is hosted by the university’s College of Science and College of Mines and Earth Sciences, and sponsored by Rio Tinto, Popular Science magazine, and XMission.

Science Day is the university’s largest student recruitment event. There is no cost to students, parents or educators. Lunch is provided. Most students were invited because they expressed an interest or teachers nominated them, however, any high school student may attend simply by registering online at, or at the Olpin Union Building’s main foyer on Nov. 7.

News media representatives are invited to cover the event in the Olpin Union Building and science buildings on main campus.

Science Day at the U will begin with an opening reception featuring a brief keynote talk and demonstration by Stephen Jacobsen, a distinguished professor of mechanical engineering at the University of Utah and president of Raytheon Sarcos. Jacobsen is well known for developing the XOS robotic exoskeleton suit in 2005, which is among the most advanced robotic suits in the world.

Students will receive academic advice about specific majors, science-related careers and undergraduate research offered by each department. Parents and educators may attend a presentation given by the Office of Student Recruitment and High School Services titled “How to Prepare Your Student for College.”

Students attend science workshops in their areas of interest presented by faculty from the College of Science, the College of Mines and Earth Sciences and the Utah Museum of Natural History. The following presentations may be of particular interest to news media:

  • 10:10 a.m. to 10:50 a.m., “Explosives and Explosions,” by chemistry Professor Chuck Wight, Henry Eyring Building, Room 2008. Wight will discuss explosives and how they work, including selected demonstrations of explosions. Bring your earplugs!
  • 10:10 a.m. to 10:50 a.m., “Monitoring Earthquakes in Utah and Yellowstone,” by Mark Hale, earthquake specialist at the University of Utah Seismograph Stations, Frederick Albert Sutton Building, Room 103. Students will tour the seismology laboratory, view several highly sensitive quake-recording instruments, and learn how the U monitors earthquakes throughout Utah and Yellowstone and Grand Teton national parks. Several small quakes occur each day in Utah, so it is possible students may witness a seismograph recording one during the session.
  • 11 a.m. to 11:40 a.m., “Extreme Makeover: Human Body Engineering with Metals,” by metallurgical engineering Professor Ravi Chandran, William Browning Building, Room 207. Students will be introduced to the science behind the design and production of artificial body parts, including hip joints, cardiovascular stents, spine implants and electrodes – all products of metallurgical engineering.
  • 11:50 to 12:30 p.m., “Demolicious Physics,” by physics lecture demonstration specialist Adam Beehler in the James Fletcher Building, Room 103. Students will be treated to a special array of experiments and demos that will educate and entertain. Topics will include gravity, velocity, electromagnetism and properties of air. Beehler will shoot a ping-pong ball through three soda cans, and explain electricity using a Tesla coil.

Science Day also will feature a series of “Industry Workshops,” where students can learn from scientists at Idaho Technology, Kennecott Utah Copper and XMission what it is like to work in science industries.

Science Day at the U attracts more than 700 students, parents and educators from as far north as Soda Springs, Idaho, and as far south as Blanding, Utah. It often is the first experience these students have on a university campus.

“We continue to draw large numbers of students from rural areas in the state – students willing to travel several hours each way to attend Science Day,” says Lisa Batchelder, program coordinator. “This event is very worthwhile. We are offering 61 workshop sessions that cover 31 specific research topics.”

The event sponsors – Rio Tinto, Popular Science magazine and XMission, a Utah Internet company – will have representatives on hand throughout the day to meet with students and parents about education and employment opportunities.

For more information, please contact the College of Science at (801) 581-6958 or visit to obtain a complete schedule of events.