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ASU helps shine spotlight on world of new materials

February 07, 2011

The Arizona Science Center is enlisting the expertise of professors in Arizona State University’s Ira A. Fulton Schools of Engineering in showcasing the latest advances in materials science and engineering.

The engineering schools are among organizations collaborating with the science center to present the Making Stuff Festival Feb. 18-20.

The event will explore how new kinds of materials are shaping the future of technology – in medicine, computers, energy, space travel, transportation and an array of personal electronic devices.

As part of the activities, ASU materials engineers will present a workshop for Arizona middle school and high school teachers at the center on Feb. 19.

“We want to tell them about the excitement revolving around the creation of new materials and the potential to use these materials to improve our quality of life,” explains James Adams, a professor in the School for Engineering of Matter, Transport and Energy – one of ASU’s Ira A. Fulton Schools of Engineering.

Adams and ASU associate materials engineering professor B. Ramakrisha are organizing the workshop, and will present demonstrations with help from ASU materials research specialist Shahriar Anwar.

“We’ll be giving teachers ideas for a lot of hands-on activities they can use in their classrooms,” Adams says.

ASU is among institutions taking a leading role in materials research, particularly in the creation of new nanomaterials and specialized materials for energy storage, Adams says.

ASU’s materials science and engineering program is also attracting top students. About one of every four students in the program is also enrolled in Barrett, the Honors College at ASU. That’s among the highest percentages of honors students in any program of study at the university.

The festival is being presented in conjunction with the broadcast of “Making Stuff,” a multi-part television series of the Public Broadcasting Service program NOVA that focuses on advances in materials technologies. It’s airing locally on KAET-Channel 8.

Channel 8 is another collaborator on the Making Stuff Festival, along with ASU’s Consortium for Science, Policy and Outcomes, the Arizona Technology Council, Medtronic, Intel and Science Foundation Arizona.

Visit the Arizona Science Center web site.