Skip to main content

Knights, astronauts to launch ASU Night of the Open Door events

700,000 insects on view in the natural history collections
February 11, 2013

When the sun sets over the Phoenix area on March 2, a spotlight will shine on Arizona State University and the launch of the Night of the Open Door, a signature event of the AZSciTech Festival.

For one night only, from 4 to 9 p.m., ASU students, staff and faculty offer more than 100 activities in a science carnival-like, family-friendly atmosphere across the Tempe campus. Want to meet NASA astronaut Catherine “Cady” Coleman? Learn Flamenco guitar? Discover if you can move a computer mouse with your mind? Do you really know your Meme? Squid in the Sonoran desert?

Visitors can engineer windmills, roller coasters and brains, or fold origami, solve crossword puzzles, math teasers and videogames, or simply stroll with medieval lords and ladies and a mariachi band. Also not to be missed are the belly dancers, the glass blower, the slam poetry, aliens, squids and the Math Garage Band.

Jumping into this evening of discovery (and surprises) is as easy as putting yourself into a zone, literally. Zones 1 through 4 each contain hands-on activities, presentations or displays, and access to museums, classrooms or laboratories – something for all ages.

Tours also will whisk people behind the scenes in areas usually restricted to public view, such as:

ZONE 4: The Biodesign Institute hosts dozens of activities and scientists leading discovery in vaccines, early disease detection and sustainability. Look for the Ask Me buttons!
ZONE 3: ASU’s Quantum Energy and Sustainable Solar Technology Laboratory – put your engineering skills to use to design and analyze solar-power collection technologies or meet ASU Advanced Computing Center’s fastest and most powerful supercomputer.
ZONE 2: Psychology and Learning Sciences Institute’s KINECT motion-sensing games laboratory and the Frank Hasbrouck Entomology Collection, which showcases more than 700,000 insects and student scientists who work with them.
ZONE 1: The Digital Culture Showcase and Gallery – discover furniture that responds to your mood, a sensory meadow or surfing simulator.

“This is a premier night for seeing what’s happening in laboratories, museums and classrooms on the Tempe campus,” said Charles Kazilek, the associate dean of technology, media and communications in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences and lead organizer for the Night of the Open Door. “Visitors can meet scientists, artists, engineers, linguists and the creative thinkers who do amazing things every day at ASU, but who aren’t always in the public eye.”

Part of the fun for visitors is also meeting the next generation of scientists with some of ASU student clubs and learning groups, such as the ASU Dust Devils, Astro Devils, Origins Project Club, ASU Robotics Club, and Society of Physics Students. 

“The Night of the Open Door is a great demonstration of the vibrant research science and technology present at ASU,” says Jeremy Babendure, director of the Arizona SciTech Festival. “Making the community aware of this will help to inspire students to pursue their dreams and see how many places a math, engineering, and liberal arts and sciences career can take them. It also offers a launching pad to help create a STEM culture in Arizona and a conduit for diverse collaborations to propel future innovation in our state. To this end, the Night of the Open Door is one of the most important anchors for the success of our state’s AZ SciTech Festival.” 

The Night of the Open Door was spearheaded by the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, with ASU partners: the Biodesign Institute, Ira A. Fulton Schools of Engineering, Center for Science and the Imagination, Mary Lou Fulton Teachers College, the Global Institute of Sustainability and ASU Libraries. Sponsors also include innovative audio visual and video conferencing technology companies CCS, Vidyo and Christie Digital. Coincident with Night of the Open Door are performances and events for the last night of the Emerge Conference making March 2 a blockbuster evening in Tempe.

The first 2,000 to register will receive a free goodie bag to make the heart glow, as well as the mind.

For those who want to come out earlier in the day in the West Valley or Tempe, there is also an engineering family day and the Vex Robotics State Championship Tournament: and OpenDoor@ASUWest from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.